Sunday, March 16, 2008

Supermarket Confessions

If our paths ever cross at the supermarket, you might recognize me by what’s in my trolley. Or rather, what’s not in my trolley. This week my trolley seemed particularly sparse, particularly as the woman in front of me seemed to pull out treat after treat … all in what seemed to be her typical week’s grocery shopping. 5 lots of meat, all in plastic trays, processed sausages, salami, biscuits, chippies, little pottles of yoghurt, snack bars, fruit juice containers, disposable nappies, wipes, formula, baby food, bakery goodies, two types of breakfast cereal, a couple of frozen pizzas, ice-cream …. I bet you could open her pantry and always find something ‘ready to eat’. Oh, and a couple of bottle of cleaning products – jif and sunlight I think.

My trolley by comparison was just a bunch of ingredients. A large bag of rolled oats to make muesli. 2 bags of flour. Yeast, cocoa and baking soda, and some spices. A kilo of mince, which was on special. Oil, butter, milk, sour cream and a large tub of plain yoghurt. Chickpeas, couscous and dried fruit from the bulk bins. The treats were few and far between – a pottle of organic hummus and 2 bottles of sparking water. Oh and the meat pies my hubby insists on eating for lunch – but that’s another story.

Looking at the two trolleys I found myself thinking - I’m possibly not as ‘mainstream’ as I think. You see, I make my own bread, and cook from scratch. I make our muesli. I buy my cleaning products in bulk at ecostore. I use cloth nappies and wipes and make my own baby food. I’ve even started using mama-pads so sanitary protection products don’t even get a look in these days. I do use some baking paper and plastic wrap, although I try to minimise – and I buy them in catering size packs. The supermarket is really where I buy ‘ingredients’ not where I buy ‘food’ – if that makes sense.

I felt quite envious of this other mum for a while. I bet when she got home she didn’t set about turning a kilo of mince into 5 meals for the freezer, soaking chickpeas for falafel mix, or popping a cake in the oven. I bet she never had to stay up late on a Sunday night to make muesli for the week. And I bet she has never ended up with baby poo on the laundry floor from a cloth nappy disaster.

But then I saw the cost of her shopping $280 as opposed to my $106! And I thought of the cost to the environment of all that packaging, destined for landfill. And I thought of the cost to her family’s health of all that processed food. And you know what … my way might not be as ‘convenient’ or as ‘efficient’ .. but I know which trolley I’d rather have.

1 comment:

thegoodwitch said...

I just saw this post and it had me chuckling! My food bill is always through the roof, but only because of the organic totals. I,too, like to check out the trolleys around me. I silently applaud the lady with fresh veggies and muesli, and I sneak a glance at the children of the trolley that is stocked with processed chips and snacky treats. Honestly, I am shocked by what manufacturers will sell; and I have been an ingredient reader for so many years that I simply cannot fathom someone who isn't! Oh well, back to buddhism to release my inner judgemental self *haha*