A month without supermarkets.

Last month, I had a bit of a meltdown in the local supermarket. I’ve written before on the paradox of choice and how, sometimes, when faced with too many options, I go into some kind of paralysis. When forced into a supermarket, I often find myself wandering aimlessly round  as though drugged, then like the proverbial deer in the headlights, standing in front of an entire aisle of soup, unable to drag myself away, nor make a decision about which to buy.

And that’s precisely the reason that I’m quitting them. That, and the knowledge that half the world doesn’t have enough to eat and the other half, well, me at least, is deliberating over what seems like an endless variety of food.The balance is quite clearly off and it makes me uncomfortable. I want to have a better feeling about my food than I do now.

So. What to do? Well, I’m about to move to a new area of Leeds which has an array of small independent shops. I’ve just started getting a weekly veg box delivery again. And I’m determined to make the most of my allotment produce. All of these things add up to one answer. Stop going to the supermarket. See what other suppliers are out there; the Leeds Bread Co-op that delivers locally, the farmers’ market, Leeds City Markets, Handpicked Food Hall, and a myriad of other folk. I want to know where my meat comes from, try raw milk, eat seasonally, cook more, meet the people who produce the food that I’m buying and eating. I don’t want to be that person that I become when I’m in the supermarket, making choices like a zombie. This isn’t about me being a ‘foodie’. I don’t really understand that term anyway; surely everyone who eats is a foodie? This is about making more sustainable choices, being comfortable with what I’m eating and enjoying myself. Fewer, better options feel better for me than the vast warehouse-style supermarkets that just make me uncomfortable.

It’s also not an exercise in deprivation. I’m no Jamie Oliver with his unthinking ‘ buy ten mangetout from the market’ type comments. I appreciate that this is going to take more time and is likely to cost more money. I also know how completely fortunate I am. Believe me, if I worked awkward shifts or had a very tight budget, I would stay in the supermarket, without question. I am grateful that I can make this decision.  I’m also hopeful that perhaps I’ll waste less food, use less packaging and appreciate what I’m buying, cooking and eating a bit more.

So, my statement of intent: For the whole of November I  will make sure I don’t step foot in a supermarket. I’m very hopeful that my lovely boyfriend will join me in this challenge. I think he will. As long as we find a decent beer shop! Who am I kidding, I shall need that too. At this moment in time I can only think of one problem. I need fishfingers. So, I need a non-supermarket place to buy or a great recipe to make fish-fingers. Otherwise my lovely, incredibly fussy, four year old boy will starve. Any ideas on that?

During the month, I’m going to blog about the places I find along the way. I’m also doing the Blog Every Day in November Challenge with Rosalilium, so November is going to be a busy old month on Margot & Barbara. If this month works out well, then the plan is to keep going to the end of 2013. And then, who knows. Can we get through the whole of 2014 without Tesco? Sounds good to me…


Bloggers: Fancy joining in? Let me know, and we can link up. 

Readers in Leeds, are there any places I should try? I’m thinking of independent food growers, producers, shops, markets etc. Let me know! 


14 Responses to “A month without supermarkets.”

  1. This is a lovely idea!

    Do you follow @marketdelivered? You can place an order for Leeds Markets online and they’ll deliver it!

  2. It was your idea for the veg box. But I am sure it was me who said that we should stop going to the supermarket x

    I am in as long as we get the lager situation sorted. We could try home brew but me being in the same room as 40 pints of lager is dangerous. It will be like the time I was left alone with a family sized malt loaf…

    • Haha…let’s agree that WE decided to give them up, eh? I’m up for home brew. Or perhaps we need to try one of those beer delivery things, like Beer Bods? Then we’d only have a small amount of booze in the house at any one time. Or the verg box delivery people deliver organic beer too…

  3. In Moortown there’s a ready meal shop called Cook that stocks meals that are all made by chefs without preservatives, they might have fish fingers… Failing that there’s always the market, I’m sure they Jack Fulton’s bit would have them.
    Beer-wise there’s always somewhere like Majestic but I think the closest one is in Meanwood now. There’s places like Beer Ritz etc in Headingley too.

    • Ooh, I don’t know that shop at all – might need a trip to Moortown for a year’s supply of fish fingers! Perfect, thank you so much. I do love Beer Ritz, it’s the only place in Leeds I’ve ever found Matilda, which is my favourite beer ever…

  4. How receptive would he be to making fish fingers from scratch? I’ve done it with Rosie a few times & she’s really enjoyed herself. Otherwise try the frozen food stalls in the market or Out of this World might stock some.

  5. I am totally up for doing this!

    • Yay! That sounds ace – if you want to link up posts later in the month, I’ll happily link back to you on my next post about this subject. Hoping to blog once a week through the month about it 🙂


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