I hadn’t realized I’d been avoiding going grocery shopping until I felt a calming wave of relief wash over me as I hauled my overstuffed reusable bag into my kitchen, with change to spare in my pocket.
I’ve done this countless times back at home, ranging from what I call “extreme” grocery shopping – the bi-annual Costco shop that ensures we’d be okay for months if the world outside were to melt away – to the last-minute “oops-I-forgot-the-yeast” shop, where the amount of time spent searching for what you’re after is 10 times greater in comparison than the size of the item.
I usually find some pleasure in leisurely strolling up and down the aisles, looking for what I need but also keeping my eyes open for things that I may instantly decide I want.
Here in Preston, where I can buy a day’s worth of fresh eats from the local bakery for £2, I have absolutely no interest in dropping $75 on food I would not only need to prepare, but that comes with a consumption time-limit.
Yesterday, however, after leafing through Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minutes Meals, I had developed a hankering for sweet chili rice that just wouldn’t go away.
Off to the store it was.
Time slipped away as I slowly trekked up and down the rows of produce, poultry, and non-perishables, making sure I wasn’t missing any deals, until my blue basket weighed something like 20 pounds.
They make you pack your own bags at Aldi. I also realized after the fact that if you want to put your groceries in bags, you have to hook them off the shelf and buy them before checking-out. I fit the soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, and sesame oil in my purse. The rest, thankfully, all fit in my bag.
What I most thankful for, was the price tag.
After buying lemons, apples, and bananas, local Lancashire cheese, Greek-style houmous (British spelling of “hummus”), crumpets, crackers, and crunchy chocolate granola cereal, two mini pizzas, six mini yogurts, a bag of rice, a sprig of green onions, 15 eggs, a jug of milk, and a bottle of wine (“Grove Manor: Fruity Rosé”), take a guess how much it cost me.
I’m sure my bag weighed more in pounds than what its contents cost in pounds: £15.99.
Going off of today’s exchange rate, that’s $25.06 in Canadian dollars.
According to my sources back home (a.k.a. my dear mother), a bundle of groceries like this could easily cost $75. Of course, price depends in part on size and quality.
Size-wise, well, it’s a lot of food for one person. If I were to go out for a meal and a pint, I would probably only eat once, maybe one-and-a-half times, for that price. And I have yet to find a place that offers half-portions and half-pints for exactly half the price.
Quality-wise, the batch of rice I didn’t botch was pretty fantastic. This morning, my chocolatey cereal – which, if we’re being honest, tasted more like dessert – was amazing. Unfortunately it seems to be a UK-only brand.
PS- Hi Grandma, Grandpa & Auntie Eleanore.