Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Off her trolley

Me and bump checking off items on list - notice that we are in the 'chocolate' aisle
Shopping for groceries in Germany seems to be quite an undertaking. And not just because all the brands and labels are foreign. Here are some of my observations on German food shopping thus far…
  • As far as I can make out, Germany has no equivalent to the big UK supermarkets. The shops are of the size that the UK had in the 70s and 80s – and the interiors are just as uninspiring. Their size means it is usually impossible to find everything you need in one store. Plus, many are in built up areas so there is a lack of parking spaces. In which case it means you can only buy as much as you can carry home.
  • I haven’t been able to find good quality frozen chicken or fish burgers here. That means my formulaic ‘speciality’ of frozen thing + frozen chips + random frozen vegetables cannot be achieved here. Probably to the relief of the other person in the household.
  • There are no delicious looking ready meals. This fact has meant that our microwave has become almost redundant. No ‘chicken-ding’ meals in our house. Probably a good thing considering how unhealthy they are and how much waste packaging they generate. Still, I cannot help craving a nice Indian-meal-in-a-box once in a while…
  • A tin of baked beans costs just under one pound. This means that our humble beans on toast of a Sunday night has gone from being a cheapie meal to being an anticipated luxury. For, whatever the price, I will not forego Heinz Baked Beans!
  • Germans don’t ‘get’ reduced fat milk. A German friend explained that Germans think any reduced fat milk is a waste of time as it doesn’t taste of anything. Which is precisely why I like it...
  • You have to weigh and label your fruit and veg on specially provided scales, rather than the assistant doing it at the till. This creates pandemonium at the scales as people queue up to weigh each and every bag of produce.
  • There are acres of pork-based products, but you’ll be lucky if you can find real smoky bacon. If you can, it will be hidden in a far off corner, giving out vibes of shame and will be labeled as ‘American’ or ‘English’ bacon. It will usually have a photo of a typical fry up, to show how it is to be used.
  • German till staff are celebrated for their moody attitude. No ‘Have a nice day’ falsity here. But, being British, I almost find that a comfort. However, I don’t like the way the till staff almost throw your goods at you once scanned. That’s just rude.
  • You want online ordering and home delivery? What’s that??? Do you think this is the 21st Century or something?
Sounds like I am whining? Well, there are good aspects to the German system as I have hinted. First, there’s less packaging. Then there is a wider range of shops on the high street, as the supermarkets haven’t been able to take over. Finally, the lack of choice has forced me to grab my apron, fetch out my rolling pin and actually have a go at making things from scratch – including pastry! My old Home Economics teacher would be proud, God rest her soul.

4 comments:

Mel said...

How was the home cooking? Did you whip Mr Harris up a birthday / Valentines delight for today?

Mel

Rhod and Anna said...

A shameless plugging of the bump! Nicely done. Anna x

Ali & Dave said...

Anna - don't let the bump distract you, glad to see Vicky has computerised and printed shopping requirements...

Anna said...

Don't think I didn't notice the word processing. Nice use of columns Vicky!