Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shopping: Basket verses Trolley

Picture of shopping trolleys taken at a Grocery store in Milan.

I wrote this post last week but thought its not worth posting on the blog so I left it in the Drafts but yesterday while reading another article, I decided otherwise.

Post from Last week:

We are not the kind of people who can decide quickly what to buy, in fact we were so desperate to learn this art that in our last this trip back home, the girls saw a book on "Decision Making" and bought it as well but it turned out to be more of a business decision thing then an every day thing. Anyways, as I said our decision powers are not the best but when it comes to grocery shopping, I think I can take a lead and navigate people. In fact everyone is terrified to get an SMS from me to pick up some more Milk or something else from the store on their way home. When we decide to go for some serious shopping like lamps or to decide for the flooring, of course we are not at all able to decide but then R asks me, and without waiting for my answer says.......I guess we can buy some Milk and have a coffee break instead. And that's exactly what we do, he loves to have coffee in a nice restaurant and then we talk about the week, the kids and as soon as I get to where I would like to go next for holiday, he says....I think its time to go home, the girls have been alone for a long time, typical MEN! or so typical my Husband!

Anyways... now I try to get back to the topic. Most of the people I know here do the "weekly shopping" and I also started doing it but then I realized the food especially the veggies and fruits didn't stay so fresh, the fridge was over fulled and by the end of the week, I had to throw some food or the other. So it really hurt, as I was wasting food, feeling bad about it. I finally decided to go for shopping twice or thrice a week and of course that included asking favours from the family too. I do my shopping carrying either a hand basket or just even my Swiss mountain bag. This way I buy stuff for may be 2-3 days and when it starts to get over, I can oblige R or the girls to have a visit to the grocery store and pick up milk and yogurt. I feel this way they also get to learn and know how to shop and we don't buy so many things in bulk and try and not waste either.


Last week I was seeing this programme on BBC "Food and Drink" and the chefs were discussing how much food people waste now-a-days. Mary Berry is an English food writer and a Chef and she is simply adorable and what a pleasure to watch, and yesterday with Michel and her it was a treat to watch. He is mostly a serious kind of a Chef but he looked so happy and honoured to be in her company. You can check out their programmes here

So, these Chefs were givings tips on how you can use the food until the last bit and that's what I also grew up seeing at home.

Now again yesterday while reading the Swiss Info page I  bumped into a similar topic. That's when I changed my mind and decided to publish this post.

Here you can read more about it Studying Rubbish I absolutely love the Swiss system of recycling from green compost to glass to bottle, carton and about everything else. To be honest it took me a bit of time to understand it years ago, but it is such a pleasure and immense satisfaction to be able to do that, knowing we only have one earth and many many more generations to come. So totally worth it! Hats off :)

I think this trolley and bulk shopping is more a thing in the west. I remember in our home or for that matter in most of the Indian homes, shopping is done in a bit different way. All the dry things, like lentils, rice, sugar etc. are ordered once a month or so (people mostly get home deliveries done) the spices are bought whole and then bought to a mill to be ground, at least my Mom does that and till date I get my portions of chillies and coriander powders from there. Wheat for the Chapatis is bought when the wheat is harvested, I remember my Grandfather used to go and buy the wheat for the whole year, they were then kept in huge big barrels and as and when required were send to the mill for flour and then once we had a mill at home which the whole joint family could use.

When my parents came here for a visit, they were absolutely astonished to see the small 1 kg packs of sugar, flour and rice. My mom innocently said : Oh! they sell so small packets of flour here, what shall we do now? I said Mummy, we can buy loads. The thing is they were/are used to see things in bulk but the big difference was the things never got wasted because as I said, you buy your dry things once in a while and for the fresh fruits and veggies and some other things you go to the market.

Now I have again found my common ground somewhere in between. I don't have 100 litres of barrels here but I do buy bags of 5 kg rice and other dry things and fruits, veggies and milk products are bought about twice or thrice a week.

People are buying here in bulk but most of the food is fresh/half cooked/cooked. I was in the perception that the housewives here are doing a much better job then I was doing. They were/are doing weekly shopping not like me, running to the store thrice a week. But now after seeing the facts of wasting food in black and white I feel more than happy to do it for me because I don't like to waste money and food and I love to go shopping for food, especially when you can have it so easily fresh.

Today while coming home I went to the grocery store to pick up bread, fruits and toilet paper, of course because of the toilet paper I felt overloaded and I apologized to the lady for not clearing my things on time and then as this topic is so  much on my mind. I told the cashier, why I am not carrying a trolley but just a bag(had I had the girls with me, they would have said: now Mama, you dont have to get into this with her, and then me: of course I do, she is a woman and she sees these things and we are all people, right!) because I do not want to buy more then I can carry. She told me even she always carries a bag and not a trolley. She said if there is going to be one day holiday, people buy mountains of food and she also thought if they can consume all of that.