Sunday, 9 March 2014

Big Shop - Week 1: Leeds Market

I don't know about you, but our house is ruled by lists.  There is the Birthday list, the Christmas card list, the list of what is in the overflow freezer and the wine list.  There is also a list of DIY jobs that still need finishing*.  But the two most important lists are the weekly meal planning list and the shopping list.

The Meal Planner dictates what goes on the Shopping List on a weekly basis, but we try to add things to the shopping list the moment we run out of them, just in case we forget.  There are always some items that never actually make the shopping list, like milk and orange juice.  We use so much of both that it's just taken as read that we need them whenever we're shopping.

This list mentality has done us proud for years.  We seldom buy things that we don't need, we keep well stocked cupboards and we very rarely waste food.  This weekend though has been a challenge, would we be able to get everything on our shopping list even though we were not using supermarkets?

To make life as easy as possible, we tried to keep the shopping list and meal planner as fluid as possible.  A good example of this is the meal we planned as 'fish'.  I have learned to keep fish in the hands of the fishmongers of Leeds Kirkgate Market; if you plan to eat cod there wont be any cod, best to go with what's best on the day and today we got Sea Bass.

We didn't pull any punches with our shopping list though.  We included laundry liquid, maple syrup and mayonnaise.  These are all things that I assumed that we would struggle to find whilst shopping locally, but I needn't have worried.  The first shop we went to** not only provided the laundry liquid that our middle class lifestyle is accustomed to, but also gave us a cracking loaf of wholegrain bread.  Then we hit the market.

I love Kirkgate market.  There I've said it.  I love the buildings that it is set in, I love the mix of stalls, I love the calls from the stall holders hawking their wares, but I was worried that we would return home with items still not crossed off our list.  I shouldn't have worried.  An enjoyable*** hour or so later we returned home with fifty pounds worth of fruit, vegetables, fish, bread and sausages for the first barbecue of the year.

I have a feeling that giving up supermarkets for Lent will not only be possible, but I'm starting to think that we won't have to change our habits either.  There are still some question marks over where we can source our preferred brands of soap, beans and toilet roll, but Leeds is a big city and we have only just begun to scratch the surface of the local shops on offer.

*we've been living in our house for 13 years but some things just never get done.
** Out of this World, 20 New Market St, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 6DG
***when was the last time you enjoyed a trip to the supermarket? It doesn't happen. Markets are great and you should use them.


  1. I love this Ewan!! I gave up the 'joy' of trolley rage in my local Tesco a few years back and now I genuinely enjoy doing the food shop. There's always something new to try, the prices are stupidly reasonable and I get to have a chat with the traders at the same time.

    Having said that, I do still end up having to pop into my local supermarket on the way home for top up items and a few basics so well done for giving them up completely! Especially as you have Rhys to entertain too.

  2. We've given up the supermarket for Lent - actually found it really easy until now. Think I need to start writing lists!