Eine kleine foodiemusik

I’ve just returned from a mini foodie adventure and I didn’t go more than a mile from my front door.

One of the commonest arguments of the supermarket lobby and, indeed, families, is that supermarkets help time-pressured families by providing everything under one roof.

It is hard to argue with the one stop, one trolley, one happy family idea.

But the thing with independent food shops is that they are realists and don’t expect you to do your weekly shopping there. If they aren’t already they should be branding themselves almost as destination shops – you go there for something a bit special.

That was the idea in my head when I awoke this morning (food is not usually very far from the front of my consciousness). So I decided on a simple case in point.

One of my workmates is off sick, which meant that today I am covering his graveyard shift. So having the majority of the day to myself, I showered and made myself presentable (just) and headed out. My quest was to buy myself the ingredients for a nice lunch without bankrupting myself. The criteria was that they must be from independent shops, and locally sourced as well if possible. Could it be done?

Of course it could, this would be a pretty crap blog if it couldn’t. I headed out of the house and my street onto Hyde Park Road, where I knew there were some independent shops, because I had used them (briefly) before.

Within an hour I was back with lunch for two. My wallet was lighter by £2.37. Yes, £2.37. £1.18p each and a penny for charity.

I can hear some people saying “an hour!”. But factor in the fact that I walked on to Mutley Plain (10 mins) to get cash and then spent far more time than I should have in the guitar shop, playing on guitars I cannot afford.

So really, the shop time was about 20 minutes. And this is what I got.

Meat and two veg

What you see is four spuds, a Savoy cabbage and six home-made English pork sausages. Ready to be consumed as a good-old fashioned bangers and mash.


The sausages came from Voisins. This place is a tiny little shop, but great. The sign says poulterer but it sells everything from chicken to port chops, ox tongue and quails eggs.

Not the owner's car

I had the choice of chunky sausages, thinner old-fashioned herby ones or spicy chorizo-style. All were made on the premise. I opted for the thin and herby. Six of the little beauties cost me £1.21, which in my book is a bargain.

Thar she blows

Next it was onto The Four Seasons, a tiny little greengrocers. For £1.16 I came away with a plump cabbage and the potatoes, which were grown in Devon.

But that is not all there is just on this little one street in Plymouth. There is also a nice little bakery, which I barely resisted going into for a restorative pasty.

Here comes the sun

The best part of this was that a) I had good local food for lunch, b) I had got some exercise and c) all of this was within a mile of the house, probably half a mile.

Now I’m lucky, I admit. I live in a nice part of Plymouth, with these shops almost on my doorstep. Other people will not be so lucky. All i would say to them is find out where there are little food shops near you and go to them. You don’t have to go every day or every week, but frequent them when you have a little time (and you will) and treat yourself.

Got kids? Take them with you! Educate them a little about what food is, instead of raising them thinking that a McDonald’s Happy Meal is the creme de la creme of fine dining. I’d rather my money went into a shopkeeper’s pocket than some faceless corporation slowly causing the downfall of Western civilisation.

And deep down, so do you.


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2 Comments on “Eine kleine foodiemusik”

  1. I loved reading this post – partly because they’re my local shops too. Really good to see the photos and I’m relieved to hear that the car doesn’t belong to the butchers! You could also have stopped off for a really nice coffee at Sage the cafe too. I have and it’s worth it!

  2. Totally agree with Ash @inspirationguy…. Hyde Park Road is a great place to find quality local produce.. Sage is well worth a visit, and not just because they serve the best tea in Devonshire..

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