How (not) to spend all your money on food
In London, expensive and luxurious foods are sort of abundant.
Think of Selfridges or Harrods for example… sure, the food halls are a bit naff, but the steak counter at Harrods truly is something else!
Yep, Harrods has some very nice things, you can go crazy on buying tidbits you never need. A favourite stupid buy of mine are cheese crackers, the really English looking ones, with illustrations of food on the packaging and light, crumbly, subty flavoured biscuits inside. Their look appeals to me so much that I always buy a pack simply because I get so convinced and sucked in by the branding.
Harrods and Selfridges may be good but they do not quite have everything.In order to find everything, you have to go to Whole Foods on Kensington High Street in London. An impressively well-stocked organic food market, spread over two floors (the third one doesn’t count). But the vegetable, cheese, meat, fish and pastry counters were simply the best in London, and all in one place. Very convenient! Whole Foods’ downside was the prices. Food is ridiculously expensive there, its so easy to spend your entire week’s wages once you’re inside, it seems like everything you see is something you really really need all of a sudden; Lemon squash, pralines, freshly roast coffee beans, legumes, green heritage tomatoes, fresh horseradish, handmade pies and and and…
Armed with our entire spare income we’d storm said store on the weekends and shop for seafood, steaks, cheeses, wine and everything else in our reach. At first it always feels brilliant to spend all your money on food stuff, but the guilt kicks in when you reach the till. Perishable items, bought only to be digested and disposed of in no time at all.. ah well. The guilt feels a tiny little bit less heavy once you arrive at home and get to unwrap your newly acquired delicacies. Guernsey clotted cream, blood lemons (see picture above), duck eggs, hanger steaks, Swiss Gruyere and plenty more other things you didn’t even need.
It is so easy to buy into gimmicky things on offer. Yellow cherry tomatoes for example. Oh I totally agree, they are nice to look at on a plate, but they don’t taste different to common red ones…
This is not supposed to put you off buying fancy food – of course not. We don’t want that! We’re foodies, and we love fancy food but we like being honest and food trends can be a bit ridiculous, especially when it comes to the price. Don’t you think?
Money can be saved by making friends with your local fruit and veg man. If you happen to live in a bigger city, chances are high that your local fruit and veg guy is of Turkish descent. The quality of locally bought groceries is usually better.
Buying at discounters is another sure way of saving money. But it is a slightly joyless experience. The discounter options in Berlin are enormous, next to Lidl and Aldi, there are Netto and other ones.. Germans love discounters and I guess it is easy to see why. Netto has good, fresh fruit and vegetables on offer, produce is almost always locally sourced and the variety is superb. Right now you can buy plums, chanterelles, loads of different herbs etc. at prices you would never see in London. The meat in discounters however is atrocious. Not to be trusted. Or eaten.
Being frugal isn’t so bad when it comes to food. You can eat extremely well for little money. Homemade food is always cheaper, eating out, be it takeaway or in a restaurant, is rarely really worth it, unless the atmosphere is particularly buzzing or the value or food is truly authentic or fantastic. But still, nothing beats a nice grocery store or farmer’s market with terribly overpriced homemade goodies….