Blog archive April 2020

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23.04.20 / 01 / food supply

I had an inkling of what was coming, so I bought extra on a few weekends prior to lockdown. So when the panic buying began, I wasn't immediately inconvenienced, but I was still very concerned.

The behaviour was strange and revealing. Pasta and pasta sauces went immediately (but not pesto). I saw people taking ten cans of tomatoes, but ignoring cans of beans which were once a store cupboard staple - more directly useable, filling and nourishing. Breakfast cereals went, but porridge oats remain. Flour and yeast were stripped by people who thought they would have to make their own bread - frustrating for people like me who actually do make their own bread! Many of those people will discover how effortful and time-consuming it is if you don't have a machine. The likely waste of flour and yeast makes me angry. In fact, there is no shortage of bread in the shops, but now I can't make my own.

The supermarket shelves were stripped bare of all vegetables and fruit - pointless to hoard, unless you can freeze it - while the local greengrocer was untouched, abundant with fresh produce and eggs, as if it were invisible. The greengrocer is my lifeline - always plenty of everything, no supply chain issues and no panic buyers. And the lockdown gives me time to buy fresh food and cook it. It's one of the few permitted excursions.

I was anxious about the lockdown situation, until the kitchen was full from the greengrocer - and then I felt safe and happy, my food supply secured. Not in an austere way, but in a cornucopia way. I hadn't realised food was so important to me. I'm chastened to find that my key motivation is gluttonous.

Amusingly, the local wine and beer shop stays open, even though I'm not sure it's what the government mean by 'essential' shops (food and pharmacy).

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