Swedish Girl In London

London Life: Bright Lights, Big City. Now what's on TV?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bite Me

Science is making impressive progress in our fridge. We now know what happens if you leave a Brie to its own devices for long enough, for example. It's interesting in a yucky way, but I still think I should go to Waitrose tomorrow.

In Strasbourg, I used to go to a super market named Attac. Respect to the French for their issuing this sort of no-nonsense advice to their customers. It did go a long way to prepare me for the predatory behaviour necessary to bring food back to your lair. Yup, to attack, les enfants de la patrie!

But boy, was it worth it!

"Everything looks so much yummier in French supermarkets," my sister used to say when we raided the joint in Marine Squad fashion.

Don’t be fooled by the chic countenance of those tiny, Hermes-scarved French girls. Non monsieur, they know how to manoeuvre a trolley along narrow aisles, and if you ever want to reach the till, you have to be prepared for baguettes at dawn.

Sometimes I miss that jolly old anarchy. Still, it is more restful to shop in London. In my local Waitrose, the food-foraging-experience has been extended to include a juice bar, coffee bar, sushi bar and wine tasting bar. I always feel that you are supposed to glide around the isles, humming Euro lounge tunes as you select your olive oils and low-fat yoghurts.

Once you're about to pay, though, the muzak-induced zen disappears. Instead, the checkout tills are more like pit stops in a Formula One race. A squadron of super-efficient ladies (and the occasional gentleman) scans up your goods faster than the Ferrari team can change Michael Shumacher’s car tyres.


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