what choice?

This one’s another rant so I’ll understand if you leave now.

I needed a pork knuckle for a particular recipe and thought I had nothing better to do but pick one out of the chill cabinet at my local (large) Sainsbury’s branch yesterday. Not so – there were none to be had so I went to the butcher counter but the helpful assistant there told me that Sainsbury’s only sell boneless pork. I innocently asked what they did with all the bones then, thinking that they were removed by the butcher in-store and that perhaps I could buy a quantity of same, but she stunned me by saying that all pork is delivered to the stores minus the bones! Does that mean that I can never hope to buy a pork knuckle in Sainsbury’s? I guess so.

I know that there are thousands of people out there who would run a mile from any meat product that was even vaguely recognisable as an animal part, but I am not one of them and I also know that I am not the only woman in Britain who still cooks from scratch, avoids the ‘ping dinner’ aisle of any supermarket like we would a rabid dog, and who just wants to know that I have choice. (Sainsbury’s appear to have stopped stocking extra hot Tabasco too and I’ve given up hoping for brown gluten-free pitta to be re-stocked after it suddenly disappeared off the shelves months ago.)
I mourn the passing of local butcher and fishmonger shops as a result of supermarkets pricing them out of existence and I object to large conglomerates dictating ‘choice’ based on shareholder dividends, profit margins and so-called customer surveys. (I’ve been a supermarket shopper for over forty years but have never been asked to take part in a customer survey and don’t know anyone who has, do you?)

After Sainsbury’s we went to Waitrose’s, a store I have never been annoyed with but when we were queuing for coffee and tea in the cafe area it was apparent that JP had a variety of sticky buns and cakes and sandwiches to choose from but for me, the gluten-free range was limited to just three things – all of which were pre-packed brownie types and chocolate or fruit based. I love chocolate and fruit as much as the next person but I do not like chocolate cakes or chocolate brownies or anything else where the chocolate or chocolate derivitive is baked in and anything with a heavy fruit content sets my blood glucose levels soaring skywards and beyond. I’ve come to terms with the fact that as a coeliac diabetic I have fewer choices in restaurants and cafes but I somewhat grumpily settled for a bag of crisps with my coffee. Later in the day I well and truly saw red when I read an article in the summer edition of the Waitrose Love Life magazine advertising a new gluten-free range of ‘teatime treats’ which were not all laden with chocolate or fruit and which are their own brand. So why weren’t they available in their cafe???????????

Rant over.

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