Friday, 11 June 2010

Shopping Asda from Périgueux

As the Euro's so strong British expats in France are buying food from British supermarkets and getting it delivered:
"It's just so much cheaper for us to buy our food this way. I'm now spending £300 a month at Asda, which is about 70% of my food budget. The food in France is lovely, but you can come out of a supermarket here with just two carrier bags having spent €100. I still try and buy my fresh fruit and veg in France, but most other things I now buy from Asda. I also miss my home comforts, such as white sliced bread, baked beans, jelly and ready meals. I even buy peanut butter and digestive biscuits for a French friend of mine. There's just so much more variety in UK supermarkets."

This woman lives in Périgueux, a place abounding in truffles, foie gras, Roquefort cheese, Bergerac wine, and excellent duck and goose (add a baguette and a tomato and you've got a meal right there). I'd find it infinitely depressing to be living there and shopping at Asda. If I couldn't afford to eat like the French, I think I'd move back home. I mean, what's the point?


zmkc said...

She regards white bread and baked beans as home comforts. Peanut butter and digestives = 'so much more variety'. This person is a lunatic.

Barendina Smedley said...

Oh dear, I'm now missing the breakfast available at youth hostels in the south of France during university holidays in the late 1980s - a few slices of bread, butter, preserves of various sorts, and a good-sized soup bowl (or so it appeared) full of milky yet robust coffee - all of this rendered absolutely elysian even at the time through the sheer perfection of all the various ingredients, yet virtually free.

On the other hand, nothing in your post produces the least desire for an Asda ready-meal. Funny, that.

Brit said...

Asda is the worst of the big three, but it's still pretty damn good these days. Failure to appreciate how good our supermarkets have graudually become over the last 10 years or so - much better than anywhere else - is wilful blindness based on misplaced middle-class snobbery.

I know this is an unfashionable view, but it's true.

Gaw said...

We're suffering from middle class snobbery? Ugh! That's my least favourite kind. Really vulgar.

Anyway, I think our supermarkets are good just as I like the French ones and, of course, their markets and little shops too.

I was actually pointing out how ridiculous it is to move to a country, one of whose chief attractions is its food, only to buy bog-standard foodstuffs at your former home hundreds of miles and a stretch of sea away. If you don't think this would be depressing and feel bizarre, it may be that the taste of the local food isn't as important a part of a foreign experience to you as it is to me.

But I've obviously hit a sensitive spot - you really don't need to be defensive about shopping at Asda. I'm sure there are very good reasons for going there. It's probably convenient to get to and has loads of parking.

Brit said...

Well it's more convenient than the Tuesday morning market in Caen, anyway.

My aim here was general, rather than specific to this post, btw.

Gaw said...

Isn't today's complaint about supermarkets not that the product isn't good (it obviously is, sometimes the best out there) but that they're raping the planet as well as the local town centre. I have more sympathy with this (or at least I do as far as the town centre).

Brit said...

Those are definitely the more relevant complaints, though I don't know how true they are because these things are very difficult to measure. Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys employ an awful lot of people.

Anonymous said...

Its not so much the buying of English food. I don't have a problem with that but do these people ever learn the French language and socialise with the French? As an expat living in France, my experience is, no they don't. We are the only English in our village who do and yes I do miss some English foods but not so much as to take the bother of having it brought in. I found that its cheaper here than in the UK anyway.

Gaw said...

SDM: I struggle to understand the motivation of people who move abroad and don't make an effort to integrate (which surely includes learning the language). It seems to me to be a form of the worst sort of consumerism. And I was a bit suspicious of the pricing comparisons in the linked-to article. Anyway, don't you cut your cloth according and learn clever (and local) ways to make cheap (and local) food delicious?