Several years ago I realized that I love European markets! Fresh produce, freshly slaughtered animal (sometimes you can even choose which happy, breathing animal you want slaughtered) - it just doesn't get any better. In Canada, we are victims of the supermarket, and have become alarmingly complacent to accept preservatives, wilted lettuce, and flash frozen chicken. Europe can still pride itself in feshness.
Upon moving into my flat, one of the first tasks that needed to be dealt with was the lack of any food in my fridge. I am happy to say that my apartment is located next to a grocery store, and across the street from another grocery store (ya! throw caution to the wind - forget about the open air markets, I am Americanizing!). Well...let me tell you...I am fascinated by the British grocery store. I could wander for hours in one these establishments - and yes, I have- albeit while receiving rather preplexed looks from the personnel. I had no idea the types of food that could be available in a can! Curries, thai, chinese, beef, chicken, in every flavour and combination. Yes, we do have canned selections at home - but nothing comes close to this. Truly exciting. And the frozen foods - curries, thai, chinese, duck, strange meats...overwhelming. I can still find the traditional American things - like bagged salad (expensive), yogurt (fruit corners), and other less healthy items (thank goodness!). Did I mention that I hate choice? And decisions?
Luckily the majority of my choices are related to costs :)
In Banbury, open air market days are on Thursdays and Sundays. I had previously meandered the market, but actually comitted myself to it today. *Explitive* more choice. Too much *explitive* choice. Stalls lined the square around Castle Quay (the large, overtly Americanized shopping center), each covered by a green and white tarp. Fruits and vegtables overflowed at each of the stalls. I wandered around for some time, unsure where to go, what to buy, where to commit....Finally I went back to the first stall on the corner - how exactly do you pick a proper vegtable stall?
Hmmmm....we buy things by the weight in Canada. Here, you buy them by the bowl full. Not a little bowl - a huge, family sized, enough-food-for-a-year bowl. But cheap! (Did I just say that something in the UK was cheap?!?! Stop the presses!) Needless to say, I have enough vegtables to carry me over until after I leave Banbury (I don't know).
Oh but wait...over there...in the corner...can it be???!!...a cake stand! This is the point at which UK Leanne and Canada Leanne split into two seperate people and argued amongst themselves. Canada Leanne is very concerned about caloric intakes, fat and carbs. UK Leanne is what Canada Leanne was before she wised up.
Ok, the unified me can admit that UK Leanne won. I have been good, and I still excerise daily (I am now diverging into a Catholic-style confession) so I bought a white loaf with chocolate icing in the middle and on the top, with multi-coloured candy decorations. And here's my justification - I have to lesson plan today - that is HARD, HARD work. It is BORING work (at least I'm honest)...I need calories. I need something to drown my sorrows in - and seeing as how Boddingtons and Hoegardaan have no intentions of visiting me today, the chocolate cake will have to suffice. Plus - I have enough vegtables to not have to go back to the market anytime soon - so there will be no risk of having more cake. HA HA HA. OK (that's UK Leanne laughing at Canada Leanne).
As I continue on this journey, without a hope or a plan, every day is posing to be a learning experience. I'm not sure I'm learning so much about the UK as I am about Leanne, but at least I'm learning :-p