Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tomato gold dust

This evening I decided to make kedgeree and while most recipes don't seem to call for tomatoes, it is traditional chez nous to make it with tomato chunks. It is the lunch that both my elder brother and I had the day of our weddings, being light and easily digestible, but a good solid meal.

Unfortunately I didn't have any tomatoes as I am trying to buy veggies in season, and tomatoes are anything but in season except in Morocco, and I don't live there. So I decided to pop into a little 'primeur' on the way back home. It is an exquisite little shop with delicious, fresh fruit and veg. I don't normally shop there, however, because the last time I did, it cost me over 30€ for my normal stock of groceries which is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than I would spend in the supermarket, and is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay above what I can afford. Never mind, I thought, a few tomatoes won't break the bank.

Tu parles! (as they say so expressively here in la Terre des Frogs). I bought 5 medium-sized tomatoes on the stalk (à la grappe) and they cost me 3.88€, that's 12.50€ per kilo. That's pretty expensive for tomatoes, especially ones that are going to be unceremoniously chopped up and chucked into a frying pan with smoked haddock and rice. It's almost 1€ per tomato.

Whilst I was reeling at the cost, I noticed that there were some 'prized' green lentils from Le Puy which is supposed to produce the caviar of green lentils. I bought some Canadian ones in Norma for 99cents. The same amount in this little veggie boutique cost 3.80€, but they were from France, from not far up the road. I'm talking lentils here, not smoked salmon or oysters. Lentils, green. Does the social policy of the French government really cost so much that its produce costs 3 times that from 4000 miles away? Does the expression 'ripped off' spring to mind?

I came away from that little shop making a mental note not to bother going in there again until I win the lotto, which is unlikely since I don't play...


  1. Hi Sarah

    I've just done the same thing with the lentils but in the supermarket. Own brand 1 euro something, Puy Lentils (AOC no less) nearly 3 euros - will there be a difference? I don't know. I bought the cheaper ones last time. As for the Nutella, I agree, although I can't eat it. It would also stop bits of bread and brioche being left in the pot. I think perhaps I need to get out more.

  2. Do keep me posted on the Great Lentil Debate. Are AOC ones really better or is it a ruse by French farmers to fleece us 'consommateurs' of our hard-earned cash?

  3. Re: Lentils. At the risk of sounding like a food snob, I really adore the bite and the spicy, nutty taste of the du Puy expensive jobbies and find the own brand cheapies very bland by comparison. I cook them long and slow with no water whatsoever, in canned tomatoes, fried shallots and garlic.

    Ouf ! I feel better now!


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