A Surprise Icebreaker

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DSC_0278One of my highlights of the week is my weekly shopping walk on an early Saturday morning. Weather permitting, I grab my over 20 year old wicker shopping basket and a couple of reusable cotton bags, and make my rounds:

First stop often is the Hanwell Fishmonger. They are open every day 8am to 8pm, offer a superb selection at very reasonable prices, and do a great job at gutting and cleaning. This past Saturday, for example, I bought a pair of Red Mullet and half a dozen of Scallops. I pay £11 and tell them that I’ll be back to collect things in about an hour.

The next stop is the West Ealing Farmers’ Market. I often buy cheese and meat here, and of course all kinds of herbs, fruit, veg and the ever-so delicious Isle of Wight tomatoes. This past Saturday, I bought fennel, spring onions and Victoria Plums.

The third stop is Cudi’s Food Store in West Ealing, the 24/7 multi-cultural super market with a great fruit and veg selection at very reasonable prices. This past Saturday, I was looking for prickly pears, but they had non. Instead, I found they had fresh Chanterelle Mushrooms. The real thing, a whole lot of them for just £4.99. Bargain, even if they might faintly glow in the dark.

The forth stop is Waitrose West Ealing, where I buy whatever remains on the list.

I will normally retrace my steps to find something which I forgot, or because I had to change plans slightly and now desperately need cherries or coriander or whatever, and I will finally stop by the Hanwell Fishmonger again and collect my purchase.

I am often approached by people commenting on my wicker basket. Most people carry plastic bags enough to cause a global plastic crisis all by themselves, and somehow envy the wicker basket, but come back in the following week for more plastic bags. Go figure.

Anyway, this past Saturday, I had a new experience: people always look at me and my basket, but this Saturday, they looked inside the basket and commented on the content. I could tell, because I was approached by three different people, commenting on and inquiring about the source of my Chanterelle (also known as Girolle) Mushrooms.

Who would have thought that a punnet of Chanterelles could be such an ice breaker with the otherwise rather reserved West Ealing shoppers? One lady in particular, who turned out to be German (married to an Italian named Mario), was positively excited about the prospect of affordable Chanterelles.

She made my day.


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2 thoughts on “A Surprise Icebreaker

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