Hunting and Gathering, UK Style


WE ARE LIVING THE DREAM. Almost. We have always wanted to live abroad, and we are as close as we will ever get to living in another country. Close is good. Very good. Five weeks in the UK is working for us.

We are loving the challenge of finding (sorry, I believe I am supposed to say “sourcing” our food). The markets are great fun, only we tend to think of them as the South Carolina State Fair (without a rocket to meet at) and eat our way through them with nothing to show for the trip except for grease stains on our clothes. The last time we went to the Borough Market, we had to stop at the Waitrose on the way home and buy some Shout. Seriously.

Speaking of the Waitrose, the grocery store is great fun, too. For lots of reasons. First up — the trolley. Most people call them carts. In the South, we prefer to call them buggies. Especially when we shop at the Pig. That’s the Piggly Wiggly for those of you from far off. In the UK, a trolley is for groceries; buggies are baby strollers.

Ok, so back to the trolley. Here at our local Waitrose, the wheels go forward, backward, and (brace yourself!) side to side. Honestly, I almost feel like I am getting some serious exercise when I am pushing that wild buggy. Let me tell you, it is downright dangerous when I am pushing, or God forbid, when Logan was pushing. I find that I really must slow down when taking the corners lest my back wheels swing wide and take out a display of cute cupcakes celebrating the Queen’s birthday or Father’s Day or whatever the Holiday du Jour happens to be. Thank God, Summer Solstice has passed. I would be as nervous as a cat if they celebrated the Fourth of July, what with it being late June and all that. As it is, I can relax and steer without fear of destroying London’s holidays. That would be so humiliating!


Now to the food and household items. They call things funny names. Dishwashing detergent is washing-up liquid. It says that on the bottle. I kid you not. Ground meat is mince: beef mince, lamb mince. I do take comfort in knowing that it is produced here in Britain by farmers who share my values. And I love the way they display eggs. For one thing, they are not in the refrigerated section. They are just hanging out next to the sugar and artificial sweeteners at room temperature. DHEC would padlock that place in a heartbeat for such a serious infraction of some egg law. And, above all, I do adore the Waitrose egg carton. It assures me that the eggs are from “British Blacktail hens who display their inquisitive nature whilst freely foraging in open pastures.” Inquisitive no doubt! I can hear them now, “What the heck has happened to all the eggs I’ve been laying? Apologies! Just being inquisitive! It’s in my nature!”



Our biggest problem in the grocery store is the weights and measures. We think pounds and cups. They think kilos and grams. Then, when we get home and feel all sassy and confident (I got this! I can do this!), we stand in front of the oven and freeze trying to figure out how to preheat the Bosch to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in Centigrade-land. Thank goodness for the iPhone. It can convert for you in a split second.

So, anyway, we were checking out the other day and the young lady asked Rick if he had a Waitrose card. I guess that’s like a Bi Lo or Food Lion card. Rick answered her in his classic Southern accent, “Honey, do I sound like somebody who would have a Waitrose card?” She just laughed and said, “No, but I just thought I should ask anyway!”


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  1. Sarah Guida on June 22, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Great grocery shopping stories……Enjoy cooking London style! Where are you off to next?

    • Ruth Anne and Rick on June 23, 2016 at 6:17 am

      We are doing two London Walks today in spite of the rain. Tonight we go for the wine and cheese thing. Having tons of fun. Hope all is well there!

  2. Pam Morgan on June 24, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Have a great time!

  3. Haley on June 25, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    haha Another great post. All the baby items were different too. Another shopper found the diapers I wanted. She said the store sell out super fast. Remember Michael googled the oven manual…. at least I think that’s how we got the oven to work one night!

    • Ruth Anne and Rick on June 25, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Yes, and then Michael taught Rick how to work the oven. I haven’t a clue.

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