Finding Fresh Food In London
Last year I wrote a story called ‘Killing The Cook’, in which an inner city housewife attempts to kill the TV chef Nigella Lawson because she is unable to live up to the cook’s demandingly upmarket lifestyle.
The story was inspired by a real problem. In one of Lawson’s cookbooks she said ‘Get your butcher to spatchcock a chicken’. As a test, a newspaper tried to get supermarket butchers to spatchcock a chicken – not one in six could do it. I live in an area with hardly any butchers and certainly no decent greengrocers. When I say that, it’s not true in global terms; where you live, you may think nothing of going ten miles to a grocery store, but for many Londoners a mile is the upper limit of foraging. I have one small, expensive supermarket and a weekend farmers’ market in the immediate neighbourhood, but a little further on are shops of amazing quality. The problem, then, is one of time.
But supermarkets are narrowly stocked in London. In the grocery dept. you can get sprouts but no sorrel (my favourite vegetable), spinach but no salsify or samphire. Many cuts of meat are notable by their complete absence; mutton, rabbit, game. Many people don’t realise that the city vegetable markets rate their stock numerically for quality, the best going to top restaurants, the worst going to supermarkets.
Now a company called Hubbub has come up with a brilliant idea. Independent city food shops are packed out at the weekends but quiet during the week – so in order to keep them busy during the quiet times, you can now buy their produce collected together on a website within a one-hour delivery slot, here.