I try to keep the wonder-filled child out of sight, quietly hidden inside of myself, when I wander the aisles of Sainsburys in these early days. I've been 12 years out of the English-speaking world, 12 years far from home and all that is familiar, including the English-influenced food down in New Zealand.
And that's been fine. I loved so much about Turkey that there was always some thing that would delight and/or surprise me. There was the food that became favourite food ... the Dil Peyniri, (string cheese) was divine. I loved every kind of Börek, and İskender kebap was pretty much my idea of heaven. I loved most of the food I found there.
Then fast-forward to Belgium, and the outdoor Saturday Market was my new place of delight and wonderment for a while. The cheeses from France, the crusty breads, the olives, the fresh fruit and vegetables ... the market was that place we always meant to go Every Saturday, not just with guests, as it turned out.
But Sainsburys ... it's kind of like being back home, with foods and ingredients not seen in a long time. I'm making a Carbonara tonight and had to buy bacon ... but which bacon became the big decision. Then I found a garlic crusher, on sale, for 2pounds 50 ... just after giving up, imagining they didn't carry them. I went to buy cheese but ended up with a President Brie, from France. A brand known to me because there were a million other choices ... choices that read divine but I was overwhelmed by it all and played safe. This time.
They stock my new breakfast of choice food - Warburtons thin plain bagels. Lovely with butter and raspberry jam ... or with the President brie, it turns out.
Don't start me on the biscuit and chocolate selections, also so very familiar to me ... and anyway, I'm resisting almost all of them. But they're there, and I seem to slip back in time when I wander that aisle, remembering those early morning cups of tea at Nana's - with shortbread and similar biscuits to those seen on the shelvesin Sainsburys.
The wine guy is a lovely bloke. Half Italian, a quarter English and Irish. He's so passionate about his wines, and knowledgeable, of course. He was helpful when I found myself bewildered by a whole new selection of reds, all completely unknown to me. No old friends to be found on those shelves.
And the people ... they've been lovely. Of course. It's England. So far, so good with the people.
There's a Starbucks on site and, much as I can't stand their coffee generally, the espresso is okay when no other espresso is possible. I'm quite the monster about coffee ...
I had imagined I might give it up over here, without my beloved coffee machine. And while I was at it, I've been thinking about stepping away from the red wine too however ... perhaps a little bit sometimes is more realistic. And kinder.
My CV is written. First draft. I would definitely get me in for an interview. Actually I would hire me too :-)
Today's image is light on a leaf, captured as I made my way to Sainsburys. As I write this, it's overcast and windy now, with light rain. Peri the cat is having a crazy moment and flying around the room in pursuit of invisible creatures ... She makes me smile.
So that's today, so far, in England. And yeah ...I think Sainsburys is kind of fabulous.