February 4, 2010

On Eating and the Local Food Scene

That isn't to say I haven't been eating. Anzi (a little Italian word that nicely sums up "on the contrary"), I've been eating plenty. And it doesn't help that Madrid is like the capital of fried food - with fried calamari sandwiches, patatas bravas and croquetas de baccalo, it is, needless to say, a delicious city.

But I miss cooking my own food. I miss not feeling guilty after a meal. And I miss posting about cooking. Does anyone else miss my cooking posts? I know I haven't really done enough of them for it to be a thing (or for this blog to even remotely be considered a semi-food blog), but I miss taking pictures while cooking, and doing little step-by-step posts, and sharing my yummy culinary discoveries with you guys.

Today I found my local produce guy (I have three in a one block radius)

(a screen shot of my local produce guy from google maps)

and I discovered that buying produce there is insanely cheaper than buying it in a chain supermarket. And I'm not saying kind of cheaper, like one some days you have better deals. I'm saying like 75% cheaper!

In El Corte Ingles

 (Spain's biggest chain store, 
which is a giant mix of supermarket, 
department store, pharmacy, newsstand, and tourist shop)

clementines go for something ridiculous like 4 euro/kg. That's $6/kg, or about $3/lb. That might not sound like a lot to you Whole Foods shoppers, but it is like medieval roadside bandit robbery here in Europe, where cheap produce is one of the pillars of life. At my local produce guy's (a friendly Indian dude despite the fact that he never got off his cell phone once in the entire 20 minutes I was in there, including when he rang up my groceries), the clementines were about 99cents/kg. That's four times less! Just because they weren't paying somebody to put the fruit in the bag for you, which they do at El Corte Ingles - which further goes to show that you Whole Foods shoppers are getting a run for your money, paying $4/lb for sugar snap peas and having to put them in the bags yourself! And at El Corte Ingles they give you a free map of the city - on which, of course, every El Corte Ingles in the city is indicated with a giant green icon, whereas you need a jewelers loupe to find the metro stops - but still, better service than Whole Foods. Plus, if you're browsing through the organic millet aisle and you suddenly realize you ran out of MAC eyeshadow, you can just pop upstairs and buy some, without even leaving the building!

But I digress. This wasn't supposed to be an advertisement for El Corte Ingles. I was talking about how much better and cheaper it is to shop locally. So anyway, while I was at my local produce guy's shop, I picked up some leeks, broccoli, onions, potatoes, and garlic - and clementines, all for 5.18 euros! - and I decided that I was going to make a nice soup.

Not tonight, because I'm tired, and I sort of already ate. But tomorrow. And I promise I'll take some pictures, and post the recipe, and get back into the whole food blogging thing. So stay tuned for some delicious, healthy, perfect for those winter blues vegetable soup.

And stay tuned for my next two posts. We're doing a little blogger hat trick here at The World is My Oyster today, with two more posts coming your way. And I think that's the first time I've ever used a sporting metaphor. You're a witness to history today. :)

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