Food(-related) Shopping

Is there already a thread for food shopping?

What did you buy? I/we might learn something new from your food shopping.

I tend to buy things I have no idea how to cook them. Like this thing… sign at the fishmonger’s stall read "curacha". When I got home I looked it up, turned out it’s a species of crab found in various regions in Australia and the Philippines. This one I got came from the Philippines, where it’s called “curacha”, cockroach of the sea.

Spanner crab (Raninia ranina)

Like many other clinically vulnerable Britons, I’m still isolating. And, for those who aren’t, the country is in full lockdown. As such, I’m reliant on supermarket home deliveries and, from time to time, orders for speciality foods. It’s quite a limiting way of shopping. So, this may not be the best of times for me to contribute to this thread.

Apart from the weekly supermarket order, we’ve bought Middle Eastern, French and Italian products online. The selection is limited. I suppose the only really good purchases have been cheese. I’ve been to this cheese shop in London a couple of times and have always been impressed by the quality, so have bought online from them. Good cheese - all farmhouse production in the UK or Ireland.


Also in full lockdown until Feb 9, now evening curfew is in effect. Only supermarkets and open air markets are open these days. So far no shortage of food in the country, it just takes longer to do the shopping and I have to be quick.

I’ve been buying vegs that keep well like cabbages and root vegs. They can be made into several different meals. I have been buying more Speck (smoked pork belly) and tinned fish. The Speck gives me that meaty taste in the food I make without eating a piece of meat.

There has been an obvious decrease in French cheese, I think due to transport/distribution issues. I can order domestic cheeses but I don’t like them.

Now I have to be more creative using what I have on hand. Could be fun, or boring.

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I live in the US (Massachusetts), as you may be aware, and these same items have been among my staples too.

I have a small stock of winter squash, onions, sweet potatoes, potatoes (various), and garlic stored in our unheated basement.

Normally I’d just use this produce in rotation, but this winter I have been into vegetarian curries and chili so that I don’t have to go to the grocery store more often than every 2 weeks. (I’d also have this stuff during a typical year because we pay for a farm share—Community Supported Agriculture—each year. Typically we receive a lot of root veg at the end of the growing season.)

Roasted root veg and sausages are nice from time to time, if/when you do eat some meat.

So coconut milk, chiles, curry powders, lentils and other beans, fresh ginger, jasmine and Arborio rice, canned tomatoes, fresh mushrooms, and fresh cilantro and parsley (from grocery store runs) have been helpful to keep on hand.

I had some smoked tinned tuna, which was nice in pasta and as a kind of pate—want more!

Apples stored in our second fridge have been great for salads (after a brief bath in acidulated water so apple slices don’t turn brown).

Winter (thick) carrots and a few beets without the tops are also in that second fridge.

Though I’m not a fan of the cold-hardy Winterbor kale, we received some from our fall CSA. So I made kale and walnut pesto. Froze that.

I make and freeze focaccia a fair amount. Tried making naan and was miserable at it. Now I’m working up the resolve to try again after taking an online class about Indian flatbreads.

I’m kind of puzzled about the cheese situation where you are because my very un-fancy supermarket here has offered more and better US and imported cheeses since the pandemic. Hope that the cheeses that you enjoy return very, very soon.

And now you know what I’ve been doing this winter. :wink:


I haven’t been in a grocery store this year yet. My husband picks things up for us and an elderly neighbor. I do order food from Amazon, but overall my appetite is poor and I can go for a long time without eating.


You are very well prepared and know how to make the most of what you have got! I don’t have an extra fridge/freezer or “pantry” for extra food storage so I still have to go out to buy some food at least once a week.

Oh, lucky you. Somehow the situation is in reverse for me. And this is a cheese-producing, cheese-eating country. I also notice a little less fish on display at the weekly markets. Some of the fish come from the UK and now that the UK is out it’s most likely the reason we get fewer imported seafood .

Last week we ate beans 3 times but I tried to make each meal a little different.

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Ordered from “my” organic butcher. This is 1 kilo of sweetbreads. The most expensive offal. More expensive and any cut of meat I can buy here. But it’s so rich and expensive I don’t have to eat a lot and often. One purchase a year is enough.

Sweetbreads are expensive because… they only come in a set in each young animal. It’s not a common part of the animal to purchase/eat.

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Naf, stop editing my post(s)!!! I’m fed up!!!

For this thread, I moved your thread to the Culture media general board from Cooking discussion, as it seems to be a general food shopping subject, and not cooking. Most shopping threads belong here, ie Trader Joe. I’m sorry that I’ve hesitated and changed my mind several times as I’m following the answers in the thread. Per your demand, I can move it back.

The UK’s fishing industry was, perhaps, the most vocal in its support for Brexit. And it is currently very vocal that Brexit is now constraining it from exporting. Don’t say we Remainers didnt warn you about getting what you wished for.

There is a paradox in the British attitude to fish. We export most of the seafood that is caught in British waters, or by British trawlers, as it is not much enjoyed by Britons. But, the seafood we do like to eat has to be imported, as it’s not caught here.

I’ve never cooked sweetbreads but I do enjoy them when I see them on a restaurant menu.


I am so sorry about the cheese situation where you are. When I think about the circumstances, it makes no sense to me that supplies of cheese should be disrupted in that way. You are so much nearer to other cheese-producing countries such as France. Then again there’s a lot of stuff that makes no sense to me these days. :disappointed:

What we don’t have is a widespread, strong tradition of open-air food markets in our towns. Hitting they market day is one of my very favorite things to do when we’ve travelled in Europe.

In recent years weekly farmer’s markets started to pop up in places that didn’t have them here, though what’s offered would fill less of your shopping list than open-air markets I have experienced in Europe.

Fish is interesting here. I’ve heard reports that Americans are used to eating fish in restaurants rather than cooking it at home. So less fish is getting eaten, I guess.

Because I live in Eastern Massachusetts, I can sign up for something called a fish CSA run by fishing families from Gloucester. It’s possible to get fish fillets from a weekly catch delivered to a cooler with ice at a pickup site! It’s almost always small white-fleshed fish such as haddock so we only sign up for a fish share on and off.

Facebook, of all the unlikely things, has been unexpectedly helpful. Crazy, right?

We use FB to keep in touch with a few friends as well as some local businesses. So I can find out when the farmer down the road has eggs from her hens, or the day when the farm stand in the next town will be open, or even the lunch specials from a small cafe in town (phone orders and contactless pickup). Getting takeout meals sometimes is a way some folks are trying to help independent restaurants stay afloat. Also certain restaurants offer take-and-bake meals such as lasagna to help keep money coming in.

Not to forget: I’m thinking of the inspiration you serve up when you take pictures of your beautiful meals. You help keep my creativity going. My thanks is way overdue!


Wish we had that kind of scheme for fish here. Veg boxes are trendy and there are several businesses you can order from but I hate getting the same vegs often (from what I’ve heard).

For a small country (200 times smaller than the US, pop. 17mil) we are second biggest producer/exporter of agricultural products, and our fishery sector is also quite big. But nope, we don’t have a cuisine and have no idea how to cook/enjoy our bounties. We would rather export to countries like France. Money talks.

My favourite of all flatfish is brill. They are usually caught in UK waters. Hard to come by in recent years. Price has also doubled when I see it. Used to be 7,50 euros per kilo, now costs as much as turbot.

Turbot and sole wild stock is dwindling so most of them being sold is really farm-raised and indoors. Several countries such as NL, DE, DK, etc have such farms. Not only fish but also shellfish. Farm-raised turbot and sole have a paler shade of their true colours. This is how you know, besides the price.


Very similar to John @Harters, in that I’m relying on supermarket deliveries. Not a great deal of choice though regarding Asian food so I have to order from a specialist. My delivery came today, though like most of the online places I tried they had no Shaoxing wine.

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I have 4 out of 6 things you received. I recently used dried shrimps and dried shiitake to make chilli crisp in oil.

Already know what you are going to make with these goodies?

I used to eat the dried shrimps as a snack.

I think the best seafood I’ve consistently eaten in restaurants has been in New England. Even better than Spain, IMO.


Quite a compliment to our region, thanks!

One interesting thing is the seafood trade that goes back and forth from here to Europe. For example, Faroe Islands salmon is the nicest farm-raised salmon we get near me (and the only type of farm-raised salmon that I eat because most is unpalatable to me). Quite popular in our nicer restaurants because wild-caught salmon (from Alaska) is of course seasonal.

The best of our line-caught tuna goes to Japan, I’m told, because the catch fetches the best prices there.


And when I visit the UK, I try all the fishes I can’t find in Canada. We have no Dover sole. I tried some other local fish I’d never heard of , on a trip to Cornwall.

I’d say a third of my dinners in the UK have a fish or shellfish main, with local seafood. Your crab is better than what we can source.

The best salmon I can buy in Eastern Canada comes from Scotland or the Faroe Islands. In BC, their local salmon is divine, but it doesn’t travel well , so I buy the stuff from Scotland, Ireland or the Faroe Islands.

My top 5 best fish and chips I’ve had, so far, have been in Budleigh Salterton, Cornwall (town escaping me) , a town near the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland St Johns Nfld and Halifax NS.
Best lobster rolls so far: Boston, Cape Breton, Hyannisport and Montreal.


Our crab can, indeed, be outstanding. Do Canadians use the brown as well as white meat in the crab, as we do in the UK? Or is it only the white meat as seems to be the case in the US.

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And speaking of fish… I used to eat Islandic cod (the real thing is absolutely delicious and costs a pretty penny) then I saw this in the news:

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Mostly white meat, here, in my experience.

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