S is for Shopping

This post is something I wrote back in 2001, in response to a writing group challenge to write a ‘list poem’ (which this isn’t), the content of which is still just as relevant (though I don’t thing Nestle own Branston any more and I probably wouldn’t be buying chicken these days having been 99.9% vegetarian since about the date this was written).

Shopping

What do we need to buy this week?
Or should that be,
What do we want to buy this week?
Let me just see.

Fruit and veg first:
Bananas
Should they be ripe for eating now,
Or rather green to last the week.
Should I buy Fairtrade,
Or is organic healthier?
Do the fairtraders use pesticides?

Apples
That’s easier –
English ones are in season,
And taste the best too.
Shouldn’t be too many food miles
In a Cox’s pippin.

What else for variety?
Share the culture of our neighbours
And choose rambutan or mango?
Or think of the food miles,
And choose English pears?
Although seedless grapes are
very cheap this week…..

Vegetables now.
Carrots first.
Economy to save money.
Or organic with no need to
peel away the pesticide residue.
Organic taste better too.

Turnips? Leeks?
In season, low food miles,
Not organic though.
Still we can’t get everything right,
I’ll take some of both.

Baby corn?
It’s delicious and
Brightens a stir-fry –
But air-freight from Thailand?
It’s come a long way.
Has tinned food come by sea?
Does it use less fuel that way?

Now I’d better move on:
Coffee – that’s easy!
Fairtrade we all know
is what we should buy.
But I should use decaff.
There’s some that’s organic
but no promise that trading was fair.

Flour for bread needs to be strong.
But white for pleasure,
Or wholemeal for health,
Organic or stoneground or
Even unbleached.

Chill cabinet next
Low fat cheese would be best
For our waistlines, you know,
Though we do like a bit of
Blue Danish as well.

A chicken to roast,
Now let me just see,
Special Offer!
or corn- fed
or free-range – that’s for me!

And Branston to go with
Cold meat or cheese sandwich,
We all like a little –
But what’s this I see –
It’s made by Nestlé
Those poor third world babies
How can I buy this?

Now, is there anything else….
A little treat perhaps.
A bar of chocolate –
Oh good this bar’s fairtrade and organic!
At last an easy choice –
Milk or plain?

This poem has previously been published in ‘Watford Friends Calling’ and on Watford Quakers website

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