24 August 2011

Sell Out? No, Cook Out

As many people will be aware, me and Tesco don't generally get on. Back in the day we did: there's a huge Tesco between the station and home, and we'd often pop in for some basics. Then I had a problem and a 30 minute wait at the till one Bank Holiday morning, a row that ended up with me chasing a manager around the aisles as they tried to dodge my questions. It wasn't Tesco's - or my - proudest moment, to be frank. 

After that, we started walking the other way to our local Waitrose: that's the thing about Finchley, we're spoiled for choice. There's a Sainsburys a few hundred yards past Waitrose, an Aldi in between them (should we ever need to buy a wetsuit, a calculator AND a pint of milk), as well as 20 or so small, independent food places representing pretty much every continent, and it''s all in walking distance.

It was that latter group we were thinking of when we joined the campaign to stop a Tesco Metro moving in to the disused petrol station opposite. It was all a little underhand frankly, with mysterious shell companies, misquoted planning regulations and a bizarre logic that it would only affect the footfall from the big supermarkets. That seemed unlikely and, given that a father and son team from Romania had just spent their life-savings on a convenience store four doors away from the proposed Tesco site, we joined the protest. Not only did "we" win - the first time Tesco had been refused permission in London, apparently - the father and son are still trading AND the site became a Majestic Wine warehouse.

All of  this is a long way of building up to the fact that... I'm taking part in the Tesco BBQ Challenge. Yeah, that's got you spluttering, hasn't it? Nah, I know it hasn't. I'm grateful if anyone reads this, and I very much doubt anyone's hanging on my every word or - Gawd help 'em - is looking to me for advice, moral guidance and life lessons. 




















The thing is... I like barbecue. I like anything that gives me an excuse to build fires (or shove a can up a chicken's bottom). I like a good, old-fashioned, battle of the sexes. And, while I might rant after a pint or three and tilt at corporate windmills, I can appreciate that supermarkets have a part to play in modern life. Also, having judged at the Quality Food Awards for the last five years, I know there are some blooming good supermarket products out there.

Most of all though, with the annual show approaching at our allotment, we needed a new barbecue so, when Tesco came knocking offering a new grill in exchange for a few ideas and recipes, I wasn't going to say no. Cheap? Maybe, but I much prefer to think of it as "practical"

So, in the coming weeks, I shall be researching marinades, testing some recipes, making a LOT of spicy, sticky sauces and, let's face it, eating a lot of sausages. My, that will make a change, won't it?

If you've got any suggestions, ideas or killer recipes, feel free to send 'em across. Or, of course, join the challenge yourself...

5 comments:

Kate@katescakesandbakes said...

Great news on saving the local stores, and all the very very best with the BBQ competition- that can in that chicken is sure to get the judges talking!

Kavey said...

Shall we do a test BBQ?

St Exupery ghost said...

Jasus .wish i could have seen you chasing the man a ger around Tescos mate...what a beautiful image and what a lovely win against global chains killing the small man, yet you're right they do have some good stuff.
Just wondered if you would consider the lovely thai salad som tam thai...or papaya salad with chillies...its addictive and cheekily spicy ...great for a BBQ and a good excuse to drink beer to calm the burn.
You keep writing I'll keep hanging myself on words Sir.

Gizmogirl said...

Oh Mr D. I am the only one to put a dampener on your "sell out" to Tesco? The power of the supermarket should not be underestimated and Tesco are one of the worst. Apart from that... I still love your blog xxx

Neil Davey said...

Gizmogirl

SO far, yes, but trust me I mulled this one over for a long time. All too aware of the power of supermarkets and how they affect the small producer, but I also think that their dominance has probably contributed a great deal to the "underground" that's developing: without a big evil to rail against, lots of small producers may have been overlooked and it's debatable that we wouldn't have had the improved network of farmers markets etc.

But I take your point, and wholeheartedly agree. Quite what we can do to stop 'em though is the big question...