I’ve spent a bit of my work time this week discussing the merits of budget beauty products versus expensive ones (I know, I get paid to think deep thoughts about this stuff. Crazy, huh?)
There’s one school of thought that claims expensive products are a complete con – at best, a rip-off, at worst, nothing more than snake oil. Then there are those that see the budget brands as even worse, because they’ll ruin your precious skin.
Personally, I have a foot in both camps – except for when you’re talking about posh scented candles, which have to be the most ridiculous thing ever invented. I mean, why don’t you just burn the money and be done with it?
I think there are parallels with how people view spending on food. Of course, in both cases economics have a lot to do with it, but it’s also a matter of priorities.
|During our holiday I fulfilled a long-held ambition to go to Ottolenghi. The Small Girl and I shared this lunch box, which – along with a small bag of meringues, two exquisite cheese straws and a bottle of water – cost nearly 25 quid (about NZ$55). I nearly died! It was delicious, but crumbs, we couldn’t do that every day. Or even every week. Could you?|
In our household, we spend a lot of our income on food, both because we are in a position to do so and because we choose to. Other people spend money on – well, what do they spend it on? Scented candles? Fancy cars? – we spend it on feeding ourselves and our friends.
I do most of the food shopping, which in a week might include a weekly trip to a cheap supermarket and sometimes a posh one, plus the weekend vegetable market. I prioritise buying good (that is, organic and free range) eggs and meat where I can. I grow most of our salad vegetables, even though I am rubbish at gardening. I still make most of our bread, yoghurt and muesli, partly for financial reasons but mostly because I like doing it. Some weeks I feel like I spend a lot of money, some weeks I don’t.
We don’t eat TV dinners and rarely have takeaways, unless it’s the occasional pizza with our neighbours. It’s not like we are having foie gras and champagne suppers every night – I write this having made crunchy omelets for dinner with eggs donated from a friend’s hens – but I know we are lucky. We are a small family and we don’t have to choose between paying the power bill and eating.
I know people in reasonably straitened circumstances who put a lot of emphasis on eating well, just like I know some well-off people who couldn’t care less what they eat. #Firstworldproblems, you might say. But then, as the storm over Jamie Oliver’s new book has shown, food poverty is everyone’s problem.
What I want to know is, what do you prioritise in your household when it comes to food shopping? Do you spend more on eating out or eating in? Do you angst over organic vs ordinary veges, or do you grow your own? What would you spend more on if money was no object? What would you spend more time making if time was no object?