Since I came to Blogbury, I have to do all my own cooking and shopping, which I don't mind. But I've been learning quite a lot about where you can buy things.
My first choice is the monthly Farmers' Market, but it is very pricey, and if I'm busy on a Saturday morning, then I've missed the market for another month.
My second choice is our really pretty good selection of local shops. We have a good butcher, but have no fishmonger or greengrocer, so I'm compelled to go to supermarkets, and while I'm there, I naturally get my meat too, as to make an additional trip to the butcher would add another half hour to my shopping time.
But supermarkets are not all equal. Some are wonderful, others are, frankly, pants.
So: here's my list of UK supermarkets with my (entirely subjective) judgment. I'm writing them in my personal order of approval. Feel free to use the comment box to add your two-pennorth.
Unquestionably the best supermarket ever:
These only exist in Lancashire, but they are truly wonderful. I discovered them in April this year, where they had tomatoes, grown in Lancashire, which (unique for the UK) tasted like tomatoes. In APRIL! I found a bottle of Chateau Musar (yes, Ch. Musar!) at a reasonable price. The place was clean, attractive. All the vegetables both looked and tasted fantastic. The meat was great; not a huge selection, but all was good. I just wanted to start cooking. And the prices were reasonable. Ulverston was the best branch I visited.
Without any doubt worth moving to Lancashire for.
Marks and Spencer. All good (sometimes really good) stuff, but a very small range, and prices high. Their new branches on motorways seem, so far, disappointing.
Waitrose. Pretty good, and generally reliable. But you always know when you've been shopping there when you see your bill. Their beef is really excellent.
Joint equal with Waitrose; Somerfield. The produce isn't quite as good, but their prices are very reasonable. Their vegetables, bread and meat (each a good test, in my opinion) are more than satisfactory, and though their shops are quite small, they seem to have almost everything I need. Their own brand of whisky, Prince Charlie, and their own cognac are both very respectable and reasonably priced. Good range of wines, too.
Sainsbury's. In the middle. In everything.
Co-op Well, it's cheap and handy, and the things in tins you can't far wrong with. Horrid chickens, bread (except for the local stuff sometimes bought in) and very very poor selection of vegetables. One very useful thing you can get here is a large pack of off-cuts of cooked ham, very cheaply.
Tesco. Well; I object to supporting La Porter for a start. But their shops (near me, anyway) are really pretty unpleasant. The vegetables are horrible; limp, unimaginative. They have city centre places (which are okay), but their out of town establishments are obscenely huge. You can see abandoned trollies everywhere, where people have just given up. The meat is okay, and the bread is quite nice.
Asda (=Walmart) My personal hate. Cheap in every sense of the word. The very poorest choice and quality of vegetables. Okay meat and bread. Their pluses are: cheap and not bad clothes, and an Irish section where you can get (not very nice) barm brack, Kimberley biscuits, Barry's tea and a couple of other national specialities. I don't consider it worth driving out of town for. I hate the lime-green uniforms.
Unknown quantity: Morrison's/Safeways. Others.
As I say; my personal opinion.