Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday is a Turophile

I don't have a problem when it comes to shopping, for the most part. Mostly, I don't buy things from shops at all. Books are far too overpriced at most stores - Barnes and Nobles, or Chapters as it is now that I live in Canada, is particularly bad. They'll charge you $30 for a hardcover book the size of Twilight or so. You can get that for $10 less on Amazon. Same with games and movies and the sort. It's all much cheaper online, with a selection far broader. I don't need to hold a book to know I want it, a synopsis, a few pages of an excerpt, that's enough for me.

I don't particularly care for clothes shopping. Oh, I like clothes, and if I'm in a shop that carries my size (that is, if I'm in Lane Bryant), I will undoubtedly pick out a new bra and a pair of jeans. But I can usually keep myself to the bargain bin if I'm on a budget. This lovely shop downtown has a $5 and under section with some very nice sweaters. I don't feel the need to get anything *expensive* from a clothing store, so I don't feel very obliged to avoid them.

My sin is food, as the quip about my pants size might imply. But, more specifically, it is cheese. On a budget, my grocery shopping is generally limited to bread, cheddar, pasta, sauce, mozza, parmesan, a box of chicken breast, rice, and restocking the herbs, broths, milk, eggs, butter, oil, and root vegetables (the ones that last a while). I can live with about $100/week, which has never been outside of our budget. I get creative with the basics: if we can't afford pizza, I am completely capable of making pizza dough with the flour and water we undoubtedly have.

Cheese, though, that's my Achilles' heel. Can't really do without it. And I don't mean the aforementioned cheddar, mozza, parmesan. That's the basics - I can make eighty meals with those, no harm in it, really. No, my sin is a shop called Benton Brothers. A cheese shop. Local BC blues, Cheddar and Stilton from the places that can claim the name (incidentally, Stilton cannot actually be named 'Stilton' if it was made in the town of Stilton, where it got its name), the finest from Quebec and France. If I am so much as in Vancouver, I cannot avoid the temptation to pick up cheese.

And it is expensive. Don't doubt me when I say that I can spend $100 on a single night's worth of cheese and crackers - and I don't drink wine, my friends, that's just the cheese. 8-Year Cheddar, from Silo, that costs about $10 for a block as thick as your thumb and as wide and tall as your palm. Think about how genuinely little cheese that is. For comparison, you can get some Cracker Barrel cheddar about as thick as two thumbs and about three times as wide for the same price. Bleu d'Auvergne, a sinfully sweet blue from France, can't go without $15 worth of that. There's always the temptation to grab a bit of buffalo mozzarella for a nice proper Italian dish. The Stilton, the finer goat cheeses, my mum-in-law always appreciates us bringing home some Brie; it's hard not to spend a week's pay check at this store.

Hell, we got a cheese platter for our wedding.

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