The Leither’s “How Do You Shop?” Quiz


Posted by in February's Magazine

The internet truly is a remarkable thing. Thanks to Tim Berners-Lee’s vision, we can talk face-to-face across thousands of miles, pay a virtual visit to almost any spot on Earth – and best of all, we can click a Facebook link and answer three banal lifestyle questions, whereupon an algorithm written by a three-year-old will tell us which Game of Thrones character we are.

Unfortunately, the web budget here at Leither Towers doesn’t quite stretch to employing algorithm-writing toddlers, while plans for a wifi-enabled print edition remain on indefinite hiatus. But we’re not about to let that stop us from pigeonholing the world’s population into a handful of arbitrary categories. So please join us as we strip the “ter” out of “interactivity”, embrace the very latest 1980s survey technology and ask: just what kind of food shopper are you?

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Question 1: After polishing off the last out-of-date cereal bar from the back of the cupboard, you have officially run out of usable food, so it’s time for a Big Shop. How do you approach it?

A: Meticulously plan all your meals for the next week, order the ingredients online, then sit back and relax in the blissful knowledge that a potentially irritating household task has been completed with the minimum of fuss and waste.

B: March to the shops in the unshakeable belief that you’ll remember everything you need when you get there, despite decades of evidence to the contrary. Returning home laden with supplies, you realise you’ve forgotten the milk, eggs, bread, pasta and vegetables. Too weary to contemplate leaving the house again, you improvise a dinner of chicken in beef sauce, washed down with black tea.

C: Make a quick list of essentials so you don’t forget, spend a happy afternoon scouring the shelves for bargains and inventing delicious meals on the hoof, then delight your nearest and dearest with an array of glorious, original and economical dishes.

Question 2: You’re hosting a dinner party and have decided to make your signature dish: Beef Wellington. But the whole beef fillet you require costs a million billion pounds, while sirloin is on special offer for £2.50. What do you do?

A: You won’t be fooled by the apparent bargain: if the recipe stipulates fillet, then fillet it must be. The dinner party is a triumph, tempered only by a vague sense of guilt at having to sell the twins to pay for it.

B: You buy the sirloin. Carefully trimmed and lovingly cooked, the beef is as tender as the finest fillet, and would have been the centrepiece of an unbeatable Wellington, if only you’d remembered to buy pastry. The twins begin to eat each other.

C: You buy the sirloin – and the pastry – and the result is magnificent. Your delighted friends carry you around the room as if you’d scored the winner in the Cup final while the twins sleep soundly in their beds.

Question 3: Who is your ultimate food hero?

A: Delia. There is only Delia.

B: Keith Floyd, if only he’d allowed himself to have a couple of drinks and let his hair down a bit.

C: A cross between Heston Blumenthal, David Dickinson and the Great Soprendo.

How did you do?

Mostly As: Congratulations – you are a true professional among shoppers. Prudent, logical and methodical, you know exactly what you need and the most efficient way to get it. You are also insufferably smug, devoid of joy and spontaneity, and destined to die alone and unloved.

Mostly Bs: Commiserations – you are Tom Wheeler. You see no need to make a single trip to the shops when twelve will do, and are doomed to spend your days repeating the same basic mistakes over and over again. Your staple diet is based on a bizarre, unbalanced hotchpotch of mutually unsuited ingredients, and you’ve just run out of bog roll again.

Mstly Cs: Wow! You are the ultimate creative shopper. You’re organised enough to remember the essentials, but have the imagination to work around problems, pick up bargains and find exciting new flavour combinations. What a pity you don’t actually exist.

Mostly Ds: You clearly haven’t read the questionnaire properly. Go back and start again.

Mostly Es: You’re unlikely to need any food for a while. Your shopping basket contains only chewing gum and bottled water, and you’re currently hugging a stranger in the queue for the self-service checkout while tapping one foot uncontrollably.

So what does all this tell us? About as much as an online Game of Thrones questionnaire, in all honesty – except to say that no amount of forgotten ingredients or ill-conceived meals could convince me to become a forensic menu-planner. Take the improvisation out of shopping and you take it out of cooking as well – which turns that from one of life’s genuine pleasures into a grim recurring task on a par with hoovering. Like anyone else, I’d love to be a C; but failing that, I’d much rather be a B than an A. n

Twitter: @norecipeman

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