London is expensive. I knew this long before I decided upon studying and interning in the city. It became even more obvious when I got to the city and looked at the price tag of everyday objects.
What seems to be cheap, correct me if I am wrong, is the price of food.
Being a poor student, the goal is to buy the best quality food for the most affordable price. Organic isn’t a must, but quality and freshness is a definite necessity.
In the last 24 hours I’ve bought food to prepare at Tesco and Sainsburys. The items I bought at the Tesco Express were just to get me started, but consisted of ten slices of prepackaged (unfortunately there was no deli) sandwich meat, two cartons of 100% juice, spaghetti, a loaf of bread, cheddar cheese, salad tomatoes, and apricot jam from France. The bag of food rang in at 13 pounds. If I do a quick calculation of the exchange rate by doubling 13 pounds, my bag of groceries cost $26. Not too bad, and some of those items were on sale.
At the Sainsburys, while I was looking to buy food for a real meal, I bought more and spent less. I bought a small jar of pasta sauce (It seems there are only small jars of tomato sauce, perhaps because one should mix it with real vegetables and tomatoes.), olive oil, mushrooms, dark soy, a head of broccoli, one carrot, one pepper, two bulbs of garlic, ginger, and two onions. The grand total for this bag of food was 9 pounds and 2 pence! Double that and its $18 for a bag of groceries that would have cost more in the United States.
So far so good.
When it came time to cook my stir-fry, however, the stove didn’t work. I turned on all the burners. Nothing. My housemates tried them, and they had no luck. Then I decided to dial the “emergency” number of the people who own the complex. Just as the I dialed the last number and the receiving end began to ring, my housemate ran out of the kitchen saying, “Rosie, I got it!” There, unlike in the U.S., is a switch to turn the stove and oven on. And this switch was hidden behind a container of kitchen utensils. So, with a laugh, I turned on the burner and fried my vegetables.