Dishy John Constable

Last Friday, I spent far too long in the supermarket.

My husband came with me; I knew I needed a friend to spur me on. There was no doubt, the shopping was going to be a mission.

I was going to the same supermarket with the same budget; but, I was going to buy groceries from different shelves…organic shelves.

Orientating took forever!


I have been rolling out homemade sauerkraut for some months, have recently bought a bread maker, gaining skills and have been limiting the number of cans and jars I bought. We had stopped using salt in cooking some twenty years prior and recently had even reduced our sugar intake.

Now, It was time to take our eating habits to the next level. Recently, I have been extracting whey from organic yoghurt, as well as fermenting fruits. Raw peanuts sit in the cupboard waiting to be made into peanut butter…and, and, wait for it, last week I bought a scoby.




Soon, my friends, we will be drinking kombucha like old timers.

I didn’t think our diet was that bad; this change was prompted by reading food labels which were full of palm oil, rapeseed oil, soy and fructose too. I got worried.


I was gutted to find much of the meat was corn-fed, contained added water, was packaged in air tight hormone saturated plastic gassed with carbon monoxide before it arrived on the supermarket shelves! And to top it off, I rang the distributor of the sugar we had been buying to find that, it was sugar-beet and not cane sugar. It was totally obvious that this naive trusting colonial from New Zealand was now living in a Globalised UK.

Funny thing was, I had been telling people that food tastes and behaves differently in the UK and the sugar was sweeter. I got funny looks.

Now, you understand why shopping was a mission and I needed a hand to hold. I am on a journey, a steep learning curve.


Later that same Friday, with the little energy we had left after our shopathon, my husband and I went for a medicinal walk to release the stress, and found the perfect tonic in an Oxfam shop. A plate!

I bought a cake-serving plate for 99p. The best part was, it had a Constable print of Dedham Loch on the River Stour.plate

Stress disappeared with the delight of the feelings this slow-paced scene provoked. There is nothing more beautiful than English countryside and a chance to stop and smell the roses.

I have had to slow my life own as I make everything from scratch, meaning I spend a lot longer in the kitchen. I feel that I have stepped back to such a time as this painting captured. A time when food preparation was the rhythm of life, instead of work, school and instant gratification of the Twenty-First Century.


Dedham Mill, was owned and operated by Constable’s father (reminding us that family comes first). Dedham church standing tall in the distance (reminding us that we are Spirit, Soul and Body), canal boat being manoeuvred, cows grazing in the distance – quintessential English country-scape, probably painted by Constable while on a long holiday with his wife Maria in Suffolk in 1817.

close up

Two hundred years later, much of the English country-side stands the same, including the house at Dedham Loch; and as we embrace a more organic lifestyle, I feel I am connecting with our ancestors and the rich heritage they left us.

P.S. dug up my first crop of potatoes today, planted a fig tree and thornless blackberry at the back of our small terraced house. Life is great!

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