What a difference a week and a half makes.

I went to the supermarket a week past Thursday, and everything looked normal. Shelves were stocked and there were lots of customers. I went again last night. This time the place was deserted and the shelves were empty. Panic has set in.

The usual Lidl slogan used to promote special deals suddenly took on a whole other meaning: "When it's gone... it's gone".

It was fascinating seeing some of the products that were left on the shelves. Even when people were faced with a universal deadly pandemic there were some products they just wouldn't buy. 😃

Lidl's own-brand gnocchi (small potato dumplings), I'm looking at you.

Show thread


Are people in the area still more or less able to get enough to survive?

Yes, I think so. I have heard reports from council refuse departments that there has been a huge increase in food products being discarded by households. It would appear people were panic buying, then not using the food products, and throwing them out when the "use by" dates had expired. Even more waste than normal.

It also prevents people on low incomes from buying food. The supermarket I went to was limiting customers to a maximum of four units of any one product.

@fitheach That's pretty bad as in D, except it's toilet paper and noodles.

Noodles I understand. I've never quite understood panic buying loo paper.

@fitheach this is the new cult dish, pasta with toilet paper.
Here is a satirical recipe for it

@crossgolf_rebel @fitheach
Demand for loo paper is so high that @israuor get`s special rights to pass corona gates, as he is building a storage for paper...

@fitheach Was in a supermarket yesterday and was interested to see the supply chain was trying to catch up but is lagging behind. A week ago all the fresh stuff was sold out but there were tins and dried goods. This time there was loads of fresh things but no tins or dried goods (apart from a few things like tinned salmon). Hopefully the stay at home message will mean it all evens out. Luckily some local shops are delivering so got fruit/veg, meat, bread & use a milkman already.

I'm not sure. We might be heading for lean times, in both senses of the word. The distribution system may be able to adapt to changes in demand, but farming, harvesting and production may not. Break a few links in the chain and the whole system fails. Social distancing and self-isolation has only just started. Once the reported death rate increases system failures will increase dramatically.

I'm not trying to be a merchant of doom, just realistic.

@fitheach @Luke I'm trying to be incredibly careful with food, for similar reasons. I'm in a remote area and supermarkets either won't deliver here or there are never any slots available. The local supermarkets are not all that large and panic buying cleared them out quickly.

I was already on a modest diet and now I'm on some approximation of WW2 rations or less.

In the aftermath of this I think I ought to start trying to grow more food myself. Already under a decade of austerity many people in my area grow their own food to some extent to help keep shopping costs down, and I probably should join them.

You would probably need quite a lot of "spare" time for growing your own food. You also have to have some ground available, either re-purposing a garden or getting an allotment. I understand that in most urban areas allotments are almost as hard to come by as city-centre parking places.


Space is not a problem around my way. Know-how and ambition have been the problem.
I plan to do only two small plots at ~3m^2 each and start a proper compost for next year.
They're experimental. If I fail, I fail small and won't be too discouraged.
I did have a decent sized one years ago that came with the house, but I let it go after the marriage and then sold the house.
@bob @Luke

@fitheach they are good... but people know Spaghetti...

I used to make my own gnocchi, in the days before I decided to follow a diet. They were the best. 😃 I also used to make many types of knödel/klöße. Ahh, those were the days...

@fitheach you should stop any diet, just eat what you whant and when...
The trick is to do it slower and stop when you start to feel not hungry anymore.
Saw a documentation of a mixed aged group doing it for 6 weeks and then decided to continue 3 months. They are still doing and most kept weight, some reduced some increased... but all are much happier!

I follow a lowcarb diet for health reasons, not for weight reduction. I try to avoid any foods containing sugar and carbohydrates (both the same). As it happens I also follow an interval fasting regime, partly because it is convenient.

@fitheach if you feel better with those diet, fine. That was also the result of the mentioned group with 'eat what you wish'...
Without punishing, eating what feels good, but start listening to your inner signals.
Result is the same, feeling better.

I actually like meaty, fatty foods, so it works well for me. Interval fasting also works well for me as I prefer to make my own meals, which I fit in around my work schedule.

@fitheach the modern called interval 'fastening' is normal for me most of my life... as I have problems with eating 'early' upront school or later work I always have about 16h pause of eating between dinner and lunch.

I used to be the opposite, meals at regular times. When I first started interval fasting I found it difficult. I felt very hungry at the times when I used to eat my meals. However, I soon adjusted to not having meals at those fixed times. I have now got used to a new routine.

* Longish shelf life for a pasta
* Nutritious and energy dense
* Versatile and easily combined flavour
* Not especially bad for the environment
...why no love for gnocci? :/

I might be doing a disservice to the gnocchi. Perhaps, they had received a fresh shipment just prior to my visit.

Personally, I used to love gnocchi.

@cathal @fitheach
Potato gnocchi really should not be shelf stable!

They were in a chilled cabinet. I didn't check the sell-by dates on the packaging. However, I'm sure there are preservatives available to extend the shelf life considerably (yuck).


That's a good sign at least. I think if you pasteurise the eggs, plus boiled potatoes , you should have something that could last a week in the cold case. No idea what they really do though.

But now I'm curious about Lidl gnocchi. They're the sort of things South Germans take seriously (Nudeln! Knödel!) so they might actually be ok. I should remind myself in 6 weeks...

@fitheach @cathal That's how long our quarantine is expected to last. Whatever things I need to buy between now and then would be at our local corner store or the big Leclerc, not Lidl.

And honestly, except for flour and toilet paper, we're probably fine for a month. I like to cook and I don't like to shop, so we always have a well stocked cellar and freezer.

@tfb @fitheach Dehydrate and vacuum seal and I figure it's fine? Probably a wee bit of salt too?

@tfb @fitheach They're basically just shaped starch with a bit more of the source spud left in, I figure

Ideally, mostly potato. That gives them the best taste and consistency. Too much wheat/semolina/whatever flour makes them gooey and tasteless. Just enough flour to bind the gnocchi.


It's not the wheat itself that makes them sticky, it's overworking the potato. Which is usually compensated for with more flour. It's possible to make them almost 1/2 fresh pasta 1/2 potato and still be tasty, it's a question of technique.

Overworking the potato and releasing more starch is a problem, and, as you say, people compensate by adding more flour. However, most flours, wheat in particular, don't taste of anything much. Too much flour and you lose the potatoey taste. Also, as flour is usually very fine you lose in texture in the gnocchi if you add too much. I like the texture from lightly crushed potatoes. I found that a potato ricer was the best tool, rather than a traditional British masher. 😉


I think we basically agree, except that very good not too white freshly ground wheat flour can be tasty. In any case, yes, ideally potato gnocchi taste like potatoes and have potato texture. Plus egg.

@cathal @fitheach
They *should* be potato, egg, and flour. Two of those three don't dehydrate gracefully, so count be skeptical.

@fitheach Wow! That was empty.... over here the only thing seems to be oat and toilet paper... everything else is still available.

I've not done a tour of the other local supermarkets, but friends and colleagues tell me it is the same everywhere.

@fitheach I take it you only go to the supermarket about once a week from other postings; I guess that means you already do a lot of planning/stocking - that's something I never really have to do, and that's true of a lot of other people like me who can easily walk to 4-5 different supermarkets and lots of small shops.

The supermarkets are a 30 mile round trip, for me. I usually only go once per fortnight. However, I had heard so many stories from friends/colleagues about shortages, that I decided to go a few days early. I was also motivated by the need to re-fuel the car.

I still managed to find enough things from which I could make meals. I used to be a chef, so I can be quite adaptable.

@fitheach My point is you have a different way of thinking; for me I'm used to being able to just walk down to the supermarket if I'm out or nearly out; I rarely have to worry about planning ahead and never worry about it.

Yes, I know. When I used to live in Edinburgh I did the same. My favourite local supermarket was on the way back to my flat. I could just pop in when I was passing. The supermarket became an extension to my 'fridge/food cupboard.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

The social network of the future: No ads, no corporate surveillance, ethical design, and decentralization! Own your data with Mastodon!