Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Domestic Trivia

I have List Attention Deficit Disorder
I lose interest as soon as I start.
This is why I am fascinated
by other people's discarded lists
left at the bottom of shopping trolleys.

This is me...
getting distracted after bulgur wheat...
must do better...

This is what I aspire to.
Such order. Such detail.
(Although I don't approve of
cranberry sauce with chicken.)

Another organised shopper
but there is obviously
a severe Salad Cream shortage
which is more critical
than Otto's nappies.

I'm guessing carrot cake...
does 'aftersun' indicate
it will be packed for a picnic?

Note to self:
DON'T FORGET the coffee...

Here's a domestic power struggle
over how to spell 'avocado'

which contrasts with
this free-range spelling...

Do we think this indicates
a history of wild cheese extravagance?

So much to love in this one:
mop! toilet roll! system thing!
ice-cream var. cornetto!
(And how ARE proteins transported?)

This is the purest form of list,
a life stripped to the essentials,
a haiku of domestic need.

I believe that a shopping list
is a window onto the soul of the writer;

Here is organised MissM
shopping for her famous brownies.
Please note choice of imperial/metric.

Here is subversive MasterM
writing out his wish list.


collecting shopping lists
is very addictive
and may harm your image.


This post is dedicated to my friend,
The List Writer
as she starts a new career
with endless opportunities for lists.


  1. Brilliantly inspired fascinating post! It is like the best part of buying a used cook bookand I am thrilled to find recipes and grocery lists from previous owners, only no purchase required.
    ps I think Otto's nappies must be VERY critical if they are sized 4-7yrs, yikes!

  2. Ah, MrsM, this has to be one of my favorite posts. Ever. (how many times have i said that now? lost count)
    Can't believe i now want to go to the market...with a whole new mission.

  3. Brilliant.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have attempted this post.

  4. Well, my Brooklyn Sketchbook Project is on LISTS !

  5. Superb, Alice. Even better than watching what the person in front at the checkout has placed on the belt.

    Although when I lived amongst students, lists were rarely required: beer, Pringles, beer....

  6. Err, slightly worried ...

    My favourite though is the cheese history.

  7. There's a guy called Bill Keaggy who started a blog based on found shopping lists and then wrote a book called 'Milk Eggs Vodka'.

    For a while after I read it I made sure I never left my list behind in the trolley. But it probably would have been more fun to add some spoof items and leave it behind. Preparation H anyone....?

  8. At least these people have remebered to take their lists with them . Mine's always left on the table .
    They sell gravy ? Maybe even in two sorts ... with and without lumps .

  9. Curiosity and a wicked sense of humour. Two vital ingredients for a great post, encapsulated here.

  10. I almost spilt my tea whilst reading this! yes quite worrying, but also fascinating social history, am now intrigued to see if there is a north south divide in list writing, must collect a few! thermals, midge repellant, flat cap, ferret food? pie and peas?

  11. Who would've thought shopping lists could be so interesting - fyi at Chex Bebbs we have a special hook in the kitchen with a bulldog clip handing thereon - in the bulldog clip there is a strip of white card (recycled from the inside of shirt packets or wherever) - the entire Bebbington clan knows that should they use the last of something they must write it on THE LIST and it will be duly purchased on the next trip to the supermarket - after all however would their father or I know if there is a critical shortage of tomato ketchup which neither of us eat. It always comes as a bit of a shock to me when visiting friends to find that other people do not have such a hook

  12. Just brilliant Alice.

    I hadn't realised how much I miss writing a shopping list since I started having my groceries delivered. Ocado have a 'suggested order' function which I sometimes use. It automatically selects things based on what I usually buy. It is rather alarming - milk, eggs, cheese, apples, wine, beer, gin, vodka, chocolate....

  13. I am still trying to work out why the man in front of me at the till should need 12 iceberg lettuces and 12 bottles of gin! I can't iagine what the recipe was!

  14. A veritable museum of lists, poor little Otto, he will get there, boys are so slow and he probably only needs them at night for accidents. My shopping lists are very haphazard, it follows!

  15. Liz in Missouri (USA)August 29, 2012

    Ah, yes. The list. I sometimes find myself looking for the least interested checker when I go to the market to be sure that they are not paying attention to my (many times) odd assortment of items. At my house we sometimes have "maintenance shopping" where all the little odd things finally get remembered and the list can be quite daunting. Olives and toilet bowl cleaner, dental floss and chopped walnuts, vitamins and chocolate and soda and shampoo. Why is it that we always seem to combine health related items with the worst junk food imaginable? Funny! Food for thought at the market.

  16. Brilliant - who would think that reading other people's shopping lists could be so interesting. I often write lists and then leave them at home .... !

  17. One-oh-fourAugust 29, 2012

    Genius post!

    Although I should admit that items on our list are often written phonetically or in baby-speak i.e. the names our kids called things by when they couldn't quite pronounce things. Bersketti (spaghetti), nee-nuts (peanuts), arse-pips (parsnips), splish splosh tablets (dishwasher)....I usually lose it half way round the supermarket and have to guess the rest.

  18. Dearest Alice, this post, apart from being an absolute joy, made me relearn the mechanism for nuclear pore translocation. It is suddenly 1991.

    I went to the shop and I bought:

    A protein
    A nuclear localisation signal
    An importin
    Ran (a GTPase)
    and GTP to fuel the whole shebang


    You are not alone and the condition is more serious in others!


    PS they are fascinating

  20. Ah! I love those lists. I don't understand lists. I write them, and then ignore them, and even when I try really hard not to, I always, always, always, forget something.

    I suppose that rules me out of any possible future as a Santa Claus.

  21. I think the 'cheese..£5' indicates that it is a man shopping and there was a conversation :'Cheese? 'how much shall I get..oh I don't know..about £5 worth'. I'm so glad I'm in good company. My husband thinks its odd to read other lists. I pick them up from the car park to read them. I am also fascinated comparing trolleys at the checkout. Its 100 points if you don't have any items the same as the one in front of you.

  22. Brilliant, love lists but never thought to keep them. Wouldn't be fascinating to go shopping with someone elses list and to see what you would make for dinner!


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