Stokes Croft Tesco opens and butter bean salad

It’s hard to be happy about the 41st Tesco opening in Bristol (figure according to Tesco’s store locator).

93% of 500 locals surveyed had said No to Tesco’s in Stokes Croft. After over a year’s campaigning, it was bitter to see Bristol City Council bow to Tesco pressure last December.

Still, we are making the best of it.

On Friday 16 April, Tesco opened in Stokes Croft.

Friendly activists gave a Bristol-style welcome. They put a comfy sofa and lampshade outside on the pavement. Someone played a guitar.

Another strode into Tesco’s with a wad of Monopoly money. When he was not allowed to spend it, he tried to bribe a security guard with it.

A woman passer-by who also objected to Tesco’s monopoly, took up the Monopoly money-action.

On Saturday, a performer (see pic above) invited us in to ‘his’ Tesco, while outside on the pavement, stalls served free food, and promoted Picton Street’s local independent shops, in the street behind the dreaded Tesco.

Picton Street is a marvel, and includes the Bristolian Cafe, Yogasara yoga studio, vintage dress shops, an art gallery, Radford Mill organic farm shop and Licata, the family-owned Italian delicatessen.

Licata often has great bargains in olive oil and tins of beans. I am crazy about beans as they are a wonderful source of health. Licata has many variety of tinned beans, which to me = fast food.

I owe everything I know about beans to vegetarian hero, Rose Elliot. The Bean Book changed my eating habits for life.

The following recipe comes from there. Please consult The Bean Book for measurements, nutritional facts and top inventive recipes using dried beans and pulses.

Here is my sloppy fast-food version.

Gently fry sliced fresh mushrooms in (olive) oil so they are still succulent. Add a tin of drained butter beans and warm with the mushrooms. Add lemon juice squeezed from two lemons and chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or coriander. You can’t have too many fresh herbs so over-estimate. Mix it all in the frying pan, with salt to taste, and serve still warm with brown rice, or cold as a salad.

I used organic ingredients from Better Food organic supermarket, a 20-minute walk away from Tesco’s, and land cress as the fresh herb.

Rose Elliot’s recipe fries fresh cut-up garlic with the mushrooms and adds cumin spice, with coriander as the fresh herb.

PS I met a neighbour on Saturday who said she had to buy something at Tesco’s in Stokes Croft, and I am haunted by her anxious look.

So, just so you know: If it makes life easier to shop there, then do. Life’s too short for guilt and sacrifice.

I am not against people who use Tesco. I am against Tesco.

14 responses to “Stokes Croft Tesco opens and butter bean salad

  1. No matter how much the locals protest as to not having a Tesco in their area, the local Council in their wisdom always end up saying “yes” to Tesco’s demands. In my area, Dartford, we have a Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco Express, and we’ve been protesting to the Council that we do not need another major Tesco in our area, as they’ll kill off the small man and his little shop. Their first application was turned down, they appealed, and we are now waiting to see what happens next.


  2. Despite objections from local residents the council granted an alcohol licence to the proposed new Co-op store on North Street last Thursday. Arguably not as objectionable as Tesco but still representing a threat to local independent retailers, particularly given the close proximity of a Tesco and an Aldi!


  3. Hi Elisabeth. Just got back from a sunny few days cycling in Mallorca and tried your butter bean and mushroom recipe . Thanks it was yummy and saved me having to think too hard about what to russle up for supper.
    Was very sad to see events in Stokes Cross last night however. I hate this sort of violent disorder and feel it sours all the brave, intelegent and passionate protest that good people like yourself put forward before the opening.
    On a happier note I plan to plant a couple of rows of beans tomorrow!!


  4. Pingback: The Bristol Riots (Links roundup) and Twitter – -

  5. Hi John

    I was so delighted to read that the butter bean and mushroom recipe worked and was easy to russle up and yummy. JOY.

    As for Tesco riot…o, I have so much to say on the subject. Pondering muchly how and what to say, ever since you commented!


  6. Say it from the heart as you always do Elisabeth. You have the skill to weave the words to paint the pictures in the thoughts of others.


  7. John

    Thank you. Your last sentence is touching and to treasure (even though a part of me struggles to believe it.).

    I find myself riveted by all the media outpourings: the personal videos, opinions expressed, and spin. I hope for something useful to bubble up. (Not to mention getting work-deadlines met!).

    I certainly have many questions about Thursday.

    Thank you for being such an encourager.



  8. Hi, Elisabeth,
    Hope you’re well… I do stop by from time to time even thought I let my Guild membership lapse. It is a shame nationally that the focus of the Stokes Croft story was not the on-going struggle to retain our neighbourhood shops but the “riot” that ensued. In my home town of Stourport-on-Severn, Tesco is planning to build a large supermarket which because of its location will definately hurt the high street shops….not to mention cause further traffic congestion on our one way system. Even though our small town of 19,000 already has a viable mix of supermarkets (including a metro Tesco) which allows our butchers and greengrocers to exist. Regardless of the local protests, or the scientific pollution report put together by a local which showed that pollution from traffic already exceeded limits…it was still pushed through. Rumours of “greased palms” abound as no one seems to be able to stand against what Tesco wants.


  9. Elisabeth, you were interviewed on television about the so called Stokes Croft ‘riots’. Is there a link to that interview, for your fans to watch?
    I dislike the terms ‘riot’ and ‘mob rule’. It usually indicates actual community activism and possibly entrapment, like the ‘kettling’ that the students endured recently. I have just watched a documentary “Inside Job” which describes the criminal activities of bankers which led to the 2008 recession. Why aren’t these people ‘kettled’?


    • Thank you.

      I too have been struggling with the word “riot”.

      I am currently writing a blog about the events of the last two weeks and wondering how to title it.

      I don’t want to link the protest against Tesco to the word riot, which is a negative word, and defines what happens from the point-of-view of those keeping law and order – rather than from the point-of-view of legitimate resentment bursting out spontaneously and opportunistically from those who without a voice.

      From my (new) experience of actually being in a “riot”, it seems a complex affair, a world away beyond this four-letter word.

      So, I have been asking myself: what is the definition of a riot?

      I like the idea of the irresponsible bankers being kettled.


    • The Points West programme was on iPlayer so it could be played again but only for five days (now expired).

      I gave a lot of context in the interview (a chance one, as I happened to be taking photos last Tuesday of the boarded-up Tesco).

      I talked about the 18-month peaceful campaign against Tesco – the TV team did not know that Tesco achieved its original planning application anonymously (a legal but immoral loophole).

      Sadly, all this context was cut. But at least I helped inform the TV journalists.


  10. i love the fact that you were standing outside Tesco advertising local independent shops – a brilliant strategy, keep it up! And I agree with you about Rose Elliot’s Bean Book – it was one of my first cookbooks and i used it yet again only yesterday!


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