Stashed somewhere in my kitchen are: two sets of Schott Zwiesel champagne flutes, a Master Chef cook’s knife, a Lodge stoneware rectangular roaster, a Schott Zwiesel hot and cold pitcher, and a Schott Zwiesel four-quart heat-resistant glass ovenware. A recent addition is a set of Le Cordon Bleu pastry forks.
Nothing unusual about them, except that I got all these for free, from Rustan’s Marketplace.
Well, not really for free.
First, I had to collect stickers, which the supermarket gives during their promo period; one sticker for every P300 worth of purchase. Then I had to paste these onto sticker cards. The more I shopped, the more stickers I got—and the more stickers I got, the more freebies I got.
I guess I’m just a sucker for getting these freebies. I think of it as a way of maximizing my shopping money. And collecting is fun, too; almost like a challenge, actually. Seeing the sticker card filled day by day is like working toward a goal, though that goal may be just a kitchen utensil or (at Christmas time) a stuffed toy.
The point is, if one has to buy groceries and other necessities, one may as well make the most of it. And apparently I’m not alone. It seems other shoppers are also out to get whatever they can grab, because whenever I’m in the checkout counter, I see them eagerly asking the cashier for the sticker equivalent of their purchases.
One time, so many customers were redeeming their stickers that Rustan’s nearly ran out of their giveaways. (To its credit, the store ordered more and gave them to the claimants a few weeks later, even though the promo period was already over.)
What makes these promo items so desirable is their quality. Schott Zwiesel glassware, for instance, is made in Germany and is known for its durability and elegant finish.
The Lodge stoneware roaster is oven-safe, microwave-safe and is even suitable for storing food in the freezer.
As for the pastry forks, which are the current promo items in Rustan’s, they’re made of shiny 18/8 stainless steel, and carry the name of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu culinary institute.
Other sets that can be redeemed during the promo period are a Le Cordon Bleu three-piece children’s starter set, a four-piece cutlery set and a two-piece serving set.
While having to collect 70 or 90 stickers for one item may seem like a long shot, it’s attainable, considering that the promo period is several weeks long. Besides if you like to cook, there are many ingredients available in the Rustan’s Marketplace that can turn you into an instant gourmet home cook.
Even more interesting, if you don’t like cooking, the deli counter has a number of ready-to-cook or ready-to-reheat foods. This means less fuss, less mess in the kitchen, and dinner will be ready in no time at all.
Quick deli dinners
Here are a few suggestions for quick and easy dinners that you can buy at the deli counter:
A sushi platter—There are several varieties of sushi trays available, including tamago sushi and unagi sushi.
For a large crowd, you can pick the 30-piece platter, an artful presentation of cucumber sushi, or a mixed platter containing assorted sushi. This is also an ideal contribution to your next potluck party.
At just P750, the 30-piece platter is a steal.
Pasta—Fresh pastas in the deli counter include linguine nero, fettuccine rossa, angel hair and two kinds of ravioli.
If you like freshly made pasta, but have no time or inclination to make your own, these pasta shapes are good choices. You’ll have to cook them in boiling water, though, but since they’re fresh, it takes as little as three minutes to cook the plain pasta and three to seven minutes to cook the filled pasta.
For the sauce, the deli counter also sells ready-to-heat Ragu Bolognese, or
you can buy your choice of bottled pasta sauces in the supermarket.
Quiche and salad—For a light dinner, try the salmon and cheese quiche or the chicken pot pie. Pair it with a tub of macaroni salad or Russian salad.
Tapas—In the mood for something Spanish? The deli counter has choricitos (mini chorizos) from Spain as well as a variety of Spanish hams.
If you’re feeling a little more industrious, try making gazpacho, too, a cold tomato-based Spanish soup that needs no cooking.
With tomatoes currently in season, you’ll find lots of bright red tomatoes in the vegetable section at cheaper than usual prices.