Wednesday, May 7, 2008

When Not To Cut Corners

Food shopping is full of trade-offs. Take for example the cheaper, generic, supermarket-version of pretty much every item in the store. What makes the name brand of flour any better than the Stop&Shop brand? Why would I spend more money on something that I really know nothing about? I have no idea, but I do.

Aside from the name brand vs. generic dilemma, there are other situations where I decide when not to cut corners. Given that I don't have the money to feed my family of five all the top-of-the line groceries they deserve, there are still two specific instances where I will drop some cash: maple syrup and parmesan cheese.

I always buy 100% pure maple syrup, never the more popular brands like Aunt Jemima. If any of you have ever priced out pure maple syrup in the supermarket, you know that this is not a small sacrifice. It's pricey! Still, it's worth it.

Another place I've learned not to skimp is with parmesan cheese. I always buy a fresh block and keep it wrapped in saran wrap in the fridge. Whenever I want to use it, I grate it. Once you've experienced this, you'll never go back to that funny green cylinder again. It's well worth the price -- and the effort of grating.

What items are worth the extra mile for you?


Dawn Haley Morton said...

Definitely don't cut corners on pickles (see my blog posting from Feb 08 about pickles) or cream cheese. Store-brand cream cheese tastes like a new plastic shower curtain smells. It has this creepy "shallow" taste, like a ghost flavor of what it's supposed to be. I think it picks up more flavor from the foil or plastic it's housed in than the ingredients that make it up.

FLOSSY said...

I agree about the maple syrup. We use pure maple for when my husband is eating with us (he has food allergies) and "pancake topping" (what my maple-syrup-snob-brother-in-law calls it) for when it is just the kids.

They like squeezing syrup out of Mrs. Butterworth's brains.

teabean said...

Olive oil. If you use it like I do for dipping or salads- nothing beats a rich and fruity olive oil! And just a little note about all you maple syrup lovers out there, try Grade B maple syrup. It's harder to find, but it has more maple flavor. SO worth it!

Brian Grossman said...

Lisa - Thanks for the Grade B maple syrup suggestion. I found a few options at Trader Joe's today. Can't wait to try it!