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I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time now because it seems that no matter what cookbook you read, website you search or recipe card you follow – recipes will taste differently every time.
Why is that?
Well, it’s pretty easy if you think about it.
Let’s start with an extreme example to get my point across. Sound good?
So, let’s say Betty Sue in Italy is trying a recipe in a famous cookbook that she just purchased. The recipe is quite simple but calls for balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and canned tomatoes. Easy right?
So, Betty Sue goes out to her local market in Italy and purchases an expensive bottle of pure balsamic vinegar, fresh Meyer lemons, expensive Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, organic multi-colored peppercorns and a can of her favorite and expensive can of organic tomatoes.
Then, across the world another woman named Lauren lives in Tennessee and sees the same recipe in the same cookbook and decides to go to her local food store. She purchases a cheap bottle of balsamic vinegar because that’s the only thing the store sells, a bottle of murky lemon juice, table salt, cheap pepper and a can of .99 cent tomatoes.
What do you think happens here?
It’s pretty obvious that the woman in Italy’s recipe would turn out and taste better than the woman in Tennessee, right?
And on a less extreme level you could say that you and I have similar food stores but by purchasing a different brand of balsamic or canned tomatoes or salt would make our recipes taste completely different, as well.
Crazy, isn’t it?
I wanted to bring this up because last week I purchased a beautiful bottle of organic cinnamon and it tasted amazing and I only needed a pinch to create fabulous flavor. But, later that week I was going through my pantry and stumbled upon a cheap brand of cinnamon that I once loved – but it tasted so bland and blah. So, if I used this blah cinnamon in the recipes I’m following – it simply wouldn’t taste as delicious as if I used the organic flavorful cinnamon.
Such an interesting experiment, don’t ya think?
I like to do taste tests of numerous foods to see which ones I like the best. You can try it for yourself, too and you may be surprised which brands taste terrible and which taste great when you go from a spoonful of one to a spoonful of another!
Try setting up a taste test each week for yourself and your family. You can use staples such as salt, pasta, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, peanut butter, beans and breads. Place each brand of the item (such as salt) into small ramekins and mix them up so you have a blind test with the name of the brand on the bottom of the ramekin. Then taste each one and see what you like the best. You’ll be surprised to taste subtle and strong differences amongst the brands you choose.
Could be a fun idea for a salt-tasting party? Don’t ya think?
Invite over your friends and have them taste the different brands – it will create fun conversation and bring back memories of tastes when you were growing up or dining out or traveling to other states and countries.
What do you think? Do you taste a difference in staples that you purchase? Have you ever gone to the store and they didn’t have your favorite brand of peanut butter so you bought another one and were so grossed out that you threw it out? I’d love to hear your stories!
Share your thoughts
Yes! Every peanut butter I grew up with tastes horrible now! Funny how that happens…and thank goodness it happens! I grew up hating brussels sprouts (boiled into oblivion) and now we can’t get enough of them… roasted with almonds, roasted with maple…OMG…trying all kinds of new toppings for them. Now I’ll have to branch out and try some new spices! Never really thought about my cheaper brands and I bet you’re right. Must get some better paprika, cinnamon, and a good garlic salt!! Oh– and to comment on your FB post– GRILLED avocado with sea salt. Lots of sea salt. Love your thoughts!
My favorite part about this post is that “Betty Sue” is Italian 😉
But really – such an important distinction and SO true! Quality of ingredients is key!
Haha; thanks Amelia! xooxo Love you darling!
The quality of the food we buy makes such a difference! I always splurge on high quality organic spices in glass jars, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I have been cooking gluten free for a few years but still think my baked products come out better when I buy a mix rather thn making it completely fom scratch….but. I keep trying!
Absolutely! Quality over price any day!
Its funny. There are some items that I just cannot replace and others that it doesn’t make much difference to me. I am always buying fresh over canned or frozen. My husband has learned to ask which specific brand I want before heading off to the grocery store.
Being that I live alone I might not really notice if my spices, etc started to “go bad” or lose flavour. I’m wondering if anyone has a guideline for how long certain staple items (baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, chilli, onion & garlic powder, are my main go-to’s) should be kept before swapping them out for fresh stuff … any thoughts or suggestions? 🙂
I am very picky on certain brands of food. Canned pumpkin for example. It has to be a specific brand or else the end product doesn’t taste good. Weird….it’s just pumpkin, right? Almond butter is another one. I have throw out jars (expensive ones I might add) just because it tastes different than my usual brand. Same thing….just almonds. But some brands taste weird. BTW, thanks for the giveaway! 🙂
I agree Holly … and it’s too bad that organic & GF item are more expensive .. makes the learning/tasting process tough on the wallet!
Totally agree! When I made the switch over to all organic ingredients, I definitely noticed a richness in flavor that you just don’t get with run of the mill, processed, chain grocery store products. Great post! Also, the breakfast maker!! I didn’t even know a thing like that exists, so you just made my life!
I agree. There is also a huge difference when using fresh, real ingredients. For instance, fresh herbs and lemon juice from a lemon tastes so much better than dried herbs and bottled lemon juice!
I love this post so much! I’ve always wondered why my recipes come out different, and then I read this, and now I am more then informed!
I am in complete agreement with this article. Cheaper ingredients most of the time do not work as well. Oven temperatures also vary. And at times sometimes the cook, has an off day. All of these can be contributing factors. Thank you for bringing to light this issue.