Can you really tell the difference?

As I continue to keep my grocery bill down to something reasonable by couponing and steady meal planning; the age-old question about store-brand vs. name-brand comes up.  There are people that feel like the only way to go is to buy the name-brand products….the store-brand just don’t compare.  There are others that say, no way… the store-brands have changed over the past years and are now just as good if not better than the name brands and you are able to save substantially.

So where do I fall in this debate?  Before I give my answer let me preface by saying that I love to cook and because I love to cook ALL things (The exception will be liver and anything that contains it and brussel sprouts.  I have not acquired a taste for either of these foods..I don’t eat beans either, but I can cook some really good ones.) some of the ingredients that I require mean I have to spend a little more moolah.  I mean honestly folks, the price of butter and eggs alone can be a burden for someone like me that bakes EVERY week.  I use REAL BUTTER, I bought margarine for the Pig Cake recipe I got from The Pioneer Lady site, but I have not touched it since then.  I’m not even going to touch the subject of Cake Flour and Sugar.  Really people why can’t they offer cake flour in bulk?  I’d buy it.  And I’m not talking about pastry flour…cake flour is lighter in density than pastry flour and I want light cakes unless it’s supposed to be dense (ie. a pound cake). 

But I digress…I’m talking about the difference between store-brand and name-brand and where do I stand.  I buy both.  Butter is butter…milk is milk…chicken is chicken…frozen veggies is frozen veggies…pasta is pasta.  A lot of the staples that we consume in our home are store-brand.  Don’t get me wrong I will buy the name brand if it is on sale or I have a coupon for a greater price than the store brand.  Now the all important question is what won’t I buy in the store brand.  I will not buy the fruit snacks, fruit cups, anything fruit related, crackers or cookies that I’m not using to back or cook with (the ones we eat for our enjoyment), microwave popcorn and ice cream.  Why do I not buy these items you ask?  I’ve tried them before and boy are they  not the same.  I remember vividly one time buying store-brand graham cracker sticks for Kristian and Stan saying not to get them because they looked really generic and unappetizing.  I protested no they were the same as Kebbler.  One day my baby was eating one of the store brand graham cracker and it was looking kindof mushy, so I tried it.  It wasn’t Kebbler. 😦  I threw out the box and bought my baby some Kebbler graham crackers and never gave her a store brand again.  Another time…applesauce cups.  You know the Mott’s brand that come in all of the different flavors (strawberry, pear, etc.), well I bought the store brand thinking to save a buck.  Don’t do it folks there is a different in taste.  Through trial and some horrible tasting errors I have learned that all things are not equal. 

So what made me post about this question you may wonder?  Waffle bowls.  In our household we love our ice cream.  Blue Bell is making a nice profit off us right now (Edy’s isn’t doing too bad either).  But we don’t just eat the ice cream…we have to have the waffle bowl to put it in.  This time of year you can’t find a waffle bowl on sale to save your life and I really wanted some The Great Divide (half chocolate half vanilla) ice cream in a waffle bowl.  I bought the store brand because it was $.75 less.  That night I was so excited to have my ice cream…I had to struggle to get it out of the wrapper, but who cares, I was about to indulge in a little taste of heaven.  The ice cream was awesome…Blue Bell never lets me down.  The waffle bowl was not. 😦  Take it from me folks buy the Kebbler bowls.  You really CAN tell the difference.

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