Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Name brands and Brand X

In my supermarket life, I've been a sucker for name brands, having grown up in a family with a healthy respect for them. Our ice cream was Breyer's. Peas came from LeSueur. We shunned Brand X. This attitude was born not of affluence but of my parents' post-Depression intent to provide the best that it was within their means to provide.

Even as a frugal graduate student, I avoided Brand X. It never occurred to me to buy something other than, say, Skippy or Smucker's. Now things are different, and our kitchen is filled with store-brand items. But there are at least four name brands I can never forsake: Cheerios, Grape-Nuts, Gulden's, and Heinz.

As to the cereals: store brands don't compare. Oaty O's and their ilk are porous compared to Cheerios. Crunchy Nuggets and company lack Grape-Nuts', well, nuttiness.

And as to the condiments: Gulden's and Heinz are mustard and ketchup. I like Dijon too (store brand, way cheaper than Grey Poupon), but Gulden's is the Platonic ideal.

Reader, what name brands are you unwilling to forsake?

comments: 7

Jason said...

We've gone a similar route, but one name-brand product I cannot leave is Coca-Cola. A cola by any other name just won't do.

j said...

Cain's Mayonnaise. And my husband insists on Smucker's Strawberry Jam.

I absolutely agree with you about Cheerios. But can you really tell the difference between Heinz and Hunt's? Really?

Michael Leddy said...

I'm hoping to get my hands on some Mexican Coke (soda, that is!) at some point. It's made with cane sugar, as in the olden days.

Heinz from Hunt's? I hope so!

Norman said...

I recall reading somewhere that the Heinz ketchup sold in various countries in Europe is formulated slightly differently for each country, and that this explains why the Heinz ketchup sold in Norway is sweeter than the US version (Norwegians are known for having a sweet tooth). Yet all is not lost! Recently the local grocery chain has begun to stock "organic" Heinz ketchup (from Portugal), which is much deeper red in color and not as sweet. I'm sold!

Michael Leddy said...

You've just deconstructed my assertion about the one true ketchup, Norman.

I think we have organic Heinz here too — I'll have to look carefully next time I'm in the store.

Matt Thomas said...

Another vote for both Heinz Ketchup and Coca-Cola. I would also add Campbell's Tomato Soup, Oreo Cookies, Hershey's Chocolate Kisses, Johnson's Baby Powder, Kleenex tissues, and Hellmann's Mayonnaise (Best Foods Mayonnaise on the west coast) to the list.

As for Mexican Coke (i.e., Coca-Cola made with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup), yes, there is a difference. I lived on the stuff when I was in Mexico last summer. Try the nearest Mexican market or Costco, which has been known to carry it.

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for the hunting tips, Matt. I've tried several international groceries without luck. Some online searching suggests that Mexican Coke isn't available here.

I occasionally buy a Boylan's cola — though it's too expensive (for me) for everyday use.