Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Which one will discerning palates choose?

Which one will win the Mama Caruso taste test?

I am a generic snob. I usually refuse to buy the low end generic products available in our local grocery stores, I also shy away from the grocery store label if given the option. Lately, my local grocery store has been replacing some of my favorite name brand products with their own label exclusively, forcing me to leave town to purchase my favorite products. Pickles, baked beans and the product that inspired this article, olives have all been replaced by Hy-Vee brand products. Now there may be some products that they can get away with that kind of heavy-handed marketing strategy, but these three food types are deal-breakers for me.

This is not because I am a name snob, but because I am all about cooking for people and providing them with food that they like, and I contend that generic olives are mushy and contain more
broken and smooshed olives in each can. The generic pickles jars tend to have more cucumber butts in them than Vlasic pickles and the baked beans taste more like sorbitol and are thinner than Bushes Baked Beans. If I was to pick one food that I don't want to mess up in a family gathering it is the olives. My nieces, nephews, children and grandchildren all expect me to have good, solid olives available for any and all family events. And they have to hold up to being first put on your fingers...all 10 before being popped into their mouths.

So today we are doing a blind taste test. It is spring break and the judges will be kids who usually eat at my house and who love olives. I have purchased three different brands of olives - the only three brands available at Hy-Vee yesterday. They range in price from $1.39 - $2.19 and they are all the same size. I will post all of the label information after the test is complete. The criteria upon which we will be judging is:

Getting ready for the blind test
1. Taste
2. Percentage of broken and partial olives to whole olives
3. Percentage of olives that hold up to the "smoosh" test (those that can go on a finger and then be eaten "intact"

We may establish other criteria as we proceed, but those are the criteria at the moment.

The three cans of olives have been opened and placed in identical glass bowls and we will begin the test shortly. Which one do you think is going to win? What do you think about generic vs. store name labels vs. name brand labels? Vote below to let us know which one you think will win...

Country Fare - $1.35
HyVee Brand - $1.59
Early California - $2.19

What factors would you like to see the judges consider?


  1. I am a generic snob as well, my husband however often would buy the generic brand when we were first married, he kept telling me there wasn't a difference, I could always "taste" a difference and after reviewing labels I also found that more often than not the generic brand would have a higher sodium level. We are now both generic snobs ;)

    1. I have to agree that especially with black olives you need to get the name brand ones. I looooove them. Definately the biggest test is if they can with hold the finger test. Grandpa and I would always put them on our fingers before we ate them.