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does anyone still buy instant coffee?? canned vegetables?? condensed soup??

  • m

just wondering what the allure is.

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  1. I will buy canned corn for making soup in the winter.
    I also use canned beans to make my own refried beans.

    7 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      Heh. Well we had a long power outage earlier this summer but luckily I have a gas stove that I can light with a match. I was awful glad to be able to dig out a little sealed container of instant coffee in the morning and boil some water so I wouldn't have to face the world without my cup of coffee. It was crappy but it did the trick. When life is going well it is good to have the best of everything in the way of food and drink that is within budget, but when life gets rough, (power outages, nasty colds and flus and even worse stuff) its good to have some canned veggies, condensed soup and instant coffee in your cupboard. Just in case. And the condensed soups have the added benefit of being foods from my childhood for me, especially comforting when life doesn't play fair.

      1. re: givemecarbs

        We have frequent power outages. Luckily I can always cook because I have a gas cook top. I just have to ignite it with a gas match. I use a French Press so good coffee is not an issue.

        1. re: Candy

          I used to brew with a coffee maker; then, a French Press; now I am happy with my Instant MAXWELL HOUSE original coffee. On testing, it came out #1 of the tested Instant coffees, so I tried it and actually prefer the Instant to others now. I drink one mug a day in the morning. If I have any more later, I do not get any sleep at all, so I don't
          allow myself an after dinner cup of coffee. My coffee is better than STARBUCK'S to MY tastebuds.

          1. re: TallyEddings

            Starbucks - it's called that because the prices are astronomical.

            I love the smell of coffee but hate the taste. I don't know how that can be, but it has been that way all my life.

            1. re: ZenSojourner

              good fresh coffee tastes like nothing else. Try some, if you can ever find someone who roasts their own. Blueberry juice, peanut butter, dark chocolate milk, forest/moss/earth, you name it. My cappuchinos are naturally alcoholic

              1. re: Chowrin

                those poor capuchin friars** are always getting the bad "alcoholic" rap, now aren't they?

                ** yeah, i thought they were monks, too, until i read what is the difference between monks and friars. now you know. just in time for your next cocktail party chit-chat, right? http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the...

        2. re: givemecarbs

          We, too have a gas stove....and an old Pyrex percolator, so we can always have decent coffee if the power is out (a rarity around here).

      2. Instant espresso for tiramisu; Campbell's tomato and chicken noodle soups for whenever we need some...

        1. Instant coffee works really well in small amounts to any recipe with chocolate. Just a teaspoon will enhance the chocolate, so yes I use instant coffee.

          Canned veggies? I actually prefer canned peas to fresh or frozen and canned corn comes in very handy. I also love canned beets.

          Condensed soups I use in a couple of my nostalgic comfort food recipes. And Campbells chicken noodle soup is one of the ingredients in my flu cure!

          1 Reply
          1. re: MrsRosencranz

            Ditto! I enjoy LeSeur canned peas with roast lamb, roasted potatoes, and mint sauce. Canned succotash (small limas) are delicious with most of the water poured off and heated in some bacon grease. I use canned artichokes often and a range of canned ethnic foods, especially sauces. There are, also, some very good canned gourmet soups available

          2. I always have condensed campbell's soup on hand for the days when I am sick and just need soup to sip on....it is a lot easier than making it from scratch or driving all the way to costco for it. Usually when I make soup I freeze some, but I don't like to leave it around for long periods of time.

            Also, I LOVE canned green beans.

            1. No on the instant coffee and canned vegetables (except for beans). A big YES on condensed soup. I always joke that I don't feel safe without a few cans of Campbell's in the house. If nothing else sounds good, I can always eat their chicken noodle or tomato soup. I also like some of the less common ones like scotch broth, minestrone or chicken with wild rice.

              1. My favorite comfort food is grilled cheese and Campbell's condensed tomato soup - always made with milk, not water. And I get my beans in cans.

                2 Replies
                1. re: mojoeater

                  With you all the way. My favorite comfort lunch, too. Lots of pepper and croutons in the soup- though I also like TJ tomato soup.

                  1. re: mojoeater

                    With you all the way up to the grilled cheese. It's more likely to be tuna fish sandwiches, made from tuna in cans, of course.

                  2. Yep!
                    Couldn't live without canned tomato products!
                    Instant coffee great in baked goods.
                    Canned beans have good quality and flavor, makes it very quick and easy to work into recipes. Yes, dry are cheaper and easy to cook - I do use them for soups and such, but canned allows me to not have to plan ahead.
                    Campbell's tomato is my comfort food of choice when feeling sick.
                    Canned pineapple and mandarin oranges are great in the winter for making a dish a little sunnier. Canned pumpkin has so many uses (plain, not pie filling).
                    Canned evaporated low fat milk adds creaminess to recipes without the calories of cream. Sweetened condensed milk & coconut milk are pantry staples.

                    Having lived in areas with weather extremes, canned goods are the basis for emergency living. I always have several weeks supply just in case. The times I've been without power and/or water for a week or more due to floods or storms have made me never want to be without!

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: meatn3

                      Yes those too are good reasons. Did anyone else feel the initial poster was a bit of a snob?

                      1. re: Bookwormgal

                        I take umbrage at the calling of snobbery here on CH. To whatever extent, we're all snobs on this bus - it's why we're here - to be better at something (food). Yes, some attitudes are beyond reason, but reverse snobbery is equally abhorring. The thread certainly has gotten a lot of mileage - this has been an excellent discussion. A little more sensitivity in the OP might have prevented some negative backlash, but the discussion has been lively and continues after 2 years - can't fault that!

                        1. re: applehome

                          You are proud of being called a snob? I think to have an open mind about food is far from snobbery. And, when you take issue with a certain type of food because 'how can anyone eat THAT' it IS snobbery and it's silly.

                          1. re: Bookwormgal

                            Yes, I did. It's a shame that one who doesn't eat anything canned can't at least be nice to those of us who DO like instant coffee and canned soup.

                        2. I still buy canned corn, canned beans and canned (but NOT condensed) soup.

                          I no longer buy instant coffee ... I did once, a long time ago.

                          1. This is so cool to find that there are so many other Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup eaters on Chowhound- I am not alone! My wife has started eating the no fat stuff from Progresso- not me! Give me my Campbells, dammit!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Clarkafella

                              I buy Campbell's CNS a case at a time at Costco. It is my #1 comfort food. If I'm sick, depressed, hungover, cold, whatever. And I ALWAYS make it with milk not water. And I use only half a can of milk so it's full of all that "good" flavor. My husband worries if I don't have at least one can in the pantry :)

                            2. Yes. Instant coffee is good in baked goods and allows a coffee fix when backpacking. Canned tomatoes, olives, capers, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, baby corn, red-in-snow, and probably numerous other things I can't think of provide ingredients where fresh really isn't an option, at least most of the year. Canned clam chowder and tomato and chicken-noodle soups allow my kids to put something hot on the table in under 3 minutes when I'm too sick, tired, or busy to cook or supervise their cooking.

                              What's the allure? What, is that supposed to imply that those who buy these ingredients are somehow inferior? The allure is that it's food that keeps in the pantry indefinitely. Anybody who refuses to use tomatoes out of a can in January isn't just a snob, they must not like tomatoes much, either.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: alanbarnes

                                It's also a great way to survive a hurricane. I keep on hand jars of peas, green beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, campbell's tomato soup and several types of canned heat-and-eat soups for disasters - but the corn, beans and soups always end up being replaced over the year.
                                Sometimes you just need tomato soup with cheeze-its. Or maybe that's just me.

                                1. re: TampaAurora

                                  We've always kept a larder full of some tinned meats (here in Toronto, we can get canned flakes of ham, chicken, and turkey in addition to canned fish; you can use it to make ham or chicken salad fairly quickly; it's not great tasting, but it's OK in a pinch), canned vegetables like corn, peas, green beans, tomatoes, and legumes, and Asian vegetables like bamboo shoots, baby corn, hearts of palm, canned sauces, like pasta sauce, coconut milk, and of course, canned soups, baked beans, and chili. We also keep 4 five gallon jugs of water (they get changed every couple of months; the old ones get poured into toilet tanks or baths). And we have a little propane stove. We're just trying to be prepared in case of a natural (or man-made) disaster. I'll bet there's plenty of people in south Texas right now that wish they had these things.

                                  But in the winter, tinned tomatoes still taste better than the lousy "fresh" tomatoes at the grocery. And as others have written, Campbell's tomato made with milk (and I add some basil) is still a nice warm comfort food. I don't even put it in a bowl; I just drink it from a mug.

                                2. Allure? Do you live in a climate where you can pick corn out of the garden in January?

                                  53 Replies
                                  1. re: mpalmer6c

                                    I don't, but I don't buy canned corn. I much prefer frozen. The only canned vegetables I buy are beans, tomatoes, occasionally chiles, and pumpkin. Don't buy canned soup, condensed or otherwise. Instant espresso powder for cooking, but I've never mixed it up to drink.

                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      Just looked in my cupboard - chickpeas, beans, coconut cream and baked beans. I suspect my fondness for the latter is similar to the outpourings of affection for campbell's here on this discussion. Taste of childhood.

                                      Actually didn't buy a single tin of Italian tomatoes over the winter - we jarred 30 pounds of roasted tomatoes in batches during the summer. Actually is more convenient than tins, since I can use them straight as a sauce, no more cooking required.

                                      But I just don't get the American obsession with canned pumpkin. It makes no sense to me to carve pumpkins for hallowe'en decorations, and make pumpkin pie with canned. Although pumpkin pie tastes like sugar and nutmeg and cinnamon to me, so maybe it's a waste to use the good stuff in it? So not a fan...

                                      I keep instant coffee for when Grandma visits. She won't touch my bialetti-brewed artisan beans. I guess it's generational.

                                      1. re: Gooseberry

                                        I am guilty of canned pumpkin. Its just so darn easy.

                                        as a side note.... i have a cat that is obsessed with pumpkin..... as i discovered when he crawled in the trash can and shoved his head in to the can to lick out the bits...... and when he started biting the halloween pumpkin. Now the can is disposed of with a bit more care.

                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                          I had a cat with a pumpkin fixation as well. He'd also take mandarin orange segments out of your mouth if given the opportunity (my brother discovered this one). Odd.

                                          1. re: kali_MM

                                            We had a cat once who went crazy over cantalope of all things. He could smell you cutting it a mile away, and would come running, meowing for a piece.

                                            On the subject of this thread, I regularly use canned tomatoes (for pasta sauce in the winter), beans (pinto/black beans for a quick side dish or to use in chili, garbanzo beans for hummus), canned green chiles and hearts of palm on occasion, and canned tuna, of course. I rarely buy condensed soups, but sometimes will buy progresso chicken when I've got a cold and don't have any homemade soup in the freezer. I also keep a jar of Nescafe Classico on hand for the rare instances when I run out of coffee.

                                            Edited to add: Herdez salsa casera in the can is also a great product.

                                            1. re: DanaB

                                              dana, my cat too!! she'd even gnaw the rind.....

                                              hearts of palm....lovely. costco has an excellent product for the price.

                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                What is Herdez sasa casera and what do make with it?

                                                1. re: lilmomma

                                                  Salsa casera is a variety of canned/jarred salsa offered by the Herdez label. It is a tomato based salsa with a hint of heat from chiles; it's great on tacos or with chips. To my taste, it's the best prepared salsa out there, including the "fresh" salsas sold in the produce aisle. It's much better than other canned or jarred salsas. It's typically stocked in the Mexican Foods section of the grocery store. I'm assuming it's nationally available, as I've bought it in both California and Wisconsin. Herdez's salsa verde is also quite good.


                                                  1. re: DanaB

                                                    The salsa casera & verde are good to have on hand, but I do not like the chipotle version. Something off with that flavor.

                                                2. re: DanaB

                                                  We also had a cantaloupe loving cat. Red Point Siamese who would also swallow any unattended needles and then have to have them surgically removed. We had sibling rivalry, mostly on his part.

                                                  1. re: DowntownLibrarian

                                                    My long gone Siamese loved corn on the cob, you had to hold it up and spin it around and they'd eat every kernal. Also loved Chinese food, especially the baby corn and broccoli, but I'm sure the sauce helped. My cat now loves the ripe muskmelon you get locally, every year I forget until I bring some into the house and she starts going crazy before I even cut it open. Other cat loves corn husks, not the corn itself. He'll chew on them til he gets sick (which I try not to let happen). We just discoverd our new kitten loves cherries, we left a bowl out and the next morning it looked like a murder scene, red drops everywhere, and unfortuantely no pits in sight. Cats definitely like produce.

                                                    Since I last posted, I'll add canned green chiles, I do buy them fresh occasionally but since I usually throw them in a pot with other stuff, why bother with all the roasting and peeling. And applesauce, Trader Joes Gravenstein is better than anything I've ever made and great to have on hand for quickies. Whole cranberry sauce, ditto, I make a great homemade one for Thanksgiving but the rest of the year it's canned or nothing.

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      Thanks for the tip on the TJ's Gravenstein applesauce, that's an apple we don't get on the east coast and I miss its unique flavor. (I buy TJ's bagged wild arugula because our late most lamented Maine Coon, Milan, used to love eating arugula after it dried out a bit, and I can't bring myself to buy the regular bunches I used to fix for him any more.)

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          It was you who got me to buy it, alkagirl, after a long cat-related arugula dearth chez nous. Thank you!

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            tartlet, i'm so sorry for the loss of your dear kitty. i've been there too often. ;-((.

                                                    2. re: DowntownLibrarian

                                                      I am presently on my second cantaloupe-obsessed cat. It's the only food she'll knock over the garbage can and start rooting around to get, and then make that yowling-growling noise while she eats it.. Apparently this is more common with cats than I realized.

                                                  2. re: kali_MM

                                                    No weirder that a cat I had once who liked blueberries. Most cats would just play with 'em, this cat liked to eat them.

                                                    1. re: BobB

                                                      I had a cat who liked pinto beans.
                                                      also, potato chips...

                                                  3. re: Firegoat

                                                    firegoat and kali, you've gotta see this pumpkin! http://atwestend.com/index.asp?PageAc...

                                                    cute, huh?

                                                  4. re: Gooseberry

                                                    I use canned pumpkin almost weekly in baked good as a way to cut fat while adding moisture. For pumpkin pie I'll start with whole pumpkins, but I am not about to do that weekly.

                                                    1. re: Gooseberry

                                                      As I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie, I don't have canned pumpkin in my pantry. But I have read more than once that canned pumpkins make better pumpkin pies than regular pumpkins.

                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                        I don't think it makes better pumpkin pie, but it make a different pumpkin pie. I use real pumpkin because my mom makes frozen pumpkin pies. Between the two of us, we have our bases covered.

                                                        1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                          This as another side note, I'm told that the plum sauce served in chinese restaurants isn't made from plum at all, but rather canned pumpkin...

                                                          1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                            I've been told the canned stuff makes a smoother pie filling. To be honest, I've never tasted a pie that actually tasted of pumpkin. Which makes me wonder, what's the point? Might as well use potatoes.

                                                            1. re: Gooseberry

                                                              Too bad they don't can "sweet potato pie filling" or at least haven't where I live. I'd totally buy that.

                                                              1. re: Firegoat

                                                                Ask and ye shall receive. :-)

                                                                http://www.amazon.com/Bruces-Sweet-Po... (But you have to buy 12



                                                                Here's the direct site:


                                                                Holy smokes - look at the price directly from Bruce's! Gotta be worth ordering a few cans for your pantry. :-)


                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                  One of my quickest lunches (I work from home) is an orange-fleshed sweet potato, microwaved for a couple of minutes (topping depend on what's in the fridge!).

                                                                  Seriously, the ease of that thing is on a par with opening a can, and since sweet potato flesh is so soft, it would be pretty easy to mush it to a smooth puree with a fork (I imagine you'd have to stick pumpkin in a blender, to get rid of the stringiness).

                                                                  1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                    Gooseberry, my son adores sweet potatoes and, when in high school, ate them for breakfast all one winter. I got up to go to work an hour before he had to get up so I would put a big sweet potato in the oven and turn it on; by the time he got up the sweet potato would be done and he would have it busted open with butter and brown sugar, plus a few glasses of milk. An unusual breakfast but it sent him to school full of hot nourishing food.

                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                      That sounds like a __wonderful__ breakfast!!!

                                                                2. re: Gooseberry

                                                                  When you roast and puree your own pumpkin for the pie it DEFINITELY tastes more of pumpkin. I must admit, I'm a pecan/chocolate-pecan pie girl myself.

                                                                  1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                    well point made for making it yourself, then. the stuff in tins tastes sweet to me, but nothing like a home roasted pumpkin.

                                                                    1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                      "the stuff in tins tastes sweet to me"
                                                                      gooseberry, make sure you're using straight canned pumpkin, and not "pumpkin pie filling."

                                                                      *huge* difference.

                                                                  2. re: Gooseberry

                                                                    it's not just about smoothness, it's also the depth & consistency of flavor...as well as water content & volume of flesh. with fresh pumpkin you can never be sure about all these variables, whereas you know exactly what you're getting in the can, and it's the same every time.

                                                                    unfortunately you don't end up with all those yummy seeds to toast when you use the canned stuff.

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      Yummy and high-protein seeds. A treat for us, essential protein for the Aboriginal people who developed those plant species. The venison etc the guys brought home was always welcome, but the womenfolk of many peoples were providing a secure source of nutrition, including protein...

                                                                      I was very touched by the comments about the fact that tins are important for people of limited means. I don't necessarily find them cheaper than frozen food or even fresh food out of season (depending on where one shops) but they can be bought on sale and kept as supplies for a long time.

                                                                      Some of the tinned food is a lot better now - for example, the Canadian President's Choice house brand (Loblaws and affilates - also available in some US supermarkets, especially near the border) has a line that is salt-free and doesn't seem overcooked. In France, I found that many people had no qualms about serving tinned haricots verts and other veg - and some products were good indeed. Though there are problems that must be resolved about the lining of the tins, in terms of food safety, as Eden foods has done.

                                                                      1. re: lagatta

                                                                        Hi Lagatta. If you're interested in the agricultural methods of Native Americans, I'd recommend looking out for Rosalind Creasy's "Cooking from the Garden" in your local library. She has a chapter on Native food gardens which tell wonderful stories and really evoke the traditions and thought processes behind their food and growing choices.

                                                                        I think tinned legumes (beans, chickpeas) are a really great way to get protein quickly and cheaply (although dried is certainly cheaper, but cooking times/fuels need to be factored in too).

                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        good point, gourmet. Don't remember if it was tinned pumpkin pie filling or plain pumpkin.

                                                                        I hate to be a pain, but isn't cooking with vegetables and fruits all about the variables? Different batches of peaches will require different levels of sweetening for pies, some zucchini is waterier than others. 'it's the same every time' is, for me at least, exactly what I do not want with fruit and veg.

                                                                        And there are so many amazing small pumpkins-squashes in the US, like the acorn and buttercup, which will give better flavour and texture than big pumpkins (which are difficult to handle too) every time. If the orange colour is an issue, I'd suggest butternut, which isthe closest thing to reliable in the pumpkin-squash family in my experience.

                                                                        1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                          "I hate to be a pain, but isn't cooking with vegetables and fruits all about the variables?"
                                                                          you're hardly being a pain :) i don't know what it is about canned pumpkin, but i just always like the results better when i'm baking it into a batter, particularly for a dessert [pie, tart, custard, muffin] that uses the traditional pumpkin pie seasonings/spices. in any other preparation [e.g. a savory dish], i like to use fresh...but for sweet baking, it has to be canned.

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            fair enough. Thanks for the explanation.

                                                                            I'm off to roast that wedge of pumpkin from the market now...

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              I actually prefer the fresh pumpkin - hands down - in any recipe. After blending, I strain it with a mesh colander (lined with cheesecloth if it isn't a fine enough mesh) to take out extra water. I like to have fun with the extra water and boil it down to either use in the recipes or make up a new one (I did pumpkin pudding this year!). The strained pumpkin makes beautiful baked goods (and chili!). My to-be-brother-in-law loved our pie - and he hated pumpkin pie up to that point!

                                                                            2. re: Gooseberry

                                                                              For baking, variable water/sugar content is not a blessing but a burden, sometimes a curse.

                                                                              1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                I read somewhere that most canned 'pumpkin' is actually butternut squash.

                                                                                1. re: Bat Guano

                                                                                  Libby's uses pumpkin, so I wouldn't say "most", at least when it comes to canned. What you have to watch out for is pumpkin pie, that's usually squash. Manufacturers are allowed to substitiute winter squash since it's the same species as pumpkin.

                                                                        2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                          I've read a number of nutritional websites touting the power of canned pumpkin (just google it!)...think about it: they never add HFCS to it (if that bothers you--it bothers ME)..no starches are added, no sodium is added, and it has fiber and vitamins, etc. It's a WONDERFUL item to have on any shelf in my opinion...you can mix it with plain yogurt and add a little honey and cinnamon for a delicious snack. You can make pancakes with canned pumpkin, all kinds of neat things. Though I totally hear what the poster is saying about Halloween and pumpkins...what a waste! Cook up that jack-o-lantern!

                                                                        3. re: Gooseberry

                                                                          Not a big fan of pumpkin, here, but I've been told that the jack-o-lantern pumpkins aren't so good for cooking. They're bred to hold up well as decorations, and so are starchier and less sweet than cooking pumpkins. FWIW...

                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                            Canned pumpkin is a lifesaver around Thanksgiving. I seem to make more pie than I plan on!

                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                              Yu're correct,in many parts of the country the pumpkins used for carving are a different variety than pumpkins used for cooking.

                                                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                Well, it's more convenient for pies. I cook pumpkin for savory dishes when I have the time.

                                                                              2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                I admit, I rarely cook pumpkins myself. Here in South Africa, butternut is considered the king of winter squashes, and I have to say, I have yet to cook one that disappointed me. They store well, and I buy baby ones so they're easy to handle (roasted is best, but the microwave is sometimes a lifesaver).

                                                                                Whereas pumpkins seem to be a bit hit or miss, regarding wateriness, lack of flavour and stringiness. That said, I bought a slice of one of those gorgeous gnarly grey-skinned beauts at the farmer's market this weekend. I'm hoping it will be a winner for dinner tomorrow.

                                                                                While I don't want to get all combatant, I'd say there's something wrong with breeding a highly nutritious food into something tasteless, just so people can let 'em rot on their doorsteps, and then teaching kids that pumpkin comes from a can. I've heard of guerilla groups kidnapping jack o' lanterns during hallowe'en, and using them to make soup for homeless shelters. Sounds like a plan to me...

                                                                                1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                  Anyone else use the flat white pumpkins to make puree for pies and savory dishes? In about a month they will be selling all over NJ.

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    Your comment is 2.5 years old, but yes! I roast 2 long island cheese pumpkins every year, and make pies & pumpkin butter. THen freeze the rest for muffins during the year.

                                                                              3. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                Gooseberry, when I use canned pumpkin, I use it for a few baked goods, like muffins and quickbreads; it's a matter of convenience, like many other canned goods.

                                                                                I don't usually cook fresh pumpkin - though I understand there are some varieties that are especially good for cooking - but I love to use other winter squashes in season, for savory eating. Ironically, I've heard that most canned pumpkin is actually butternut squash.

                                                                                1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                  The large pumpkins that we carve are not pie pumpkins -- they are very stringy and watery. Pie pumpkins are quite small. I've used them to make pie, but really, you can't tell the difference between it and a good canned brand.

                                                                                  1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                    Probably the main reason why people use canned pumpkin is that it's easier than cooking down the carved pumpkin, only to find that your average jack-o-lantern wouldn't produce much pumpkin in the end. But another reason is that for pumpkin pie you would ideally use small sugar pumpkins which aren't the big halloween kind. In a contest between the decorative pumpkins and the can, the can is "the good stuff."

                                                                              4. Instant coffee: I mix coffee and milk with brown sugar before every weight and running workout--six days a week. This is not a substitute for coffee. I grind good beans and make good coffee at other times of the day.

                                                                                Canned vegetables: canned corn; water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and sauerkraut when I'm in the US; sometimes canned cooked garbanzos.

                                                                                Condensed soup: No. I recently noticed some Campbell's soups in the imported section in my supermarket. They were about $6.00 each.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                  Sam, I'd forgotten about that. We spent three months in Rio last year. The markets had 3-4 Campbells soups and they were about US$5 equivalent.

                                                                                2. Obviously--have you visited your local supermarket or even "gourmet" groceries lately?

                                                                                  The allure is that they're convenient, affordable for the most part, and well, they can taste pretty darn good as well!

                                                                                  1. Yep. I always buy canned tomato products, artichoke hearts, garbanzos, water chestnuts, pumpkin, mandarin oranges, occasionally olives, though for most veggies I prefer frozen when fresh aren't available. In the winter there's a chicken dish I like that requires a can of 98%ff cream of chicken. No shame in my game.

                                                                                    For me, the use of these canned products is primarily about convenience. When I'm in a time crunch I can pull out some dry pasta, a can of stewed tomatoes, a can of artichoke hearts, maybe some olives, toss in whatever herbs and garlic are hanging around and dinner is done in 20 minutes. Need a quick snack? Can of garbanzos + garlic + olive oil + whatever spices tickle my fancy + immersion blender = great healthy dip for veggies/pita in 5 minutes.

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                      Well, I was scanning through the replies and formulating mine only to find that I can basically say "ditto" to ArikaDawn's entire answer. The one difference being I'm not a fan of canned olives (although, now that I think on it I'm not certain the olives we get from our local market aren't from a large can that I just don't see).

                                                                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                                                                        I forgot about olives! However, the only canned olives I really love are Graber's ripe green olives. They are to die for!


                                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                                          There are excellent tinned green olives from Spain, stuffed with all manner of things.

                                                                                          1. re: lagatta

                                                                                            Yes, I brought back a can of lemon-stuffed ones from Despana when we were in NYC. I'm saving them for a special occasion. Was going to serve to some houseguests but they sicked out on us.

                                                                                        2. re: ccbweb

                                                                                          Most olives I've seen at the grocery store or bulk come in either large vacum packed plastic pouches, sometimes "cans" that look like a pickle jar but are solid colored plastic and maybe in giant cans (that I'm not sure).

                                                                                          I have seen some restaurants that buy olives in giant glass jars-they display t hem on the counter in a few places here, saw that at a shawarma restaurant!

                                                                                          So, I don't think there are really any "fresh" olives,even though I'd like to try some sometime if possible.....not sure they would be very tasty though.

                                                                                          I don't think there is anything "wrong" with canned food. I know a few people that are millionaires even and they keep some canned items at home- canned beans, dry goods like pasta, jarred tomato sauce (ok not canned but Healthy Choice? brand in the jars...., oh that same well off person they also like Breyers real vanilla ice cream-not the "fancy" stuff usually......

                                                                                          I don't really have anything canned right now,but do have tons of dry mixes for stuff and some jarred items like sauces.

                                                                                          1. re: MiriamOttawa

                                                                                            You may want to scratch fresh olives from your list of things you want to try. They're not just "not very tasty," they're spit-it-out-quick nasty. Bitter, bitter, bitter.

                                                                                        3. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                                          Ditto on the tomato products, artichoke hearts, garbanzos, water chestnuts, pumpkin, mandarin oranges, and olives (much better here!), plus I prefer canned corn in salads. I also keep frozen broccoli and green beans because the produce here is not always reliable. Oh, and instant chicken broth - if you add a spoon or two extra powder you get something remotely resembling stock :-)

                                                                                        4. I use instant coffee in the morning during the week - another poster tipped me off to the Nescafe Classic and it's quite decent. I save the good beans and French press for the weekends. I add half and half to the coffee, which I make quite strong, and it suits me very well when I want my coffee asap.

                                                                                          I used canned tomatoes, since 85% of the year they are better than fresh tomatoes for sauce. Can't think of any other canned vegetables. I do use canned beans.

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                            Nescafe does two slightlty more upscale instant coffees.Both are supreme,
                                                                                            suprema gold label jars.I have not seen them state side in years.I make it a
                                                                                            point to seek them in my travels.The flavor profile is more Latin or French Roast style.Travel lots, HATE almost ALL hotel coffee.Jars of the instant are
                                                                                            a AM saver.Good instant expresso is recipe ready for many things.

                                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                              We use Necafe Clasico for a quick caffeine hit. Much of the time I just don't want to take 15 minutes to grind Chiapas coffee beans and wait for the stuff to brew. Clasico works very well with hot molk to make a cafe con leche, although I don't often drink it that way.

                                                                                              Canned tomatoes are unbeatable for flavor, color and consistency in cooking, especially here (Michoacan, Mexico), where for unknown reasons we can't seem to find decent ripe tomatoes. (Except for the expensive vine tomatoes as sold at Costco.) In fact, until recently, canned tomatoes were scarce, but now I can get Cirio Passata, sometimes Progresso, and more recently, Cidacos Spanish canned tomatoes.

                                                                                            2. Like many of the other contributors to this thread, I always have a few cans of soup on hand. I'm also one of those freaks that likes canned asparagus and colossal black olives. Allure is found in many places.

                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: small h

                                                                                                Canned asparagus - good indeed.
                                                                                                How about salsifs?

                                                                                                I keep a few cans of condensed soup on hand as well for emergency purposes - you know that hangover from hell.

                                                                                                No need for re-constituting (do not add water) - don't heat, just a can-opener and a spoon, then the allure of high-sodium cream of mushroom, or vegetable, or Snows clam chowder...

                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                  Is salsifs a word I should know? or do you mean salsify? I've never seen canned salsify, but then again, I've never looked. Your canned soup hangover cure is gross! I may try it.

                                                                                                  1. re: small h

                                                                                                    Yeah, its salsify, but I assume that in french speaking quebec, its salsif.
                                                                                                    Actually, I've never seen fresh - only the canned version. If you like canned asparagus, you'll most likely enjoy canned salsify

                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                      Do you do anything with it, or do you just eat it cold and plain (which is what I do with canned asparagus)?

                                                                                                      1. re: small h

                                                                                                        I drain the can and plop the pieces on a plate, salt, and eat.

                                                                                                        About 7 years ago, I walked into a nearby deli (cold cuts, cheeses, etc). The owner was east European (don't know from where). He was especially chatty on this evening, turned out he was enjoying a glass of red while watching the store. He offered me a glass which I cheerfully accepted (I had to call in the wife from the car. He gave her a glass of wine as well).
                                                                                                        Soon a man, apparently the deli owner's friend, walked in and it was a party of 4.
                                                                                                        The friend says "You know, the wine is good....but it needs something a bit more for full enjoyment".
                                                                                                        The deli guy slices some meats and empties a can of salsify on a plate. We eat, we tell stories.

                                                                                                        That was my introduction to canned salsify and I bought 4 cans on the spot.

                                                                                                        Oh, after a while Mrs. Deli walks in, looks at us all gives Mr. Deli a glare. She starts yelling at him in perhaps Polish or Hungarian. The three of us had to make a hasty exit!

                                                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                                                          Great story Porker! That sounds like it was a fun time. I am also a fan of canned salsify, had it for the first time this Christmas, and it was very tasty.

                                                                                                          BTW, Jean-Talon Market had fresh salsify this weekend, at the Fermiere Jacques et Diane stall! In case you want to give it a try fresh. I'm thinking of buying a whackload and making oyster soup with it. Salsify is apparently a classic match for oysters.

                                                                                                          Re: other canned goods, I'm in the canned beans tomatoes and water chestnut group. I also adore canned peaches (Eek - I admit it!) and canned mangosteen and mandarines on cottage cheese. Somehow fresh fruit is less appealing with cottage cheese for me. Canned baby corn and bamboo shoots are just too easy to give up as well.

                                                                                                          Edit: Oh dear! Forgot my recent canned obsession - piquillo peppers from Spain! These are so delicious! Wonderful smoky flavour, so bright and sweet. How could I not mention these babies?

                                                                                                          1. re: moh

                                                                                                            I'll have to check out fresh - like I say, never even seen it. I'm assuming it looks like a bark covered asparagus?

                                                                                                            In the can area, I like various squid and octopus stews as well. Also chopped clams - I used to stock up on Snows brand from the states, but Clover Leaf has been selling in Canada for a few years now.

                                                                                                            Last week's episode of No Reservations had Bourdain in Barcelona, Spain. He was in a tapas bar where the owner cans his own seafood. A ten ounce tin was costing 160 Euros! For CLAMS! I couldn't beleive it.

                                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                                              I like canned clams very much for making easy clam sauce for linguine. But 160 Euros seems excessive!

                                                                                                              Re: fresh salsify, they look like hairy woody parsnips. I thought initially they were parsnips, but the vendor set me straight.

                                                                                                              Here is a link to a picture of fresh salsify:


                                                                                                              Wacky looking huh?

                                                                                              2. Other than canned plum tomato or tomato paste, I haven't bought canned veggies in quite some time (if I can't get fresh I use frozen); canned beans are a great timesaver too. I keep some instant coffee around but use it mainly for cooking and baking.
                                                                                                Condensed soups? Of course! Some folks turn their noses up at them, and naturally I prefer home-made...but Campbell's products have always been good in a pinch and I always have a few cans of Tomato around. When I was a kid I loved the Cream of Mushroom.
                                                                                                I also used to like their Pepper Pot and Scotch Broth...not on the level of home made but still comforting...but those specialty soups seem to be getting phased out of their product line (when I do find them, I notice they are imported from Campbell's in Canada)

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                  i ditto Campbells tomato soup with basil, cream of pretty much anything really, the mushroom and garlic one is very nice. and i'm still a sucker for cream of celery.

                                                                                                2. count me in the numbers of barbaric individuals who use canned goods from time to time.

                                                                                                  yes, to canned beans, artichokes, baby corn, regular corn, chipotle in adobo sauce, water chestnuts, tomato products, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, olives, thick cream, and even occasionally mushrooms and full size corn on the cob in a can (throwback from childhood). I even used canned sweet potato chunks in a soup I made not too long ago, and they weren't half bad ! These things are convenient, particularly at times when some things aren't available or in some communities with only meat and potatoes type stores.

                                                                                                  I use instant coffee in baked goods all the time. And sometimes even the cheap-o stuff at that. I purchase instant mexican hot chocolate as well, also iced tea mixes.

                                                                                                  I prefer my own soups to canned, but i do keep a can or two hanging around for a blast from the past (there's something about lumpy cream of celery soup for some reason), or at work for days when i forgot my lunch. I prefer the tetra packed ones for many reasons, but i do like the Campbells fiesta vegetable too. Obviously I would not be able to leave a container of home-made soup in my desk drawer at work.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                    Barbaric? I'm on a budget, I can what I can grow in the summer and fill in what I need at the store. I buy canned beans alot since I don't always get around to soaking beans overnight.

                                                                                                    1. re: MIss G

                                                                                                      I do believe im nomad was being a bit facetious in reply to the OP - just look at the list given. He (the OP) seemed incredulous that anyone would use canned veggies, condensed soups, or instant coffee.

                                                                                                  2. Allure!? holy cow, how do YOU make a quick marinara in the dead of winter? Canned diced tomatoes and canned whole plum tomatoes are critical to the staple cupboard. So are canned black beans, garbanzos, and a few cans of diced green chiles. Instant coffee for baking, and decaf instant for guests who insist on non-coffee coffee.

                                                                                                    1. various types of beans
                                                                                                      green beans
                                                                                                      peas (for one dish i make the canned just seem better)
                                                                                                      a variety of tomato products
                                                                                                      water chestnuts
                                                                                                      green chilies
                                                                                                      and if i don't have at least two or three cans of the much maligned cream of mushroom soup on hand, i have trouble sleeping..hahah... i also like the roasted garlic cream of mushroom soup, makes a great tuna casserole (along with those canned water chestnuts.)

                                                                                                      1. Ok, maybe I"m a minority of one (actually 2 since my wife sides with me on this one) I actually prefer Taster's Choice instant over "real" coffee. We even take it with us on trips.

                                                                                                        As to canned veg, there's always a lot of canned tomato stuff in this house, because I usually make my own spaghetti sauce, creole shrimp, salasa, etc. The dog likes canned green beans with his dinner - or mixed veg. There's also a few cans of mushrooms and water chesnuts for last minute prep. I do keep a few cans of condensed soup around for emergency recipes, but haven't had them as "soup" in a decade.

                                                                                                        oops....just checked the larder and found a can of artichoke hearts in there as well

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                                                          My good friend from Russia dearly loves freeze dried coffee. She dumps about 1/2 cup of it into a small mug and drinks it black. I tried it with her insistance and I choked it down but it wanted to come back up. SO bitter and just....kaaaaaaa!!
                                                                                                          We cry if we can't have our freshly ground coffee every morning. It's not the worst vice to have...

                                                                                                          Anyway- I am a canned bean girl. Always buy a few cans, every shopping trip. They are essential. I also have other canned things and some jarred things and I couldn't make marinara from fresh tomatoes that are available locally- they are all pretty terrible. I get the big-ass cans of Nina from Costco. I love looking at them in my pantry. They cost hardly anything.

                                                                                                          Soup is another story. Only canned Progresso. If I have condensed campbells it's for something specific...

                                                                                                        2. Instant coffee- yes- only to make last minute iced coffee. Read about it somewhere as a trend in Greece- shaken and creamy and sweet with lots of rushed ice.

                                                                                                          Canned soup: Always keep a big can of chicken noodle (generic is fine) for my 17 year old. I use 2/3 the water called for, then after heating scoop out all the noodles with the mesh strainer and top up the big bowl with most of the "broth". His quicky soup when feeling poorly with lots of ground pepper. Also tend to pick up a can of Campbell's Golden Mushroom to make a faux beef stroganoff along with onions, garlic and sour cream.

                                                                                                          Fruit: Try to keep a can of lychee or rambutan in the fridge. The kid actually called me up when he was suffering from a vicious sore throat recently and could not get anything down. He stumbled into the fridge looking for honey (?in the fridge?), popped open the cold rambutan and was apparently in heaven. Tend to also keep a can of cranberry sauce (chunky) for when a sweet relishy craving hits.Only use a spoon or two and pack the rest in small containers for the freezer.

                                                                                                          Canned tomatoes for when 'maters are not so pretty, and canned beans for emergencies

                                                                                                          1. The allure is convenience and practicality. I buy canned tomatoes, olives, beans and soups regularly. There are just some days when you need to throw something together and canned items and some pasta will enable you to make a meal fit for a queen! These items are practical because you don't have to worry about them going bad and in the case of a power outage, you should always have some canned items in the cupboard.

                                                                                                            For instance...I had some canned potatoes in the back of my cupboard that my father had given me months ago. When he gave them to me, I just said "Gee, thanks", while thinking, what am I going to do with these things. Fast forward to yesterday...I recently had surgery and I can't drive, can't lift more than 10 lbs, but I do have a maket that I can walk to. I walked to the market, made my purchases for dinner, corn-crab chowder, and walked (slowly) home. When I got home, I found that I had forgotten the potatoes I wanted for my chowder. I remembered the two cans of potatoes and went searching for them. It took me 10 minutes to find the darned cans, but I did and those potatoes were delish in my chowder.

                                                                                                            I just makes sense to have a well-stocked pantry which includes a good variety of canned items.

                                                                                                            1. U bet I do.

                                                                                                              I don't drink coffee at home, but instant coffee is invaluable for many recipes involving chocolate, even when not specified in the recipe. Regular coffee does not work.

                                                                                                              Canned vegetables are less so, but from time to time they are irreplaceable.

                                                                                                              DItto condensed soups. There are recipes where a bechamel or white sauce is not quite the right thing, but condensed soups are.

                                                                                                              I got over being snobby against them a long time ago.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                canned tuna, salmon, tomatoes, beans, applesauce, pet food, pineapple, soups, stuffed grape leaves, instant decaf -- all very convenient and handy, no guilt.

                                                                                                              2. Others have already spoken to the canned veggies. I always keep instant coffee around, because there's nothing worse than running out of coffee on a day when the stores are closed. Backup, ya heard

                                                                                                                1. I'm a complete snob over canned/condensed soup - gives me the creeps just thinking about it. Buy your own chicken feet and fowls and make your own stock. Buy niboshi or katsuobushi and kezuribushji and konbu for dashi. Keep your roast and smoker bones from beef and pork. It's just a whole different level of flavor. We're not talking about either rocket science or the labors of Hercules - we're talking about simmering things in a pot of water. There's almost always a few jars of stock, sealed in air-tight ball jars in my fridge. Using cream of mushroom instead of taking 5 minutes to make a bechamel? What are we making, green bean casserole? I think I did that once... in fifth grade. I know, I know - someone will immediately write something saying that they bet I can't taste the difference between one of their doctored up campbell's soups and the real goods... wanna bet your house on how chickeny my chicken soup is? Worshipping at the feet of Sandra Lee, are we?

                                                                                                                  For everyday use, my pantry has canned tomatoes, mushrooms, beans (all kinds - garbanzos, kidneys, lots of black beans). Other regular canned stuff includes fukujinzuke, rakyo, water chestnuts, straw mushrooms. I have access to bulk bamboo shoots, (I make my own menma and have sealed jars in fridge) so don't need to buy that in cans any more. Canned tuna, of course, mostly Ventresca. Big cans of chopped clams. And Rotel... can't live without the Rotel. My kid mixes it in with his boxed mac'n cheese, with velveeta for a queso dip. No canned corn or veg - we use frozen. Once corn on the cob is available, we'll always buy and roast extra ears so that we can slice off kernels and store - the roasted caramelized kernels are better in almost any application than just plain corn (few exceptions).

                                                                                                                  I keep a set of emergency food in the RV, which I rotate out periodically. I don't have a shelter, but think that with the generator in the RV, I can get the family somewhere else and stay for a while, if necessary. That set includes canned coffee (not instant, but Folger's - something I'd never drink unless desperate - but we'll never be desperate enough to drink instant - french press will travel), spam and other meats, lots of vegetables (mixed, corn, green beans, etc.), dried beans - and yes - lots of campbell's condensed soups! In an emergency, I'm just not sure I'll have access to chicken feet and fowls. You know, I think there's a can of crispy fried onion rings in there as well...

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                    Ah, but you misunderstand. The issue is that for certain things, it is precisely the difference between bechamel and condensed soup that means only the latter is quite right for the occasion (green bean casserole with bechamel rather than condensed soup on certain occasions is just not as satisfying to many people). Also, the fact that it saves space in the already crammed freezer and frig.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                      Agree. Over the years my sister and I have tried many different recipes for the infamous green bean casserole at holidays. Invariably, the recipes call for some version of a bechamel sauce rather than the condensed soup. And just as invariably the end results isn't as satisfying as the soup-based original.

                                                                                                                  2. instant coffee: very rarely...only if it's in a recipe for a baked good

                                                                                                                    canned veggies: no way, never have, yuck

                                                                                                                    condensed soup: only the "cream of" soups for casseroles

                                                                                                                    1. I love Lesueur canned peas.

                                                                                                                      1. Instant coffee -- nope, don't drink coffee.
                                                                                                                        Canned veggies --- absolutely. Cheap and tasty. Even can my own sometimes. Corn niblets, tomato sauce and tomato paste, frenched green beans, Bush's baked beans. Sure, more in the winter than in summer when my own garden is producing, but I'm certainly not embarrassed by it.
                                                                                                                        Condensed soups -- I'm sure there's some campbell's chicken noodle in the cabinet right now.

                                                                                                                        1. There's no allure to me for instant coffee or condensed soup, that's for sure. But clearly they're not entirely useless.

                                                                                                                          I don't think I've ever bought instant coffee, though, and I haven't bought condensed soup in years. I do occasionally buy already prepared soups, canned or otherwise (sometimes it has been stuff that's kept chilled at the store). But even that has gotten to few and far between as we have started to make more soups at home. (Recently had amazing carrot soup with dill pesto from recipe passed along by our CSA. Makes a big mess in the kitchen but is not difficult.) I might buy such a prepared soup to go with a winter lunch at work or some chicken noodle if I'm not feeling well (which, thankfully, is pretty rare).

                                                                                                                          Now veggies, there are a few that consistently seem to be useful. Well, at least if you count tomatoes and beans as veggies, which I do, whatever they are technically. ;-) For the beans (black, garbanzo, etc.) it's just convenience. For tomatoes, it's convenience plus they can be better than tomatoes trucked in from who knows where in the winter. Right now we can get local tomatoes, but that's only a few months out of the year. There may be a rare occasion for another vegetable canned, but pretty rare. Something like corn or green beans I would buy frozen. I can remember buying or eating them canned back in the day, but I can't really imagine doing that now.

                                                                                                                          1. I use instant expresso powder for baking, canned tomato products for sauces. I'll buy canned corn and green beans in winter when I'm making veggie soup. I usually have a few cans of Progresso soup around, but I prefer Raman (for the noodles) to canned soup with noodles (which tastes mushy to me). I don't *hate* canned or instant stuff, but I don't use it except for very specific purposes, and there are some things I'll never use like instant mashed potatoes for example.

                                                                                                                            1. instant espresso for baking.

                                                                                                                              i try to avoid using canned products from any company other than Eden Organics, because they're the only company that uses BPA-free cans - so i buy their beans. most of what i might buy in cans is available in jars anyway - olives, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, etc.

                                                                                                                              a few exceptions - canned chipotles in adobo; fat free evaporated milk; and of course, San Marzanos, because there really is no substitute!

                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                I don't do sweet baking (I don't eat sugar), so no instant espresso for baking, and if there is a power outage, it takes no more of the little Chinese catering stove's fuel to make a wee pot of espresso than instant. And there is always tea. (Canadians drink far more tea than US Americans, of course).

                                                                                                                                I don't have any friends who eschew caffeine and drink coffee - I have several types of tisanes (herbal "teas") to drink myself and offer to them.

                                                                                                                                Other than that, a bit like goodhealthgourmet - I heartily approve of Eden's foodsafe canning and also the fact that they don't add salt, so you can add the nice glop from beans instead of rinsing them. There are a couple of shops here (see Quebec board) where I can get them fairly cheap. Their tomatoes are actually Canadian - from southwestern Ontario - so they are not too bad in terms of food miles from here - and I think a lot of the beans are processed in nearby Michigan where their headquarters is.

                                                                                                                                If not, I do have some Spanish olives in tins, filled with various things (this is to have a nice treat for unplanned guests), yes a tin of the chiles, perhaps artichokes (I've only seen the jarred ones in oil, which doesn't work for everything. Obviously tomatoes, unless I've had the time to put them up. I'm deeply ashamed not to do that every year, but the tomato season is often a busy work season for freelancers as businesses and institutions gear up for the year.

                                                                                                                                Since our great Ice Storm, I've always kept an emergency pantry, but the main component is tinned fish for protein (for cat and human). Also agree that a bit of boxed wine is an essential emergency supply!

                                                                                                                                Somebody below brought up sauerkraut. My favourite, which I bring back from Europe when working over there, is in pouches - a delicate riesling sauerkraut, but I also have a couple of tins of Mildessa German wine sauerkraut. It is tasty and highly nutritious, and in a pinch can also be eaten without reheating or sautéeing.

                                                                                                                                I don't really like pumpkin - like the friend from South Africa, much prefer buttercup squash - and always buy that at the market, in season. Yum. Was very touched by South African friend's comments. Indeed, squash/gourd was one of the Three Sisters, the vital food supplies for indigenous people around here, and in much of the Americas. Decorations are very nice, but it does seem to trivialise the cultures of the Amerindian people to let the pumpkins rot that time of year. Squash, beans and corn (maize) all supported one another, and the seeds of the squash are high-quality protein.

                                                                                                                                Linda, no judgement here at all, but any reason you don't like fresh corn in season? Or perhaps it doesn't grow where you live?

                                                                                                                                1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                  Hi lagatta. South African friend weighing in here! We eat a lot of butterNUT squash here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Cu...), although I have very fond memories of butterCUP squash from my time in the States. We get it here occasionally. I also liked something called harlequin squash, comparable to buttercup, but perhaps more chestnutty in flavour. Never seen that here, so I do miss that one.

                                                                                                                                  I'd love to try and grow the Three Sisters some time. I like that idea of symbiosis. And they all taste to good together!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gooseberry

                                                                                                                                    when i was living in San Diego, the prepared foods counter at my local WFM in La Jolla used to carry a "Three Sisters Salad" with butternut squash, corn, black beans and queso...it was fabulous.

                                                                                                                                    i really should see if i can get the recipe & make some...

                                                                                                                                  2. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                    lagatta - just a heads-up about artichoke hearts...i know it's nearly impossible to find the jarred ones packed in anything other than oil, but you can buy them frozen.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      I had been looking for those here in Montréal for a long time - could only find the bottoms - but I've found Egyptian ones in a Middle-Eastern shop not far away. I have arthritis and artichokes are recommended against flare-ups - as well as being tasty.

                                                                                                                                      Indeed it seems silly to buy them in oil and then rinse it away for recipes where one is simply using the artichokes as an ingredient. Moreover if I'm to eat oil I want it to be cold-pressed (mostly olive oil) except for the heat-resistant oil one uses in small quantities in the wok.

                                                                                                                                      I'm sure you could think up a Three Sisters salad (or pot-au-feu) based on whatever squash, corn and beans are readily available where you live. Perhaps I'll come to this around Thanksgiving (earlier in Canada), so people can really appreciate the contributions Amerindian peoples made to the world's food supplies - imagine, the Italians had no tomatoes, the Hungarians no red peppers, the Irish and Poles no potatoes...

                                                                                                                                2. Yes on all three.

                                                                                                                                  Instant coffee is used in many baking recipes.

                                                                                                                                  I ONLY buy canned corn. And canned beans, of course. Otherwise, no - I detest canned peas with every fiber of my being. (ETA: after reading the rest of the responses, adding canned tomato products, pumpkin, and pineapple on rare occasion when it's needed.)

                                                                                                                                  Condensed soup - only cream of mushroom. And only used (maybe) 2x a year in several "comfort food" recipes, like hamburger stroganoff from my first "set" of recipes - those 1971 General Mills recipe cards (I was the lucky recipient of the avocado green-colored box to keep them in!).

                                                                                                                                  1. I use canned beans (kidney, black, garbanzo) all the time.

                                                                                                                                    In any event, instant coffee, canned vegetables, and canned soup are all standard components of the earthquake supplies. (along with first aid kit, water, peanut butter, tuna, hard crackers in a box, canned chili, applesauce, tomatoes, a can opener, flashlight, radio and a large box of cheap wine I got in a gift exchange. I figure when the Big One comes I may decide that wine is worth drinking.)

                                                                                                                                    1. I have instant coffee for baking. We don't drink coffee, so we don't even have regular coffee. I have canned tomatoes and canned coconut milk. For emergencies, I've got a couple of cans of beans (actually, looking at my cupboard, seems that I've run out). Artichoke hearts -- I purchase frozen if I don't get fresh. No other canned veggies -- I buy my water chestnuts and bamboo shoots fresh as I'm lucky enough to have decent Asian groceries in my city -- it's a world of a difference. Hate the tinny flavor of canned veggies in general. I wish I wasn't lazy, or otherwise I'd make my own coconut milk as well. Peas -- I prefer frozen. Corn -- frozen if I desperately need to. Otherwise, I get fresh. Have terrible memories of canned corn from school lunches. Olives -- I have enough difficulty eating them when they are not canned. I rarely make pumpkin pie -- so no canned pumpkin for me. If I need squash, I buy it fresh.

                                                                                                                                      So I've got to say that overall, I really don't have many canned stuff in my pantry. If there was some disaster like a hurricaine, I probably wouldn't last very long -- unless I can sustain myself on dried mushrooms, dried legumes, dried grains, etc. I haven't had Campbell's condensed soup in years (as well as regular canned soup). Reading this thread, it does bring back some nice memories. I should perhaps buy some Cambell's tomato soup. I used to eat it with boiled potato slices as a kid. And cream of mushroom was also a favorite of mine as well.

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                        I wonder if my hatred of canned corn traces back to when I was little? I just won't buy it. When I do get corn it's fresh and guess what I do? Yup-cut it right off the cob. It's insane.
                                                                                                                                        If we are out and I get something with loose corn in it, I can't eat it. Very odd quirk but there is something about random loose corn kernels or a scatter of peas that makes my heart grow cold.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                                                                                                          Generally, if I come across a recipe that calls for the addition of corn kernels I won't even consider making it. It's funny, because before I read your post I never really thought about it - I would just immediately be turned off and look for the next recipe. My husband feels the same way about peas. I love fresh corn on the cob, and things like corn bread, muffins, fritters, pudding etc. But any other kind of dish calling for loose corn kernels leaves me cold as well.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                            I agree that adding canned corn kernels to many recipes is a turn off. However, they're ok in corn chowder and maybe cornbread.
                                                                                                                                            However, I can it it if served it; eg, black bean and corn salsa. (What a weird concept!).

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Anonimo

                                                                                                                                              I absolutely agree - that's what I was trying to say. There are a few things that whole corn kernels are Ok in - but outside of those few, like chowder or some cornbread recipes, corn pudding, etc, I just can't get on board. But like you said, I can eat it if it's put in front of me, but it's not something I would ever make or order.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Anonimo

                                                                                                                                                Funny - here in Canada, the President's Choice makes a black bean and white corn salsa that's our absolute fave with tortilla chips. Chunky, tasty, and with a lot of textures.

                                                                                                                                        2. We always have cans of tomatoes and tomato products as well as beans in stock.We also use canned green beans,peas,beets,sauerkraut and corn.Also stock up on canned broth and soups but not insatant coffee.Also occasionally canned fruit during the winter in New England. Campbells chicken soup is here during the flu season.Also cranberry sauce.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: sandramrma

                                                                                                                                            Amen, I've lost an entire deep freezer full before.... always have a back up. And frankly I've found some of the packaging on frozen vegetables to be less than appropriate and had more loss that way. Never had a problem with a can.

                                                                                                                                          2. I use canned beans a lot. DH makes his famous chana masala with canned garbanzos, which he buys by the case. Its just a lot quicker and easier than using the dry ones given our busy lifestyles.

                                                                                                                                            Canned tomatoes are good in winter, and used in a lot of recipes when decent tomatoes aren't available. I find high-quality canned corn to sometimes be almost as good as what I can get on the cob around here; I use it a lot. I also have canned beets for when I crave beets. And of course, if you read my profile you will know that I *always* have Campbell's Cream of Tomato soup (condensed) available to make my favorite comfort dish....just in case.

                                                                                                                                            I do not have instant coffee in the house. If there is a power outtage or an emergency, I can make regular coffee using my camp stove (or even my regular stove, since its gas :-) and my camp percolator. I remember one New Year's Day in Reno many year's ago when there was an epic storm and the power was off for 24 hours. (This was the famous New Year's storm that led to severe flooding in our area). We were the only house on the block with fresh-brewed coffee to offset the hangovers from the night before. And we were very popular...:-)

                                                                                                                                            1. Instant espresso for baking with chocolate.
                                                                                                                                              Canned pumpkin, canned beans, sometimes canned artichokes (although I prefer frozen). I actually like canned black olives in some salads. And my little guy LOVES them.
                                                                                                                                              Canned soup - I don't use a lot of canned soup anymore but it can be handy to have some chicken noodle and tomato in the cupboard. I also used canned cream of mushroom for the guilty pleasure of green bean casserole. It's one of the only dishes like this that I make, but my extended family loves it so it comes out on holidays.

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                How could I forget canned tomatoes?!? I also use canned chipolte peppers.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                  Lol, I forgot tomatoes too...duh!

                                                                                                                                              2. yes to all three.
                                                                                                                                                Instant coffee appears in dozens of recipes I rotate; especially those including melted chocolate.
                                                                                                                                                Canned fruits & veggies I am particular about but my kids love canned pears & peaches and I can't go without a few cans of sliced beets for salads when the work week doesn't allow me, or the season doesn't allow me, to roast fresh.
                                                                                                                                                Condensed soups are in my pantry for classic green bean casserole and a few quick dishes when I'm looking for a short cut.
                                                                                                                                                But several times a year, in support of local food drives, all three items are welcomed staples (in bulk) by soup kitchens & food pantries so my family & I will always buy these items.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                  back to add: canned pumpkin, olives, artichokes, beans....pantry check revealed alot!

                                                                                                                                                2. Canned tomato soup, canned tomatoes for making sauces, canned black beans, canned B & M baked beans. Also usually have a few small cans of corn on the shelf - always a life saver if I am making Sunday dinner, and a "picky" eater stops in. Don't use instant coffe, though.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: macca

                                                                                                                                                    I don't use instant coffee (nor do I bake), although I have a jar at work in case of emergency (I don't make coffee at home).
                                                                                                                                                    I bring a brown bag lunch and there is a can of green beans every day. I drink the juice and eat the beans. I don't care for frozen green beans at all.
                                                                                                                                                    I also have canned black beans, garbanzos, refried black beans (costeno), water chestnuts, water packed artichoke hearts (which I mix with canned tuna and season with lemon pepper and dress w/olive oil), cranberry sauce, canned tomato products (although tomato paste is in a tube), non-pickled beets, occassionally a can of corn, Pumpkin, pineapple (in water) baked beans once in a while for doctoring up.

                                                                                                                                                    Canned condensed soups, yes, although sometimes they taste way too salty. I do love to mix a can of bean with bacon with a can of tomato soup, no dilution; and I still crave vegetarian vegetable (the alphabet soup) once in a great while.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: laliz

                                                                                                                                                      I'm with you on canned green beans vs frozen. There's just something weird about the frozen ones.

                                                                                                                                                  2. I am starting a low iodine diet. Just yesterday I went to the market and was looking at frozen veggies. I was under the impression that they were just veggies. No. Every brand I picked up was Ingredients: Peas, Salt. Ingredients, Corn, Salt and so forth. At least with canned veggies I can get no salt added version. Then the ingredients are just peas, corn, beans, etc. I mention this because I was suprised at that. I also always keep "cream of" soups in my pantry. When you want it, you want it. I'll echo that sometimes a homemade sauce just isn't as satisfying.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I buy instant espresso for baking. Canned beets and canned beans for the convenience.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Instant cofffee: no

                                                                                                                                                          Canned veggies: beans (black, ceci, cannelini, lentil, red, pinto), tomatoes, hearts of palm, artichoke hearts, water chestnuts, goya anchovy stuffed olives.
                                                                                                                                                          Once I bought canned baba gannoush in a middle eastern store and it was better than I'd expected but not as good as fresh made.

                                                                                                                                                          condensed soup: ick....had too much growing up, can't stand the thought of it now

                                                                                                                                                          1. Of course, some people still buy these things. What an odd question to ask. If you find them in stores, they obviously sell well enough to keep them stocked. Sometimes it's not about "allure" so much as convenience, price and function. Also, if you have no canned food on hand and there is a natural disaster, you could find yourself in a bind. Some foods are qualitatively little different fresh than canned depending on how they are used.

                                                                                                                                                            I live in Japan and there is no such thing as fresh pumpkin (there is kabocha, but it is not the same) nor can some types of beans be purchased dry. That being said, I infrequently use some things so having them on hand in cans makes sense. I buy refried beans, garbanzo beans, and mashed pumpkin in cans often. I never drink instant coffee, but my father always does.

                                                                                                                                                            In fact, my family often uses canned vegetables because they live in the northeast where fresh produce out of season is very expensive and they are poor so frozen stuff costs too much relative to cheap canned stuff. If you don't have to shop by price and can base all of your food choices on freshness and taste, you are truly blessed. Not everyone is so lucky.

                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                              In fact, my family often uses canned vegetables because they live in the northeast where fresh produce out of season is very expensive and they are poor so frozen stuff costs too much relative to cheap canned stuff. If you don't have to shop by price and can base all of your food choices on freshness and taste, you are truly blessed. Not everyone is so lucky.

                                                                                                                                                              Thank you! Maybe its just because of this particular website but it seems many of the replies are somewhat elitist. If you can afford the best or exactly what you want, congrats! Many of us shop by price alone.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chigirlmi

                                                                                                                                                                I think that maybe for a lot of posters here on CH the truth may lie somewhere in between "elitist" and maybe that a lot of people who post on chowhound might choose to spend more of their disposable income on high quality food as opposed to other things. I know my family does.

                                                                                                                                                                But count me in as one of the people who has to be price conscious. I don't shop by price alone, but price is definitely a major factor for my family. And it is getting to be more of a factor every day, as our incomes remain stagnant but our living expenses keep climbing.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                  What seems elitist is the original post that is so far disconnected from a large part of the population that he asks "does ANYBODY buy..." & wonders what the allure is. This reminds me of the "Let them eat cake" remark attributed to Marie Antoinette. Both show a complete lack of awareness & concern for the sad plight of those who have no disposable income & cannot fill their belly.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tullius

                                                                                                                                                                    tullius, I agree with you. But I was replying to chigirlmi who was referring to the replies to the OP more than the OP itself.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, I was actually replying to chigirlmi that I found the OP more objectionable than the replies. I guess I just replied to your post so it would appear after yours because I posted later. Maybe that's not how it works though. Sorry for the confusion.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Instant coffee for baking of course, but I also like to add a spoonful to my Fage yogurt (coffee is my favorite yogurt flavor). Gives you a nice pick-me-up.

                                                                                                                                                              Don't know what I'd do without canned tomatoes or pinto/garbanzo/cannellini beans. Made baked beans from scratch once, took me 5 or 6 hours and tasted just like B&M. What a waste of propane!

                                                                                                                                                              Campbells Tomato soup made with milk and wide egg noodles, gotta have that once in a while. Greenbean casserole and tuna casserole have to use cream of soups.

                                                                                                                                                              And like someone said, once or twice a year I donate all the excess to the local food shelter and start over again.

                                                                                                                                                              1. canned veggies: san marzano peeled tomatoes (cento) and those whole, white potatoes (del monte). canned black beans and canned refried beans also have a home in the pantry.

                                                                                                                                                                no instant coffee but i don't bake much and i don't bbq meats (yet).

                                                                                                                                                                1. Instant coffee makes a great topping for chocolate ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                                  I get nervous if I don't have some Campbells chicken noodle and black bean in the house.

                                                                                                                                                                  I suffer the shame of liking canned peas better than fresh or frozen.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Smoked oysters. Mmmmm ... smoked oysters!

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                                                                                      I always have a couple of tins of smoked oysters in the cupboard. I like the clams too...

                                                                                                                                                                    2. MarkG:

                                                                                                                                                                      --instant coffee, yes I bake with it.
                                                                                                                                                                      --canned vegetables, yes all the time.
                                                                                                                                                                      --condensed soup, rarely, I dislike soup.

                                                                                                                                                                      The allure? Convenience. A legible expiration date would be nice, though, I think some of my cans go back to the year of the flood.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I buy canned tomatoes all the time, I prefer using them over fresh tomatoes. And I buy expresso instant coffee (Bustelo) for a last minute (and unplanned) addition in chocolate desserts.
                                                                                                                                                                        Also I keep some cans in the pantry, for emergencies (which I should discard BTW as they are too old). But no condensed soup or canned vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I've been avoiding posting on this thread for a couple of reasons but here goes. I don't drink coffee but my husband likes instant and usually only wants one cup on the weekends. I can't imagine Lent without grilled cheese sandwiches and Campbell's tomato soup. I can't imagine making anything Italian without canned tomatoes. And lastly, I have an appetizer I make with canned asparagus. This weekend, maybe with this post in the back of my mind, I bought fresh asparagus to make it. Results? Not the same. I thought the fresh asaparagus was all wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                            Wow. I can't believe it's been one year since I first responded to this post. It's been a really, really crappy year and I find it even more offensive than the first time I read it.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                              Ha! Here it is again. Not quite another year has past. This year has been much better than last, thank God, but I still find this to be insensitive, pretentious and in poor taste! See you in 2011!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                happy anniversary, sister! i toast you with a jar of pickled okra!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                                                                                    You crack me up. Just like the stage play and movie "Same Time, Next Year". ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Instant coffee -- yes; I use it to make "coffee" for my kiddos (1/4 tsp decaf instant coffee to 1 cup milk). They think they are drinking the same stuff we are! I've also used it to make desserts.

                                                                                                                                                                              Canned vegetables -- I have a special place in my heart for canned green beans. Not sure why. I know they are mushy and gray and not appealing, but every once in a while, I want them with some salt and pepper sprinkled on top. I always have a can in my pantry. I also like canned shredded beets (for salads). I do frozen corn and peas.

                                                                                                                                                                              Condensed Soups -- definite yes. I always have a can of cream of mushroom and a can of cream of chicken on hand for quick dinners. I work full time and have 2 kids under the age of 5, so I'm all for shortcuts when I cook. We aren't casserole people, but I'll use it to make a quick mushroom sauce for pork chops, or add green onions and broth to the chicken soup for quick enchilada sauce for chicken enchiladas (using leftover roast chicken). We don't use it often, but I always have it in stock -- I prefer using a can of condensed soup over getting takeout when I'm running late.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                                                Oddly enough I can't stomach canned regular green beans. But I love frenched green beans. Will eat those all day.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: boogiebaby

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm with you on the green beans. For years my son would only eat the canned ones, not fresh or frozen, so we ate them regularly and I still keep them around. I think of them as a different vegetable than the fresh ones, not a substitute.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Yes. My mother does. The Can Can sale at Shoprite each January is usually a cause for celebration and a big outing to the store. Giant cans of yams, cranberry sauce, green beans, peas, corn, beets, carrots, cannellini beans, chick peas, whatever. Soak beans overnight? Too much planning required, so it was easier to use canned. She is also crazy about cream of mushroom soup for those holdover 60's recipes, and that only comes in condensed form. Why? Obviously for convenience and certainly not for the taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                  She wasn't the only one trained to buy this way. My MIL was from a cold climate and grew up on winter root veggies. Everything else came from a can, except for a short time in the summer. DH still insists that he only likes the taste of canned peas (a true abomination, IMO) and protests when I make fresh beets because he "can tell" they are not the same as the canned variety (thank goodness). No accounting for taste -- and I am not about to change, not after all these years of eating fresh or, if in a pinch, select frozen, such as peas.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. YES on instant coffee, NO on Canned vegetable and condensed soup.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Not a big fan of those canned food as the i prefer freshness when it comes to food that provide minerals and vitamins to me.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Instant coffee is fine as it is just a drink to kickstart the day, and it is not ready to serve until you pour in hot water.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Living in earthquake city, I have canned goods. I'm not sure what good they'll be if the fall out of the cabinets and knock me out, but anyway . . .
                                                                                                                                                                                      I buy Heinz Vegetarian beans for when I get a craving for hot dogs and beans--a childhood favorite. I also like them with charbroiled skirt steak. I use canned tomatoes for my marinara sauce when I don't feel like using fresh, ditto for my ratatouille. Stewed tomatoes--yum. I have canned pumpkin for soup and pie. Never have canned cranberry sauce, EVER. Condensed soup, yes, limited to three flavors. Cream of mushroom and cream of celery, comforting made with half milk half water. Always have tomato soup on hand. It has almost magical curative powers. I have it when I think I'm coming down with something. It's the lycopenes, little phyto life savers.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Here in England, instant coffee is very big. At people's homes, or in our office, and in quite a few restaurants, the coffee you will be offered is often instant. But somehow the stuff here on this side of the Atlantic is better than anything I remember from the States.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't have condensed soup (but do they still make Progresso lentil?), but now I'm thinking of buying some in case of emergency. Thanks, everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, like others, I use canned tomatoes and beans regularly. Canned straw mushrooms and bamboo shoots are also staples in my cupboard.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kagey

                                                                                                                                                                                          "But somehow the stuff here on this side of the Atlantic is better than anything I remember from the States."

                                                                                                                                                                                          To these tastebuds, English instant is just as vile as US instant ;0

                                                                                                                                                                                          We keep a jar around the shop along with some Folgers for our intro to coffee tasting classes. It's amusing. I'll agree instant espresso is useful in a pinch for some baking, but since we have access to pounds of top notch espresso, we always use fresh ground. And for camping/traveling, we pre-ground what we need and use the Aeropress.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Most legumes I use are canned for convenience. The exceptions being black beans or red beans when those are the featured ingredient - I'll soak dry beans instead. But for adding to soups, stews, etc. where they're an addition, not the primary ingredient, it's canned. Also canned garbanzos for hummus and canned cannellini for white bean dip.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll keep a can of more obscure stuff around like nopales and corn fungus which are only available in a couple of places around here. And lots of tomatoes - whole San Marzanos, diced and stewed organic varieties. Couldn't live without those. Canned pumpkin is useful (plus I'm not fond of the smell of cleaning out a pumpkin). Otherwise, these days our veggies are fresh or frozen. But that's also how I grew up. We didn't eat much of anything canned because of the salt. Both parents were on low-salt diets (this was well before "no salt added" varities appeared).

                                                                                                                                                                                          My wife is a big fan of condensed mushroom soup. I used to have condensed tomato once or twice a year, but as I make soup all fall and winter for our shop, I've always got leftovers in the freezer. And I make several versions of tomato soup that are much more satisfying. There's a sweetness from the Campbell's which I've come to dislike. The one canned soup I'll have in the cupboard is chicken tortilla. It's not as good as fresh, but not totally horrible either.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I haven't had condensed soup since I was like 20 (10 yrs ago), I've never had instant coffee and haven't had canned veggies for around 12yrs. I do eat frozen organics though.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Broadly, you're asking about our individual demand curves for inferior goods. In consumer theory, an inferior good is a good that decreases in demand when consumer income rises, unlike normal goods, for which the opposite is observed. Inferiority, in this sense, is an observable fact relating to affordability rather than a statement about the quality of the good. As a rule, too much of a good thing is easily achieved with such goods, and as more costly substitutes that offer more pleasure or at least variety become available, the use of the inferior goods diminishes. In other words, SPAM.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm someone educated well beyond my income and drive. I'm using all of these things and eat offal too, although organ meats are nowhere near as cheap as they were. If you make instant coffee, lighten it with evaporated milk, add sugar, and cool it with ice, the resulting product resembles Starbucks bottled frappucino. Hot, the product is not unlike coffee shop and diner coffee as served across our country.

                                                                                                                                                                                            The inferior good that I use that I recommend everybody use is evaporated milk. Nearly everything that's baked will come out better using evaporated milk diluted to the whole milk proportion rather than fresh whole milk. Also, pie fillings and puddings come out much better using evaporated mik.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, commercial canned corn is fresher than most fresh corn available in most any city. Most canned corn nowadays is shucked and boiled right there in the field as it's being havested. When it's canned it's less than two hours old. Fresh corn at a supermarket here in NYC is usually at least a day old.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: BigGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                              That canned is fresher line is a bit of a canard. It's the same issue as fish being frozen on the boat. May be... but it's nevertheless frozen. And the corn is stripped by a machine and boiled in the can. That's useful for some recipes, but if you want raw corn or the milk or whatever else reason to buy fresh corn on the cob, canned does you no good no matter how fresh it was when canned. Raw corn on the corn, reasonably fresh, can become an unlimited (as far as corn goes) number of dishes. Canned corn is somewhat more limited.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And while I'm nitpicking... You can't possibly be educated beyond your drive. You had to have the drive to get that education, otherwise you wouldn't be so well educated, n'est-ce pas?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Offal - mmmmm...

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: applehome

                                                                                                                                                                                                Instant coffee: the Asian 3 in 1 packs are yummy. I keep them on hand for when I run out of milk for making lattes (I have a freind who roasts, so I'm NEVER outta coffee) and for backpacking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Canned veg: tomatoes sometimes though I like the Pomi in a box a lot better. Creamed corn for corn chowder and a cornbread recipe. tinned salsa for the winder months, and many various kinds of beans. My favorite tinned beans are Ducal refried beans, they are the yummiest thing ever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Canned soup is gross!! The closest I come is those organic ones in a box--several of them are downright tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I do buy Medalia D'Oro instant espresso to have at work. We have a machine that uses "K cups", and I turbo charge my brew by spooning a bit of the instant espresso into my cup before placing it on the machine. A friend said to me "so, you're brewing your coffee with...coffee?"
                                                                                                                                                                                              Trader Joes has a canned corn that is incredibly sweet. The "pot liqueur" it comes in is a distillation of all the sensory input one would feel if they were standing in a cornfield on a sunny summer day. I put it in a cordial glass and savor it.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Condensed soup? Sure, it's cheap and it keeps me from going to the supermarket next door to buy a lunch that would suck anyway. And I like to always have chicken noodle on standby in the event of a cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Allure? What the heck do you mean by that exactly? Instant coffee-sure. Im not really a coffee person but will have some if really tired so instant is just fine. Canned veggies, soup, meats, etc. Heck YES! Especially in winter. If the power goes out or you cant get to the store (I live in the country-15 min. to closest store) its nice to have food. Even if its cold pork & beans!

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I always have tinned beans and corn in the cupboard. And we drink instant coffee for preferance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I buy instant coffee for recipes only. Of course I buy condensed soups, especially tomato soup, and I still occasionally use the cream soups for cooking or thickening. I buy canned vegetables: corn, tomatoes, beans, tiny peas, green beans - they have their place in my life. I make a ton of things from scratch, but I'm not above taking a shortcut sometimes. And I love my Campbell's tomato soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As much as I like cooking to impress sometimes I still want a good funeral food casserole. I keep condensed soups on hand for just such occasions. Nothing more comforting than some kind of casserole with condensed soups, processed cheese food, etc. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: swamp

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Some of my friends have been surprised when I talk about wanting some good old southern comfort food - greens and cornbread, fried okra, squash casserole - I was raised on those foods and I'll always love them. With company, I cook to impress, and I love that food, too. I don't feel that it makes me less of a cook to keep canned items in my cupboard. I see you're from Galveston - like us, you probably keep hurricane food (and water) in storage, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bayoucook

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Absolutely, I have my large plastic storage bin that has all my hurricane supplies, got my canned tuna and other meats, canned salsas because they can make things taste good when cooking after a hurricane, and yes lots of water stored this time of year. That is a whole other post, what do you have in your emergency food supply kit?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I've just seen Nescafé Espresso 100% Arabica Instant Coffee announced. Has anyone tried that? Could come in useful, in an emergency but also for baking if it is any good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. instant coffee -- for flavoring sweets and chili
                                                                                                                                                                                                        canned veg? oh heck yeah! beans, tomatoes, three bean salad, canned corn for casseroles, baked beans, collards, squash, hominy, beets...and on and on
                                                                                                                                                                                                        condensed soup? again, heck yeah. campbell's condensed cream of mushroom and cream of shrimp soups, or cream of celery, are great bases for tasty casseroles. i use the condensed tomato soup as comfort food, and it's required for my mom's great (and i'm not exaggerating) sauerkraut and meatballs recipe. http://www.chow.com/recipes/13527

                                                                                                                                                                                                        i am not ashamed. i like fresh, and i like some canned. i use fresh and canned...and frozen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I use beans for bean salad, just because I don't want to cook several pots of beans at once! I also used canned tomatoes. I love Taste brand vegetables, but they're expensive. They have san marzano tomatoes, grilled mixed vegetables, and grilled eggplant, soaked in oil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Soup - I'm not big on canned soup, but I do love Cashew Carrot Ginger soup by Pacific Foods. Really nice, and not full of chemicals!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I too buy canned good for all the reasons listed above. I’m happiest when my pantry is full and the blizzard is blowing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Its good to see so many 'hounds that do use these seemingly sub-par foodstuffs. My hubby and I don't drink coffee unless we are out somewhere, so I keep instand coffee in the fridge for baking and when company comes over and they don't want tea. I also use canned tomatos, beans and olives. If I need to bring a dessert in a pinch, I will use canned fruit for a quick cobbler or crisp. I don't normally eat condensed soups, but my mother taught me the ways a can of Campbells can add or be the base of a meal. My favorite is using Cambells cream of mushroom in ground beef to make savory hamburgers on the cheap.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Instant coffee is necessary to make the Greek summer drink, café frappé. I've tried to figure out a way to make one with good, fresh roasted, fresh ground coffee. It just doesn't work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I always have canned San Marzanos on hand and usually one can of chickpeas, water chestnuts and bamboo shoots. I can't always get fresh bean sprouts, and when they're not available, I'll by a can of those. Also, canned pineapple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's about it. I make soup often and don't buy the canned due to the sodium content.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Right now, I have canned beans and a can of coconut milk in my pantry. Since I moved out of my parents' house eight years ago, I haven't bought any canned vegetables. Even when I lived at home, I think the only canned vegetables we ate was creamed corn (and that was only once every year or two). No... I lied. A couple years ago I bought a can of miniature corn. I don't make coffee at home. Soup is my favorite meal but I do buy stock (vegetable stock in tetra-packs). My stock-making attempts are never very successful and my doctor has advise me that I need to eat a lot more salt that I used to, so pre-made stock is one way I get in that salt.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jetgirly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So do you not eat tomatoes? If so, what do you use in the off-season? Even during the season, I hear many chefs say they still use canned tomatoes. I think tetra-packs count :) Must not like tuna salad?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I don't buy instant coffee or condensed soup, but I'd probably buy the latter occasionally if it were sold in Japan. It's immensely troublesome making your own condensed soup for various dishes (I know because I've done it many times because I have no option). I buy canned diced tomatoes and canned corn for soup. I do this in part because fresh tomatoes and corn are about a dollar apiece in Tokyo and there is almost no difference between fresh and canned in soups. The cost is too high for something where the end product does not benefit appreciably.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, canned vegetables are always good to have on hand for cooking when you don't have time to shop or want to make something on the spur of the moment and don't have fresh on hand. I would never eat anything but fresh as a side dish or as the main element of a side dish, honestly, canned stuff in complex dishes or soup is really just fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I buy canned beans and canned tomatoes. For all other veggies I stick with frozen (or fresh). The occasional soup, but not usually cans- I tend to get the boxed ones. Roasted pepper and tomato is my favorite! And I have a bit of instant espresso for baking, but I'm not a coffee drinker.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: k80k

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No instant coffee, no condensed soup, no canned veggies no canned coffee, for that matter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do use diced canned tomatoes occasionally, and canned beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Otherwise, we're pretty canless around here, opting for fresh veggies mostly, sometimes frozen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I buy instant espresso for baking, prepared olives...can you imagine curing your own? I used to buy canned soups for a quick lunch, now I cannot stand the salt content. It is tongue curling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am forced to buy instant coffee at work since we dont have a coffee maker...I am learning to like it though

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ShakeIt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you can boil water for instant coffee at work, you can boil it and pour it over coffee grounds in a one cup #2 Melitta filter, too. If you want to, any way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ShakeIt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                man, i'd sure buy a coffeemaker. you can get a small one for your desk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ShakeIt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You can get a single cup french press, or even better, a travel mug french press. Peets sells them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. When you live alone, and are on a budget, canned goods are a lifesaver. My freezer is jammed pack with frozen vegetables and triple-packed meats that I buy on special, and it's the meats that take up a lot of space. Recently, they had baby back ribs on for $1.97/lb, so I bought 8 lbs - that takes up a lot of space. Steaks, pork chops, chicken pieces; I've got 'em all, and there's no space for anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, in my pantry, I have about a dozen cans of cooked beans and marinated bean salad, half a dozen cans of tomato or pasta sauce, diced/chopped tomatoes, some other vegetables (corn, olives - and I don't understand the hate on these; what's the diff with jarred olives, and canned are half the price? - , green beans), and yes, lots of condensed soups. I have tomato, cream of celery, vegetable, plus lots of beef consomme. Typical morning breakfast is a whole can of soup mixed with milk and with a half-cup of beans (for extra protein and fibre) added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And I drink instant coffee because I usually only have one cup a day, and I can't get through a pound of ground coffee before it goes stale and loses flavour. Instant isn't great, but it's quick, easy, and convenient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Plus, it's comforting to know that if we have an extended power failure, I don't have to open my freezer at all (thus keeping the contents reasonably cold), and I can make a reasonable dinner out of canned corn, tinned tuna/salmon/corned beef sandwiches, and the marinated bean salad. Not exactly chowish, but if I get snowed in, I'm not worried about feeding myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  instant coffee? no
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Canned vegetables? only summercrisp corn (tastes amazing), tomatoes, beans. The texture of other canned vegetables are so mushy and the flavor is just.... dull
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Condensed soup? ugh no, but i do love amy's and pacific food's rte soups

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Sometimes in the winter there is nothing better than a can of Cambell's tomato soup made with 3/4 can of milk plus a grilled cheese sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Throw in a little basil or tarragon with soup, and I'm right there with you, J-man.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      there's a great idea with thye basil leaves.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I find the Campbell's tomato soup too sweet these days. But make it a can of Wolfgang Puck's cream of tomato soup instead, and I am so there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: beachmouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        campbell's tomato *is* sweeter than in days gone by.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Everytime this bit of flotsam gets behind my boat, it screams food snob. I can't imagine that there's a home cook or professional chef who doesn't use PLENTY of canned things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I know exactly ONE person who does not buy canned goods. My best friend makes gallons of tomatoes in the summer and freezes them. Ditto for stock. Jelly and Jam are put up every year as are pickles. I have seem a couple cans of chicken 'n stars in the cabinet when her husband is sick as that and jello are his go-to comfort foods, but aside from that , there are literally no cans in her pantry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As she also holds down a high-level and pretty stressful job that requires her to travel and work lots of late nights, I think she is crazy, but at the same time, I always want to be invited to dinner at her house, because the food is so damn good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Your friend is lucky. Here in Ontario, we had a lousy summer. The tomatoes were awful all year, the apples and pears on our trees have no flavour at all, and even the pumpkins were substandard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And, as I noted earlier, my freezer is full of expensive meat. There's no room for gallons of tomatoes or stock. Heck, they had ice cream on special a few days ago, and I had to pass because I couldn't fit a half-gallon in the icebox. If I had a big house with room for a separate freezer, I might do as your friend does, but when you live in a small apartment, canned goods are indispensable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FrankD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They have a full-sized upright freezer in their basement as well as a second fridge, so yeah, she has plenty of room to store the fruits of her labors. I've never had that much space, and well, honestly, I've never had that much energy either. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I'm a confirmed Scout, so am always prepared. I have all kinds of canned stuff that I would never consider consuming under normal circumstances stored under my bed. Is this weird?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, kid, if I wouldn't like the food, I wouldn't hoard it. Or are you talking about food that you would normally cook fresh and could settle for it canned? (My cat pukes occasionally under the bed so that's not a storage place for me!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Instant coffee - Starbucks' Via - I'm a coffee snob who would rather go without a cup than have a bad cup - and I like the columbian roast. Must be precise (I use a measuring cup) with the water (not tap) for the taste I like, but I have to say it's a respectable cup of coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I'm shocked at the number of people here who use SO MUCH in the way of canned goods. I'm a busy professional, and an avid home cook, and I purchase perhaps two canned items per month: chipotles in adobo, and coconut milk. Everything else...*everything*...I prepare from scratch, with very little trouble. I understand it takes a conscious shift in thinking to go from popping the top off a can to, say, cutting and roasting a few tomatoes before cooking down and smashing or blitzing and adding whatever else you like to make your new favourite tomato soup...but that shift in thinking is necessary in this day and age. Environmental impact, supporting local agriculture, consuming fresh and whole foods, ending the flow of preservatives and artificial additives into our bodies...all reasons it should be a no-brainer to stop with the cans. AND, I promise you my tomato soup is better than Campbells.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was raised on the very same canned and preserved foods as most of you. I didn't even fully understand what the produce aisle in the grocery store was all about 'til well into my teens, no joke. The only time I had fresh veggies (aside from the ubiquitous head of iceberg lettuce that was called salad in my house) in my youth was at Grandmothers house...where we'd pick from her huge garden, and eat raw or freshly prepared produce...OR, we'd 'put it up'. My Grandmother could (and did) preserve anything. She taught me how. I forgot for a time. Now I've picked the tradition back up, and I wonder why I ever stopped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My little Brooklyn kitchen is always pleasantly humid from the boiling dried beans I cook off, a pound at a time, once or twice a week. My drying rack always sparkles with glass jars I use over and over. When sick, my boyfriend and I snuggle down and nourish ourselves with my seriously amazing home-made chicken soup. Anything Campbells can do, I can do better. SO CAN YOU.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you like canned veggies because they're soft and salty, just over-cook your fresh ones. You'll still get a stronger nutritional punch than from Del Monte, as well as saving yourself some $$. Better yet: gently steam whatever veggie you crave 'til it's done enough for you, then sautee quickly in brown butter...it's a revelation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Make the effort. Seriously. Start with a few from-scratch recipes...for your favourite soups, perhaps...and one kind of fresh veggie per week. Experiment, play, and master how best to prepare them so that you're satisfied...try to keep a mind to your health...and keep an open mind about the end result. Campbells was yummy, back in the day...but fresh is better!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bloogirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's been a while since I read this entire thread, but I recall it being lots of 'for emergencies', 'only certain items', etc. Don't know where this translates into none of us know how to cook soup or fresh veggies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bloogirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Interesting first post bloogirl. Can I just say that living in New England, it's rare that I can find *good* fresh tomatoes outside of a few months a year - and those months are in the summer. The pink baseballs that are out now (other than hothouse tomatoes, which still aren't prime) do not a good tomato soup make.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think you really read the thread. Sounds like you latched onto a few posts that pushed your buttons and responded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Most people here are saying that we use canned goods a lot less often than you seem to project upon us. And if you click on any of our names, you'll see that we, more than most people, DO "make the effort" to make from scratch recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sam has lived and cooked all around the world, eating far more "fresh food" than I think you could ever hope for. I've been cooking for - oh, about 35 years. Making homemade stock. Make fresh food and wow - making recipes from scratch! Many of the posters in this thread are avid cooks and know good food (and fresh food) when we see it and eat it and cook it often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, while we all appreciate your comments and perhaps hope that you will continue to post, perhaps you should rein it back in a good bit until you get to know more about the Chowhound community and the people that inhabit it and how they actually cook. And read what people have written here and see that they really are not beholden to the canned goods god, as you seem to think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Re tomatoes, I doubt that there's a single professional chef in the world who uses those dreadful out of season tomatoes. I'd take Campbell's over that kind of soup. And good canned tomatoes are the way to go even in the summer at times. Canned isn't a bad word. It can be a very, very good word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And, yes, as someone said "preaching to the choir." I'd say it the rare CH who isn't already doing many of the things mentioned above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gotta go and roast some poblanos and then puree them :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: bloogirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really hope that you'll reply here. There's clearly something that we're not understanding. It's clear that you're sincere but this just doesn't seem to fly with most of us. Please give us more information.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bloogirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "But, when nothing subsists of an old past, after the death of people, after the destruction of things, alone, frailer but more enduring, more immaterial, more persistent, more faithful, smell and taste still remain for a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, upon the ruins of all the rest, bearing without giving way, on their almost impalpable droplet, the immense edifice of memory." ~~Marcel Proust

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    *That* my friend, is why some people eat Campbell's soup instead of making their own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That is beautiful, lulubelle. Thanks for posting that. It's surely why Campbell's chicken noodle soup (made with milk as my mother always did when I was sick) is my #1 comfort food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm pretty well known for soup at our shop and even I'll do Campbell's tomato at home 3-4x year. It's taste memory, I suppose. Same reasons when we do coffee tastings, older people will pick awful robusta-laden mass-market coffee over much higher-quality arabica varietals from great coffee estates. They think that's what coffee is "supposed to taste like".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, I can make several versions of excellent tomato soups, but I can't make Campbells. Just something about it that's kind of home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: bloogirl


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Personally, I think it is prudent to see how deep the water is before diving off the cliff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You would be hard pressed to find a more well versed community of serious cooks than on Chowhound. Many of the posters have a wealth of nutritional knowledge and are fluent in the nuances of vegan-ism, gluten-free, kosher, and every other specialized diet known to (wo)man.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        CSA's, local and slow were all discussed (passionately) here long before most had heard the terms in mainstream media or usual conversations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You are preaching to the choir - but your interests sound as though you could become a nice, contributing member of the choir!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          meatn3, thanks for the nice, polite, balanced reply. I replied to bloogirl first with a bit too much sarcasm and was correctly deleted. boogirl, welcome on board. Look forward to your posts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            +1. Obviously bloogirl is an informed person and would be an asset to CH. Perhaps she read the post about what do you eat straight out of the can and made an assumption :) There are certainly lots of silly posts around here that could lead one to wonder, eh?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              At least we'll never have to scratch our heads, wondering what she's thinking. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sam, I didn't think your first reply was too sarcastic, and especially regret alan barnes new, edited commentary. Both of them gave me a chuckle and were completely on point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: bloogirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MY MOTTO: ALL canned goods, ALL the time!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i used to have a professor who would go bloo in the face from non-stop lecturing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hahahahaha, me too! Who needs fresh fruits and vegetables? All I have to do is pop the top of a can! Yippee!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: bloogirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i am with you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              fresh is better!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i don't know just how americans came to eat food out of a can (yuck)...i do not think that food comes in a can. that stuff just tastes plain awful to me. but that is me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              how much work does it really take to make your own stock, then toss in some chopped veggies? make a nice, tasty, nourishing soup?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              not much.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i understand the regional problems. i live part-time where there is not much grown locally, but i still will not stoop to eating food in a can.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              to me, it is not just health issues, but taste issues. if folks get used to eating fresh foods, i doubt they will go back.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              we are all brainwashed by the food companies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jackie57

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                """i don't know just how americans came to eat food out of a can (yuck)...i do not think that food comes in a can"""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                really? then you need to read some history.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                zombies..... we are food-company-brainwashed zombies......what can we do...where shall we go? http://icanhascheezburger.com/2007/04...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Adorable. A propos as usual, miss alka.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jackie57

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You won't stoop to our level? Wow. Very rarefied air up there on your pedestal, isn't it? Bet that canned food would be pretty damn tasty if someone's fresh food got irradiated and contaminated in a world war.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But as I said to bloogirl's one and only post ever on CH, if you click on any of our names, you'll see that the majority of us *do* cook from scratch, with fresh foods. The canned items are there as a small convenience food item.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Alka - I LOVE the ICanHasCheezburger pics. ;-) Brainwashed, indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jackie57

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So you don't use canned tomatoes? Ever? Wow. You must get some really rotten tasty tomato dishes in the dead of winter. Or do you not cook with tomatoes year round?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jackie57

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ironically, it looks like you may have, ahem, opened a can or worms here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jackie57

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Please do go read some history and learn about canning foods and how it came about. We home can many foods and know exactly what goes into them. But I also purchase commercially canned foods. Most of those are to have on hand in case of emergency. Maybe where you live you don't have those. We have hurricanes. We have power outages in the winter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For a lot of our food we eat seasonally and locally. I garden organically so our food is extremely fresh. I'm also a member of a CSA and that is also fresh and local. The extra bounty gets canned or frozen. We catch bass and perch from our lake/pond. Extras of those get frozen for eating later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Are you saying that if you are without power for 12 days and can't leave your house because of an ice storm, you prefer to not eat for most of that time because you have no canned food on hand?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And then there are those canned guavas that my grandmother used to serve with cream cheese. A wonderful treat. Never in my life have I seen fresh guavas available here. I have a strong emotional attachment to that treat and will happily enjoy guavas from the can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: decolady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Try a latin or asian grocer in the big city nearest your area they should have guava fresh in season

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jackie57

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <how much work does it really take to make your own stock, then toss in some chopped veggies? make a nice, tasty, nourishing soup?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Quite a lot when you are sick and can barely get out of bed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. While like every other foodie on this board I prefer fresh - or at least something that was tetrapacked when it was fresh - I have some canned items when I can't afford the item in tetrapack. Particularly with veggies I'm trying to save I like to 'freeze while fresh' or 'dehydrate' and then use later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On the other hand there are some seafood products from parts of Spain and France that actually taste better AFTER the canning or glassing process so those I have in cans/glass jars as that is how they are processed and imported. Same with hard to find Asian items that ONLY come to the US in cans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Plus there are some casseroles from my 'redneck' side that just don't taste right unless I use a can of condensed soup as per the recipe. I've tried replacing the 'canned condense soup' with leftovers of fresh or condensed tetrapack brands (which all cost significantly more) and well the end product came out 'meh' for more money. So on those dishes I stick with canned condensed soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also have a small amount of instant coffee - NOT FOR DRINKING ICK - but for making desserts! Café Bustelo or Ferrara or Medaglia D' Oro or Caffe D'Vita, none of that Folgers or Tasteless Choice or Maxwell House or Starbucks VIA crap although imported from Mexico Nescafe (which is WAY stonger than what they make for the US market) can work in a pinch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Does this make sense?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Oh my gosh, just the other day I had a hankering for a dish from my childhood: chicken and rice casserole with onion soup mix and cream of mushroom soup. I did change it up one way: I par-roasted the cut up chicken to give the skin some color (otherwise, it's too pale the original way).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My kitchen smelled so GOOD towards the end of baking. And you know what? It was DEE-licious. It's not something I'd make every week but it sure was a blast from the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            pdx, We call that recipe Chicken with Mushroom Rice...do you sprinkle the onion soup mix over all of it and bake? Got that recipe from MIL long time ago...I just can't stomach the onion soup mix anymore, gives me terrible cramps and I'm sure it's the sodium & msg in it. If one of my grown sons asks for me to make it, I just use that onion soup mix very very sparingly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Val

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Val, I do sprinkle the onion soup all over the rice and the chicken before pouring the mushroom soup + water mixture over everything. I do find that the whole packet makes the dish a little salty. Next time I may use 3/4 or even 1/2 packet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I did do something different with the chicken, however. I noticed that the old way of nestling the raw chicken into the rice had it coming out 'pale'. So this time I 'pre-roasted' the chicken to give it some color. Then I let it finish cooking in the casserole. Best idea ever. The chicken looked and tasted great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, and I added chopped up broccoli in the rice to make it a little healthier (veggies). Next time I'll try frozen peas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pdxgastro

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Have you tried frying canned chicken in bacon fat and using that in your casserole? You have to separate the water from the chicken and only fry the chicken but it turns REALLY crisp and yummy in the corners but stays moist in the casserole if you use the water it was in as part of the liquid in the casserole. So good. I also like to experiment with veggies in the casserole, though I am VERY partial to putting dried mushrooms and/or corn nibbles in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Val

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hey how about that my name is Valerie too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Okay that aside sometimes I do use the onion soup mix, but most the time I just use regular onion powder in the body of the casserole itself and then like dried fried onion stuff (Ikea has a good one) on top instead of the French's onion strings - Ikea has a decent one as do most upscale groceries like Whole Foods or whatever your local one is. If not some hippy dippy healthfood stores have them IF they carry food. In those same places you can find organic dried onion soup mixes as well which usually has less salt and probably don't have the MSG content or at least have naturally occuring MSG rather than synthesized.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Which I use depends on who I'm serving southern relatives or snobby types or some group in between determine which things I used to make the casserole. There is always a noodle or rice ingredient, always a canned fish, always some form of mushroom and/or mushroom flavorant, always an onion component or two or three, always some garlic (powder or roasted or or fresh), and some pepper (black or paprika), some melted butter and/or Bremel & Brown, and if NONE of the previous components has a milk/cream in it then I add that too - sometimes I add cheese but this depends on who I'm serving. I also add other spices depending on the crowd, for example if there are a lot of Jewish people I might use Kosher egg noodles and Kosher mushroom soups (they have some really good ones) and if there are Indians I might add some 'curry' type spices into the mix and use chicken or some sort of veggie protein instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's such a basic formula that you can really mix to make it fit the group.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                To be honest I find the amount of sodium in most can concentrate soups to be so high I just use onion powder and dried onion flakes and it's profile tastes about the same but less salty. If you like a lot of onion soup based things but hate the MSG etc I recommend this one http://www.amazon.com/Onion-Soup-Dip-... but like I said before you can find a LOT of these at a local upscale grocer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I still buy instant coffee, not the American brands, but the Japanese brands. I find the Japanese brands have really good coffee, flavorful and low in acid. I prefer Japanese coffee to American coffee. The only American coffee I really like is the Hawaiian 100% Kona coffee. 100% Blue Mountain is my ultimate fave, but as that is expensive I do not have it often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Well the short answer is, of course. Thousands of people still purchase these items or the companies wouldn't still be making them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We have plenty of canned goods on hand for storm supplies. Also canned tomatoes, beans, pineapple, olives, capers, grape leaves, tuna, sauerkraut, pears, guavas and other such items are always in the pantry. Some of them I can myself and some are purchased.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Condensed soup - tomato. When I was a kid a can of condensed tomato soup mixed with a jar of home canned tomatoes was one of our comfort foods. It still tastes good to me every now and again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: decolady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  hmmm, canned guavas. i'll have to look for those.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The canned guavas are actually in halves and look like shells. Lovely filled with cream cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: decolady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      mmm mmm mmmmmm!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      love me some guavas.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      you know there is a guava-flavored yogurt from sabor latino (la yogurt). http://www.walmart.com/ip/La-Yogurt-G... but best is their passionfruit yogurt. but... piña colada is pretty darned good, too. all delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      my sister makes the most gorgeous clear golden-pink guava jelly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ooh look here for an easy guava cake recipe: http://www.islandergifts.com/kaukau.html

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ooh, there are lots! http://www.google.com/search?client=s...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One of the highlights of a stay at the Renaissance Yiyuan Hotel in Shanghai a couple of years ago was the chilled fresh guava juice on the breakfast buffet...such a gorgeous pale pale pink...and so delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i feel like chanting, GUA-VA, GUA-VA!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          all the tropical fruit juices are so wonderful!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Man you are so right! Guanabana...passion fruit...you can't go wrong. An orange and passion-fruit drink put out by Sunkist in Taiwan when we were there sustained me through some unbelievably bad flus (the last one the symptoms were uncomfortably close to dengue fever). Must try the passionfruit yogurt, thanks for pointing it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: decolady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Love those! They were often a dessert option at Cuban restaurants when I lived near Tampa!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I always have cream cheese in the fridge and have made this as a quick sweet for unplanned guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, that's what my grandmother used to do. She got hooked on guavas in Cuba (before Castro's takeover). I would love to go over to her house and have coffee (in Louisiana children drank coffee) along with some guavas and cream cheese.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: decolady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They are called "cascos" of guava (per my Cuban husband). I always think of them as guava "helmets" and they sure are delicious. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My neighbor has a little guava tree and makes killer preserves. She gives them to me in exchange for mangos, avocados and taking care of her cat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: silkenpaw

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            OK. I am jealous of your neighbor! Thanks for the info on the guavas. My grandmother spent a lot of time in Cuba with her brother before the revolution and serving the canned guavas with cream cheese was something she brought home from there. I can remember going over to her house after school when I was in elementary school and she would often fix us coffee and some of the guavas with cream cheese for an afternoon snack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: decolady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I had guava and cream cheese in Cuba this summer in a couple of different forms. I hadn't heard of this combination before. It sounded really weird, but I tried it and liked it a lot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sounds like it's related to the classic Spanish dish of cheese served with membrillo (quince paste).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Funny, I just had dinner at a Cuban restaurant a few weeks ago, and fruit with cream cheese was proudly featured on the dessert menu. We tried the guava and the fruta bomba (don't ask for papaya in a Cuban place).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Expecting fresh fruit and something resembling dressing, we were surprised to be served canned fruit in heavy syrup with slices right off the ol' block of Philadelphia. Undaunted, we dug in - and it was really tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did they give you the curved soda crackers with it? Makes it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~"it was really tasty!"~~

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, it is. And now I am really craving this. Have to make a run to the market tomorrow for supplies. You'd think I'd have a can of guava shells here after all this discussion, n'est pas? LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Not a coffee drinker.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh Hell Yeah, comfort food. Not the best, but there's something great about the same flavor and texture you had as a kid when you're all alone in your bath-robe. Consistency in the space/time continuem...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Beans, including garbanzo's, hominy & ro-tel. If you don't know what ro-tel is, you probably wouldn't like how I used it either, ha.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And the pumpkin?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes. pumkin from scratch can be dicey on water content & you need a consistent puree to bake a pie with. Why is that so hard to understand? And if you haven't made your own puree, you haven't seen how much work can go into getting an ingredient!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Yes, yes and no.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Instant coffee I use in baking and desserts. I am spoiled with a Keurig =)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I find absolutely nothing wrong with canned tomatoes. But everything else I avoid for the most part. Every once in awhile I enjoy a can of corn, but that is about it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ...condensed soup I think is the absolute devil to consume on it's own. but if it's used as a thickener or it's mixxed in, it isn't TOO bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My canned items go as follows: Tomatoes, coconut milk, spam, tuna fish, chipolote and adobe, and i just started getting into the habit of making chili, so beans.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I avoid canned food because I grew up eating canned food because my mom doesn't cook a lot, nor did she ever cook very well. i had to eat chef boyardee *shiver* as a child because i was not allowed to operate the stove at the age of... (well grade 3) so since then I avoid most prepackaged food if my life depended on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: amatuerfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              re: I am spoiled with a Keurig =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not sure if that reply is meant to be ironic, but will point out that to a coffee professional, Keurig coffee would be considered the same as canned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And why is that? I rarely use the k-cups because I question the freshness of it. So of course I go the route of buying coffee beans and grinding small quanities it myself. Not so canned in my mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: amatuerfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That would make you an exception. The vast majority of Keurig owners (>98%) use the pre-packaged K-cups. Which would be canned. So good on you for not using the prepacks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Panini Guy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The k-cups are convenient, that is something that cannot be argued. But when comparing a cup of coffee brewed using fresh coffee grinds, and one from the k-cup is a major difference. But I do admit I use k-cups when I am in a hurry, and filling, discarding and cleaning the reusable coffee basket can be a hassle. But I do enjoy my fresh coffee over the k-cup any day!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: amatuerfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I use the K-cups at work and the Green Mountain Sumatran Reserve ones actually make a more than passable cup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: amatuerfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Count us in on the Keurig with fresh coffee group too. Love it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Instant coffee? NO WAY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Canned veggies- just beans, and tomato products.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Condensed soup- Not usually, but if I want to make Chicken spaghetti I might buy cream of mushroom. I gussy it up with cream, white wine, parm reg, and sauteed mushrooms though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I do buy canned soup. It's usually Amy's though. My one canned guilty and embarassing pleasure is Beefaroni. I sprinkle it with cheese and nuke it untilt he cheese is melted. SO GOOD.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry to be so repetitive but no canned tomatoes? What do you use in their place in the winter? Dreadful "fresh" ones?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm starting to wonder if some posters aren't "counting" canned tomatoes (consciously or not) when they answer. It's hard for me to imagine all that many people attracted to this site who feel that out-of-season tomatoes are superior to good brands of plain canned tomatoes. Or who cook (or eat out, because you know restaurants are cooking with canned tomatoes!) nothing made with tomatoes for two-thirds of the year or more. Speaking for myself (though I imagine it's also true for some others), my cooking repertoire would be much more limited, and devoid of some terrific meals, if I didn't use canned tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I just wish that the posters who say "never" would reply back. I just find it hard to believe that anyone doesn't use a single canned product.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. I think I'm a somewhat minimal user of canned products, but I put a high value on those I do use!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can't imagine not having canned tomatoes. What is passed off as a fresh tomato in the winter is one of the most unappealing foods there is. No way does it compare to good canned tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry...just returning to this thread now. Oops, you got me...I do use canned tomatoes from time to time. I don't think of those when I think of "canned vegetables". My thoughts immediately went to the canned peas, asparagus, green beans, corn, etc. of my childhood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, I have had a strange craving in the past few months for Cambell's tomato soup, but I never remember this when I'm in the grocery store. Haven't had it in years, but I adored it as a child.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hope I don't have the same experience with it as I had recently when I tasted peanut butter Girl Scout cookies for the first time in about 25 years. NOTHING like I remembered!! It was a sad day... but at least I know I don't have to spend another second pining away for the GS cookies of yore.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought it tasted weird last time I tried it. I was disappointed. I loved the Tomato-Rice soup, but it's near impossible to find here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You can get acceptable ugli ripes where I live pretty much year-round if you don't mind paying $5 or more per pound during a good chunk of the winter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. i love Campbell's Tomato Soup!......but no other canned soups and my coffee has to be brewed or french pressed

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I have used those Starbucks Via instant coffee packets under the following dire conditions:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  available brewed coffee is nasty or no other available caffeine, period. Via is not good coffee, but it tastes more coffee-like than brewed crappy coffee (airplanes, Keurig, etc). Via is also useful for certain recipes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Instant coffee, yes. I use it to make Kahlua, and on really bad days when I don't have fresh-ground, I use it to make the cup that gets me to the store to get real coffee.Canned vegetables, ummm, a few. Refried beans are one; chiles in adobo are another. I have made a pretty good chilled soup out of canned green peas, but I wouldn't buy them just to make the soup. Condensed soup, yes to that too. I usually make my own stocks and soups, but on a truly down day, there's something about a can of Campbell's veggy vegetable that hits the comfort zone like nothing else, with no work involved. I'm not saying it's good food, but it's workable and sometimes the crappy just beats the hell out of the good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Well coffee I don't drink. I don't even like coffee flavored anything. It's weird, I love the smell but hate the taste. I miss the smell of coffee since my dad died.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Canned fruits and veggies, yes, certainly I use a lot of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Salad dressings. I particularly like Marzetti's Bleu Cheese dressing. Sure I have a recipe for it that's actually probably better - but I'd have to actually make it! (starting with the mayonaisse). I like the convenience, and not having to run around trying to find the Right Stuff for ingredients.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love canned corn. I prefer canned corn to frozen, in fact. I much prefer fresh corn on the cob but you just can't get it that often.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Canned peas, canned green beans.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I buy pre-smashed garlic and ginger.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I buy Indian pickles (Patak's Brinjal Pickle, YUM!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The occassional can of Chef Boyardee or hash for when I'm feeling particularly lazy, or want something quick, easy, and not requiring refrigeration to take to school for lunch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Canned beans for chili.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Canned peaches. I actually don't even like fresh ones. Ditto apricots.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do like fresh pears, but I still like the canned ones as well.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Canned soups, not so much since my dad died. The only one I will buy for myself (when I can find it) is Progresso's French Onion soup. When my dad was still alive, it was chicken noodle soup, tomato soup, and his particular favorite was Campbell's cheese soup.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Jellied cranberry sauce, believe it or not. I absolutely love jellied cranberry sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't use evaporated or condensed milk anymore, but it was a staple as a child.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pickles. Jalapenos.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pineapple. Yes, yes, yes, the fresh stuff is ABSOLUTELY better, but half of what I can find in local grocery stores tastes funny, and it's SOOOO expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I guess the allure is it's there year round, it doesn't rot, it's there when the power's out or I can't travel because of weather, and I just feel safer with stuff in the cupboard. I was, after all, raised by Depression-era parents and grew up canning produce from our garden every year, making preserves and jelly, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So it's partly convenience, partly actual preference, and partly that it just feels WRONG not to have a pantry full of edibles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One of my staple stir fry recipes calls for canned pineapple, and it actually seems to work better that way than if you try to use fresh for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Never! on the instant coffee, but yes to the other 2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. That is so great you can afford all fresh food, all the time! You must be an amazing cook to need nothing pre-prepared. Do you make everything yourself at your house? Wonderful! Do you feed a large family at all? I would love to know how you keep all that fresh food 'fresh' and have the time to prepare everthing from scratch each night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. My 82 year old dad still drinks instant coffee even though we buy Peet's for my mom. Funny, tho, because he actually has learned to distinguish between Kraft Parmesan Cheese in the green can and real Parm Regg - and he likes the latter much better now!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            as for canned things - beans, tomatoes, coconut milk, jalapeno salsas... i never much liked canned soups, especially the condensed, so i just never got in the habit. i did like Campbell's tomato - though it's been at least 35 years!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Instant espresso for cake icing. Canned tomatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I guess I'm wondering why it bothers you so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you don't want to buy them, hey, it's your business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But if someone else wants to buy them and cook with them, why is it up to you to pass any judgement on them?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Storms, budgets, preferences, out-of-season -- there's a hundred reasons, and they're all personal, and everyone's entitled to buy and eat what they want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In the 2+ years since the OP posed his question, there has been no followup from him. Perhaps he is lucky enough to live where fresh everything is always available. Most people are not so fortunate. But even so, sometimes the things he mentioned are simply commonly used items in recipes that are excellent. e.g. Instant espresso powder in brownies to enhance the depth of the chocolate. Canned San Marzano tomatoes for making various red pasta sauces.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: decolady

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In his most recent post, he was looking for... get this... COOKIES IN A TIN Go figure. No time to bake, and you know how hard it is to make butter cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now that's funny. The holier-than-thou crowd can avoid the shame of putting instant coffee or canned tomatoes in a grocery cart by simply purchasing prepared foods that incorporate those ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How have the mighty fallen...that's a good one. Too funny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Forgot about canned tuna, sardines, clams for a quick salad or snack.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. For restocking the bomb shelter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Then when they drop the big one and we're eating Hormel Potted Meat Product mixed with Van Camp's succotash out of the can and washing it down with lukewarm Sanka, we won't feel so bad about the passing of the culture that came up with this stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: citizen Able

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hey! citizen able! you just criticized my lunch today: "Hormel Potted Meat Product mixed with Van Camp's succotash out of the can and washing it down with lukewarm Sanka" -- except i'm gonna use starbuck's "via," thankyouverymuch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I'll admit, that fresh anything is better, except for one exception.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Canned Green Beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't know why, and no matter how many times I try to prepare the fresh ones in differing ways, the canned ones, to me, still taste waaaay better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just heat them up on the stove, with a dash of Vegeta seasoning, and I'll eat the whole pot. Every other vegie is way better fresh, but never the green bean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I purchase instant coffeee and autodrip coffee. If I want just a quick cup, instant coffee. Yes on some condensed soups, not normally on veggies and fruits. We can our own fruits and veggies, soups, ketchup, bbq sauce, salsa, etc. also we freeze veggies/fruits/berries as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dscott15

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I keep lots of canned goods on hand, always. It makes me happy to see a well-stocked pantry. Currently I have:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Campbell's Scotch Broth, Chicken Noodle, Tomato, Cream of Mushroom soups.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Big assortment of tomato products, paste, diced, whole, etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tuna, Salmon
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Kidney Beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, black beans, black soybeans.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sour cherries from Poland (an addiction)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Black Olives
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Coconut milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Lots of other stuff that I don't have time to list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I always have instant coffee on hand, too; sometimes I run out of drip coffee, and instant is also nice for brownie batter. To me there's no "allure" to having canned goods on hand, it's just something that I do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. No
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes...canned corn and tomatoes are very good products
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes In addition to being timesavers, Campbells Tomato and Chicken Noodle are comfort food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Why wouldn't you buy some of these? Not knowing what products are good is a sign of

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: toomuchfat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  tmf, is that Kevin Gillespie from Top Chef 6 next to you in your avatar pic? Lucky you - when did you get to meet him?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes it is. We ate at the Woodfire Grill shortly before the finale aired. He didn't give away anything and he was most gracious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The food was very good but not outstanding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I used to eat Dannon coffee yogurt almost daily, until I realized how loaded with sugar it is. Now I take 3/4 C of Trader Joe's nonfat Greek yogurt, and stir in 1 t instant coffee, 1/4 t cinnamon, 1 t unsweetened cocoa powder and stevia to taste. It's great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. We were between coffee makers recently and I relied on instant coffee for awhile. Both of us hated it! But I decided Folgers tasted better than Maxwell House. I keep canned tomatoes, canned garbanzo beans, canned tuna and salmon, the occasional jar of beets, artichoke hearts in a jar, boxed broths, sardines. DH buys some canned soups. I don't care for condensed soup any more, so I almost never buy it. Canned corn is OK, but frozen is slightly better, and we don't eat corn that much anymore anyway. I loathe canned green beans. I have also bought jarred spaghetti sauce, but never canned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The canned goods section of my grocer has gradually shrunk, esp. in proportion to other areas which have grown exponentially.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. What can better canned sardines. I fetch mine from Brittany when cycle camping in France.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Worth the price and the effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tinned salad corn, here sweet and crispy:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A couple of weeks ago dear Marie-Celine gave me a tin of Lidl Tomato soup, months out of date, it was delicious and had that familiar twang that one expects..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It is possible, but who would only ever use fresh or only ever make from scratch?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Naguere

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        thanks for that on the Lidl tomato soup...I had a "grilled cheese and tomato soup" jones going the other day, but didn't have either on hand!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I used instant coffe in some recipes that call for a coffee or mocha flavor since instant tends to disolve well with the liquids in the recipe. I also used some canned veggies, like sliced new potatoes - makes killer breakfast potatoes! Also, canned beans. As for soup - yes I still buy Campbell's condensed for recipes and sometimes to eat, too. As for the "allure" - I think it's more of a convience for busy working moms! Quick and simple when it comes to those days when there's homework, then sports or music lessons, etc!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jillian68

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Quick and simple when it comes to those days when there's homework, then sports or music lessons, etc!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Absolutely. I do my best to make my family healthy meals mostly from scratch - but I'm not superwoman. I work part time, I have a home and pets to care for, bills to pay and, most importantly, a boy who needs a lot of my attention due to homework, sports, etc.. There just aren't enough hours in the day sometimes and certain canned (and frozen) foods come in very handy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            time was, kids walked to sports and did homework by themselves. course, that wasn't my time, you understand...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Pretty sure it's a given that Chowhounders prefer fresh. No debate with that! However, climate can be a huge restriction. We have snow on the ground at least six months of the year so we must use canned at times. However, I can and freeze my own veg including tomatoes, carrots, peas, beans and corn but there are only so many veg and space! I also oven roast my own peppers, make my own salsas, jams, jellies, marmalades, pestos, pickles, tomato sauces, ketchups, mustards and so on. But I definitely do purchase canned tomatoes and paste. Lots of them. And canned coconut milk, bamboo shoots, tuna and green beans. Sometimes even canellini beans - usually I buy dried legumes and pulses but not always.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't drink coffee but do use it for baking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Definitely no condensed soups - ever. I always, ALWAYS make scratch soups. The jiggly stuff in the cans give me the willies in a sodium-laden sort of way. I truly do not recall the last time I bought a soup.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ....must use canned? how about a root cellar, Ms/Mr it's-cold-up-here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              go ahead -- store those green beans and cucumbers and tomatoes and peaches in your root cellar and let us know how they taste in February.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                about as good as canned peaches, I'd say. and I LIKE pickles.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Why eat inferior produce out of season? (canned tomatoes are better than supermarket fresh... 'bout the only exception i'll allow)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  canned in a glass jar or canned in a can...it's still canned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (which is okay...but a lot of folks don't have the time/equipment/storage capability to keep an entire winter's worth of food on hand.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ... my sarcasm was lost! bad text-medium! (I hate canned peaches. way too sweet and flavorless).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm a big fan of not eating things out of season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chowrin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm guessing that you've never had a jar of home-canned peaches in the middle of January.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Don't knock what you haven't tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Very true, but to be fair, the OP was specifically talking about store-bought canned goods. I'm not saying I agree with him (I keep a strategic stock of cans myself), but home-canned produce is a whole other category of food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree with you..but it's not always feasible or possible...so it's better to eat canned or frozen than to not eat fruit at all for a few months out of the year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lots of folks (chefs included) use canned tomatoes - good ones, of course - in their food and recipes, even when tomatoes are in season; and certainly when they are out of season. Many other canned veggies and stuff are perfectly serviceable, and sometimes are the only way one can get something. Other canned stuff have a particular "flavor" that is distinct to it, not achievable with fresh or freshly made stuff, and which is desirable in certain circumstances. Canned soups of various kinds have their uses, and some have strong memory, taste and comfort associations for many people. Some other folks should get off their high horses and lower their noses a tad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BTW, this isn't directed towards you, sunshine - it just seemed like here was as good a spot as any to post this, which I really am making as a general statement of my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I always keep instant espresso in my cupboard for chocolate recipes (as mentioned by others). I also have a fantastic flank steak marinade that requires coffee, so it gets used for that. I've never actually tried it for making a beverage and don't plan to! But then again I gave up coffee awhile ago (much to my shock).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: caraely

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Instant coffee for camping- strong and terrible and oh so good
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Cambell's bean and bacon makes a great thickener for some other soups (15 bean and ham hock comes to mind). They have their uses but generally not great on their own.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Canned veggies- beans are okay for most things in my opinion, tomatoes- yes! I will open a can of spinach or corn for some things- wont touch canned green beans though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I sometimes buy canned or frozen peaches and cream corn and eat as a treat. I'm fond of canned baby corn too. My husband won't touch any of it, unless the frozen corn is in some kind of soup or chowder. He's not a sweet corn lover and gets more than his fill during southern Ontario summers, when the peaches and cream corn is incredible. I'm happy not to share it. More for me! I used to buy more canned vegetables, but have stopped in favour of fresh, with the exception of tomatoes and tomato products. Where I live there are many Italians, so good Italian (San Marzano or San Marzano type) canned tomato products abound. If I could buy canned piquillo peppers locally, I'd go broke just eating them out the tin all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Canned (or Tetra Pak) items I do buy are coconut milk, organic broths, sardines, imported tuna, line caught salmon, and chickpeas if I'm in a rush.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've bought gorgeous raw cured olives, as well as imported brined or cured olives from various parts of the world, all in jars. I buy pickles, chutneys, sauces, mustards, spices, all manner of imported condiments, capers, herring, mackerel and other goodies in jars or cans. I've bought galangal in a jar, because fresh (but not rotting) is extremely difficult to find where I live.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I've certainly bought instant espresso or coffee for baking, but have even consumed it nostalgically on occasion, when reminiscing about adventures abroad and the "continental breakfasts" served in cheap pensions, hostels and hotels. I've watched locals abroad return to buses after short pit stops, clutching large jars of instant coffee to take back home with them when their journeys are complete. To some, this stuff is precious and even carries some prestige. It's most bizarre in coffee producing countries, where nearly 100% of it is exported.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Frozen organic spinach has come in very handy when I needed large quantities of fresh and was unwilling to carefully wash and remove stems from fresh or couldn't afford several buckets of triple washed organic baby spinach (besides, I can't recycle those darn buckets or clam shell containers). We also always have frozen edamame (both shelled and in the pods) in the freezer at home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Edit: how could I forget sweetened condensed milk, for Vietnamese coffee and other tasty treats?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: 1sweetpea

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I keep instant espresso for baking,canned tomatoes, canned beans for emergencies, canned coconut milk, artichoke bottoms, and canned hearts of palm to which I am unaccountably addicted. i have also used canned tomatillos and chiles in adobo. and there is a brand of baked beans from Maine I love. and sometimes canned creamed corn, to my sweetie's horror.