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Do you compare many versions, recipes, or brands of one food..? What?

GraceW Jan 7, 2011 09:12 PM

I love to buy multiple versions of one thing and compare them. In the past, I went on a 3 day cupcake crawl around Chicago--to find the best cupcake (Molly's was the best!); compared brands of oatmeal; compared caramel corn at multiple establishments; compared chocolate chips (Sunspire grain-sweetend CChips are amazing); compared yogurts (FAGE went in as #1, and after the tests, stayed #1); compared Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes (NY Times all the way) and brownie recipes (Outrageous Brownies or Baker's Chocolate Brownies); etc.

I am curious: do you also compare items? What have you compared/tested?... And what brand or recipe or establishment did you determine was best?

  1. s
    sueatmo Jan 8, 2011 08:36 AM

    I like your style! I wouldn't do this for baked goods though, because I have to eat low carb. I generally try brands in a product category over a period of time and find my preference that way. And sometimes my preferences change. For me price is factor in most choices.

    But I might try your method on something. It might be fun.

    18 Replies
    1. re: sueatmo
      s
      sophiejj Jan 8, 2011 12:29 PM

      I also eat very low carb, and eat a lot of the same things day in and day out. Peanuts, for example. I love In-shell Hoody's with their thin skins, but then recently started the Safeway brand which are much bigger, and have a nice heft and thicker skin.
      Fage all the way, as far as the only yogurt i can eat low carb, i.e. Greek-style.
      Sue, what low carb things are staples for you? Particular brands?

      1. re: sophiejj
        AreBe Jan 8, 2011 01:36 PM

        If a Kroger is convenient, check their CarbMaster yougurt. The vanilla has 4g carbs in a 6oz serving.

        1. re: AreBe
          GraceW Jan 8, 2011 01:46 PM

          I never knew so many Hounds ate low carb.. and it is making me wonder if I eat too many carbs..

          1. re: GraceW
            goodhealthgourmet Jan 9, 2011 05:05 PM

            stop right there! if you're in good health and your doctor hasn't given you any medical reason for cutting back on carbs, don't you dare consider doing it just because you notice others are. instead, enjoy the heck out of every last one for those of us who can't ;)

          2. re: AreBe
            s
            sophiejj Jan 9, 2011 05:27 PM

            Used to live in MI with kroger. Now back home in CA... No kroger, though I now sweeten the fate with sugar free syrups. I miss the days in 2002 and 2003 when there were more low carb products, though so many of them were a sham, that CM yogurt WAS good!

          3. re: sophiejj
            s
            sueatmo Jan 9, 2011 04:47 PM

            Nancy's low fat cottage cheese (Whole Foods) comes in at only 3 net carbs per 1/2 c. I have tried various brands. Nancy's is the sourest, but i don't care. It has the fewest carbs. I eat Fage (1/2 c) far, far too much! I like Whole Foods nuts, and I have compared these all over the place. The best natural almonds are at Costco. But overall I prefer the natural or roasted nuts at WF. On peanuts, if you are ever tempted to buy shelled peanuts, beware. Most of them have a coating that contains carbs. You can check the list of ingredients to be sure,

            I like the Rudy's double fiber bread I find at WF. But when I need 2 slices for something, I use Lewis Bakeries Low Carb bread which comes in at 7 net g of carb per slice. They also make a 6 and a 5 g slice. If I am doing step 1 of my eating plan I eat the 5 g stuff which has that bitter taste of soy, but it is better than tasteless low carb wraps.

            I confess I use Splenda for some sweetness. I don't like stevia, apparently.

            I use Smuckers chunky natural peanut butter and Polaner jam as well as Dickinson's, which I like best but which has 4 carbs per Tbls. The blackberry is good.

            I also confess to indulging in a Hardee's low carb burger, no mayo or ketchup.

            OK, your turn!

            1. re: sueatmo
              goodhealthgourmet Jan 9, 2011 05:09 PM

              have you tried Friendship Cottage Cheese? i think it's far better than Nancy's, and the low-fat has the same carb count.

              as for stevia, some people really just never develop a taste for it, but some brands are definitely better than others. which one(s) have you tried?

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                s
                sueatmo Jan 9, 2011 06:19 PM

                Stevia in the raw. I just couldn't ever like it. Others say that Truvia is great, that its sweetness is pure. But if I am OK with Splenda (I don't use it that much really) and I already have some, I don't want to pay the expense of a bunch of Truvia and then know for certain I don't like it.

                I've never seen Friendship Cottage Cheese in any market that I know of.

                1. re: sueatmo
                  goodhealthgourmet Jan 9, 2011 06:45 PM

                  i hear you - one of my biggest complaints about stevia is the price. but i can't eat chemical sweeteners so i don't have much of a choice!

                  i'm not sure where you live, but here's a link to the Friendship locator...
                  http://www.friendshipdairies.com/prod...

                  definitely try it if you can find it somewhere - best cottage cheese on the planet.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    s
                    sueatmo Jan 9, 2011 07:28 PM

                    It looks like Whole Foods carries the product. I'll watch for it.

                    I have noted that different Whole Foods carry different brands in different areas. I didn't find the Rudy's double fiber In Porltand OR, for instance. I found a local bread that was similar but not the same.

                    I forgot another product I use. Hood's Calorie Controlled 2% milk.

                    1. re: sueatmo
                      goodhealthgourmet Jan 9, 2011 07:40 PM

                      yeah, Whole Paycheck is inconsistent with brands across regions...and unfortunately their markup on Friendship is *ridiculous* - or at least it is out here in California. keep an eye out for it at any stores you happen to shop at - you never know. and since you can get Hood products near you and they're also a New England-based company, you might luck out.

              2. re: sueatmo
                s
                sophiejj Jan 9, 2011 05:24 PM

                I like nancys cottage cheese, too.
                I appreciate the warning about peanuts in shell, but I have been low carbing strictly for 13 years and maintained my low weight for 8 years, so I guess I am ok with the peanuts.
                I use a lot of sugar free flavored syrups with splenda and use other 0 carb sweeteners like sweetzfree and eurythritol for my sweet fix.
                Eat lots of egg whites, tuna wrapped in lettuce, turkey and fish.
                I love in n out protein burgers or fuddruckers buffalo burgers, but don't eat them too often.
                I eat grapefruit as my main carb splurge and flat out breads with hummus on occasion. Haven't tried either bread you mentioned, so that might be a new addition. Thanks for the recs!
                Which plan are you on? Over the years I have spent 3 years on catkins, the rest on the zone.

                1. re: sophiejj
                  s
                  sueatmo Jan 9, 2011 06:29 PM

                  I'm doing Metabolism Miracle, the same plan I wrote here about a year ago, and got all kinds of cautions. I didn't want to post about it any more here. I knew I needed to eat low carb and so I started in. I mentioned peanuts not in the shell, but in a jar. Obviously I didn't make myself clear. If you have been doing this for 13 years, you obviously know your stuff.

                  I like the coffee syrups I get from netrition.com. SF syrups are hard to find here.

                  I am curious why you eat egg whites instead of the whole egg? I eat the whole egg. We still eat our faux sausage from Morningstar, but I haven't developed a taste for any other veggie burger.

                  I am supposed to have 11-20 carbs five times a day on this step. But I am reluctantly coming to the conclusion that these are too many. I don't lose this way. I could stay on it for my lifetime, I think, if only it worked! I can lose on step 1 but I hate it. I really hate it.

                  I think I will have to design my own plan ultimately.

                  1. re: sueatmo
                    s
                    sophiejj Jan 9, 2011 08:44 PM

                    I think I just love egg whites more and never loved the yolks even as a kid.
                    11-20 carbs 5 times a day is pretty high, but still less than typical American diet.
                    I hear you on the ranting against low carb. Like I said, done it strictly for years, but people still think I'm eccentric. I graduated HS at 230 pounds and have been less than 120 since 2003... You'd think they'd leave me alone:) actually, they have for the most part since now they know I'm not going to change. In the beg., tho, or whenever I am with a new group of people (new job or something) I still get the eye roll. People with normal metabolisms just don't get the effect carbs have on the rest of us!
                    Do you eat meat? Just curious about the morningstar.

                    1. re: sophiejj
                      s
                      sueatmo Jan 10, 2011 06:37 AM

                      Yes. Honestly I don't know how I would do this as a vegetarian, although I am sure it is possible. I also cook for Mr. Sueatmo, who definitely wants his meat. But we don't have meat at every meal, and when we were casting about for a leaner sausage we found Morningstar. We both like them well.

                      For me it has been a lifelong burden. I used WW for decades off and on. I think you finally have to make permanent changes, and I feel this is the permanent change I need to make. I have had little grief from immediate acquaintances and family.

                      Yes, I feel that I need to decrease the daily carb intake. I feel I need more info about all of this. I have heard others say they can feel it when they get too many carbs, but I am not in that category.

                      I also increased my physical activity and am always going for a little more.

                      I am interested in knowing how many carbs you allow yourself, and how you arrived at that number.

                      1. re: sueatmo
                        s
                        sophiejj Jan 10, 2011 02:06 PM

                        As far as daily carbs probably 40-50 total, all from grapefruit or veggies (minus fiber say 25-35 net).

            2. re: sueatmo
              c
              clint1245 Jan 8, 2011 01:01 PM

              I have been on a flavored mustard kick. Favorite one to date is a cabernet roasted garlic mustard. Also love horseradish mustard.

              1. re: clint1245
                s
                sophiejj Jan 9, 2011 08:48 PM

                Cabernet roasted garlic... I'm a mustard fiend but oddly loyal to plain yellow. Where did you find the Cabernet one?

            3. w
              Whats_For_Dinner Jan 8, 2011 09:50 AM

              Aside from my recent peanut butter fanaticism, I've recently been comparing black sesame ice creams (when I can find them) and I spent the Christmas season trying new ginger cookie recipes (and didn't end up with one single one that REALLY satisfied me...)
              With things I eat a lot of (say, oats, butter, dried pasta, canned goods, etc.) I try to buy different brands from the usual, when I have the chance, and compare. It's funny how often I'll find that the brand I've been buying for ten years is inferior to something else that's just as cheap and easy to get.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Whats_For_Dinner
                vil Jan 10, 2011 03:04 PM

                Lucky you, that you have more than one brand of black sesame ice-cream to choose from, in your area! So, which ones come out as your favourite then?

              2. ipsedixit Jan 8, 2011 01:56 PM

                Mustards (all types, e.g. yellow, dijon, honey, etc.)

                Vanilla ice cream (either packaged store-bought or scooped from an ice cream shoppe)

                Canned soups (favorite is Progresso -- both for its flavor and wide availability)

                Butterscotch candy

                Dark chocolate (>75%) (for nibbling and cooking)

                Sugar-free bubble gum

                1. hyacinthgirl Jan 10, 2011 02:42 PM

                  I'll admit it, I'm a compareaphile, I have to compare, I must!
                  I've done cupcake hunts (no clear winner to be honest) and burger hunts (Umami is holding so far).
                  Currently, I find myself constantly comparing pizza shops in LA (my favorite is Vitos)

                  I also always compare store bought soups (also a Progresso fan), pickles (I'm hooked on Bubbes for now), and when I'm splurging, potato chips (haven't found a brand I can get on the west coast that beats Grandma Utz).

                  I once spent a weekend trying a slew of red pepper soup recipes. None of them were quite what I was looking for, but I did give my kitchen a nice Jackson Pollack style red paint job.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: hyacinthgirl
                    goodhealthgourmet Jan 10, 2011 02:54 PM

                    have you tried Ba-Tampte pickles? good stuff. and for something beyond the standard kosher dills check out Rick's Picks - i'm particularly fond of their Smokra.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      hyacinthgirl Jan 10, 2011 03:13 PM

                      Ooh, I have not. Where do you get them?

                      1. re: hyacinthgirl
                        goodhealthgourmet Jan 10, 2011 05:19 PM

                        random locations of Albertson's, Pavilions, Ralph's & Whole Paycheck carry the Ba-tampte pickles...or you might luck out at Gelson's or Bristol Farms. and you can also get them at any of the kosher markets on Pico or Fairfax.

                        and [unfortunately] Whole Paycheck is the only real source for Rick's Picks products here in LA. i *wish* i could find the Smokra somewhere else without having to order it online.

                  2. Miss Needle Jan 10, 2011 02:50 PM

                    I'm kind of torn on this one. On the one hand, I like to compare things because I like to find the best version. However, I hate comparing things because I love variety. If I'm going to truly compare things, I need to do it a short time span to be able to assess better. While I love chocolate cake, if I have 10 versions of it over a period of two days, I'm probably not going to like chocolate cake anymore -- well, at least for the next couple of weeks or so.

                    1. rworange Jan 10, 2011 03:15 PM

                      Um, yeah

                      There was the great 49 can sardine taste-off - winner Angelo Parodi Sardine Portoghesi all’olio di olivo
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/320712

                      The oatmeal-o-rama - bottom line is it really doesn't matter
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/377271?tag=search_results;results_list

                      The Hatch chile recipe-a-thon
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/434370?tag=search_results;results_list

                      The chayote chronicles
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/335827

                      My SF Bay Area cupcake crawl - still like La Farine or FatApples the best
                      http://www.chow.com/lists/1042

                      Persuing the perfect pumpkin pie, not on the list but the best was in Antigua Guatemala
                      http://www.chow.com/lists/edit/572

                      Searching for Hot Cross bun heaven - it is a moving target and changes yearly
                      http://www.chow.com/lists/edit/1138

                      The Gravenstein Apple adventures - Kowzlowski Farms
                      http://www.chow.com/lists/edit/14970

                      My current Guatemalan coffee crawl (still have to update this) - Cappucino; Cafe Saul in Guatemala City, Regular coffee: Bagel Barn in Antigua
                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/7685047@N02/sets/72157624948977371/

                      Le Croque-off - Best Bay Area Croque monseur: The Butler and the Chef, SF
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589139

                      There are others I can't think of off the top of my head. I was into dark chocolate bars for a while and came to the conclusion I just don't like dark chocolate all that much.

                      And lots more pre-Chowhound days such as the year of the pannetone when I tried about a dozen.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rworange
                        GraceW Jan 11, 2011 03:37 PM

                        Wow! That is quite the impressive list. Everyone always thinks I am odd for trying things and trying to control the 'procedure' so that it is an accurate assessment--I am glad you do the same. Your review-posts are very informative too; bravo & thanks for sharing.

                        1. re: GraceW
                          j
                          jumpingmonk Jan 11, 2011 04:03 PM

                          Ah, a person after my own heart. I basically compare shop everything, resturuant food included. I just got back form my weekly trip to Chinatown (normally this would be tomoroow but I decided to not risk trying to get around in the snow) as part of my comparison I ended up coming how with no less that five order of beef with ginger and scallions (well four beef and scallions and one beef an chives, but you know), each from a different resturant in flushing, Nor is this at all unusual, for me to come back with five or even six orders of something in my attempts to find truly maginficent ones. I basically do this for everything, sooner or later (BTW todays winner in B&S was Flushing Noodle)

                          Oh and I have also done the great Pannetone survey, In fact I do one every year, my current two front runners are Bauli and Tre Maria (bear in mind though, that I'm not personally a big fan of chesnuts or hazelnut icing so ones that have those tend to skew quite low on my list. If you do like chesnuts or icing, your conclusions may differ)

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