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am I a SNOB?

I was talking to a friend the other day about general cooking things, and she showed me her jar of garlic. JAR of garlic? I guess I must have known that garlic came jarred, I must have seen it at the store, but it didn't really register. This idea sort of broke my mind. I have never even considered it, it seems "fake." Same with butter - margarine is NOT butter and I won't cook with it.

So, first, am I a snob?

If so, is the jarred garlic just as good? Is bottled lemon juice just as good? Is margarine just as good? Can I sub milk for cream? Which things can you cut corners on and not sacrifice taste?

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  1. You can dislike jarred garlic and not let on about it. It's all about decorum and not acting like your all superior (which I'm sure your not!).
    I would never use jarred garlic now, but do recall using it years ago. It tastes pretty bad.
    Foodies generally cook with the best ingredients they can and there's nothing wrong with that. As long as you don't shriek "OMG!!, you use that shit?!!"

    3 Replies
    1. re: monavano

      Oh I didn't make any kind of comment at all to her about it, I just looked at it and said it was interesting. ;) I just wondered if it really was OK to use and I'm just not because of some crazy idea I have that using cloves is better when in reality there isn't much difference. You know?

        1. re: justlearning

          I'm sure the look of horror on your face gave you away :))

          My wife thinks I'm a snob. She may be right. Maybe

      1. Being surprised by something or choosing not to do it is not the same as condemning someone for it. You're only a snob if you mock others for doing it!

        And in my opinion, you do sacrifice taste when you make some of these substitutions. But... for some people food is just fuel and the slight difference in taste just isn't a big deal. Or they may just not have the money to buy special ingredients. Or having bottled lemon juice may just be more convenient if they don't shop very frequently.

        There are a million and one reasons why people make the food choices they do. Not all of them are about taste.

        9 Replies
        1. re: greenish

          "There are a million and one reasons why people make the food choices they do. Not all of them are about taste."

          That's very true. My parents use jarred garlic, ginger, pre-cut frozen peppers, and also sorts of inferior ingredients. Though they eat healthfully, their food doesn't taste particularly good because they just don't care. They're retired and have plenty of time to cook and they have access to all sorts of amazing produce here in the Bay Area but they don't bother with it. I know I can't change them, so I don't try.

          1. re: Glencora

            I actually use pre-cut frozen vegetables (especially peppers) for a variety of reasons and see no reason why that is wrong. They are sliced fresh and flash frozen on the farm... Probably biologically fresher than a lot of items at the grocery store.

            1. re: redips

              It really depends where you live. They live two blocks from an amazing produce store where they could get local organic stuff in season. Maybe I AM a snob, or it's just because they're my parents....I want to tell them that if they have time for crossword puzzles, they have time to cut their own vegetables. But as greenish said, it's not always about taste. They're doing what they want to do.

          2. re: greenish

            Why would you assume someone who uses jarred garlic sees food as fuel? That's a pretty extreme assumption. As you yourself pointed out, sometimes convenience is a factor... Especially after a loooong work day. I love good food and fresh ingredients, but somehow I find I don't have the energy to cook from scratch every day of the week. I'm luckyvto do it twice a week! I doubt that people on these boards are cooking from all natural ingredients every day of the week. Does thatvmean that we see food only as fuel? Heaven forbid if I use instant oatmeal! :)

            1. re: NicoleFriedman

              I don't think there was anything remotely extreme about my opinion. I was saying that there are a million and one reasons why people make the food choices they do. I listed people who see food as fuel as just ONE of the many reasons. (hence the use of "or")

              1. re: NicoleFriedman

                I have to agree with Nicole. I use tubes of garlic, chilli and ginger for the stir-fries that I tend to have on weekdays. Sure, they don't taste quite as good as the fresh stuff (although I've shopped around until I've found the best ones) but I use them for two reasons:

                1. I get home from work at 7.45pm at the earliest (after leaving the house at 6.50am). I need a quick dinner, and making my own stir-fry (with fresh veggies and dried egg noodles, plus beef/chicken/tofu) is a whole lot healthier than a ready meal, but I quite frankly cannot be bothered peeling and and finely chopping garlic and ginger and faffing about with chillis. I'm hungry and tired by that point and just want food, ASAP. If I have time on the weekend I make proper food and freeze it in portion sizes, but I don't always have time and also I don't always want what I've pre-frozen. At least I'm making the stir-fry using fresh herbs and spices, rather than just dumping in a packet mix, is how I look at it.

                2. It's cheaper. The tube of chilli is £1.50, and a bag of four chillis is about £1. The former lasts a heck of a lot longer than the latter. I'm on an extremely tight budget and sadly I can't spend the money I'd like to on really good quality ingredients etc 'cause it's just not there. However, just because I can't afford to use the type of ingredients I'd like to doesn't mean I can't appreciate good food, just that I have to make my own as-good-as-I-can-manage versions.

                  1. re: Isobel_A

                    Isobel, I use hot chili paste in a tube all the time. I think the brand I use is called Amore, i think it tastes great, and it's always there on my fridge shelf, waiting for me. :)

                    1. re: Isobel_A

                      re ginger. i store it in a glass jar in the freezer and grate it on a microplane -- no need for peeling and chopping..

                1. Do you want to wear "snob" as a badge of honor? Go for it. There seems to be a trend of people touting themselves as "snobs" when really they mean selective or discerning.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: LaPomme

                    'snob' is a word stupid people use to describe anyone more refined then the lowest common denominator.

                    please don't pretend to be as dimwitted as everyone around you just because they are uncomfortable having their mediocrity challenged. more snobs please.

                    1. re: TheFoodEater

                      You're right, but the corollary to that is that people who are selective but not obnoxious about it don't call themselves snobs. Personally, I never use the word. I have no trouble, however, calling myself an elitist. ;-)

                      1. re: TheFoodEater

                        i disagree. a snob is not one who more "refined" than others, but one who thinks their tastes and choices are the only correct ones, and not sharing those tastes makes one inferior

                        1. re: thew

                          I agree. A snob imputes a certain moral or intellectual superiority to themselves based on their personal choices and preferences (as does the so-called "reverse snob" -- there's no difference between saying "I'm more refined than you are because I only eat seasonal fruit hand-picked by virgins" and saying "I'm more authentic than you are because I won't eat anywhere fancier than Joe's diner").

                          Sadly, being a snob/reverse snob often prevents people from experiencing things they might have enjoyed. I feel sorry for them (oops, does that make me a snobbery snob?).

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            Ruth L - exactly! Snobism is a zero sum game, by definition: I am more than and your are less than because of...well whatever it is you use as a diferentiator. Usually it's superficial and meaningless. I don't think the OP is being snobbish at all. They merely want to know if the jarred variety of something will perform equally, adequately or not at all as well as a fresh product. The generaly consensus is that they could perform adequately to not at all as well as fresh. However knowing that the application will matter as well as the time and cost constraints that will affect the acceptability of a substitution should be helpful to the OP.

                            1. re: aggiecat

                              I don't mind feeling a touch superior to someone just because I read serious works of literature as opposed to the sports scores. Well, I read the sports scores also, but I think you get my drift. I don't think all 'choices' are equal, and I am not even of the opinion that they are actually choices. Some people are never going to read what I am reading or eat what I am eating, and it is no longer a matter of choice or 'taste'. It is a question of limitations.

                              So I can use jarred garlic AND fresh garlic, depending on if I have one or the other on hand, what I'm making, how much work I have to do, etc.

                              And if someone tells me they would NEVER use jarred garlic (oh, the horror), then I don't think of them as a snob; I'd probably think of them as a more serious cook than I am.

                              1. re: Steve

                                "it is no longer a matter of choice or 'taste'. It is a question of limitations."

                                Wow. Not that is, imho, snobbish: to assume that people behave differently than you because of "limitations." Basically, you're saying that your taste/choices are so obviously "right" that the only reason anyone would make different ones is that they are incapable of making your choices for some reason.

                                Lot's of people make lots of choices because of taste, not "limitations." I'm guessing I will never read many of the things you do, but that doesn't mean that I -- a professional editor and English major -- have "limitations" on my reading. I can read anything (in English) I choose, and I choose not to read a wide variety of things for a wide variety of reasons (because, for example, after long days of reading technical material at work I prefer "brainless" reading; because I don't enjoy reading things that are gruesome or depressing or scary; because I think a lot of modern "serious" literature is pretentious and self-indulgent, etc.).

                                To get back to jarred garlic: I've tried it. I don't use it. Because to me it doesn't taste like garlic; if it doesn't taste like garlic, there's no point in using it when I want garlic!

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  You say that 'lots of people make lots of choices because of taste', but I see people making mostly the same choice over and over across a wide spectrum.

                                  Tastes have to be developed, and I would prefer a world where not so many people just happen to share exactly the same 'taste' for pop music, chain food, and reading nothing heavier than People magazine. Yes, I would like to see people expand their taste to buying some jazz or classical now and then, reading a novel, or gulping down some chaat, that Indian version of fast food.

                                  Just as nobody is born liking opera, there is a point where somebody either takes time to learn about something or they'll never know if they like it or not.

                                  And BTW, I never said my choices are 'right.' but since I can be mesmerized by the sports scores as well as a treatise, at least I know I've given it my best shot.

                                  As for food, I can enjoy burgers, pizza, and just about any type of food I've come across. Nobody has to like the very same places I go to, but it sure would be nice if more and more people didn't have that 'taste' for Wendy's.

                    2. I just discovered ginger in a jar and couldn't be more delighted. Since I don't cook with ginger often enough to have it on my weekly shopping list, I often have occasions when I have everything for an Asian dish except the ginger--and I hate to make a trip for just one item. I've since found out that many Indian cooks, for one, use jarred ginger and garlic since they use it in such large quantities and find convenient. But comparing an item that has been prepped for convenience with substitutions that are of dubious quality, like butter/margarine, lemon juice from concentrate/fresh, milk/cream is to some extent "apples and oranges."

                      I have time to shop, prep and cook detailed dishes. Lots of people do not....finding shortcuts that don't compromise flavor can be great for them.

                      27 Replies
                      1. re: escondido123

                        Jarred ginger is a life saver! Especially since I hate buying a whole 'nub' when all I need is a teaspoon of ginger.

                        1. re: escondido123

                          Just FYI, gingerroot keeps forever in the freezer. Just wrap it in tinfoil and take it out a few minutes before you need it, then grate it with a vegetable peeler.

                          1. re: sciencediet

                            I keep mine wrapped in a paper towel and in a zippy bag in the frezer. Good idea.

                            1. re: sciencediet

                              Depending what I seasoning or preparing I don't even defrost it, Just use a medium micro plane directly over the dish/pot.

                              1. re: Duppie

                                Which one is better, jarred ginger or frozen ginger? Does jarred ginger maintain that "crunch" (not sure how to describe it) - frozen ginger will have a weird watery texture when its defrosted, and can only be used in certain dishes (for example, not julienned in a stir fried dish). I usually keep frozen and never heard of jarred, would love to have the option.

                                1. re: chocomel

                                  There are obvious limitations with freezing ginger but the bottled alternatives I've found in the states imho aren't much better. The best I have ever used was a organic ginger paste from Australia I have not been able to find over here.

                                  1. re: chocomel

                                    I use Swad ginger and garlic pastes. These are jarred products, I get them at Indian grocery stores. For me they work well with a good flavor. They are finely grated, a paste. I keep a jar of each at my Mom's place (in the refrig) as I often cook for both of us.

                                    1. re: Quine

                                      Can I find it at Patel's or Kalustyan's?

                                      1. re: Duppie

                                        While I do not know those places, if they sell Indian Groceries, yes. Swad is a brand name and has many products. I think they re quite good.

                                        They do make a garlic/ginger mix as well, I bought it once, but prefer to buy them separate to make my own portions,

                                        I am a Polish American who only knows about Indian food from my Ex. So YMMV.

                                        1. re: Quine

                                          Patel's is a South Asian grocery mini chain in central Jersey where I generally get some decent frozen samosas,dried spices and really fresh and cheap cilantro.
                                          Kalustyan's is a old spice market in Murry Hill in NYC.
                                          Sorry, for some reason I thought you were located in the city.

                                          1. re: Duppie

                                            I actually live near LBI NJ. I will be up in East Brunswick tomorrow shopping at Hong Kong grocery, I'll check and see if they stock it,
                                            A Place named Patel sounds like they should well have it in stock,
                                            I think Swad might also have cilantro pastes and chutnies, which are good as well.

                                            1. re: Quine

                                              Don't bother, I'm in East Brunswick and shop at HK 3 TO 4 times a week, the nearest you'll get is Malaysian pickled ginger or fresh but there is a Patels on RT 9 in Sayerville.
                                              But please try the sweet and sour pork, they now prepare it Hong Kong style and it's great.

                                              1. re: Duppie

                                                WE love eating at HK and I will definitely take some roast pork and duck home. Will check out the sweet sour as well!.

                                                1. re: Quine

                                                  If you're getting the duck, buy some fresh ginger and scallions. mince equal parts of both and add a dash of soy,a splash of chili sesame oil,salt, white pepper, pinch of sugar. Mix and serve along with the duck and Jasmin rice. Our easy dinner.

                                        2. re: Duppie

                                          @Duppie, yes, Kalustyan's sells the Swad products - i used to buy them there so i just checked their website and they still carry them. they carry Laxmi as well, which is another good brand.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Thank you,I'm getting low on Chutney and Kuchela so another visit is past due.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Pretty good lunch buffet upstairs also. Ever been?

                                                1. re: Duppie

                                                  years ago - when i lived in the city. have a snack for me ;)

                                  2. re: escondido123

                                    I buy it in a toothpaste kind of tube in the fresh produce section. Awesome when I want to add just a little to a teriyaki/stir fry sauce but wouldn't otherwise go to the trouble of grating some fresh. I'm thinking of picking up some lemongrass in one of those tubes too.

                                    1. re: LaureltQ

                                      I love those little tubes too!

                                      1. re: LaLa

                                        Those are the ones I get - from the Covent Garden Food Company or something?

                                      2. re: LaureltQ

                                        I tried those I think for cilantro, but I noticed that many of them have more ingredients than I want in there.

                                        I have gotten the freeze dried herbs and spices in the jars and find they work pretty well. Right now i'm using the ready to use frozen ginger in a little shaker box thing.

                                      3. re: escondido123

                                        Jarred ginger is way better than jarred garlic, and is therefore perfectly acceptable for a snob to use. Why, I even have a jar in my fridge!

                                        Garlic in a jar should be banned or at least heavily taxed. It is way too easy for bad or iinexperienced cooks to use too much of it, rendering a dish inedibly bitter. If you do use garlic in a jar, you need less, not more, because the citric acid that's used to preserve the garlic really brings out its bitter flavors.

                                        1. re: Isolda

                                          Yes! I couldn't agree more about the jarred garlic. I had never thought it through that it was the citric acid used as a preservative that gave it that awful bitter taste. We used to frequent a pizzeria that made the best pizza with fresh garlic on it. One day we ordered it and noticed that it tasted different. We realized that they had stopped using fresh garlic and were using the jarred stuff instead. We tried it a couple more times to see if it was just a fluke, even asking a couple of times if the garlic was fresh and they always said it was. It obviously wasn't and they didn't know the difference. We find that a lot of places use that jarred stuff. Too bad! No matter how you use it in a recipe you can always taste that's its not fresh.

                                      4. I believe canned/jarred goods has a place in our kitchens.

                                        Jarred garlic, beef broth, chicken broth, commercially made pasta, bottle lemon juice... etc are good substitutes.

                                        Powdered lemonade, instant tea, margarine (except for chocolate chip cookies) are definitely poor substitutions for the original.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: dave_c

                                          Instant tea? How can you get more 'instant' than regular tea? My mind is duly blown.

                                          1. re: tavegyl

                                            Boiling water and/or milk on stovetop & using tea leaves, then straining is a bit more involved than microwave tea in bag. Perhaps that's what dave_c meant?

                                            1. re: ceekskat

                                              no, i'm guessing he meant something like this:

                                              my mother & sister both drink stuff like that (i think Lipton), and i have no idea how.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                He he, never would have occurred to me in a million years : )

                                            2. re: tavegyl

                                              It's powdered stuff you just add water to. But it's not tea! It doesn't taste anything remotely LIKE tea. I hate iced tea and that instant stuff is quite drinkable in a pinch. It has actual sugar in it instead of artificial sweeteners, so it tastes better than Crystal Light to me. (no I never bought it - they use it for cold drinks at church...)

                                            3. re: dave_c

                                              Some of us have to drink Instant lemonade because they make low-cal version and can't afford to spend 23 dollars (half my food budget) on a bag of lemons and agave syrup.

                                              1. re: YAYME

                                                You don't "have" to. Some people (like me), in that situation would just drink water.

                                            4. Everything in its place. I personally find jarred garlic useless, as it's weirdly briny.

                                              I have both margarine and bottled lemon juice in my fridge currently. The margarine is the best way (IMO) to get sauce to stick to your fried wings. The lemon juice is the only way to ensure that your raw pack tomatoes don't become moldy, since you can gauge the pH more accurately.

                                              Discernment is not exactly snobbery.

                                              1. Everybody has different taste and as many as 25% cannot taste. Some may like jarred/preserved garlic more than fresh garlic. I have gone back to garlic powder in some instances. It's just a taste component. No right or wrong IMHO.

                                                1. The real question here is are we talking about the pre-chopped to about 1/8" bits of garlic in a random liquid that I see or are we talking about fresh garlic cloves that have been de-skinned and sealed in a jar?

                                                  I used that chopped crap (opinion obviously) years ago when I first started cooking, once I found the flavor of truly fresh stuff, I have never gone back.

                                                  My father in-law always has the giant jars of individual whole garliice cloves skined but just sealed in the jar, that can be an absolute life saver when making something like linguini with clam sauce for 20 people..........etc.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: River19

                                                    I use a tube of crushed garlic, not chopped garlic in liquid.

                                                  2. Isn't some garlic jarred in oil, and considered a good thing? How is this garlic preserved in the jar? Olive oil is bottled in glass or metal.
                                                    I once tried to tell someone that I use all five fingers to get salt from a salt pig. They tried to tell me only 2 or 3 fingers was proper!

                                                      1. If you said something snide about it to your friend, or grimaced in any way, then yes. If you acted perfectly normal and remain open to the notion of eating friend's food without commenting on the garlic, then no.

                                                        Jarred garlic I've tried is so vinegary that I never use it but I used to have a boss who was from Taiwan and her house featured a huge bottle of chopped garlic she bought at a chinese market. It was remarkably good and didn't have that vinegar taste at all.

                                                        I do use bottled lemon juice periodically if I don't have lemons around. Also use milk and cider vinegar to make "buttermilk" for baking fairly often.

                                                        1. For jarred garlic... yes, you're a snob, since most people mix the garlic in with other stuff and cook it so that the raw flavor decreases and the sugar caramelizes a bit.

                                                          Bottled lemon juice is not the same, the flavor is totally different, but I'll probably only be a stickler for my cocktails. Milk and cream are different things, one is not a paler, less fresh version of the other. Margarine is trans-fatty and unhealthy for you.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: jaykayen

                                                            Margarine is trans-fatty and unhealthy for you.
                                                            that's a false over-generalization. some - like Earth Balance - are free of trans fats and hydrogenated oils.

                                                            1. Give up the question, which is superfluous, and follow your taste buds. In time, you'll be able to answer your own question.

                                                              1. I think foods that are real and fresh are almost always better than other versions. Cutting corners means different things to different people. I would use bottled lemon juice if I didn't have a lemon- but I would never "choose" to not buy lemons so I could just use the bottled stuff. I choose to use packaged dried pasta though. I sometimes make my own and dry it- but I don't do that all the time. I wouldn't consider anyone's choices as snobbish, just more or less important to them at the time.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                  But the Italians differentiate between pasta dishes that are right with fresh pasta versus those for dried, so that's not really cutting corners.

                                                                  1. re: escondido123

                                                                    Yes, but I was referring to making my own dried pasta. I used to do that all the time. I don't anymore. I just buy it dried. I would have considered that "cutting corners" years ago- but not now. I am just too busy to make *everything* myself.

                                                                    1. re: sedimental

                                                                      Because if you take it to its ultimate end, we'd have to be growing wheat, raising chickens and somehow figuring out how to get a thresher into the backyard!

                                                                      1. re: escondido123

                                                                        "Cutting corners" is different for everyone. For some people- anything other than fresh garlic is cutting corners- for others......store bought yogurt is cutting corners. It has nothing to do with being a snob, it has everything to do with what is important to each person. I could also ask.........jarred kimchi? store bought butter, ricotta, etc? bread?

                                                                2. I'm with you.

                                                                  Bottled salad dressing? Garlic in a jar? Why?

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                    Never understood bottled dressing. Haven't tried garlic in a jar, but that day may come.

                                                                  2. I'll never forget the pizza I ordered with garlic as an added topping, and what they put on it was jarred garlic...you could even tell before tasting because you could see the little clumps of it sitting on top! This was NYC pizza too; you'd think they'd know better. I've never gone to that place again.

                                                                    1. Is jarred garlic as good as fresh? Of course not. But sometimes I'm abdolutely exhausted and would rather cook with jarred garlic and bottled lemon so I don't gave to use my cutting board or order In more take-out. You're only a snob if you truly feel superior to those who make different choices than you. Feel free to think jarred garlic sucks, but only using fresh doesn't make you a better person for it:)

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                        You're only a snob if you truly feel superior to those who make different choices than you.
                                                                        couldn't have said it better myself.

                                                                      2. This idea sort of broke my mind. I have never even considered it, it seems "fake." Same with butter - margarine is NOT butter and I won't cook with it.

                                                                        So, first, am I a snob?

                                                                        No, I don't think you're a snob.

                                                                        Ignorant, maybe. But no snob.

                                                                        After all, you do realize that garlic in jars come from ... [wait for it] ... fresh garlic?

                                                                        And, you know what jarred garlic is good for? And definitely better than fresh garlic? Pickling.

                                                                        When I want to pickle some garlic cloves, I generally will buy a big tub of garlic from Costco and use those instead of fresh bulbs.

                                                                        1. So, first, am I a snob?
                                                                          if you look down on your friend for using these ingredients or think you're somehow "better" or "above" her because she uses them, then yes, you are a snob.

                                                                          as for the margarine issue, of course it's not butter, no one claims it is. but there are millions of people in this world for whom butter isn't an option for a number of reasons (veganism, Kosher observance, dairy allergy)...would you judge any of them for using margarine?

                                                                          i don't buy jarred garlic, and i only keep bottled juice on hand for emergencies because i don't like the way it tastes. and i make my own salad dressing...and hummus...and tomato sauce...and yogurt...and almond milk...and other things that many people buy prepared and would never even *consider* making themselves. but i sure as heck don't think it makes me a better person than they are. it's just what i happen to prefer, and it certainly helps that i enjoy it, and possess the skills and knowledge to do it.

                                                                          i've become far less judgmental as i've gotten older, even though i've also become more discerning...it's possible to be particular without being superior about it.

                                                                          1. Jarred garlic has its use, and avoids the acrid quality of fresh garlic. Sometimes its a good thing to have around, although fresh garlic is indeed amazing. My own taste test finds jarred pureed ginger to be identical to fresh pureed ginger. Not the same as slivers of ginger. When I didn't have fresh lemons around, I was mighty glad I kept a bottle of lemon juice. A few drops on some fish or chicken, and it was delicious. Not in large quantities mind you, but it can be a lifesaver. I am positive a good cook can make some very delicious food with all of these things, so lighten up.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Steve

                                                                              Snob, I dunno. Practical, maybe. I think jarred garlic is bland, there's too much of it, so it's wasteful (I have seen mold on it at someone else's house) and too expensive for what it is. So, I whack and plane by the clove myself. Much tastier, although smellier.

                                                                            2. I was in kindergarten in the "housekeeping" section. and the teacher was very concerned because apparently I was taking the large wooden toy knife and placing it flat on the counter and banging it. SO she thought I was developmentally delayed ..."not knowing how to use a knife" and told my mom when she came to pick me up. Well mom asked me what I was playing and I said " I was preparing garlic for my linguine and clam sauce" Turns out the teacher had never seen a "real" garlic clove!

                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                          Hope you bought her a garlic press for Christmas

                                                                                      1. Oh that's not so bad, my friend pondered about jarred garlic once and I told her I'll go over to her house and throw it in the garbage if she did.

                                                                                        But that's just how I talk in general. It really depends on the person obviously I won't say that to a person who I don't know as well.

                                                                                        1. eh, I don't get why people turn their nose up at people that buy peeled garlic. You just need to use a tad bit more of it is all, but its well worth it not to get that stench on your hands(lemon juice, salt, and whatever else anybody says doesn't work to get it out, either).

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: jrock645

                                                                                            lemon juice, salt, and whatever else anybody says doesn't work to get it out, either
                                                                                            stainless steel does.

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              Hi, goodhealthgourmet:

                                                                                              One of the only good uses of SS...


                                                                                          2. I don't think you are a snob justlearning. Finding other people who really like food feels like finding your own kind. I may be a wee bit prejudiced but thinking in fairy tale terms we hounds are the swans! I had a great conversation online while playing world of warcraft once. My friend was a fellow food enthusiast and was telling me about a pasta dish he had whipped up. I asked if he topped it off with the cheese that comes in the green cardboard tube. His response: GASP! So much fun!

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: givemecarbs

                                                                                              "cheese that comes in the green cardboard tube" ???define? I dont get it is this like a cheez wiz or something?

                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                  thank you... i like the "classic flavor enhanced" line on the label.

                                                                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                    I used to use that all the time (well, the UK equivalent anyway) and thought it was perfectly fine, until one day I met fresh parmiggiano reggiano and have never been the same again!

                                                                                                    1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                      well, for those of us who were raised on the stuff by parents who didn't know any better, i guess it is a classic ;)

                                                                                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                        ..oops!! That can says "The Classic Flavor EnhanceR". Still think that's a riot tho.. and definitely something that was a staple in our childhood home (and Mom was considered the neighborhood 'gourmet', tho she won't touch the stuff now... lol. We all live and learn!

                                                                                                2. It seems that I recall jarred, minced garlic in oil being excellent for a quick garlic bread. Though nostalgia might be coloring my judgment.

                                                                                                  Keep in mind that jarred, minced garlic will have a mellower flavor than fresh garlic, and you don't have to worry about getting it cooked just right without being burnt like you might with fresh garlic.

                                                                                                  This is coming from someone who no longer eats anything from a jar or can (except jarred olives). But even though I call myself a snob all the time, I wouldn't look down on someone using jarred garlic (or ginger, or eggplant). If you tried the garlic and it was horrible, then you're justified in your snobbiness ;)

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: guilty

                                                                                                    i always found just the opposite - jarred minced garlic has a harsher more bitter flavor

                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                      Harsh, acrid, nasty. Nothing "mellow" about it.

                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                        I think it's both harsher and more mellow: the garlic flavor is more mellow, because it's cooked in the canning process. However, the citric acid they add to it to help preserve it gives it a harshness that fresh garlic doesn't have.

                                                                                                    2. I dont think you are snobby, everyone has different tastes! Depends on the reaction..You could simply say (or not say anything at all) "Oh is it good? I acutally like so and so better, have you tried that?"

                                                                                                      or you could scoff and judge someone for liking something that you dont, believing yourself on a higher level than this person and looking down on them. It's just accepting that everyone is different. I've been looked down upon because I dont make my own tomato sauce (ketchup) and I've been judged and slapt with a label because I choose not to eat red meat. Different strokes for different folks!

                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: dinnerwithfox

                                                                                                        Yes, it's true that everyone has different tastes, since I find jarred garlic to be mellower than fresh and clearly others don't. Jarred garlic is never great like fresh, but I have used it to good effect.

                                                                                                        However, I don't believe everything is simply a matter of taste or choice. Many folks paint themselves into a corner by not developing their tastes. Just as an adult who reads nothing but the sports pages would shrink away from a work of literature. There is a point at which they are not making a choice; they are stuck.

                                                                                                        1. re: Steve

                                                                                                          True, you are right! Introducing people to new things can be difficult, but wonderful once they open up and see the 'light'. I always try to reach out to people and suggest different things, usually it works but not always of course. I guess you just have to accept that people will change/try new things when they are ready and maybe they are content on jarred garlic over fresh or fresh over jarred.

                                                                                                          1. re: dinnerwithfox

                                                                                                            Perhaps the OP is the one who needs to be opened to new new things:) I am an experienced cook and am well aware of the difference between low and higher quality ingredients. However, some days I would much rather save myself a few extra minutes chopping garlic and use the jarred (which isn't bad at all). Heaven forbid! The OP is definitely being a bit judgmental in this scenario.

                                                                                                            1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                              That's where the garlic press is your friend. Peeling and putting it through the press takes 1-2 min.

                                                                                                              I don't know that it's being judgmental if people don't like the flavor of jarred garlic. You think it "isn't bad at all". I find the jarred stuff has an off-flavor to it, and prefer fresh garlic.

                                                                                                              I don't look down on it b/c it's a shortcut, I don't like it because to me it tastes inferior to the fresh product.

                                                                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                I use pre washed, bagged, organic lettuce. Rarely, I will buy peeled garlic cloves. But I agree, the jarred stuff has a really bad off taste and texture.

                                                                                                                That's not snobbery, if it were good, I'd have some on hand for lazy or rushed meals.

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                  I use pre-washed bagged non-organic lettuce All. The. Time.

                                                                                                                  I like many of the mixes available, and I just don't want to buy 3 different heads of lettuce just to achieve the same. Also, heads of bibb/butter lettuce have been tiny and forbiddingly expensive.

                                                                                                                  I generally give even the pre-washed a lil bath in my spinner, just to be safe.

                                                                                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    I've used Earthbound Farms for years, triple washed. I have examined it so many times, never finding a speck of anything insect or dirt like in all this time. I just use it straight up based on that.

                                                                                                      2. The problem with feeling superior due to your tastes and what you know is that there is always someone who knows more. I've been cooking a long time and it is amazing what I have learned just this year, who I learned it from and what I have tasted for the first time.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: wekick

                                                                                                          i think this is a really valuable sentiment. if someone were just to discount a friend's cooking ability because that person happened to use a "verboten" ingredient like canned garlic, that person might never realize that the canned garlic person was actually a master of making scandinavian butter pastry, or perfect southern fried chicken, or something. maybe the op's friend doesn't care as highly about garlic as the op does, and simply uses this convenience product, because if s/he didn't, s/he would wind up not using garlic at all in recipes-- but in turn, the friend may take great pains with strudel pastry or homemade udon noodles or something that the op may not care so much about. it's never a good idea to rush to a snap decision on another person's cooking methods before you check out the big picture.

                                                                                                          don't let individual hangups (i insist on only 8 month aged locally grown russian red whole head garlic, anything else results in an inferior dish), unduly color the sharing opportunity that cooking and eating together presents. a dish can be made in the "way" of many different cooks who use many different methods, all of which are different from our own "way," and they can all be good.

                                                                                                        2. Interesting query and thread. I do agree that there is something ugly and unappealing about people scorning or being condescending toward others, as if to invoke a distinction between those who are better and worse as regards food. That's snobbery, and the snob in question can be clueless and incapable in many ways.

                                                                                                          That said, I have found myself observing that people sometimes do not take the degree of care that I take in cooking. One simple example: I was genuinely surprised and almost dumbfounded when visiting a friend of a friend's house and finding, while cooking dinner there, that there was no pepper mill in the house. All of their pepper is pre-ground stuff from a tin can. I think (I hope) that I adequately concealed my surprise, but indeed I was surprised: how can people cook with old pepper dust? Am I a snob?

                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                            Maybe they can't cook with old pepper dust -- maybe they don't cook in any serious way at all. A lot of people don't.

                                                                                                            People who don't cook who use inferior ingredients don't confound me nearly as much as the people who put a lot of time and effort into their cooking and still can't understand that they're wasting all that effort by not using better ingredients.

                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                              Yeah, good point: I really don't know how much cooking went on in that household--but it was a mother (single) with several kids, so I seriously doubt that they ate out all the time. But it is possible that they lived largely off packaged foods rather than cooking from scratch much.

                                                                                                            2. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                              I bet you weren't nearly as dumbfounded as I am upon returning from a summer abroad during which we had rented out our house to a grad (!) student who apparently had put GROUND pepper in my pepper mill.

                                                                                                              Found this out the hard way. Haven't stopped shaking my head about it.

                                                                                                              That pepper dust is some nasty shit, and why anyone -- restaurants in particular -- would have any of this is beyond me.

                                                                                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                                                My husband just asked me to pick up some pepper at the store...he asked me not to get those weird pepper balls...just the regular pepper. Sigh.

                                                                                                              2. It may not make you a snob but I think it makes you pretty damn petty.

                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                  Watched a re run of Frasier and his brother took out a mini pepper ginder at a restaurant and used it on his food..

                                                                                                                  1. re: girloftheworld

                                                                                                                    Thank you for making my point darlin'.

                                                                                                                    1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                      Au contraire! I've been known to carry a portable pepper grinder (and on occasion, a plastic vial of my favorite hot sauce) to use when I find myself at places that only have the pre-ground tasteless dust, BECAUSE IT MAKES THE FOOD TASTE BETTER! That's the bottom line, my friend.

                                                                                                                  2. re: PotatoHouse

                                                                                                                    Not sure I understand the word "petty" in this context. Do you mean to imply the the OP (or myself, if that's what you meant to reply to) were spiteful or unaccommodating?

                                                                                                                  3. I make my own pesto, but I do know that it is available jarred in the store.
                                                                                                                    I make my own mayo, but I know I can but jarred mayo at the store.
                                                                                                                    I don't make my own tomato ketchup though, what does that make me?

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. Jarred garlic, no. I can peel and crush a garlic clove in a garlic press as fast as I can locate a jar in the fridge. Jarred garlic always tasted burnt so I quit using it after I figured out fresh garlic wasn't difficult or scary.
                                                                                                                      I keep ginger in a container in the freezer and grate as needed. I don't use enough to have it last in the fridge.
                                                                                                                      Margarine I won't let in the house. I detest it. My mother still insists it is "healthy" and butter will kill you. She also can't understand why someone would make salad dressing from scratch when you can buy this convenient one in a bottle that takes no work. She is also addicted to frozen dinners and cheap chocolate and wonders why she has chronic GI problems. Her generation was convinced that prefabricated food was the ticket to getting out of "kitchen drudgery".

                                                                                                                      I generally try to use fresh things whenever possible when that is the first option. IE: lemons vs. bottled lemon juice.

                                                                                                                      The more I cook from scratch the less I care for some of the convenience products. Many things on store shelves have been changed over the years to increase profits that the premade item has less flavor and appeal due to cheap ingredients.

                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                                                                                        "...and wonders why she has chronic GI problems. Her generation was convinced that prefabricated food was the ticket to getting out of "kitchen drudgery"."

                                                                                                                        "The more I cook from scratch the less I care for some of the convenience products."

                                                                                                                        1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                                                                                          Margarine is helpful for those who have dietary or religious issues. Dietary = lactose intolerant; religous = no mixing of meat/chicken and milk products. I bought margarine a few months ago thinking I would bake something for Passover. I didn't, and it sits in my fridge. G-d forbid someone opens the fridge door, sees it and passes judgement on me.....

                                                                                                                          1. re: alwayshungrygal

                                                                                                                            I blame my burning hate for margarine on it being the only thing in the house growing up due to my mother being convinced it was healthier than butter.

                                                                                                                            1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                                                                                              "Burning hate" for margarine. Well take consolation that it probably has a higher smoke point than butter.

                                                                                                                              I literally cannot remember that last time margarine passed my lips. I associate it with my Grandma, who always called it "Oleo."

                                                                                                                        2. thought I'd posted but can't find-if it's a repeat > forgive.
                                                                                                                          our DD uses it incessantly.
                                                                                                                          that said when I'm there since I know her crazed affection for
                                                                                                                          garlic on almost everything > I use it when cooking. I've bought her whole bulbs and frozen them-or used them straight away, of course she never knew. I bought an ever so tiny jar for the MH but have yet to crack it. I'm not a fan, but heck 'in a pinch' I'd be thankful. that said my MIL always had on hand in the pantry onion oil extract & garlic oil extract Durkee brand.
                                                                                                                          so perhaps jarred is equivalent or a notch better even.

                                                                                                                          1. fresh garlic is a no brainer to me, better.
                                                                                                                          2. bottled lemon juice, uh 'NO'.
                                                                                                                          do I use it in a pinch (keep the plastic yellow bottle) sure but moms Myer lemon juice that I keep frozen in ice cube trays-now that's a clear winner.
                                                                                                                          3. margarine, I keep Imperial in the freezer for quick batches of cookies if I somehow ran out of butter and it's a suitable sub albeit no where near butter. I just bought 3 lbs of Irish butter from Dunn's in Limerick.
                                                                                                                          4. I use milk often ff milk in
                                                                                                                          fact instead of cream simply to stave off excess calories. but make no mistake if it needs cream I have single-double-clotted-sour-heavy-whipping & 1/2&1/2 available at all times.
                                                                                                                          one thing comes to mind as a sub that I prefer to fresh-
                                                                                                                          dehydrated/dried celery leaves. the other day I posted making a version of my MIL's potato salad. we all know celery is a usual suspect in typical 4th of July BBQ potato salad, I'm not speaking of German or warm or any other potato salad, I talking what I grew up with in sunny SoCal.
                                                                                                                          I didn't have any fresh celery which is typical in mine for good crunch but not a lot as it's really assertive.
                                                                                                                          MIL's version contained (in my memory) little if any celery. but I did have the Durkee and used a maybe a scant 1/2 tsp.
                                                                                                                          much more preferable without being over bearing.

                                                                                                                          now for the real reason for opening chowhound today-is being posted next in the sticky toffee pudding category. photos included - uh yummmm