HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Foods where home made and store bought are totally different.

I was thinking about this while drinking orange juice. It's currently orange season, and there city is peppered with fresh-squeezed orange juice trucks. Literally, it's a guy with truck full of oranges and a gas powered juicer. The juice is fantastic; fresh, pulpy, and with an almost green taste to it. However, it tastes absolutely nothing like any store bought juice I've had, no matter what the label says.

So I was wondering what other foods there are where the version you make at home, and the version you buy in the grocery store are so completely different that you would have trouble telling that they're nominally the same food. I'm not talking just about quality - my spaghetti sauce is infinitely better than Prego from a jar, but you can tell that they're both spaghetti sauce.

Another example would be mayonnaise. Homemade, fresh mayo made with egg yolks and olive oil and jarred mayo from the store are so different as to be two different types of food.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. - almond milk
    - hummus & bean dip
    - salsa

    2 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        So true! Though I haven't tried to make almond milk at home.

              1. I think some of you may be missing the OP's question. I have had store bought bread and guac but the bread was still bread (though not nearly as good as fresh, home made) and the guac was still green and mushy, tasting faintly of avacados but I could still tell they were trying to make a guacamole. I think some of the processed cold cuts at Subway are so tasteless that I could not tell you what kind of meat they are with my eyes closed., definitlely unrecognizable flavor.

                6 Replies
                1. re: LorenM

                  i think we sort of need to meet in the middle on this one in terms of interpretation, as taste experience is a highly subjective matter. take the OP's OJ example - i'm guessing if you yanked any person of the street and fed them one or the other of the two juices described, they'd still identify it as OJ.

                  and re: guacamole i was actually going to add that one to my list as well. in my extremely limited experience with the store-bought variety, none of it has ever even tasted like avocado to me.

                  my homemade versions of the things i mentioned are different enough - in taste, texture, or both - from their store-bought counterparts that to *me* they might as well be different foods.

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    ghg, the guac I was thinking of in replying to this was indeed a different food! Upon tasting and grimacing and then reading the label, I found there was no avocado whatsoever in the product. None. It was green and mushy. But that was about it. Live and learn, I guess. The price of laziness...but I've never fallen victim to that particular lazy impulse since!

                    1. re: cayjohan

                      Store bought guac is gross- no doubt and contains very few avocados. I guess I was taking the OP too literally. I did think of another one- chicken and dumplings. From the can they are nothing like the good drop biscuit dumplings I grew up with on top of the chicken stew. Canned c&d just has these little white mushy balls for the dumplings.

                      1. re: LorenM

                        Boy, isn't that the truth with dumplings? They just don't seem to survive the ride from home-made to ready made, at least in the way we're discussing. Back in my college days I tried a couple of cans in a fit of home-taste need and wondered what the heck I was eating, as it sure wasn't what I was expecting. Maybe that's the secret boon with some store-bought stuff: it makes us motivated to make it at home and get what we're really looking for!

                      2. re: cayjohan

                        There are about five different packaged guacamole brands at my grocery store that are at least 95% avacado that are actually pretty tasty. And about 1-2 faux guac dips consigned to the lonely place in the cheese & dairy section that's next to the Velveeta.

                        1. re: beachmouse

                          beachmouse, the faux guac I got was merch'd exactly like that! (Little local market where I'm much more likely to fall prey to the must-have-that whim!) I've since tasted a few of the 95-percenters at others' homes, and found them...okay - although my pissy little "I'll just make my own" has left me a bit spoiled, even with the lousy past winter of avocados. My biggest gripe with the guacs (95%) I've tasted is that they've been *flavored*, and didn't have the vibrant ripe avocado taste standing out. Sorry I don't have brands to cite - I didn't pay enough attention at the time. I wouldn't spit them out by a long shot, but they just don't taste anything like fresh guacamole to me anymore. But: like I need to hork down guac. Believe me, I could!

                          My aforementioned faux guac? You hit the nail on the head with the Velveeta neighborhood reference!

                  2. I don't agree. The OP referenced OJ as an example.

                    Artichokes is what I thought of. Canned or jarred artichokes do not even to begin to replicate a fresh steamed artichoke.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: laliz

                      yes! canned artichokes and fresh artichokes really might as well be from two different plants.

                      1. Your post is a bit confusing and is very subjective. I think OJ from a supermarket is inferior but it tastes like oranges to me. On the other hand, Prego from a jar tastes NOTHING like what I grew up eating in my Italian American household. If you gave me Prego and I tasted it blindfolded, I would think you were giving me heated up ketchup with some spices added.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ttoommyy

                          Totally agree!

                          But we have to remember, there are loads of non- Italian Americans who grew up on jarred sauce. Maybe they can make a darn good home-made sauce now - but they still probably associate the jarred sauce taste as the norm.

                          We have that Sunday gravy in our genes and will never associate jarred with the real thing!

                        2. Homemade soup vs any canned soup I have tried.
                          Homemade mayo vs Hellmans or Duke's
                          Homemade (ok, just freezer/homemade) strawberry jam vs. smuckers (homemade tastes like fresh strawberries)
                          Homemade pasta vs the usual store bought dried stuff

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jeanmarieok

                            "Homemade pasta vs the usual store bought dried stuff"

                            That is comparing apples to oranges. Dried pasta is not an inferior version of fresh pasta. They are two absolute different foods. Fresh pasta may contain olive oil and eggs in addition to the flour and water. Most dried pasta is flour and water only and meant to be that way. Both are widely used in the best restaurants in Italy. Which is used depends on the sauce and the mouth feel the chef is going for. The two types of pasta should NEVER be compared. :)

                          2. homemade southern biscuits vs. Pillsbury

                            1. Baked beans, where you make your own sauce, soak, bake for hours, etc. vs. Pork-n-beans in a can.

                              Homemade tortilla chips vs. in a bag. NO comparison. Same goes with potato chips. No comparison.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: natewrites

                                A hearty second on the baked beans. Homemade baked beans are sublime! (And you get more than one measly little chunk of salt pork...but I'm tipping my hand on my predilection vis-รก-vis beans. <grin>) While I can certainly *tolerate* canned, the miles between, say, Bush's, and homemade are just too far to travel back. Especially with a dish that doesn't require that much effort other than oven-tending.

                                1. Frozen pizza and fresh pizza.

                                  1. ketchup and tomato sauce also taste very different when made from scratch.

                                      1. pesto i think has a big difference in fresh homemade and the werid jar stuff.