Saturday, April 2, 2011

When to spend and when not to spend


Many times I see or hear of people spending money on top quality products but using them when the difference in the money spent will not be noticeable.

Depending on what you are doing with your products, you don't need to use the most expensive ingredients.  Spend your money wisely. It is true you can't make great food with inferior products but that doesn't mean you need to use a $35 bottle of olive oil when sauteeing beef for your stew.

I follow this general rule: I spend the money and use the best products when I am not cooking those products. Heating or cooking food products alters the flavor. Think sushi. If you want to make a tuna salad sandwich you don't need to spend the money to buy an expensive, sushi-grade tuna because you will be cooking the tuna completely. If you are making sushi, naturally the tuna will be raw so you want the buy the best quality tuna you can find because you will be able to taste it.

Here are some examples. If you are going to dress a salad, then use the best olive oil, vinegar and salt you can find because you are pouring those products right out of the bottle or container and consuming them.
Anytime you are making a liquid based dish such as a soup, sauce, stew or seasoning water for cooking food, then don't use the best, most expensive seasonings because you won't be able to taste the difference in those contexts anyway. 

Top quality food products like sea salt, oils, vinegars and mustards, just to name a few, can be expensive but remember a little goes a long way and they are not products you would most likely be using everday so keep them and use them when it counts.

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