Friday, April 29, 2011

More No-Name Reviews

Continuing on my No-Name Experiment, I've tried many, many products and several of them are now staples in our cupboard. As was pointed out in the comments ages ago, things that are the simplest tend to be the best, or to make little difference.
I have found that beans of all kinds (Chic Peas, Black Beans, Romano Beans, Pork n' Beans) are fine (though sometimes have more salt then I'd like).
Tuna, bottled lemon juice, canned tomatoes and tomato paste (both salt-free!) are great, just as good as brand name.

I am a huge fan of No Name perogies. G is a HUGE fan of perogies, so we eat them at least once a week. We were surprised at how good the No Name brand was. We had eaten some Cheemo brand recently (Feta, Spinach and Potato flavour) and those were amazingly good, so the No Name ones didn't live up to those, but they were as good as any other standard potato/cheese ones I've had. They have become a staple in our fridge.

I believe someone mentioned ketchup not being worth it, but I haven't found much of a difference. I don't buy Heinz ketchup ever since I went to Mexico and saw small children picking their tomatoes, so I probably don't know what I'm missing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lobster Time

One of the things that excited me about moving out east is the possibility of cheap lobster. Well, yesterday we drove past a sign that said $5.99/lb. I knew that in the grocery store it had been anywhere from $9-12, so this was a deal! They were also selling seal flippers, but I passed (I'd like to try them someday, but I think I'd like someone else to cook them for me first). 

So we brought home 3 lobsters. Our first challenge was at the truck. Would we like males or females? Uhhh.... "We're not going to be breeding them..." says Paul. We were informed that the difference is the size and the possibility of roe inside the females. Alright, so with that decision done (we got 1 female and 2 males), we set to cook these suckers.

I tried not to be squeamish. I really wanted to be okay with dropping them in the pot. But man, it was harder then I thought. They MOVED around and kinda freaked out when they got close to the steam. I had to wear oven mitts to grab mine. And I only had the courage to do one. 

There is a video of the first lobster going in, but the amount of freaking out by both of us is an indignity I'm not quite willing to share. 

Paul went mittless for the other two.

Then, there they were. All red and cooked. Much happier (to us, not to them) , much easier to deal with.

Then came the trouble of eating them. The tails weren't too bad, but the claws were a tough crack. We don't own any of the tools of the trade, so we had to improvise with pliers and a hammer from our toolbox. By the end there were shells and bits of lobster everywhere. I can see why people wear bibs for this kind of thing.

They were tasty. 

And we decimated them.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

On Packaging (No Name)

What I've quickly discovered in buying so many no name products is that one of the ways they cut corners is in packaging.
The re-sealable seals don't work, the caps sometimes leak, and it's better to just cut bags open rather then try to pull them apart. Little things that have been improved in packaging on say, a bottle of lemon juice (the cap has a flip top with a little hole to squeeze it out of) aren't there on the no-name (just a screw top). Clearly, these are the conveniences we are paying those few extra cents/dollars for.
Are they worth it? I'm going to go with no. As long as you pay attention and use other means of closing things, it shouldn't be an issue and the savings are good.