Brand names

Bon Appetit just published a list of go-to brand names: Heinz kechup, Barilla pasta, Philadelphia cream cheese, Domino (or C&H) sugar, Hellman's (or Best Foods) mayonnaise, San Marzano (the brand) tomatoes, Organic Valley butter, Fage Greek yoghurt, Maldon sea salt, Rancho Gordo beans, King Arthur flour, Red Boat fish sauce. What do you think? I use most of them, and the only one not on my radar was the butter



Rupal P. December 5, 2012
I don't go for San Marzano brand tomatoes - I instead look for tomatoes that have the DOP seals. I don't believe that the San Marzano brand has it. As far as others - well, there aren't many options outside Philadelphia cream cheese are there. And well, as a dedicated Pittsburgh schoolgoer, I wouldn't pick anything but Heinz ketchup!
Linn December 2, 2012
Taste is 100% subjective. As Chef UNO points out, lists are helpful for less experienced shoppers. As Ranch Gordo points out, making a list is great for sales. I really like the Ranch Gordo product and have been buying mail order now for the last three years. When all is said and done, I like to encourage others to make their own decisions based on their own taste whether or not a particular brand made a certain list.
Bevi December 2, 2012
Yes, QS, the Bonne Bouche is delicious. As is their salted butter in the little basket.
Allison's cookbook is really quite nice and a wonderful showcase for all her products.
Bevi December 1, 2012
I like Organic Valley butter, but want to put in a work for Vermont Butter and Cheese. If you use their mascarpone in the purple container or their creme fraiche in the hot pink container, you know their products. Their butter is out of this world, as are their soft cheeses. Alison Hooper, the owner, recently published a wonderful cookbook that is full of great ways to use their products in great recipes.
QueenSashy December 1, 2012
Bevi, I completely agree. Their Bonne Bouche goat cheese is an absolute masterpiece.
Greenstuff November 30, 2012
On the Rancho Gordo story: one of the things I found interesting about the total list was that it had a lot of standards for tastebuds formed over a lot of decades--Philadelphia cream cheese, Helman's, Heinz--but also had some new products that may be on their way to becoming standards. Living where I do, I can buy Rancho Gordo beans at three places all located within a 15-minute walk. So I hadn't thought about the marketing boost. Kudos, Rancho Gordo! Well-deserved notice.
Greenstuff November 30, 2012
On fish sauce: I've used that Three Crabs brand,but Kasma Loha-unchit, a well- respected teacher of Thai cooking in the San Francisco area, does not recommend it, as it is not naturally fermented. She likes Golden Boy and Tra Chang. I know that Red Boat, the BA favorite, has come up in past Hotline discussion and was recommended it for the FOOD52 52.
Sam1148 November 30, 2012
Miso Master (From Washington state, or OR) makes a great miso.
For fish sauce--I get the one with the three crabs on the label from the Asian store.
LLStone November 29, 2012
I've bought a lot of food items in my life, and wasted some money on some icky stuff, so I appreciate this list and think it's pretty much dead-on. I am a huge fan of Maldon salt, Rancho Gordo beans, and Fage yogurt, mostly because of this site and a research buy. Now these things are always in my pantry. As for Philly cream cheese, Heinz , Barilla, Dominos, King Arthur and Hellman's, I pretty much decided those were the best on my own, but I did try the generic brands or other well-known brands before deciding. I'm happy to now know of a reliable fish sauce, as I've discarded two bottles due to their severe funkiness. At any rate, I will try the Red Boat fish sauce and Organic Valley butter! As for the tomatoes, I've always purchased Red Gold. Having said all that, I think it's nice to have a tested list of go-to staples, especially for new cooks.

Voted the Best Reply!

RanchoGordo November 29, 2012
I can understand some skepticism (or even cynicism!) but you can imagine it is for a small company like ours, Rancho Gordo, to be included on a list like this. We don't advertise or use a national distributor so it's a huge thing for us and introduces us to a whole new audience.
QueenSashy November 29, 2012
You deserved it. I like your beans a lot.
Greenstuff November 29, 2012
Food52 isn't taking links at the moment--those of us with full inboxes today know why. So take out the spaces here (maybe it'll work)
www. bonappetit. com/ recipes-how-to/ seal-of-approval
ATG117 November 29, 2012
is there a link to this. I can't find it.
FutureChef November 29, 2012
Empire Mayo by Sam Mason and for the record, as a cook, I generally do make my own mayonnaises, aiolis, etc., however, when I want a spectacular mayonnaise, I look to Sam Mason because as far as I am concerned, he's a culinary god. He cooked a meal that changed the way I see food and thus my life so if I want some mind-blowing mayonnaise, I look no further than his empire. Besides, where else can you get wasabi, coffee, or saffron mayo not to mention the good old standbys.
ChefOno November 29, 2012

I think lists like this can serve as a good starting point for the inexperienced. For example, someone buying fish sauce for the first time could do a whole lot worse than Red Boat. But is it "the" best?

Having been brought up on it, I agree Heinz ketchup can't be beat, but someone raised on Hunts will likely have a different opinion. And speaking of Hunts, I'll take their tomatoes over San Marzano -- especially if I'm the one who's paying the bill.

As for sugar, it would behoove you not to bring Domino into this California / Hawaiian household -- but at least they're both cane sugars so you *might* be forgiven. You'd be given more leeway regarding King Arthur as it is inarguably good, consistent flour -- but better than Gold Medal?

I notice they didn't try to settle the Coke vs. Pepsi debate...

bigpan November 29, 2012
I'm surprised the "cooks" on this site would promote a commercial brand. Any problem in making your own fresh mayo ?
ChefOno November 29, 2012

Well, yes and no. When it comes time to make a sandwich at home or add a dollop atop some quickly steamed broccoli, it's all about convenience. Thanks to calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetraacetate, the Best Foods is always fresh and ready at hand.

QueenSashy November 28, 2012
Delouis Fils French mayonnaise!
Sam1148 November 28, 2012
Dukes mayo for daily stuff. (Hellman's changed their formula to make it sweeter).
Kewpie brand Japanese mayo for some things. It's really good on fries.
FutureChef November 28, 2012
Empire mayo not hellman's!!
ChefOno November 28, 2012


MTMitchell November 28, 2012
I saw that article....and that they're now doing the seal thing. I'm of two minds on it. On the one hand I like the recommendations. On the other hand because BA relies on advertising revenue I wondered if that might muddy the waters. But maybe I'm a cynic....
Greenstuff November 28, 2012
Food52 isn't accepting links at the moment but there's a longer list if you look for Bon Appetit's seal of approval.
Recommended by Food52