When Ina Garten says "good" mayonnaise and "good" ketchup..does she mean I should buy it from Williams Sonoma or Citarella?


RobertaJ January 5, 2011
Noooooooooooo. Regular supermarket brands are just fine, but not the bargain basement no-name brands. Hellman's/Best Foods mayo. Grey Poupon mustard. Heinz ketchup. U-Bet chocolate syrup. I know those are the brand she uses, because she's either mentioned them, or I know the packaging. But for me, some alternatives taste "better". Trader Joe's organic ketchup and Dijon mustard for a couple. The bottom line is use the best quality you can find, and you can afford, and THAT YOU LIKE. That's the most important. The no-name olive oil, 3rd press for $3.99 for 4 liters probably isn't going to taste great. The Colavita Extra Virgin First Press will give you a better taste. But if YOU like the no-name, 3rd press, who am I, or Ina, to tell you not to use it?
betteirene January 5, 2011
A lot of the time, Ina names the products she uses in her recipes. (I own all her cookbooks, so I figure I'm entitled to be on a first-name basis with her.) Among her recommendations are:

Hellmann's/Best Foods or Duke's mayonnaise
De Cecco dry pasta
Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
Olio Santo extra-virgin olive oil
Tellicherry black peppercorns
Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract
Heckers unbleached all-purpose flour
Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
Parm-Reg (not Parmesan made here)
Stilton (not blue cheese made here)

Martha's recipes also call for "good" things or "best-quality" items. I take that to mean "real good," which doesn't necessarily have to mean "real expensive." Chocolate, for instance: Hershey and Nestle both make some mighty fine cocoas and chocolates--you don't always have to splurge for Valrhona or Droste.

But I will argue to my death that all of this is a matter of opinion, which you'll find a lot of on this site. And that's a good thing, because who would ever want to live in a world where just one brand of chocolate could be used for brownies? So if you like Hunt's ketchup more than Heinz (as we do), use that. And if you, as do all six of my sons (Heathens!), like Miracle Whip instead of Best Foods, don't let anyone, including Ina, dictate your grocery list.
mrslarkin January 4, 2011
Nah, just go to the Stop N Shop, or the A&P or the IGA. I love Ina. I buy the Hellman's olive oil mayo. It is the BOMB!

And the Heinz ketchup that Peter mentioned is really good, too.

Mix some Sriracha into either of these, and you've got yourself something rediculicious to slather on your burgers or dunk your onion rings into, yo.
nutcakes January 4, 2011
I don't like to use more than 1/2 olive oil in homemade mayo.
campagnes January 4, 2011
I gotta disagree with you, pierino, about using olive oil in mayo. Unless you're looking for an olive-oil-flavored spread, which some people love. I find mayo with straight olive oil way too strongly flavored.

My foodie friends consider Kraft to be "good mayo," while I'm in the Hellman's/Best Foods camp. I think Hellman's has a more assertive flavor than Kraft. That said, in some settings, I've preferred Kraft to Hellman's when I don't want the mayo to have a strong flavor.

For cooking purposes - mostly in barbecue sauce - I've noticed that the corn-syrup-free ketchup yields different results than using Heinz's classic formula. I prefer the classic for cooking, but for dipping onion rings, the corn-syrup-free version tastes just like the classic.
blueskye78 January 4, 2011
Hellmans and Heinz
Jenny O. January 4, 2011
Making your own mayo is SO easy! Use the Julia Child food processor method, it's foolproof and delicious. As for "good" ketchup - my rule is to use prepared foods with ingredients I could also buy and assemble, that way you're getting cleaner flavors that will blend well with the other basic ingredients.
pierino January 4, 2011
As a note to the Left Coast, west of the Rockies Hellmans is sold under the brand name Best Foods. Same product. Unless you are egg phobic making your own is pretty easy (but do use olive oil and not soy). If you can find pasteurized eggs, well then better still.
Peter January 4, 2011
I'm not a fan of the ingredients from either of those places -- waaaaayyyyyyyy too expensive.

When it comes to mayonnaise you'll have a tough time beating Hellmann's. It has the flavor that people usually prefer and the ingredients are pretty straightforward (copied from their website):


Alternatively, you can try to make your own. It's really quite simple and is close to foolproof once you do it a few times.

When it comes to ketchup, again, Heinz is the standard-bearer for flavor. And now the have corn-syrup-free and organic versions so the ingredients are:


If you like a tangier ketchup, then I highly recommend Annie's Organic's. Really, really yummy.
Christie I. January 4, 2011
I can't speak for Ms. Garten, but I would think she means just not the super cheap stuff. I would take it a bit further and use the Heinz ketchup that has no corn syrup, called "Natural" or something like that.
phyllis January 4, 2011
No, she means Hellmans Mayo and Heinz ketchup. You can tell from the bottles she uses.
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