Generic to Gourmet
One thing that most, if not all, college students think about or worry about at some point in their college career is finding groceries on a low budget. There are many tricks that you can use (coupons, special sales, etc.), but one common one that many students seem to avoid like an illness is buying generic foods. For some reason, we believe that buying generic, non-name-brand foods is taboo; we avoid it at all costs.
Honestly, though, sometimes it is better to buy generic foods. Some of the name-brand foods we purchase are actually produced and packaged in the same factory, by the same company and manufacturers, as the name-brand food we feel the need to buy.
So why spend the extra $2 or $3 for a name on a product that you can buy from the same company without their name stamped across it?
Now, you might be thinking, “But it won’t taste as good. It’s going to taste nasty.” That’s
not always true. Most of the foods taste exactly the same. You would never know there was a difference if someone fed you the food and didn’t tell you which company it came from. But even if that is the case, here is where you can have some fun: Your creativity can kick in and you can spice it up anyway you want.
When you go to Walmart, take a look at the Great Value products. The packaging is all white so you can’t miss them among the colorful cans of vegetables, boxes of rice and potatoes, and packages of chicken legs, breasts and wings. They are usually a dollar or a couple of cents cheaper than the name-brand foods, so in the long run, you can essentially save a few extra dollars per shopping trip. If you are still unsure about buying generic foods, start slow and easy.
Buy a package of Great Value chicken breasts and test it out at home. Cook it as you please, season it, and see if it doesn’t taste as good as the name-brand stuff (but it may taste better because you just found a cheaper alternative).
And here’s another little secret: No one has to know that the food isn’t name brand. If
your concern is when your friends and roommates eat your food that they’ll find out it’s Walmart-brand food, don’t worry. Unless they see it or you tell them, most times they won’t be able to tell a difference. It all tastes the same, especially if you cook everything well and serve it well; no one will question it. And even if they do, you don’t have to tell them everything. One special trait about a cook is cooks don’t reveal their secrets. Makes you wonder now how many professional chefs in the real world might be using generic foods for you as well, huh?
Don’t knock generic foods. If done right, it can taste as good as a five-star meal without
the five-star budget.