Yeah, the title of this post almost makes me want to say, "Shallow. That is so shallow...", but in terms of canned food, sometimes the brand does matter. I was reminded of this last night, when I went about trying to add a "food storage meal" to my meal rotation. I have done ok adding in the rice and beans, but sometime last week, I thought about the fact that I am adding food slowly but surely to my food storage, but if I had only food storage to rely on, how would I really use it? So I made out a week's worth of meals that would use only food storage items, and some of the meals we have never tried before. They won't be eaten every day, but they will be eaten before we go long-term shopping again.
I have stored lots of soup--what I term "meal soups," that would stand on their own, or which could be easily supplemented with my one successful roll recipe (yeah, I have to work on the variety in that area) and many cans of the "cream of" soups, that in a rough spot could be eaten on their own, but ideally would be mixed in with rice or pasta at least. Tuesday was the last day of a sale that had Hormel items on sale for a good price, at least around here, so I picked up some Dinty Moore Stew. I had picked up some Dinty Moore Stew at a previous sale at the same store months ago, but we hadn't eaten any of it--it's a "meal" type that is easy to heat up, and I tend to guard those jealously--but they were on the menu plan for this rotation.
I had planned to use the stew in a little concoction that I labeled on the menu as "stew on potatoes." We have quite a bit of mashed potatoes in storage, so add water, stew, and heat, and everything should be wonderful. I was a little worried about this particular meal when it came to my husband, because I had tried "stew over potatoes" when we were first married, and it wasn't a big hit. In fact, my husband hated it. When he reads this he will say that he didn't hate it, but I knew enough to not make it more than once or twice. Thing is, we shopped at a grocery outlet type store at the time, which has since gone out of business, and we got our stew there. It was not Dinty Moore--it was another brand, and the "stew over potatoes" did not go over well.
When I got the recently acquired Dinty Moore Beef Stew home from the store, I saw that it had a recipe for shepherd's pie similar to this one. I decided to make it with a few alterations, and left off the cheese, which I found to be an unlikely addition in times of emergency. I also threw in a couple of baked potatoes that would be ready at the same time, a) because my husband likes baked potatoes b)I didn't know how filling the shepherd's pie would be, and wanted extra food if needed and c) I didn't know if my kids would like the shepherd's pie, and this would be something else to offer in the case things didn't go well.
Well, the food wasn't exactly pretty when it emerged from the oven, and my children weren't wild about that. I told them to just try it, and only one only "kind of" liked it. The others really liked it. My husband--drum roll please--said it was a "keeper" and gave it an 8 or 9 on a 1-10 scale. The baked potatoes weren't really needed, but they tasted good. So...sweet success.
My husband would have eaten it anyway, but the brand did make a difference in this case. Hence, my poll this time. I hope no one thinks that I'm terribly shallow, but little things in an emergency can mean a lot, and if you can get something that suits everyone tastes, why not? I only got the original cans of Dinty Moore because they were on sale. I only got the larger cans with the shepherd's pie recipe on them because they were on sale. (Now I wish that I had bought more...) Soups don't seem to make that big of a difference at my house, but with items like canned ravioli and spaghetti I will only buy one brand--the others seem too sweet to me. So I wait for a sale, and then I stock up. Canned items are handy in an emergency (remember to store a manual can opener with them) and can be used more easily if there is a loss of power, or as a comfort food. So my answer to my own poll question would be "sometimes." Well the cat's out of the bag for me--for the rest of you it's still anonymous... :)
If it came to the point where there were no sales, I would stock up on what I could afford, because we still have to eat. But knowing what tastes suit you and your family could make for less of a struggle when you need to use your food storage. No one here, and actually no one that I know of, works for Hormel or Dinty Moore. We sure do like their recipe for shepherd's pie, though... :)