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What's your non-negotiable food?

By Lisa Waddle, managing editor

April 7th, 2009

In a recent chat with my Nashville friend and Fine Cooking equipment reviewer Nicki Wood, she talked about “recession nonnegotiables.” These are the food items you are willing to always pay full price for, even during troubling economic times like these. For her household, the list includes “seafood, canned clams, and roast peanuts because the non-premium version of each isn't something to look forward to.”

Reviewing my household grocery purchases, I’ve found my non-negotiables are USDA Organic Certified chicken, sustainable seafood, organic greens and apples, and locally roasted coffee. I'd rather do without than settle for a cheaper/less good version of any of these.

I think we’ve all taken a second look at our grocery carts of late, wondering if we might be able to make due with the generic brand of cereal or a cheaper version of a lunchtime favorite. What about you? Are there foods that are non-negotiable, that you’d rather just do without than buy a less pricey version of?

posted in: Blogs, Lisa Waddle, chicken, coffee
Comments (14)

sanni writes: Nice discussion. For me it's definetively meat and i couldn't do without beef. Luckily i'm more a rouladen-chili-goulash-type so i don't need the most expensive cuts but no meat can compare to the one from our fav two butchers.
And i wouldn't save on winter veggies, though they are sometimes ridiculously expensive (a kg of parsnips is at 5€ this month). And good rolls and bread as i don't have time to bake myself at the moment.
but my favorite yoghurt comes from the discounter and we now have good italian, spanish, asian and turkish market here where you can get excellent igredients for little money.
plus i only buy local dairy, don't need milk from bavaria when we have great local dairies. and i've almost stopped eating fish last year because most varieties are so overfished (i can tell you- it's hard, im from the coast and i love fish) but my conscience feels better now.
i'm eager to follow this thread, happy new year, sanni! Posted: 8:52 am on December 30th

chickletttt writes: It has to be organic vegetables and fruit. My husband is a neurologist who does research on Parkinson's disease. If you google the causes of Parkinson's all will site pesticides as a major contributing factor. Posted: 1:22 pm on July 18th

FoodAllergyFoodie writes: I think all good food is recession non-negotiable. I think I'd risk being naked and homeless to have organic and/or local milk, produce, naturally raised meats and eggs. I just won't skimp on food! Posted: 2:50 pm on May 29th

monelle writes: I have a number - organic chicken, organic milk in glass bottles, organic produce, the whole spectrum of cheeses from Whole Foods, Larry's Coffee roasted locally, really good chocolate, Greek yogurt, organic eggs, hormone-free meat. Posted: 3:31 pm on April 15th

Mamagirl writes: For me, it's pecorino romano, high quality organic canned tomatoes, fresh organic greens and good red wine. Posted: 5:41 pm on April 10th

illbebaking writes: My #1 non-negotiable is beer/wine. I will never, no matter how hard it gets, resort to drinking cheap. Maybe I should change my name to last comment was about alcohol, too.

As for food, I could never sustain myself on canned vegetables or fruit. Fresh fruits and veggies are very price-elastic as far as I'm concerned.

Andy Posted: 3:29 pm on April 10th

pumkinfolk writes: These things are non-negotiable, off the table, no discussion: not-from-concentrate orange juice, almonds, French reds, Total Raisin Bran, fancy sardines, and I'll eat peanut butter all week in order to justify the occasional roast duck. Posted: 11:27 am on April 10th

Kris1967 writes: I would say that, yes, Parmigiano Reggiano is without question non-negotiable. You just cannot go back to the blah stuff once you've tasted the real deal. I will also spend $$ on good bacon, olive oil, canned tomatoes, fresh herbs, good quality cheese, nuts, chocolate, Greek yogurt, and lets not forget about prosciutto. And I'm totally with dabneyg regarding high quality booze. If you're going to have a cocktail, have a cocktail worth remembering! Posted: 8:45 pm on April 8th

OldFoodie writes: Mine is really, really good bread and good cheese. And good seafood and great tomatoes (how many choices am I allowed to have? Posted: 7:28 pm on April 8th

Ronda_Rowe writes: Organic milk is a biggie for me. Mostly because it tastes better than the other kind. And good bread. Posted: 4:18 pm on April 8th

RochelletheChef writes: Mine would be quality ice cream. I can't do ice milk (well, that's a lie because I love Dairy Queen soft serve) or artificial flavors. Bleh! I need cream, milk, and sugar! Fortunately, at least one brand is always on sale. Posted: 11:22 am on April 8th

wickedgooddinner writes: Parmigiano Reggiano, olives, salami, tomatoes, olive oil. And I'm really into chicken thighs lately - they're great in any recipe, and super inexpensive!

-Dawn Posted: 12:23 am on April 8th

Pielove writes: Great question-- for me, it's beef from our farmers market suppliers, Heartland Meats. They have great beef and are wonderful people too. We may eat a bit less beef, but we will enjoy every morsel. Posted: 9:48 pm on April 7th

dabneyg writes: For me, it's organic whole-milk yogurt and "clean" meat (no hormones, antibiotics, etc).

And high-quality booze. No matter how bad things get, cheap liquor isn't worth the sub-par taste (and the inevitable hangover). Posted: 7:38 pm on April 7th

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