Last week, we went on a major family camping trip. A total of 21 of us — kids, grandkids, cousins, aunts, uncles and us! While not on a boat, many of the same principles applied — no electricity, no refrigerator, and hot! Actually, the galley aboard Que Tal is quite luxurious by comparison . . .
Rather than trying to keep meat all week in the cooler, I opted to use canned meats (see my mini-series on using canned meats for great meals). And that brings up today’s tip:
When you buy a new brand of an item, buy one first and try it before buying several!
When I was planning our meals, I planned a couple using canned ham. I went to the store and they only had one can of the Hormel ham that I usually buy . . . but there was another brand, so I bought one Hormel and one can of the new brand.
The first night camping, I made ham and pasta with lots of veggies mixed in. So I grabbed the new brand of ham and opened the can. Talk about totally unappetizing, mostly fat and disgusting looking! (I’m sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the can or note the brand, but it had a blue label and I’d never heard of the brand before.)
I quickly substituted one of the cans of Hormel (thankfully, I always take food for at least an extra day, so we weren’t going to go hungry). I thought I’d give Paz (our dog) a bit of a treat, so instead of just throwing the other out, I put a couple of spoonfuls in her bowl. She sniffed and refused to eat it!
When we’d been cruising outside the US, I’d always followed the “buy one first” rule, as we’d discovered that many times things weren’t quite what we expected (very sweet ketchup or peanut butter, tough canned peas and corn). But this reminded me that it’s a good rule even in the US, particularly when you’re going to be in places where you can’t easily buy something else. I’m sure glad I had plenty of proven alternatives with me!
And while my example is of canned ham, the rule applies to pretty much anything — canned goods, packaged foods, cookies, crackers, soft drinks, beer, baked goods and more. Many times, you’ll discover wonderful new treats. But sometimes, you’ll save yourself both money on unappetizing food . . . and the choice of either going hungry or eating what the dog won’t!