Growing up in a very food-centric Italian-American family, I understood that spending a bit more money to get the good shit is just a way of life. My parents wouldn’t be caught dead buying a green can of Kraft grated cheese, always opting instead for a brick of the expensive imported parmesan. Balsamic vinegar from the grocery store? Fuhgeddaboudit. They go to a specialty store for the stuff whose consistency is more like syrup than vinegar. Totally worth it.
So when a Twitter thread asking which products are worth shelling out a bit more cash for went viral, I had my responses at the ready. Although I typically get off on being a contrarian, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I agreed with many of the replies.
The original poster kicked things off with a good suggestion: butter. She recommended Kerrygold, a super soft, creamy butter made with Irish dairy. I agree! I first tasted it when a roommate bought it, as he was sick of the hard, tasteless store-brand butter I would always buy. Although Italians aren’t particularly fond of the Irish, I made the switch and haven’t looked back.
Speaking of which, an Italian cooking staple also proved to be one of the most popular answers: olive oil. Now, I have to admit, I don’t typically splurge on good olive oil, simply because it’s already expensive and I’m on a freelance writer’s budget. However, one Twitter user pointed out that most olive oil in the U.S. has already gone bad by the time it even hits store shelves, as noted in Netflix’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. So, maybe once my current bottle of (apparently rancid) EVOO runs out, I’ll treat myself. One tweet recommended California Olive Ranch’s Global Blend, which appears to be on par price-wise with the offerings at the grocery store.
Many people were quick to recommend buying high-quality salt, particularly Maldon brand flaky sea salt—one even boasted learning about it in a gourmet cooking class.
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“The unique pyramid shape of our flakes is our company trademark and is as distinctive as the taste of the salt itself,” Maldon writes on its website. “Chefs and cooks everywhere love the tactile texture of Maldon Salt.”
Who knew that salt could sound so sensual? Despite being a product of the U.K., Maldon salt is available at leading U.S. retailers like Kroger, Albertsons, and Whole Foods. At my local Whole Foods in Brooklyn, an 8.5-oz box of Maldon goes for $6.99, while a 48-oz. box of Morton salt goes for $4.19. Maybe I’ll request the good shit as a stocking stuffer.