What is the biggest culinary rip-off you have seen?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by jellly, May 12, 2011.

  1. jellly

    jellly

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    Ok, I was out shopping today and couldn't resist stopping at Williams-Sonoma to browse.  I noticed a package of "Ice Cream Starter" and immediately looked at the ingredients.  There are all kinds of stabilizers and such that could be used, so I was curious.

     So, for the $12 container of vanilla ice cream starter you get 16 oz of... sugar, vanilla and salt.  Yup, that's it.

    Here is a link - Ice Cream Starter   (you have to click on the 'more info' tab to see the ingredients).

    Wow, is that brilliant marketing or what?

    Now, what have you seen for sale that seems like a culinary rip-off?
     
  2. chefedb

    chefedb

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    THE AMOUNT OF MONEY SOME CULINARY SCHOOLS CHARGE THE STUDENTS.
     
  3. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    No argument, Ed. Some of those tuition fees are unconscionable.

    But that's just the education system, not culinary schools per se. Look at the tuitions charged by the Ivy League, for instance. Or even some state schools. Overall it's a crime.

    As to Jellly's actual question, several come to mind. Topping the list: Crockpot Classics. Followed by pre-made polenta. Indeed, most "convenience" products are overpriced, often by several orders of magnitude.

    Much cookware seems to carry rip-off pricetags, particularly if it's branded by FoodNetwork or one of its stars. Do people really believe they can cook like Bobby Flay just because they pay twice as much for a cookware item that has his name on it?
     
  4. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Big But here . When you get out of Big Ivy Schools you wilol not start at $12.00 an hour.
     
  5. durangojo

    durangojo

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    the whole new marketing strategy of smaller packaging, same price makes me really not trust...the biggest crime against the consumer to me is paying for unneccessary packaging in general. i buy spices in bulk, but in the grocery store i see this..... 1 vanilla bean in a glass jar for $10, 1 thread of saffron in a glass jar for $12. its almost criminal and a total waste of resources...why not just cyrovac the spices and reduce the price. who buys spices like that anyway?...also, not getting what you pay for, like extracts that are so diluted they don't even come close to the flavor. sure there are more,like paying for air as in food(chips etc.) that come in a bag..once you pop the air out of the 12 oz bag that cost $4 bucks, whadya got left? maybe 4 oz, 6 oz? aargh!!!! 

    joey
     
  6. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    6 pack of coke 6 oz cans, around $8, 12 pack 12 oz cans, around $4
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I'm with durangojo, kind of.  Not particularly about spices per se but I think the biggest rip off in grocery stores is individual packaging.  For example, individual portions of hummus, individual portions of cookies, individual portions of potato chips, etc etc.  These things cost a fortune!  Why not buy a bag of potato chips and portion it off in your own ziploc baggies for example? 

    Single people have it the worst.  Buying the smallest size box of anything costs the most and it still goes unused most of the time.

    The biggest rip off of all time:  pre-sliced apples. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/confused.gif
     
  8. lentil

    lentil

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    I understand the smaller portions for single folks and all, but the complete disregard for the resources consumed in this type of packaging is criminal.

    Biggest rip off?  Lunchables marketed to kids!  Junk food in packaging destined for the landfill.
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    =Many things go stale once opened  ie potato chips, crackers even if in your plastic bags. It is also done for calorie counting, If you take one bag with you, thats all you get.  In the Florida Humidity we waste less by buying some items like this
     
  10. resqdoc

    resqdoc

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    Currently, the price of fresh morel mushrooms.

    $50 a pound?!

    Jeeeeze.

    Even at our "discounted" rate, we are still looking at $35 a pound.

    Better bust out the truffle slicer..
     
  11. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    The price of a hotdog at a baseball game.
     
  12. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I find this little gadget handy for resealing bags and keeping things fresh.  http://www.google.com/products/cata...bHgAfs693GCw&ved=0CDMQ8wIwAQ&biw=1120&bih=563#

    As far as calorie counting goes someone who is actually serious about calorie counting has a kitchen scale.  I use it to portion off everything in grams or ounces and I measure nearly all my food.  So if you wanted to do that with 1ounce chip baggies you could save money and the scale comes in handy for many purposes.  I don't think I need to buy 1oz baggies of chips to do my calorie counting.
     
  13. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    The price of ANY food item at a baseball game... and at the movies for that matter.
     
     
  14. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Currently, the price of fresh morel mushrooms.

    Perhaps, ResQDoc, if you went out and gathered a pound of morels, you wouldn't feel quite the same way. Expensive? You betcha! But they're not something you can cultivate in your backyard, either. It takes time, energy, and expense to gather them.

    also, not getting what you pay for, like extracts that are so diluted they don't even come close to the flavor.

    Joey, while I agree with your concept, and certainly object as you do, the problem lies with food legislation. Take a look at how these (and other food) products are defined by law. F'rinstance, "pure vanilla" can contain vanilla extracts, alcohol, and sugar (usually, nowadays, in the form of hfcs). So what you often get is, in effect, a vanilla cocktail, with the vanilla playing a minor role.

    Ever looked at the definition of "vine ripened" tomatoes? It explains why you and I don't eat fresh tomatoes most of the year.

    It's precisely because people---including professional cooks and chefs---don't understand the legal aspects of food marketing that manufacturers get away with such dilutions. If Brand X says pure vanilla, and sells for $3.00/ounce, and Brand Y also says pure vanilla, but sells for $7.50, most people will gravitate to the one selling for three bucks. When it barely tastes like vanilla, though, they should be calling their congressman, not the manufacturer.
     
  15. chutney

    chutney

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    You make me feel good I have morels at $19.99 a pound.  This is at the local grocery.  Still not going to buy them. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    A ripoff is only a ripoff if you buy it and you feel that you didn't get your money's worth.  If I want to make a dinner with fresh rainbow trout, local picked asparagus, and local fresh morel mushrooms, I might pay $50 a pound for the mushrooms.  And I would think the dinner was divine.  

    I think the biggest rip off is food that is not fresh being sold at full price:  Oysters on the half shell that are dried up and dark brown;  Squash that is shrived and has wounds from handling; onions that have soft mushy spots. 
     
  16. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    The so-called marinara mix we get here.  Basically it's a raw but pre-frozen mix of squid rings, mussels, a few prawns, fish tail ends - both smoked haddock and basa fish, sprinkled with a bit of chopped parsley.  It's so-so, good on a budget night over rice.  But the price varies between $25/kg and

    $10/kg., depending on whatever the fishmonger feels like on the day.

    I agree with the comments of overpricing of spices.  I use a lot, really a lot of them, but it's not realistic for me to buy big quantities or they go stale.  We're a small family....  Eh!
     
  17. durangojo

    durangojo

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    here's a new one i haven't seen before...i just started laughing out loud in the store...creamed corn in a frozen chub! is that so that you can just microwave it as is? i must say that it seems that alot of foods that are being maufactured are all geared toward the microwave school of cooking. while the microwave certainly has its place, it is really quite sad to see it taking over as the cooking method of choice.....no pots, no pans, no wonderful smells permeating your house, minimal clean up (i, for one, like the clean up after a nice meal at home...it gives me time to think about the meal and how i might change it next time,time to relax my full belly, and to just zone out a bit before tea).....just plain ole sad really that we are promoting  generations of technicians, not cooks.

    joey
     
  18. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Microwaving is actually an excellent way to steam veggies.  Of course special packaging is not necessary for that, I can easily put a potato in the microwave dish along with some water and it does the job just beautifully, I refuse to pay for special packaging but not many people bother with that and think they're getting a shortcut.  What's a frozen chub?
     
  19. durangojo

    durangojo

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    yess kk, i agree that microwaves have their place, but it should be just that, a place, not the normal, everyday cooking method. i microwave veggies sometimes as well, because of all the cooking methods it retains most of the nutrients. actually, i mostly roast or grill my veggies, never steam them for some reason. a chub is a chubby little log of food, usually ground beef, or turkey, or breakfast sausage, and as ky mentioned, polenta(which is really, really bad) ...now, creamed corn...can pea chubs be far behind?

    joey
     
  20. allie

    allie

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    I have purchased that cream corn. Not all of us can get quality fresh corn in quantity to freeze our own in summer. I remove it from the chub and bake it in the oven with butter, salt, and pepper.  It's really good and much more like what I have done myself when fresh corn was available, not like canned cream corn at all.  I am not sure where that product is any different from a store selling frozen beans in a plastic bag.  It's just packed in a tighter package than the average frozen vegetable.