"If only they sold....." - things you wish supermarkets carried

Are there semi-prepared ingredients - not completed dishes - that you can/could make, but would love to be able to buy at the deli counter. or jarred/frozen? A friend who loves caramelized onions won’t make them because they are time-consuming and the house smells of it for days. So when I was making them, I doubled the amount and froze some for him in 4oz containers. I have to admit that if I could buy them at the deli counter, I probably would. I definitely would buy pastry cream.

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Heavy mayonnaise.

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Good question. I was thinking along these lines re: RobinJoy’s thread about ‘simpler but just as good’ recipes for his college kid.

This sort of doesn’t quite answer your question and maybe should be posted elsewhere, but I was wishing to avoid making mirepoix and then there it was in the Delli section at TJs. But I didn’t buy it. It looked water logged. :frowning: Did I do wrong?

Spice mixes. Can there be a Penzey’s section in every grocery store?

In truth, now that I know I can buy 5 lb bags of cubed butternut squash at Costco, my cup runneth over.

Quality fish / seafood / meat

I wouldn’t buy them often enough to support it - but fresh cooked dried beans (kind of an oxymoron but you get what I mean I hope). I love them but they take so long to soak/cook that I never remember to plan far enough ahead. I’d definitely buy a cup here and there to add to different dishes.

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Packaged lobster meat. I don’t like having to take a lobster apart.

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I haven’t done it myself, but others have said it works well to soak/brine them, drain, and freeze at that point, completing the cooking a la minute(s). :wink:


I don’t know if this would work where you live, but the mayo I get at the Russian grocery store in my town is certainly a lot heavier than the supermarket stuff.

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I have access to Russian groceries.

Their stock changes a lot and I can’t really read the labels, but get the kind in the cold case and not the kind that’s just on the shelf.

Also, it’s heavier, but it’s also sort of creamier? It’s denser but more like a sauce and less like fluffy jello, if that makes sense? It also tastes a little different. I guess it’s not just “heavy mayonnaise”, but I’d recommend it anyway.


Thanks. I’ll see what I can find.

Beans cooked from a dried state then frozen work for me.

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Meat and fish packaged in sous vide packs.

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These might not be fresh cooked per se, but there are alternatives to dried and canned. I haven’t tried them myself, but I have seen them in my local grocery store (Seattle).

I occasionally buy the vacuum sealed roasted veggies at trader joes and i wish those were cheap and accessible- i rather like them over salads and in the summer i am not turning my oven on for that long.
I would totally buy carmelized onions. I’ve bought a carmelized onion/basalmic condiment before at a fancy italian shop before and that disappeared quickly.

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In Spain, there are stores that sell soaked beans. I wouldn’t mind a soaked bean self serve section at the supermarket. Like they do for olives and whatnot.


Oooh, that reminds me i found quite by accident the best tomato passata in spain- it was a cheap can but inside was this smooth garlicky sauce with generous olive oil. None of the spices and herbs like pasta sauce but much more flavorful than just a tomato puree with a nice silky texture.

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Salted duck eggs.

They carry them at one of my supermarkets. I’ve only bought them once.

Oh yes, tomate frito. It’s used as a base for recipes, but also as a sauce for pasta.

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Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr