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View Poll Results: Which Pasta Sauce Brand Do You Prefer?
Ragu 37 34.26%
Prego 71 65.74%
Voters: 108. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 03-02-2012, 12:16 AM
Omniscient Omniscient is offline
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Prego Vs. Ragu

We've had polls on just about every major food brand battle but I don't remember this one. The recent "Prego Challenge" commercials got me wondering where the Dope stood. Personally I found it surprising that Ragu was considered the "Coke" of Pasta Sauces but admittedly I never put much thought into it.

Yes, I'm aware there are dozens of other national brands out there, many much better than either of these, but that's not what this poll's about. I figure we all grew up with these and everyone is probably either a Prego family or a Ragu family.

Feel free to post comments about those other fancy brands and goofy varieties, but this is a binary poll.
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2012, 12:20 AM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
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I think Ragu is the only one I've ever had, so it wins by default. (And then only as a component in my mother's sauce which includes other stuff.)
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:26 AM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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I really only like pasta when there is mozzarella and/or ricotta cheese involved, but when I do make lasagna or manicotti, I use Ragu. However, my husband feels deprived if he doesn't get spaghetti with meat sauce at least once a week, and he wants Ragu. ONLY Ragu. My daughter is the same way. So, I'll fry up ground chuck and onion and bell pepper and mushroom and garlic, and take out my portion before adding the sauce.

I've tried serving Prego, but it was not acceptable.
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  #4  
Old 03-02-2012, 12:33 AM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is offline
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Prego is too sweet. It tastes like sugared tomatoes. Ragu is an acceptable commersh sauce.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 03-02-2012 at 12:34 AM.. Reason: Secret! Can't divulge!
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  #5  
Old 03-02-2012, 01:14 AM
Top Hat Top Hat is offline
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Ragu is a nicer word than Prego so it wins... my vote has nothing to do with quality of the sauce which is most likely exactly the same or at least very close in taste.
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  #6  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:06 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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I'm currently making my own sauce, and it's somewhat similar to Prego. The other brands seem to vinegary to me.
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  #7  
Old 03-02-2012, 06:11 AM
FairyChatMom FairyChatMom is online now
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I don't know if I've ever had either - I know I've never bought either. I prefer to make my own, and my family has been happy with that choice for many decades...
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  #8  
Old 03-02-2012, 07:08 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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My husband and I both have issues with high-acid foods, and Ragu is less bothersome to both of us. It wins by default.
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  #9  
Old 03-02-2012, 07:19 AM
Athena Athena is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
I figure we all grew up with these and everyone is probably either a Prego family or a Ragu family.


I grew up on homemade spaghetti sauce. I can't be the only one.
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  #10  
Old 03-02-2012, 07:22 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Much of my childhood was spent in a Prego home, so that gets my vote. But I'll be honest - I haven't had either one in about 20 years. Now I doctor the heck out of jarred sauce, and since I'm doctoring it anyhow, I buy the really cheap stuff from Aldi. One jar of Mushroom Flavor and one jar of Meat Flavored with some ground pork, fennel, oregano, marjoram, garlic, lots of onion, crushed red pepper flakes...actually makes a pretty darn good sauce. I've tried making it from plain tomato sauce/crushed tomatoes, though, and it's lacking. Apparently we really like additives and preservatives.
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  #11  
Old 03-02-2012, 08:33 AM
LavenderBlue LavenderBlue is offline
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Classico or Trader Joe's. I find both Prego and Ragu nearly indistinguishable from ketchup and about as appealing. Homemade is even better if I have the time.
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  #12  
Old 03-02-2012, 08:44 AM
Hampshire Hampshire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LavenderBlue View Post
Classico or Trader Joe's. I find both Prego and Ragu nearly indistinguishable from ketchup and about as appealing. Homemade is even better if I have the time.
Same here. With choices like Classico or Newman's Own I don't think I've ever bought Ragu or Prego.
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  #13  
Old 03-02-2012, 08:52 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Honestly, I can't remember either very well, although I know as a kid we had Prego and Ragu around the house, with no brand preference. I always make my own, because I honestly don't like any of the commercial sauces except for Rao's, and Rao's is too damned expensive. That, and the types of sauces I like: arrabiata, puttanesca, sugo all'amatriciana, don't take all that long to make (30 minutes or less) and aren't always readily available in sauce form. The Prego/Ragu brands both taste too sweet to me.
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  #14  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:03 AM
DCnDC DCnDC is offline
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When I was buying jarred sauce, Prego. Ragu is too watery.

I haven't used prepared tomato sauce in years. It's such an easy thing (and significantly cheaper) to make that I can't see myself buying jarred sauce ever again.
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  #15  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:06 AM
NAF1138 NAF1138 is offline
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I am not actually a fan of either, but if I had to pick one I like Prego a lot more than Ragu. I don't actually recall why I feel this strongly, but I have a sort of knee jerk reaction that Prego is a whole lot better, but it has been easily 10 years (maybe more?) since I have had either so I don't really know anymore.
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  #16  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:11 AM
Dolores Reborn Dolores Reborn is offline
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I buy which ever one is on sale, and doctor the hell out of it. I don't think I've ever eaten either one "as is." Ragu seems to be cheaper most of the time, so I picked that one in the poll.
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  #17  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:23 AM
D_Odds D_Odds is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
Yes, I'm aware there are dozens of other national brands out there, many much better than either of these, but that's not what this poll's about. I figure we all grew up with these and everyone is probably either a Prego family or a Ragu family.
We all? Growing up, we never had jarred tomato sauce. It was and is just as easy, and considerably cheaper, to make it from quality canned tomatoes. Even better in late summer when one has a surplus of fresh tomatoes.
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  #18  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:33 AM
silenus silenus is online now
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Stater Brothers generic and doctor the hell out of it, if we're too lazy or strapped for time to make it from scratch. Otherwise break out the San Marzanos and cook it ourselves.
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  #19  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:52 AM
Loach Loach is online now
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Both are an abomination. But I do use Ragu pizza sauce when I make pizza at home.
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  #20  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:54 AM
Kasper1014 Kasper1014 is offline
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I voted Ragu. But my favorite jarred sauce is Paul Newmans marinara.
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  #21  
Old 03-02-2012, 10:20 AM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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You're joking right? If I'm going to be buying jarred spaghetti sauce I'm not going to touch either Prego or Ragu.
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  #22  
Old 03-02-2012, 10:31 AM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is online now
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I grew up with Prego and Ragu in the sense that if I watched tv, I'd seen commercials for them sometimes but my parents never bought them. They stuck with the can of Hunt's spaghetti sauce and then built up from there once it was in the pot.

I don't buy jarred sauce myself very often because I don't really care much for pasta.
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  #23  
Old 03-02-2012, 10:34 AM
Rhiannon8404 Rhiannon8404 is online now
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I don't believe I've ever had either one. Growing up, jarred tomato sauce was one of those weird things that other people had. Like the kids who had Twinkies everyday in their lunch. My mom made the best tomato sauce either from canned or her own fresh tomatoes (depending on the season). The small handful of times I have purchased jarred sauce as an adult, it has been Newman's Own, I think. I'm not really sure because it just is so rare.
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  #24  
Old 03-02-2012, 10:38 AM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is offline
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Being the child of immigrant Jews, homemade sauce wasn't in my mom's recipe repitoire ( but the other stuff she could make, yum!).

I'm not sure if Prego was even on the market. We bought Ragu.
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  #25  
Old 03-02-2012, 01:54 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
I figure we all grew up with these and everyone is probably either a Prego family or a Ragu family.
I never even heard of spaghetti sauce coming in jars when I was growing up.

Given the choice of the two, I'll take the too-sweet Prego over the vaguely nasty-tasting Ragu any day. In real life, I go for Paul Newman's or Trader Joe's.
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  #26  
Old 03-02-2012, 02:46 PM
Nars Glinley Nars Glinley is offline
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Originally Posted by Snowboarder Bo View Post
Prego is too sweet. It tastes like sugared tomatoes. Ragu is an acceptable commersh sauce.
You stole my post.

We buy Ragu and add hamburger to it. In the southwest, that's as close to Italian as we're likely to get.
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  #27  
Old 03-02-2012, 02:55 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Quote:
I buy which ever one is on sale, and doctor the hell out of it. I don't think I've ever eaten either one "as is." Ragu seems to be cheaper most of the time, so I picked that one in the poll.
Same answer here, except I'm usually too lazy to "doctor the hell out of it", and settle for just adding some garlic and oregano.
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  #28  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:01 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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I always thought Ragu was the sweeter of the two, but honestly I haven't tasted it in a few years. I just remember my wife made spaghetti with Ragu once instead of Prego and I could taste something was "off" from normal.

I grew up with home made sauce and it was wonderful. At some point in my teen years my Mom announced she found something "just as good and a fraction of the work." It was Ragu (I don't think Prego existed yet) and it was not anywhere close to as good. When I got old enough to cook on my own I got her recipe and life was good again. Then, I had three kids and a very busy life so our current go to is a jar of Prego in the pantry. If I have time I'll doctor it up, and about once or twice I take the time and make it from scratch. When I do I'm in heaven, but my kids complain that they prefer Prego.

I don't know what to say... they like their meat well done also.
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  #29  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:14 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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If it comes to jarred sauce, I like Classico.
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  #30  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:16 PM
zoid zoid is online now
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Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
I never even heard of spaghetti sauce coming in jars when I was growing up.
Me too and really it takes next to no effort to throw together sauce from canned tomatos that's much better than anything in a jar.
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  #31  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:26 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is offline
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I agree that homemade sauce is superior, but really? You never heard of such a thing as jars of spaghetti sauce? Were you shocked to discover homogenized milk in cartons too, and chickens that didn't require plucking? I'm in my 40s and I'm pretty sure jarred/canned spaghetti sauce was on grocery store shelves long before I was born.
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  #32  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:44 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip View Post
I'm pretty sure jarred/canned spaghetti sauce was on grocery store shelves long before I was born.
Per Wiki... Ragu since 1937, Prego since 1981.
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  #33  
Old 03-02-2012, 04:58 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is online now
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Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip View Post
I agree that homemade sauce is superior, but really? You never heard of such a thing as jars of spaghetti sauce? Were you shocked to discover homogenized milk in cartons too, and chickens that didn't require plucking?
My mother didn't bring it home, and it wasn't being advertised on TV in the '60s as far as I can recall. Why would I even know it existed? It's not like I was doing the shopping myself. I think I first heard of Ragu around 1970; Prego a few years later.

And yes, milk in those days came in glass bottles, and was delivered to our door. Cardboard cartons were only for the half-pints I got at school.

Wait...per Spud, Prego didn't exist until 1981? Strange, I was sure I'd had it in the '70s.

Last edited by Biffy the Elephant Shrew; 03-02-2012 at 05:01 PM..
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  #34  
Old 03-02-2012, 05:01 PM
D_Odds D_Odds is offline
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Originally Posted by Spud View Post
Per Wiki... Ragu since 1937, Prego since 1981.
So Prego wasn't even a choice growing up.

If you've time to 'doctor' a jarred sauce, you've time to make a plain red sauce from canned tomatoes. That all day sauce you hear about is usually a braise (meat sauce).
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  #35  
Old 03-02-2012, 05:07 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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On the rare occasions that I've used jarred sauce, I've doctored it so heavily that I can't respond to the poll, except to say that I don't know as I've ever bought either of those brands.
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  #36  
Old 03-02-2012, 05:11 PM
stpauler stpauler is offline
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In the hierarchy:
Prego=Heinz
Ragu=Hunt's

I like Prego's sweetness and can eat it raw, Ragu is just a bit too watery.
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  #37  
Old 03-02-2012, 05:19 PM
Rushgeekgirl Rushgeekgirl is offline
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My favorite jar sauce was Ragu Old World Style Margarita sauce but I never see it anymore so I just make my own. It's so easy even I have no problem with it and I practically cook everything out of jars and cans. Of course I used canned crushed tomatoes anyway so it doesn't change much. Still, the flavor is better and I don't get the tomatoes with added salt so it's fresher and sweeter tasting, just the way I like it.

I don't even think we grew up on canned. The only time we ever ate spaghetti it came from the Chef Boyardee complete meal with the box of pasta, the can of sauce and the can of powdered Parmesan. I don't even know if they make it anymore, but every weekend that's what we had at my grandma's for probably 23 years. Here's a commercial for it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx9KzBx4nNc
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  #38  
Old 03-02-2012, 06:04 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
Wait...per Spud, Prego didn't exist until 1981? Strange, I was sure I'd had it in the '70s.
For fairness... the Wiki cite says it went "international" in 1981. It well could have been local/regional or even national before that. I remember the advertising blitz being when I was on my own (graduated HS in '79) and I thought it was a "premium" sauce (may have been at the time). Wiki doesn't give any other date, nor does anything I can find on the Campbell's or Prego site.
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  #39  
Old 03-02-2012, 06:18 PM
Snarky_Kong Snarky_Kong is online now
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Growing up it was Prego, but now I only buy Newman's own (acceptable plain, but I almost always add meat, onion, and mushrooms at the minimum) because of their charitable donations.
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  #40  
Old 03-02-2012, 06:20 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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Originally Posted by D_Odds View Post
If you've time to 'doctor' a jarred sauce, you've time to make a plain red sauce from canned tomatoes. That all day sauce you hear about is usually a braise (meat sauce).
Maybe my Mom's was different even though she used cans...

For me, doctored means fry some burger meat, chop and saute some garlic, onion, mushrooms, and green pepper then pour in the jar of Prego and add some red pepper flakes. Heat to a boil turn down and serve (actually, I heat the Prego at the same time as the others then add to the boiling sauce to make it go faster).

Home made means everything in the doctored, plus opening (IIRC) 4 different cans of tomato products, opening a bottle of wine, finding and adding 3 or so different spices, and simmering for at least an hour so the flavors blend properly.

I'll admit it has been awhile since I've made it and don't have the recipe handy, but I associate home made with a 1.5-2 hour process, and jarred with about 20-30 minutes. Could also be that if I'm making home made I'll make fresh garlic bread... if jarred, a frozen loaf works fine.
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  #41  
Old 03-02-2012, 06:37 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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When I make homemade tomato sauce, it's usually a 30-45 minute job, involving only one type of tomato product. When I go for the bolonaises and "Sunday gravies," yeah, we're talking 3-4 hours of simmering, at the very least. For example, when I make penne all'arrabiata, it's just tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and fresh chili peppers (or pepper flakes in a pinch) and then finish with parsley or basil. This is a quick sauce, only simmers for 10-15 minutes.

But it depends what you like. The longer simmered sauces have a different flavor. The tomatoes caramelize and the flavors change from the "bright" and fresh flavors of a short simmered sauce, to more mellow and concentrated flavors of a long-cooked sauce. I tend to prefer the fresh sauces made with a minimal amount of very good ingredients to the long simmered ones, unless they are meat-based.
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  #42  
Old 03-02-2012, 08:31 PM
Ostrya Ostrya is offline
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I much prefer Ragu flavor over its Preggo competitor, which as others have pointed out is too sweet for the liking.
What kind of a name is Preggo, anyways? Is that name supposed to be inspiring our appetites? Or is it supposed to remind expecting mothers via the power of suggestion that they should be having spaghetti.
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  #43  
Old 03-02-2012, 08:37 PM
Frank Frank is offline
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My ex-wife left me a good recipe for pasta sauce. If I'm not in the mood to cook it, I choose Classico black olive and mushroom and add in some diced tomato and hamburg or meatballs.

I haven't bought either Prego or Ragu in decades.
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  #44  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:19 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is online now
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Originally Posted by the lone cashew View Post
What kind of a name is Preggo, anyways? Is that name supposed to be inspiring our appetites? Or is it supposed to remind expecting mothers via the power of suggestion that they should be having spaghetti.
It's italian for you're welcome.
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  #45  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:40 PM
CALIBURN CALIBURN is offline
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i too am in the camp of prego tasting too sweet. nasty stuff prego is.

Ragu all the way.
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  #46  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:46 PM
Morgyn Morgyn is offline
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I make my own meat sauce. I've had Ragu and Prego at gaming nights, but I don't recall a preference. I think we just got whatever was on sale, and then doctored it.

WhyNot, if what you listed is all the ingredients you use when making a sauce from scratch, then from my perspective you're missing a few, and that might be why you see them as lacking.

My sauces typically have:
  • LOTS of garlic (and I do mean lots)
  • Onion
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
I also add a bit of red pepper flakes (for a little kick), cinnamon (just a touch), and a bay leaf or two.

And never forget the red wine (several glugs worth) and the olive oil (when browning the meat).

I used to have salt in the sauce, too, but these days I don't cook with salt, I just add it afterwards to taste, as sometimes I want less or more.

It works well as both a quick sauce (half hour to 45 minutes from starting to brown to eating) and a simmer for several hours sauce. I've also been known to add cheese to the sauce, which evens out the acid you can get from tomato. My mom used to grate a carrot into the sauce, which also worked to reduce the acid. I'd do the same, but I don't keep carrots around.

One tip I've heard is to avoid using tomato paste, as for some reason that product is very acidic. These days I use tomato puree, diced and crushed tomatoes.
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  #47  
Old 03-02-2012, 09:58 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgyn View Post
I make my own meat sauce. I've had Ragu and Prego at gaming nights, but I don't recall a preference. I think we just got whatever was on sale, and then doctored it.

WhyNot, if what you listed is all the ingredients you use when making a sauce from scratch, then from my perspective you're missing a few, and that might be why you see them as lacking.
No, I didn't mention everything, you're right. Yours looks exactly like my full bore attempts, with the exception of the sage. Haven't tried that, and now that you mention it, it is that sort of deep rich woodsy flavor I find lacking in my from-tomato-sauce version. I'll have to try it again and see if that is it.

But I'm definitely partial to long simmered sauces over light "bright" tomatoey ones, so it may simply be that I'm not patient enough with my tomato sauce version. The jarred spaghetti sauce has already had one very long simmer, while the tomato sauce gets less time on the heat before canning. That's what I've actually felt the difference is, rather than the preservatives.
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  #48  
Old 03-02-2012, 10:12 PM
NDP NDP is offline
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Neither. I go with Newman's Own. (Why wasn't that a choice?)
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Last edited by NDP; 03-02-2012 at 10:12 PM..
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  #49  
Old 03-02-2012, 11:32 PM
Spud Spud is offline
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Originally Posted by NDP View Post
Neither. I go with Newman's Own. (Why wasn't that a choice?)
Because you didn't read the OP.
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  #50  
Old 03-03-2012, 01:08 AM
tim314 tim314 is offline
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OK, time for me to own up to being a complete culinary idiot...

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Odds View Post
Growing up, we never had jarred tomato sauce. It was and is just as easy, and considerably cheaper, to make it from quality canned tomatoes.
I am confused by the various comments to this effect. I can "make" Prego in 5 minutes by following the simple recipe of "1. Unscrew lid, 2. dump in pot, 3. put pot on stove until hot". I have no idea how to make sauce from canned tomatoes, and I assume it would take a lot longer.

If it really is just as easy, please explain how. To clarify where I'm coming from, spaghetti with sauce from a jar is literally the only food I know how to "cook". I lived off the stuff in college, and it's still basically all i eat if my wife is out of town. If I can really make better sauce just as easily (or even close to as easily) for cheaper that would be awesome.

While I'm at it, I don't understand what "quality canned tomatoes" are. Aren't they all the same? If not, how do you tell? With fresh tomatoes, I guess I'd look for if they were rotten or something.
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