You have to love Costco...I find excuses to go. I think that most of us think of Costco as a place to get things cheaply. But I have found that some of the Costco products, mostly under their Kirkland brand, are not only "about as good," but the best I have had. Just a sampling...maybe others can chime in on your favorites as well:
1. Chocolate Macadamia Clusters. Hawaiian Host makes something called Caramacs, which are caramel and macadamia nuts covered with chocolate. They are just fine, but Costco's Kirkland brand Chocolate Macadamia Clusters are waaaaaay better. I think that they use more macadamia nuts, but the real key is that they nuts are salted, which give them a scrumptious sweet/salty taste that most people just love (one of these days I'll write about the wonders of "Sweet, Salty, and Nutty" at Trader Joe's). Good news: the Chocolate Macadamia Clusters aren't just in Hawaii; the first time I tasted them was at Uncle Albert's house (the one from Loco Moco fame; see an earlier post) in Southern California. He got them at the Costco in Monterey Park, I believe.
2. Super Jumbo Virginia Peanuts. Planters may be okay for some, but there is nothing like super jumbo sized peanuts like you can get from The Peanut Shop of Williamsburg. And as Pastor Mike and Cris will no doubt echo, there is nothing quite like peanuts from Virginia. Here's the catch: to get them to Hawaii, you have to order them online at a cost of $16 plus at least $6 shipping for a 40 ounce can (merchants often tack on an extra fee for shipping to Hawaii). Costco has a 40 ounce can, again under the Kirkland brand, for about $10, and I would swear they were at least as good, if not better: Perfectly seasoned, large size, great peanut taste, satisfying crunch.
3. USDA Prime Steaks. Most of the time, I am just fine using my Jaccard on cheaper cuts of steak (see my earlier post on the meat tenderizing Jaccard). but after I came back home from graduation, I decided to try the prime New York steaks from Costco. They were the best steaks I have ever had at home (and I like to think that I can make a pretty good steak). The meat was tender, juicy, and flavorful unlike any other.
4. Okay, we're supposed to be talking about Costco, and some of my friends will be upset that I am talking about Sam's Club, but there are a few items from the Wal-Mart spinoff that are also the best: The Bakers and Chefs brand of spaghetti is to me as good as DeCecco (the gold standard of consumer based dried pasta) spaghetti, at a fraction of the cost. BTW, don't get the Costco spaghetti under the Garafolo brand - it is the worst spaghetti I have ever tasted...by far...especially the odd, rough texture.
5. The Burnett brand of heat and serve meat products at Sam's Club has been a lifesaver in our family. Take your pick: beef pot roast with gravy, turkey breast with gravy, or tri-tip au jus. Six to seven minutes in the microwave, a pot of rice, and a can of Green Giant Niblets corn (I do put it in a dish) and that's how Daddy makes dinner on many a night! It really is hard to beat.
Costco also has a line of pre-cooked meat, but I don't find them to be as good as Sam's Club. The pot roast kind of gets mushed when you slice it, and you end up having a lot of long fibers of meat.
Grace and aloha,
P. S. Some may wonder why a pastor should be blogging about food. Shouldn't I be talking about "spiritual" matters in the main part of the post? Perhaps...but I have come to realize that in the Bible and in faith, the idea of food is central to the understanding of God. The writer Luke records that the early church spent time in prayer, in teaching, in fellowship, and interestingly, in the breaking of bread - in other words, eating food. It is my firm belief that the act of eating is a sacred act that we have often lost in the rat race world we live in, choosing instead "fast food" so we can get back to what we're supposed to be doing. The act of eating is a gift from God, and the enjoyment of it is a major part of the grace that God gives to us. Some may eat to live, but I live to eat, because it satisfies a part of the hunger that resides in me, that is symbolic of the hunger for the joy and blessing that comes from God. Eating wonderful food is but a small but significant reminder of that. May we all come to find that joy and blessing in every moment, including in the simple gift of food.