At this writing, I have a jar of rose petal jam in the fridge. It comes from Poland. The ingredients: rose petals, sugar, water, and pectin. Nothing else. Wondering if Queen Elizabeth II feels as regal as I do when I see it on the shelf, but no qualms about what’s in it.
While there are some places I won’t buy imports from due to detrimental trade agreements, a work culture based on human rights abuses, or blatant lack of regulations, there are just times when the product just works better than its counterparts from the US.
As I mentioned above, jam. Most US companies use HFCS in theirs. The imports from Europe use good ol’ sugar as a sweetener. I like EcoFarm from Poland and Bonne Maman from France.
From India comes some premade meals sold under various labels and available at Trader Joe’s and Caputo’s. The ones I get come in a vacuum pack, and have a limited ingredient list, usually just a legume, tomatoes, maybe another veg, and some cream in some cases. And salt.
Tea? I get Trader Joe’s Irish breakfast blend or Tetley’s British blend. If I can get to an Indian or Middle Eastern store, I get Lipton Yellow Label. The latter is widely available in Europe, but can be tough to find in the US. Oh, but it’s worth it–it bears no resemblance to the Lipton tea that you grew up with.
I’ve never found fish sauce, Thai curry paste, or some of the other typical Southeast Asian condiments that were made in the US. So I double check to make sure they come from places that fit my criteria for food production standards.
Most importantly, make sure it wasn’t made in China. With that in mind, venture forth boldly.