Followers of all things Ina Garten already envy her expensive collection of Le Creuset cookware, her fabulous roster of friends, and her wildly popular cooking show on the Food Network.

Despite all of her success, Ina famously reminds us not to get in over our heads if we can’t prep a certain ingredient and that “Store bought is fine.”

That is, except for one ingredient in particular.

In a recent interview with Time, the Barefoot Contessa opened up about the one ingredient she could never give the grocery store green light for: pre-grated Parmesan cheese.

Sure, some of her recommendations might garner an eye roll — do we really “good” vanilla from Madagascar? — but this is one recommendation we should all get behind.

Tubs of the pre-grated stuff has been previously found to contain wood pulp or other fillers.

Even if you can’t hop a flight directly to Parma to pick out your own wheel of Parmigiana-Reggiani, don’t just stick with what you know — store bought is not fine. Buy something sourced from one of the approved Italian provinces and shred it yourself.  The flavor is beyond anything you’ve ever had before and well worth the investment.

Get your real parm and try out this homemade pesto. You’ll never go back to store-bought!

Vegan or dairy-free? Check out our cheese and dairy substitutes at




Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.