A Holiday Taste of Sam’s Club


Alrighty, so a lot of you guys have mentioned to me that you’re surprised that The Hungry Mouse is partnering with Sam’s Club. Most of you say that it’s because you don’t associate it with a place to get groceries.

“You go to a place like Sam’s Club to buy a big TV or a palate of paper towels. I wouldn’t think about buying food there, really,” one friend said to me.

Think again.

Sam’s actually has a ton of good food for very reasonable prices. Don’t believe me?

Those pomegranates up there were 4 for just under $5. They looked great, and that’s just over $1 a piece, (a really good price for around Boston).

The $50 Thanksgiving challenge

As part of our partnership with Sam’s, they challenged us to create a Thanksgiving feast for under $50, using main ingredients purchased at the club.

We’re always up for a challenge.

The Angry Chef and I headed up to the Eighth Annual Holiday Taste of Sam’s Club Event this morning to check out what they have to offer this season. (Read more about the event here.)

The holiday event is going on all weekend from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., so if there’s one near you, definitely stop in and sample their wares.

I should note that Sam’s Club is paying me to participate in this program (thank you, thank you!). However, they’re not paying me for my opinion…and I wouldn’t have agreed to work with them if I couldn’t get behind their food 100%.

Price clubs like Sam’s can be a very smart and economical way to shop if you do it right, especially with the holidays coming. (Take it from me. I buy flour by the 25-lb. bag because I bake so much. I know where to find a good deal…)

Inside Sam’s: At the Holiday Tasting Event

We arrived at our local Sam’s around 11 this morning.

Now, if you’ve never been in a Sam’s Club, the first thing you need to know is that the store is huge. Like, super huge. They have pallets of goods stacked to almost to the ceiling.

They already have their poinsettias in for the holidays. (My iPhone photography totally doesn’t do them justice.)

Did I mention that the store is huge?

We went to check out their kitchen supplies first. You can tell that Sam’s was definitely thinking about restaurant owners and caterers when they stocked their kitchen department. They have a ton of basic, sturdy kitchen and catering equipment at very reasonable prices. (We picked up a 2-pack of meat thermometers for just around $5.)

If you’ve ever worked in a commercial kitchen, chances are you’ve used these heavy-duty aluminum pots. They’re workhorses.

They also have an impressive wall of spices.

We passed the kids toys on our way to the fresh food area. I was sorely tempted to bring home one of these playhouses as, um, a Penelope Detention Facility.

Sam’s also has their holiday goods out in full force.

We hit the frozen food cases first. Among other things, we noticed that they have a handful of different kinds of frozen cheesecakes. While I always prefer to make things from scratch, there are certain times when desserts like these come in handy.

We started to spot the tasting stations for the event. There were samples of everything from oatmeal and apple cider to freshly fried bacon and warm, spiral-sliced ham.

The produce section was well stocked, and everything looked really, really fresh. (When it comes to produce, I’m a squeezer and a sniffer…)

(If you haven’t had these red peppers, called Ancient Sweets, before, definitely look for them the next time you’re at the market. They’re remarkably sweet and flavorful. At Sam’s, I think a 2-lb. bag was under $5. At my local grocery store, I’ve seen them sell just three peppers for around the same price.)

And then, of course, they have a ton of cheese. (You may remember the Harvest Cheese Bread Wreath I made with some of these cheeses a few weeks ago.)

There was a lot of frozen seafood, including whole lobster tails, whole fish, and Godzilla-sized shrimp.

The king crab legs looked really good.

This was right around where we sampled the spiral-sliced ham.

Carnivores that we are, you know that we paid extra attention to the meat. The beef was all very, very red and fresh looking.

The pork was rosy and pink.

The bread was very clearly freshly baked.

I even managed to spot one of my favorite kitties in the cake case.

So what do you think we’re making?

Here’s our cart right before we checked out. What do you think we’re making?

We even walked out with a complimentary entertaining guide, which has instructions for making a Martha-esque ribbon-covered tree.

Stay tuned for our $50 Thanksgiving feast! We spent less than $50 on ingredients. Recipes start this week!

*Please note that Sam’s Club compensated me for my participation in this campaign.

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. I wouldn’t say surprised, but rather disappointed. I remember when this was a blog about home cooking, not corporate sponsorship. I’d much prefer to see partnerships with local farms and businesses instead of goliath corporate box stores. Unfortunately the ratio of recipes to corporate sponsored posts has me considering unsubscribing.

    • Heh. I’m sorry you feel this way.

      I’m just as apt to feature large corporations as I am to feature small, local farms and businesses. For example, take a look at my features on The Garlic Farm and Sweet Pea Farm–not to mention all the props I give to local businesses here in Salem.

      With the economy the way it is these days, I believe in helping people find value wherever they can, whether it be at small businesses or large ones.

      And ya know, when it comes to the corporate sponsorship: It’s really easy to damn bloggers for trying to make a buck and support their content. I provide a ton of detailed content, which takes hours of my time–for free. And I do it because I love it, and I believe that I can help people learn about food and learn how to cook.

      You may not realize that I have a full-time day job, and run The Hungry Mouse in my spare time, with the hopes of turning it into a full-time business one day. I’m sorry if you can’t appreciate any of that. Feel free to unsubscribe.


      • It kills me that these so called ‘activists’ think throwing negative comments at hard working individuals is for some type a good cause. That will persuade anyone to believe they make a good point. This was a great article and I am happy to know that with the help of Sam’s Club, your site will give us more recipe information and entertainment!

  2. Sam’s has been my main source of groceries for longer than a decade. Of course, I have 6 to 8 mouths to feed everyday! The main draw, many years ago, was the milk prices. At the time, I could save $1 a gallon over the cheapest store brand. The prices are much closer now, but still cheaper at Sam’s, unless the grocery store is having a sale. Fresh produce & meat are the main draw for me now. Most of the time, a BOGO on meat at the grocery store still isn’t as low as the Sam’s price. Produce can be cheaper at the grocery stores, if you watch the sales. If you’re insistent on name brands for canned goods & other things, Sam’s is a great deal, but store brands at the grocery store can usually beat the price of the name brand at Sam’s. I’m blessed this year with a free membership, because on of the mouths I feed is working there as of a month ago! I’ll be there in about 30 minutes, care to join me?

  3. I agree it’s great too support our mom and pop stores but like Jessie said with the economy the way it is we have to shop where we get the best deals…..I’m a shopper at Sam’s club and for example i can buy the jumbo packs of toilet paper and it lasts for months ! Thanks for the post Jessie and i’m looking forward to the recipes this week and ty for your time !

  4. Can’t wait to see what you’re making! I’m always afraid to shop at club stores for food, in fear that I’ll end up with a bunch of stuff wasted. Will be interesting to see what you whip up!

    And kudos to Sams for supporting bloggers!

  5. We don’t have a Sam’s club in my part of California, but we have Costco. I try to support local merchants as much as possible. HOWEVER, when I’m shopping for a crowd, I find Costco (Sam’s Club) to have a treasure trove of products that I need. I buy my butter in bulk, and love the gourmet selection of artisan cheeses (and I am supporting small folks this way). The bakery supplies are great, in bulk (though I wish I could buy King Arthur in bulk). Organic eggs are sold for great prices and wonderful fresh pastas. I’m glad you’re proving the misconception that warehouse style shopping is a good way to buy groceries. I’m curious to see what you make with Diet Pepsi…. ha!
    PS: The artichokes, most likely come from my backyard of Castroville, California. Let’s see what you create with those lovely gems.

  6. We don’t have Sam’s Club in this part of Canada (Ontario) but we do have Costco. I must say I avoid this place at all costs because it is so busy and I don’t shop for large quantities of anything. I prefer to shop at mom and pop places and support my local farmers and farmers markets. However, especially in a cold weather city like Ottawa, this day to day shopping and support of organic growers is not a cheap way to shop. It is a luxury really. So kudos to you Mouse for showing your readers another option for quality in this economy. I’m all about choices…whether they be corporate or small time.