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Philosophy: Convenience Foods

April 13, 2012

I was perusing through my new issue of FoodNetwork and there was a recipe with not one but two convenience foods listed.  Ok, convenience foods are great I guess.  I use a few when I’m in a pinch and don’t have the real thing or I’m too lazy to make the real thing.  But the real thing is better.  You will never know how much better until you make it.

I used to subscribe to Southern Living Magazine  and got great recipes from it for many years.  But then they switched to using ALOT of convenience foods in the recipes and  I stopped subscribing.

My mother made everything from scratch, everything.  We had a long-standing joke in my family, that we should make a cake mix and the brand label should read: From Scratch, so that when people asked how you made it, you could say, “I made it  From Scratch !”.  We thought that was hysterical.  So you can see where my head is coming from.

When I was younger, like High School (omg, that seems like an eternity now!) I took it a step further.  I was just curious about how things were made that you would just normally buy at the store.  So I made marshmallows (lo and behold, you can now find dozens of recipes and varieties of marshmallow now!) and soap.  And I still have that curiosity.  Fortunately with the internet, you can find out how to make almost anything, including cheese, which is my next new adventure!

For all that do not understand the meaning of  “made from scratch’ I dug up this definition from How to Cook Gourmet:   “To make an item, usually baked goods, from the raw ingredients, without using a mix or processed convenience products….”   With this comes the understanding that with using basic ingredients, you have more control.  More control of the salt, the fat, the spiciness .  Making food more to your taste and your family’s tastes.  To me this is the ultimate pleasure of cooking.

So, give it a try to make one of your convenience foods from scratch and see how you like it.  I have one in my blog:  Tomato Sauce.  And I will be sure to post a few more:  like fresh breadcrumbs and gravy.

I do make one exception and that is homemade stock (though I do make a very abbreviated one when I make gravy, which I will share.)  I have yet to do this and at this point in my life prefer to use Swanson products and on rare occasion, Herb-Ox chicken and beef broth.  But that is the joy of cooking and baking:  an endless supply of things to learn, create and experience!

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