Friday, November 7, 2014

Cooking: Scratch vs. Other

Lillian has been "baking cakes" with me since she was able to knee-stand on a chair...
Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker, generic store brand...we are not one bit picky...
With Thanksgiving just around the corner -- a whole week of mega-cooking -- I want to comment about WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD we live in.

We have so many things available to us that are delicious and convenient. As a matter of fact, there are many things that are so good -- they have become my NEW standard.

Think about this. I'm trying to make something from scratch -- and it might take me hours, and I'll have a big mess to clean up besides. Then, I realize my ACTUAL GOAL is that it should taste as good as the convenient mix/frozen/refrigerated version. Tell me again -- why should I bother?? AND WHAT IS THE POINT??

For example -- pie crust. I have often made pie crust from scratch. I have made DELICIOUS pie crust. But I've also made pie crust that falls apart, or is too tough to roll out. So, one of the things I ALWAYS HAVE in my refrigerator is a box of rolled up pie crusts.
The local store brand saves me 50 cents..and they are PERFECT every time...
Lilly and I can make pies ON A MOMENT'S NOTICE
Another thing I ALWAYS have in my refrigerator are tubes of biscuits. Sure, I could make biscuits from scratch -- but if my measure of success is whether or not they are as good as the canned biscuits -- tell me again why am I making this big mess?? And what could be QUICKER and more fun than whacking a tube of biscuits on the counter and having all that doughy goodness squish out?? The kids in my life have ALWAYS loved cooking and playing with refrigerator biscuits...

Here is my personal list of THINGS I COULD MAKE FROM SCRATCH -- but a prepared-tube-or-box-mix is better -- so WHY BOTHER??
  • Cake Mix (Thank you, Betty Crocker!)
  • Pasta (I mean -- really??  Who makes this from scratch??)
  • Egg Noodles (Reames frozen)
  • Refrigerator Biscuits (Any brand is wonderful -- I like the buttery GRAND size)
  • Corn Muffins (the little box mixes )
  • Frosting (Lilly LOVES to frost things -- a can costs about $1.00)
  • Spaghetti Sauce (Prego or Ragu)
  • Stovetop Stuffing (John likes the scratch version -- but my boys are disappointed if it doesn't taste just like Stovetop)
  • Puff Pastry (even my "I-cooked-with-Julia-Child-friend-Pat-Leslie" keeps this in her freezer!)
  • Rhodes frozen rolls
    Honestly -- Rhodes does this better than I ever could!!
  • Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (every mother knows what I'm saying...)
  • Any kind of jelly or jam...

Holy Cow. I CANNOT TELL You how quickly I typed that list. I didn't realize how much I depend on these culinary "assists."  Our grandchildren already think the things on this list ARE "cooking from scratch." That's because they eat most of their meals in restaurants or they get carry-out.

I'm not going to analyze this too much.

The holidays are coming. I'm just going to be grateful...


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  2. My yummy lemon cranberry bread and orange walnut bread both start with cake mixes. So easy to make :-)