Saturday, September 02, 2006

Not Sandra Lee, or Kraft Food & Family

I admit to having watched Semi-Homemade a few times, but I always find it dissatisfying. It never sits well with me to use a brownie mix from a box to complete a recipe when it only takes about five extra minutes to put together your own brownie mix, sans preservatives. I've eaten enough scratch cooking that I can now (I think) taste the chemicals in packaged cookie dough, cake mix, and deli potato or macaroni salads. Yes, I still "cheat" sometimes on recipes with say, oreo cookies or lemon jello, but using a bottle of salad dressing to make a marinade? I'll do it if I'm in a great busting hurry and if I even happen to have the dressing on hand, but vinegar, oil and spices sure do win the price and convenience competition at my house. And, I might add, you don't have to add that empty bottle to the landfill every time you make the recipe.
Another culprit in the "homemade convenience" foods arena is Kraft's "food&family" magazine. It's free, and why? Because it is basically dozens of advertisements in magazine form. Every single recipe calls for at least one pre-packaged, over-priced, chemical-laden ingredient. I sometimes use the recipes, but I substitute my own concoctions whenever I can. You don't NEED cream of mushroom soup to make a tasty casserole! Really!
Confession: I do enjoy using boxed chicken and beef broths. I don't enjoy the MSG, so I buy it without if I can. I've tried homemade broths but mine never taste as good, and I don't ever seem to remember to get them out of the freezer in time to thaw for the recipe. In a pinch I will also use boullion powder, though it has so much salt in it, it's a bit scary.

Do you cook from scratch or are you semi-homemade?


Ali said...

I have to confess to being slightly smug when I look in other people's shopping trolleys at the supermarket and see the mountains of processed rubbish. I tend to cook from scratch, with the odd bought thing. Better for you, tastier and SO much less expensive.

Candlestring said...

Though I must admit there are some things I won't attempt at home. Pasta sauce being one of them - I can't seem to help buying the jars of "garden style" sauce when they're only $1, even though they're loaded with sugar. There's no way I'm chopping and simmering all those veggies unless I had a garden and was canning anyway. And we have a weakness for corn dogs, which are considered a treat item. And of course there are other things, too. I'm not saying I do it ALL from scratch, just as much as I can and still keep my sanity.
Glad to hear I'm in good company, Ali :)