I find that the older I get the more I rely on partially prepared products.
A recent find in the produce department are the chopped salads. To me they are the best thing since sliced bread! I've almost stopped making some foods from scratch such as macaroni and cheese because I can buy the refrigerated, add some strong cheddar and bake it in the oven.
So last night for dinner I heated some rolls, browned a center slice ham steak, roasted a bag of broccoli and carrots and the above macaroni and cheese. I opened a jar of unsweetened apple sauce and added some apple butter to it for flavor (I usually add a little sweetener and spices) and called it dinner.
I recently bought a container of buckwheat pancake mix to keep in the mobile home. I have always made my pancakes and waffles from scratch, but .......
Many on here will think I'm a heretic, but cooking does evolve. My mother sometimes made her breakfast sausage from scratch (when she raised hogs), now most of us rely on Bob Evans for our sausage. Unless you have a farm or access to farm raised products we all rely on vegetable stands, meat markets and groceries for our foods.
I still make a lot from scratch. Because of the repeated outbreaks of salmonella, I don't ever use the prepared salad products. Occasionally, I use the frozen pie crusts for a quick quiche or some sauces or dressings made by a local supermarket. I still make my soups from scratch and since I love to bake, cookies, pies and cakes. So many people don't have a lot of time so I think that it's great that there are a lot of partially prepared products out there. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't know anything about cooking or baking and why it's important to check out what's in some of the products that they are buying.
I cook basically from scratch. No mixes at all since we gave the camper to my son.
I rinse packaged salads in a vinegar/water rinse, then run through the salad spinner. I don't trust regularly grown fruits/vegetables or organically grown food stuffs. They are all rinsed.
I'm one of those snobs who cooks/bakes from scratch--except that now that I live alone, I've cheated. I have discovered that the deli in my neighborhood makes potato salad just as good as mine. And the Louisiana-owned supermarket I patronize makes wonderful spaghetti sauce. I still make my own when I'm expecting company, but sometimes it's just too tempting to cheat. I don't like any store-bought mac and cheese that I've had, so that has to be homemade.
One of the saddest consequences of my divorce was that I lost my source of fresh pork products. My FIL was a physician who never got over growing up on a farm, and he raised pigs which he slaughtered himself and made the most wonderful boudin, sausage, pork chops--you name it. I remained on good terms with them, and my MIL always sent me her homemade mint jelly, bread, etc. I bet that if I had ever asked, they would have continued sending pork back with my daughter, but alas, I didn't.This message has been edited. Last edited by: sms29s66,
I rely more on convenience products during the past 4 or 5 years, as well. Many reasons why.
I used to cook entirely from scratch, do home canning, make my own as much as possible.
Major unexpected life events can change even our best, healthy, homecooked from scratch intentions.
As long as I can, I will make most things from scratch.
I don't ever buy the bagged salads any longer. It's not that hard to throw a salad together for me! And I don't have a salad spinner!
"The soil is the source of life, creativity, culture and real independence." David Ben-Gurion
I'm a scratch cook as well and use little prepared products most of the time. I find from scratch cheaper and better.
View my blog:
Martha are you home? Like you I use few prepared products. But I don't scorn them either. I have a strict budget for groceries and think that it is less money to buy "real" (in most cases that is)
I love grapefruit and am always tempted to buy those small packaged amounts (already cut up) in the grocery store produce dept. But I reasoned I can just cut up some whole grapefruit and have my own small servings!
I am unapologetic about using convenience foods with fresh when preparing meals. They can be great time-savers and can be considered nutritious, if chosen carefully.
I always have canned beans, fresh deli rotisserie chicken, packaged organic salads, flash frozen vegetables like peas and niblet corn, organic chicken broth, refrigerated fresh pasta, dried pasta, bottled anchovies, canned Italian yellowfin tuna in olive oil, flour or corn tortillas, and Italian canned tomatoes in my larder. I do watch the sodium content and use less salt when cooking.
Places such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's have excellent packaged convenience foods. I like tofu, but I don't need to harvest and process my own soybeans to eat it.
The way I figure it, if some of the best chefs around can use them, so can I. I think primarily of Lidia Bastianich, the great Italian chef who uses San Marzano canned tomatoes, dried pasta, and other similar products in her recipes.
When you think about it, so many things we take for granted in scratch cooking can be considered convenience foods. For ex. packaged butter (who still has dairy cows to milk and churn their own?) Link sausages (who still s.laughters pigs at home, processes them and prepares the gut casings to make their own links?) Packaged all-purpose flour: who still grows the wheat, harvests it and grinds it at home?)
There are folks who might still do these things at home, but I'd guess most of us don't have the time, the resources or the inclination to do so.This message has been edited. Last edited by: aychihuahua,
I don't associate canned vegetables, dried pasta, milk and butter, sandwich meat, etc. as convenience foods. To me, they are staples.
I think more like Hamburger Helper, Rice a Roni, frozen entrees, refrigerated "pop-em" biscuits, frozen bread/biscuits, cake mixes, bisquik, etc.
And I don't care how many times two of my BFFs tell me that Mrs. Schubert's frozen rolls taste as good as homemade - they don't! Neither do the gallon jugs of premade tea.
Someone recently told me that Trader Joe's potato salad was as good as homemade, so I plan to try it soon.
I, too, usually cook from scratch, but I also occasionally use several commercial products (chicken broth, Rice-A-Roni for an easy pork chop dinner, Stouffer's Mac & Cheese, which is the only one we like and my homemade doesn't taste as good or any better--so why bother!).
I also use canned products such as tomatoes, tuna, beans (but I like to prepare my own dry pinto beans for my taco/enchilada dinners). Several of my dessert recipes call for cake mixes, but my cookies and pies are all made from scratch (haven't found a ready-made crust that I like).
I shy away from packaged salads and I understand those bags of small carrots aren't good for you, so I always cut up my own purchased whole carrots. Same thing with cabbage for cole slaw; I shred my own.
Speaking of tea, does anyone know who might carry Farmers Brothers black tea. I took home the tea bags that were in our last trip's motel room. I REALLY enjoyed that cup of tea yesterday, but it says "restaurant service" on the packaging.
When I can save a good amount of money, I do try and make from fresh or whole ingredients. But when the cost savings is minimal and the quality/taste is still good, I will often take the easy way out with no guilt.
My DH likes glazed walnuts on his morning oatmeal. I buy a bag of shelled nuts from Sam's (pour 3 cups in a glass bowl) and glaze with a bit of brown sugar/white sugar (both cane sugars) a bit of cinnamon and water, and cook in the microwave (bag in ziplocks for a 2-3 week supply). So easy and costs less than a fourth of the packaged.This message has been edited. Last edited by: conrad,
As Achihuahua pointed out - food and cooking has evolved over the years.
I don't care much for sandwich meat and only buy from the deli, it is a convenience that was not available to many in the south 40 years ago. I believe when growing up about the only luncheon meats were the horrible Oscar Meyer stuff in the packages.
Don't care for Hamburger Helper and Rice A Roni should be banned from stores.
Nothing beats a good cake from scratch and I still make my rolls from scratch (with the help of a bread machine) at the holidays. I also make my biscuits from scratch, but like my mother I use self rising flour. Don't like Bisquick, but Southern Flour makes a pretty darned good biscuit mix and some deserts I would only make with a cake mix as the base.
As for store made salads and such, it depends on the store, some places I wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole.
Don't forget, our time has value also. If I can serve something with a little help from the grocery that takes half the time and tastes as good, why should I spend all that extra time in the kitchen when I have other things to do?This message has been edited. Last edited by: Charming,
It seems to me that most convenience foods such as Hamburger Helper have too much salt. When I was a kid I loved my mother's pork chops smothered in Cream of Celery soup. When I tried making it myself with a can of Campbell's, it was so salty as to be inedible. Also, I have a recipe for a homemade pot pie that years ago, I loved. I tried making it again a couple of years back, and same thing--way too salty.
I was making something...OH! Turkey a la King with holiday leftovers. I had never made it before but DH mentioned that his first wife made it...cream of mushroom soup, can of mushrooms, etc. I found a recipe online. I don't use cream of whatever soups and fresh mushrooms are readily available now. So, I made a Béchamel sauce (DH laughed and called it gravy - well he was correct). Then asked why I was using fresh mushrooms. Because they're better?
Okay folks... so this was not what he remembered that his first wife made. IMHO it's better. I told him he could go to town. LOL He did not. He ate it. He said it was good. Better be because I served it last week with fresh cooked chicken breasts.
I thought about sending him back to first wife. (I am wife #3.)
Sherry, I'm #3 also, I told DH - 3 strikes and you're out! Luckily, neither 1 or 2 could cook.
As for canned soups and broths, I still use them some and I always buy the low sodium or reduced fat varieties for that reason. I also don't add any more salt to the recipe.
When I buy canned veggies I look for the reduced sodium and I soak green beans which further reduces the sodium and rinse canned beans to get rid of the gunky stuff on them. Corn and other small veggies get a thorough drain in the colander before going into a recipe.
If you're not going to pick your vegetables fresh from the garden and use it right then, many frozen or canned vegetables have more nutrients than fresh.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Charming,
LOL He married #2 twice. So I'm wife #3 but marriage #4. One day he looked surprised and said that he just realized he'd been married to me longer than any other marriage. If you combined both marriages with #2 it would be longer...but we are close to beating that "record" now.
LOL Sherry. I'm the longest of DH's three also. Course, the one before me died on him. We teased about it when the time came to be the same length of time as the others. Both were 13 years, but we'll well past that now.
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
Before we got married I told prospective-DH that he had to guarantee me 25 years. I want a "50th" anniversary one way or the other! 1st DH and I were married 25, but unfortunately he died.
Now...for those who don't know...I am now married to a man 17 1/2 years older than me. Not very good planning, was it? We only have 8 3/4 years to go. He'll soon be 78...it's doable!!
FFG and KYIS, anyone reading the title of this topic and then only y'all's most recent comments might conclude that HUSBANDS are the "convenience products"!!!
So will my DH and I know he is good for another 20 years! BTW he was telling me today that he will not have another woman in his life (if I die) because we take too long to get ready to leave the house. He says he wants a male friend who will call him up and say "you want to go for coffee?" and DH will say "sure" and they both will hang up and that is that! Guys are weird.
LoS, I am one of those apparently rare women who do NOT take forever to get ready to go out. And I am here to tell you that in my experience there are many men who rival women in that "failing"! They may not do it with their wardrobe, though I've been involved with several men who were much more persnickety about their clothing than I ever was. My father was one who waited until the last minute to get ready for anything and memories of every trip we ever took start with him taking half an hour in the bathroom doing g*d knows what and then another 45 minutes or so making sure everything was in tiptop shape with the car.
Nah, my DH is more of a necessity than a convenience!!! But after being an adult single for 20 years before I married him, sometimes it might be convenient to shelve him for a bit.
Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.
sms - Nope, he's a necessity. But sometimes can get way too serious about not too serious stuff.
LoS - DH is the slow one in this house. We can hit the showers at the same time and I can be cleaned up, dressed with makeup and hair done before he puts his socks on. Brad Paisley's song "Waiting on a Woman" is the reverse here. LOL
SMS - I married your father!
FFG - I suppose DH is a necessity. I was also an older single when I married for the first time, and it sure did take a lot of getting used to!!!
Sherry - Yep, Same in our house. I have no idea what he's doing but DH is a real slow poke when it comes to getting ready.
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