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Old 11-11-2006, 06:19 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by skilletlicker
And even if you did, one could say that you didn't mill the flour yourself.

I forget who has the tagline on the order of, "If you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, first you have to invent the universe."

Still and all, there is quite a bit of difference between dried pasta and boxes of converted rice with dehydrated vegetables and powdered flavorings.

Well, I agree. Even though DH and I raise an enormous amount of the food we eat, decades ago we drew the line with grains. We buy all our flour, brown rice, oats, corn meal, and organic if available. We are in our mid 50's, with no known health problems, are physically fit (though wearing out). Ocassionally some boxed food finds its way into our house. Like a few years ago we received boxes and boxes of cans of old dehydrated survival foods. The only product I can bring myself to use is the dehydrated milk. I still hang on to the dehydrated eggs, but have not used any yet. I am gradually composting the tins I am tired of looking at. Saturated fats and other undesirable things are listed on the ingredients and I just can not eat it nor serve it.

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Old 11-11-2006, 06:45 AM   #52
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Absolutly agreed Skilletlicker. As I said, I recognise I am more mouth than trousers, I regularly buy ketchup, worcester sauce, frozen puff pastry, pasta, I don't make my own yoghurt (Although I might start!) etc, etc. But I do throw together our own meals, (using these heinous ingrediants often!) and try and stay as far a way from the, imo, over processed stuff and prepared stuff as I can. It is simply a lifestyle choice. I do believe they are less healthy, again, a personal opinion based on how I feel rather than serious research. It so happens that my preference to eat in this way also allows be to follow other food/economical beliefs I have, in ethical rearing and trying to eat locally produced products as much as I can. I cannot say I stick to this rigidly, eg I had a takeaway this week, who knows where their stuff comes from and how much is out of a bottle....but I get better and better at it. The economics of it is also vital to us. There is currently a programme on our television by a guy, I don't know if people out side UK know about, he is called Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall, and he is showing he can cook everything ready meals/ takeawys etc provide with stuff bought organically and cooked "from sratch" creating a superior product for less money. But yes, it takes time, and even more than time, organisation. Its a personal choice.

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Old 11-11-2006, 08:38 AM   #53
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I've used a few of the boxed stuff (Zataran's is pretty good) in the past. 99% of the time though, I cook from scratch as living out in the sticks, you can't just go to the corner market, lol. I do used canned condensed soups at times and they keep longer in the pantry. Nothing wrong with either way ( scratch, convenience or a mixture or both) JMHO.
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Old 11-11-2006, 12:07 PM   #54
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The question was how do you feel about "boxed mixes such as for rice, pasta, potatoes, etc."

I think they are expensive, way too salty, ingredients are often unhealthy, and any vegetables that happen to be included have a weird texture. They don't save much time, if any, in my opinion.

If you make them from scratch, the time you spend waiting for the water to boil or pasta to cook can be spent chopping the broccoli or shredding the cheese. Either way, you have food on the table in 20 minutes.

For camping, they are ok, especially for backpacking or canoe trips where weight is a consideration.

I must admit to being a food snob--when the shopper in front of me unloads 10 packages of Uncle Ben's and 10 more of Lean Cuisine, my response is "oh, you poor thing, someone should teach you to cook."

NOT OUT LOUD--just to myself.
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Old 11-11-2006, 03:13 PM   #55
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What kills me is when someone unloads the boxed mixes and a case of soft drinks and uses a food stamp card to pay for it.

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Old 11-11-2006, 03:22 PM   #56
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I volunteer in our food ministry where people come when they are down and out. Lots of what we give out is boxed or canned, since we can't store perishibles. We also give out frozen bread, pizza and some meats. This has given me a different idea on boxed foods. Some of these people don't eat if we don't have the food, and boxed foods and mixes are what they have to use to feed their children. We also have milk in shelf packages. Many of these things I've never eaten but I'm glad they are available. I'm sure some of the people we serve would enjoy being able to use fresh food if it was possible.
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Old 11-11-2006, 06:49 PM   #57
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i grew up on tv dinners and macaronni & cheese with frozen or canned vegetables, as both my parents worked. i started cooking(?) when i was probably around 6 or 7. my culinary debut? a special treat for my parents of rice crispies mixed with peanut butter and sprinkled with sugar! they seemed delighted, but i wonder if they ate any of it? i was soon after introduced to the mysteries and convenience of boxed mixes. it wasn't until i was in highschool that i actually started what one might consider "real" cooking.

pretty much the closest to convenience packaged food i have are a few packets of various far eastern marinades/sauces: thai, vietnamese, indian, etc.

if i want ease of cooking, i'll throw a bunch of stuff into a covered kettle and let it stew in the oven for an hour or two. a few times a year, i'll leave dinner (and the dishes!) to my daughter. she's now in jr. high, but i started teaching her how to cook when she was 3. she could whip up sunday morning pancakes on her own by the time she was 4. that's my idea of convenience. lol.

ok. now let me let the cat out of the bag and the skeleton out of the closet! i've got a package or two of macaronni & cheese lurking in the back of my top cupboard. i might make some once or twice a year. what can i say? i grew up on the stuff!
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Old 11-11-2006, 07:32 PM   #58
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I've just seen this thread. Hmm. Boxed mixes, etc ( convenvience foods) hardly exist over here, so the temptation is not always there. Ramen noodles, however, are a big hit with my boys - who arrive starving at 1am...
I've never, ever had a box of "Mac n Cheese" - why should I want to eat processed cheese sauce when I can make my own in 5 minutes? (While the pasta water is boiling...).
I also refuse to accept the "I haven't got time to cook" excuse. That's like saying " I haven't got time to look after my kids". I'd suggest we all need to make time; it's relaxing and good for you!
However - I think there's one very important point to take into account; economics.

1) How much does a box of "Mac n Cheese" cost? (I have no idea)
2) How much does a small piece of cheddar cheese cost ? ( about 110gms - a 1/4 lb)
A cup of milk?
A pinch of sea salt?
A spoonful of flour and a spoonful of butter?
a 500gm packet of pasta? ( which will be enough to serve 5 people).

I'd almost be prepared to bet that (1) is a good deal more expensive than (2); and far more noxious to your health, thanks to the "processing" and preservatives added to the final product.

Yes - there are times when we're all too whacked or ill or just fed up and all we want to do is bung something into the oven and eat it. Fine. BUT - if that situation is the RULE, and not the exception, then I believe we're trolling down the wrong street.

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