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Old 01-03-2005, 12:25 AM   #21
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In defense for the "non from scratch" products... they have certain properties and attributes that have great importance. For example pilsbury pie crusts arent the same as a freshly made pie crust, but in some examples (such as meat pies) the buttery, flaky browning that you archive thanks to the thousands of dollars pilsbury has pumped into research payes off, especially if you slightly salt the crust to give it that perfect flavor.

Likewise some products such as ketchup show up in high class or ethnic cuisine because of the precise balance of gels, sugar, vinegar and so on... for example you would be surprised how much it is used in chinese cuisine.

Many pantry staples are used in high end restaurants and like I said, it's not to save time, it's because these products do things that you cant from scratch. These products are the result of hours of work in test kitchens and if you can find the EXACT use of it, it becomes indespensible.

Really it is the food network that helped me get over my bias regarding canned and packaged goods... there's nothing like watching a "behind the scenes" in a restaurant and hear people talk about how they cant live without X product or Y gadget. Also watching people pull out stuff like heinz tomato paste or french's mustard on iron chef really humbles me. I mean take french's mustard... it's a "genre" of mustard in its own and really hard to reproduce through "fancier" means. For some sauces, you cant help using it.
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Old 01-03-2005, 02:42 AM   #22
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We have found that some things aren't as good from scratch. My mom tried making this Lemon Jello Cake that we both made (I still do) from scratch, and it ended up with a big oily spot in the middle. That particular cake turns out better with a mix. We always preferred most cakes from scratch, as we always liked the heavier texture (more body) to the fluffy box cakes, but not that one.

:) Barbara
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Old 01-03-2005, 02:51 AM   #23
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bummer... :?
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Old 01-03-2005, 04:31 AM   #24
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Interesting question. Last week I made soup that called for 8 fresh tomatoes. considering what tomatoes are like here at this time of the year I substituted canned. I think it turned out nicer than it would have if I'd used the cardboard fresh ones.

I also regularly use dried pasta and canned stock.

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Old 01-03-2005, 09:26 AM   #25
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I like the term "half scratch" as I cooked that way quite a bit. I do bake from scratch, but much of my cooking is "half scratch."
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:40 AM   #26
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From scratch is a very interesting topic and as we all see can be interpreted many ways.
I think w/baking its a bit more clear cut as if you dont use a cake mix or premade puddings, frostings, or crusts..its made from scratch or maybe an even better term "Homemade".

With cooking it may be a bit more tricky because common sence would tell you to use canned tomatoes not fresh if they are out of season..I am hooked on San Marzano. To me the sauce is still from scratch as I didn't serve a premade sauce!
But when fresh ingredients can be used..then they should be.... if you want to call your dish from scratch.....all cooks both home and professional use shortcuts..but I think there is a difference in the quality of the shortcuts that you choose to use. .
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Old 01-03-2005, 09:45 AM   #27
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I like the term 'half scratch' but my friends and co-workers call everything I do 'half a**' so I guess I could interchange those terms as needed!
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Old 01-03-2005, 10:13 AM   #28
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Cooking from Scratch

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara L
I agree with Alix's definition also. 8) I also sometimes cook from what I call "half scratch." Let me explain. If I were to dump a jar of spaghetti sauce over cooked spaghetti noodles, that would definitely not be from scratch. But if I make it with ground beef, onions, mushrooms, canned tomatoes, and a package of spaghetti mix (like Schillings), I call that half scratch. Silly, I know!

:) Barbara
I do what I call, "shortcut cooking", this is where I take a "scratch" concept and help it along. I do the same thing with the spaghetti sauce also, but start with tomato sauce and add my own meat, spices, chopped onions and soup broth and make it into a meaty spaghetti sauce. Usually we will have the fresh pasta as opposed to dry.
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Old 01-03-2005, 10:29 AM   #29
 
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Ok......

Is it scratch if you use your own canned vegetables, or frozen vegetables?

Is it scratch if you use pre mixed commercial baking powder, rather than making your own from cream of tartar and baking soda? You didn't make the cream of tartar or the baking soda!

I think sometimes we get a little carried away with determining what is scratch and what is not. JMHO
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Old 01-03-2005, 12:39 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbara L
We have found that some things aren't as good from scratch. My mom tried making this Lemon Jello Cake that we both made (I still do) from scratch, and it ended up with a big oily spot in the middle. That particular cake turns out better with a mix. We always preferred most cakes from scratch, as we always liked the heavier texture (more body) to the fluffy box cakes, but not that one.

:) Barbara

Reminded me of my ex when he came home one day found cake mix box in the trash and told me I must have had an easy day. I won't forget that one. Never wanted anything without starting from the beginning. Would have wanted me to start with planting seeds and trees if we had the room in the yard for it. Like buying me the sewing machine, I knew where that was going. One of a kind and I had him. I often wonder if he still eats from scratch? Lot of memories that I can't forget.
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