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Old 07-27-2007, 02:28 PM   #1
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How "from scratch" are you?

I was thinking about the issues with using canned and boxed items. I’ve seen some posts making fun of Hamburger Helper, and denouncing all canned soups, etc. It got me thinking, just how “from scratch” is everyone? How far do you take it? I mean, it can go a long way, but few really think of it.

Do you always avoid boxed or packaged side dishes like noodles or Mac-N-Cheese? Do you not use dried herbs at all? No (commercially) canned beans or veggies? Do you make your own butter and bread? Do you fashion your own utensil from wood or clay?

So, on a scale of 0% to 100%, how much of your cooking (and life really) is “from scratch”.

On this scale, I’d say I’m a “Daring Dabbler”.

----------------------------------------------------------

0% - Astute Abhorrer
Cooking? What’s Cooking?

10% - Junkfood Junkie
Can operate a Microwave fairly well, and takeout is a regular staple.

20% - Curious Cook
Can work the stovetop and oven, use a lot of prefab (canned and boxed) items.

30% - Daring Dabbler
Getting the hang of this, use a moderate amount of prefab food stuff.

40% - Credible Creator
You know you’re way around the kitchen, and use very few prefab items.

50% - Conciliating Culinist
Fairly impressive skills, and only use prefab items in a pinch.

60% - Certified Chef
Got it down to a science, you’re a regular at the farmers market, and you know your butcher’s life story.

70% - Fanatic Foodie
Master of the trade, farmer’s know you by name, you raise your own produce and herbs, and you are an accomplished fisherman.

80% - Ingenious Inventor
Ted Nugent admires you! You have a working farm where you raise your own veggies and meat. Fishing, hunting, and farming are a way of life.

90% - Strict Stickler
If you don’t grow it or butcher it, you don’t eat it. In fact you even make your own soap and dabble at blacksmithing.

100% - Amish Acolyte
You’re so old school you don’t even use electricity (or gas) to cook!

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Old 07-27-2007, 02:39 PM   #2
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70%

I always buy fresh meats and produce. The only canned items would be corn (in the winter), whole tomatoes and beans (rarely cook with beans).

I grow my own veggies and herbs. I break down a chicken, instead of buying bonless, skinless whatever (saves alot of $$). I make all my soups and sauces from scratch.

I'm going to start making my own pastas come fall, and stock up on homemade stocks for the winter.

I can whip together a soup or tomato sauce before the DW finds her car keys.

Speaking of the DW....she makes all her cakes, pastries and desserts from scratch. She has ALOT of patience.


oh...condiments I buy packaged, but make my own BBQ sauce and mix up a couple differnt condiments to make new sauces or spreads.
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Old 07-27-2007, 02:49 PM   #3
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I happily embrace convenience.
Try to avoid meat "enhanced" with solutions,
generally buy fresh or frozen veggies, and I
like to read ingredients.
Um, maybe a 50 or 60%er?

Have no problem cooking with canned soups,
boxed rice dinners, mystery meats like hot dogs,
Spam... but no hamburger helper. Ate too much in
college!

And I do not look down upon those who do use
pre-packaged. In today's world, anyone who cooks
instead of take-out or fast food should be lauded not
lambasted.

That said, I really enjoy all the slicing and dicing and mixing
and such of cooking, so I do tend to be more "from scratch"
if I am comfortable with the foods. (Like I buy pies and cakes,
cuz I haven't ventured far into the baking arena.)
:)
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Old 07-27-2007, 02:51 PM   #4
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^^^^ Sandra Lee? ^^^^
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Old 07-27-2007, 02:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeekinz
I break down a chicken, instead of buying bonless, skinless whatever (saves alot of $$).

oh...condiments I buy packaged, but make my own BBQ sauce and mix up a couple differnt condiments to make new sauces or spreads.
I’m with you on breaking down a chicken. I never buy a cut-up chicken, but I will buy big packs of parts such as thighs, wings, or legs. I never buy breasts though. It’s ridiculous what they charge for those. If I want breasts, then I buy a whole chicken. Usually I buy them 2 at time (sometimes 4 at a time) and then cut them up and freeze the meat in packs for the two of us. Plus the backs are great for soups or dumplings or even a special treat for the dog (yep, I cook for the dogs on occasion).

But, I’m no hunter. I couldn’t kill the animal myself....ironic isn’t it.

The condiments many people don’t think about, but many people, even the purists, use them. However, it is possible to make your own vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup. But.....it’s easier to buy it!

What about dried herbs (commercially prepared), do you have any of those in the pantry that you use? Sage, thyme, garlic powder, etc? Salt? Pepper?
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Old 07-27-2007, 02:58 PM   #6
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I guess I qualify as a "Daring Dabbler". I make my own breads, sometimes pastas; prefer fresh or frozen veggies and fruits. I used canned tomato sauce and paste and sometimes pizza sauce. I do a lot of dried beans, but do use canned beans, also. I use dried spices strictly as a matter of convenience.
A lot of my use of ingredients depends on the mood I am in at that particular moment.
I don't use "hamburger helper" or any of of those only because I ate way too many of them, along with mac n cheese when I first got married.
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldcampcook
I guess I qualify as a "Daring Dabbler". I make my own breads, sometimes pastas; prefer fresh or frozen veggies and fruits. I used canned tomato sauce and paste and sometimes pizza sauce. I do a lot of dried beans, but do use canned beans, also. I use dried spices strictly as a matter of convenience.
A lot of my use of ingredients depends on the mood I am in at that particular moment.
I don't use "hamburger helper" or any of of those only because I ate way too many of them, along with mac n cheese when I first got married.
Sounds like your more of a 40% Credible Creator. I DO use Hamburger Helper on occasion! I’d say by abstaining from that, you automatically jump up to the 40% rank!
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keltin
What about dried herbs (commercially prepared), do you have any of those in the pantry that you use? Sage, thyme, garlic powder, etc? Salt? Pepper?
Yes, I have a smorgasbord of dried herbs and spices. During the season, I try to use as much fresh herbs as possible to keep the plants from going to seed. I still have to throw alot out. I have TONS of oregano, basil, thyme, sage, mint and chives.

Here's a quick tip: I bought fresh basil with the small rootball from a supermarket in February, it's still growing on my kitchen window sill. In fact, I have to keep transplanting it to a larger container.

Another tid-bit, I use the microwave maybe twice a year.
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:17 PM   #9
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65% 2 farmers 1 butcher and a fishmonger know me by name, I do grow my own herbs...I help at a community garden but am not fully or even reasonably responsible for the fine results. (But I can sure twist the rat wire real good!)

I too "fabricate" my own meats from larger pieces, and my chickens from whole birds. I grind most of my own meats, and make most of my own bulk sausage...casings are most needed for dry cure and I don't do that.

I like to buy from artisinal shops , bakeries, butcheries, etc. And I like to buy from the local Amish in my community because it really is picked a few hours before I cook it!

I do rely on the supermarket much more in the winter and for exotics. But I really like being connected to the food.
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Old 07-27-2007, 03:31 PM   #10
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What can I say, I cook for my animals too, no commercial stuff for them either.
The only canned stuff I use is whole tomatoes if I have to.No dried herbs, grow my own in big pots.
If I can't get good fresh veggies, I would rather buy frozen.They have to be at their peak before freezing and there are no added chemicals.
I'm lucky to have a friend who has chickens, pigs, goat, geese etc. , so absolutely fresh is always available from her.
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