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Old 11-05-2006, 05:00 AM   #21
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I'll start by saying, I love to cook from scratch. That said, I certainly use box mixes when it is appropriate. In fact, many family members really like some of the potato products fromt he box. When I do it I add a touch of parm or something to turn it into "mine". I use both Good Seasons and Ranch dressing mixes, but my husband calls them "Claire's secret sauces" because I use "secret" ingredients to turn the dressings into "mine". They aren't any secrets, it is just that friends and family won't go through the trouble to make them theirs. I guess what I'm getting at is that I use these products to short-cut some of the work, but always put a personal twist on it.
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Old 11-05-2006, 05:53 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skilletlicker
I meant no offense with the reference to wash day. I could just as easily have said lawn raking or rain-gutter cleaning day. I was just referring to the simple and humble origins of the dish.
About that ham bone. Just out of curiosity, whether it is left over from last Sunday or last Easter, what do you with it?
Here is a link to one recipe for the benefit of anyone curious. That recipe call for four of five different pork products. It seems to me, where things get confused, is in thinking that one must choose between all the ingredients listed in a particular recipe or a box from the grocery store. The problem is aggravated by the army of TV/celebrity chefs, each of whom, has to have his own unique and copyrighted, hence complicated, version of everything. Sadly, most of us don't have access to the recipes that our grandmothers or even great-grandmothers used before the dawn of the instant age.
Fraidy, I'm not trying to talk you out of Zatarains. In fact, if your objection is really to chopping the vegetables, I don't know what to say.
Sunday, Monday... you have a thing for days of the week, do you? I don't celebrate Easter. Sunday dinner, Easter, Christmas, yada yada yada. I just celebrated Samhain if that gives you any clue!

I'm not adverse to chopping vegetables. My kitchen is small but I do have a food processor. I also don't bother to pay for Cable TV so I have no idea about Food TV or most celebrity chefs (except I enjoy watching ****'s Kitchen when Gordon Ramsay does that show on network television). I'll confess I've never seen Giada whatshername or Rachel Ray or that instant-food queen, Sandra Lee.

But to answer your question, if I happen to have a nice meaty ham bone I make a pot of my dad's recipe for Navy Bean Soup. Using dried navy beans. It's only about 8 ingredients and is absolutely delicious.

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Old 11-05-2006, 07:28 AM   #23
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re time, I certainly have a lot on my hands right now, but perversley I am cooking LESS. I try and cook as much from "scratch" always. This included when I held a full time job, plkus a parttime job in the mornings, and a night shift, and had lots of horses (hence the need to work so much, lol)....but something does have to give, I cooked from scratch and had no social life!

When I am very busy I tend just to eat in a less complicated way...it takes me as long to slam some chicken in the oven to cook while I shower and make a salad as it does for me to unwrap a box and put it in the same oven.

I don't knock anyone for using convenience, apart from my mother, lol, but its not my personal choice. I make time for it.
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Old 11-05-2006, 07:40 AM   #24
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Funny, a good friend of mine is thinking about getting a couple of horses. She's never had them before and says she "imagines they will be a lot of work".

I've never owned a horse either but I've done more than just go on a trail ride. I've ridden English and I've ridden Western. And yes, horses are a lot of work. I suppose it's good her husband is the cook in the family so she can spend her time watering, feeding, curry combing the horses, picking stones from their hooves, making sure they are properly shod, mucking out the stalls and giving them fresh hay. And apples and carrots as treats Then there's the riding thing... you know, you don't just let them stand around in a stable. This should be interesting. Not a task I'd want to take on.

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Old 11-05-2006, 07:44 AM   #25
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One or two is ok,....I mean the work can fill a whole day or you can apply your self, prioritise jobs and get it all done quickly, ride one, lead one and your done.....till lunch, lol. then supper, then lates.....but I had, um, a few more than that, lol!

Its worth it though.
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Old 11-05-2006, 08:03 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lulu
When I am very busy I tend just to eat in a less complicated way...it takes me as long to slam some chicken in the oven to cook while I shower and make a salad as it does for me to unwrap a box and put it in the same oven.
I don't knock anyone for using convenience, apart from my mother, lol, but its not my personal choice. I make time for it.
I am planning to throw a cornish game hen in the oven for Thanksgiving. I won't use Stove-top stuffing (how silly when it's so simple to make from scratch!) Last year I bought a boneless chicken stuffed with boudin and it was great. I froze the leftovers.

I'm sorry if I don't care much for the boxed potato mixes or the "blue box" for mac & cheese but that's just the way it is. I don't eat mac & cheese all that often, anyway.

I do make pasta dishes, sometimes just pasta simply tossed with extra virgin olive oil and some oregano and basil, garlic (much garlic!) salt and pepper. Doesn't take much to enhance simple pasta. A slice or two of crusty toasted buttered bread and that's a meal. Sometimes a tomato sauce. No meat required. I'm not a vegatarian but I can easily survive without meat.

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Old 11-05-2006, 02:46 PM   #27
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I don't use the boxed macaroni and cheese or the potato mixes either, but I do use mashed potatoes now and again and I keep some on hand to thicken soups and such without adding cream. I've used Zatarains, but it is usually too salty for me. I've made it and used extra rice to cut down on the salty taste. I like most things from scratch but there are some good products that are healthy also and such time savers, that I use when necessary.
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Old 11-05-2006, 03:11 PM   #28
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My brother is in the process of building a new house. He's supposed to close on 12/18. So I was at his current house a couple of weekends ago and he gave me a packet of "Idahoan" instant mashed potatoes. I didn't have the heart to tell him I don't really care for instant potatoes. So I'll use them to thicken some stew or something like that. Yes, I can certainly see them used that way!

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Old 11-05-2006, 03:51 PM   #29
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I'm a purist....I'll use prepared mixes about twice a year. Other than than, it's from my own hands, all the time...every minute of the prep work, all the ingredients, everything.

I really really like knowing what I'm eating.
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Old 11-05-2006, 03:53 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Baked
I've learned never to say, "never", but I really do not like the taste of chemicals in the the premade mixes or packages of anything. I tried to cheat and make a boxed cake for company but I threw it out since it tasted awful. I really could not serve it.

I use canned beef broth sometimes but I always have homemade chicken broth in the freezer. I love Campbells Chicken Noodle and Tomato soup and I have used Cream of *something* in some casserole on many occasions.

Now, after all that I have to admit that I LOVE Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. To me, Macaroni and Cheese and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese are definately different animals but I enjoy them both so much. The Blue Box is comfort food to me. Gimme that powdered cheese...mmmmm!

Have you ever noticed how 'yellow' those cake mixes are??
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:07 PM   #31
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The convenience food I use most often is instant coffee crystals. We got rid of the coffee maker when DH had a stroke and had to get over his "caffeine addiction" as part of his recovery.
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:09 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FraidKnot
I didn't have the heart to tell him I don't really care for instant potatoes. So I'll use them to thicken some stew or something like that. Yes, I can certainly see them used that way!

Fraidy


If you have a bread recipe that calls for potato flour, you can grind up the potato flakes in your blender or food processor until they are as fine as flour and substitute for potato flour. I do it all the time.

As for mixes and prepared foods, I'd be hard-pressed to find any in my pantry. I've been cooking since I was about 8- or 9-years-old and rarely depended on mixes. I can usually prepare, from scratch, a dish that's boxed in about the same time as the box time.

Once in a while I will use a packaged rice/beans, etc. mix if a recipe specifically calls for it. Otherwise, no prepared foods here.

As a matter of fact, one of my cookbooks automatically falls open to a macaroni and cheese recipe because my daughter made it so many times as an after school snack.
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:36 PM   #33
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Every so often I but Annie's shells and cheese. It's organic and tastes okay after I doctor it up a bit. After I eat, I always wonder why I didn't just make it from scratch.

We like the Near East Long Grain/Wild Rice. That is pretty much the extent of it, except when we're camping. I've never had Zataran's before...

To me, boxed or frozen meals are always a disappointment. Any time I've ever eaten them I end up thinking "I could have made this so much better." Time is an issue with many and I understand that. IMO it's just as fast to get a rotisserie chicken, make some pasta, throw some chopped veggies, a little pesto and call it done. 15 minutes tops. Or shred the chicken, brown it, add some red chile powder and lime, wrap it in a tortilla with some taco fixins - lettuce, tomato, avocado, cilantro and cheese.
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:42 PM   #34
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Zatarain's used to be the few convenience foods that I would buy - I doctored it up and loved it - but now I have lost my taste for that as well. I do admit to occasionally using A can of cream of something, or the occasional onion dip mix, not too often tho. One thing I do enjoy is the Salad dressing packets that I add Olive oil and vinegar too, and maybe a few more seasonings.
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:53 PM   #35
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I hate boxed mixes and the like but I've had reason to be thankful for them this year. My partner hates cooking, in fact to be honest he's terrified of cooking. But I've had a weird year for broken bones and other odds and ends of health problems. So I've been thankful for instant mash and things out of cans on more than one occasion. He did green beans out of a can heated up in butter and confit de canard out of a can for Christmas lunch. That and the best roast potatoes (from scratch) I've ever had.

I can understand the elderly cooking things from boxes and cans. Getting the enthusiasm and the energy to cook for one must be hard work at times. For lots of people getting on in years, canned and dried goods aren't to be sniffed at. It would either be those or whatever nourishment could be got from endless cups of tea.
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Old 11-05-2006, 05:27 PM   #36
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Quote:
I can understand the elderly cooking things from boxes and cans. Getting the enthusiasm and the energy to cook for one must be hard work at times. For lots of people getting on in years, canned and dried goods aren't to be sniffed at. It would either be those or whatever nourishment could be got from endless cups of tea.
Careful there, Snoop... YOU are gonna be a Senior citizen one of these days, I hope!

Canned and boxed foods are no healthier for Seniors thananyone else! WAY too much sodium in most things, for starters... and you can go on from there with the reasons NOT to use them.

Cooking for one os only "hard work" if you let it be. One person has as much right to a fine meal as a fanily, and it's not hard nor time consuming to prepare.

I know oodles of folks here in New York who are neither old nor single who eat take out, or go out to eat night after night after night mostly because they really don't know HOW to cook. They don't know how because they grew up in homes where dinner was pizza, or whatever brought in...It's the fault of "society" and the intense need of families to survive... so Moms have had to work pretty much nonstop since WWII.

Cooking good food is not hard work. I don't always feel like making a whole meal every night, but how much energy does it take to fry an egg?

Sorry, I didn't mean to pontificate.
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:39 PM   #37
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ChefJune, perhaps cooking isn't the same passion for everyone that it is to you. Many have so many other things to do that it isn't possible to put the time and work into it. I try to keep my meals simply delicious and do much of it myself, but I certainly don't fault anyone for taking a few shortcuts, whether young or old.
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Old 11-05-2006, 06:58 PM   #38
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I don't fault them, either ,Licia... i was poointing out that those boxes andconvencience foods are, more often than not, filled with excessive salts and other additives, that are particularly unfriendly to older bodies, and those who have health issues.

I think everyone over here at DC is pretty passionate about cooking, or theyd be on a different kind of bbs... maybe race car driving!
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Old 11-05-2006, 07:14 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChefJune
Careful there, Snoop... YOU are gonna be a Senior citizen one of these days, I hope!

Canned and boxed foods are no healthier for Seniors thananyone else! WAY too much sodium in most things, for starters... and you can go on from there with the reasons NOT to use them.

Cooking for one os only "hard work" if you let it be. One person has as much right to a fine meal as a fanily, and it's not hard nor time consuming to prepare.

I know oodles of folks here in New York who are neither old nor single who eat take out, or go out to eat night after night after night mostly because they really don't know HOW to cook. They don't know how because they grew up in homes where dinner was pizza, or whatever brought in...It's the fault of "society" and the intense need of families to survive... so Moms have had to work pretty much nonstop since WWII.

Cooking good food is not hard work. I don't always feel like making a whole meal every night, but how much energy does it take to fry an egg?

Sorry, I didn't mean to pontificate.

If the change did not begin with World War II, at least the trend for the next 50 years began then. The gentlemen from Madison Ave. that promoted the altruism of Rosie the Riveter in the 40's, easily shifted back to the promotion of Corn Flakes after the war.

The youngest mothers of teen girls born on December 7.1941, the day of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, would be at least in their 80's today; most well past the century mark.
My mother, born in 1913, may she rest in peace, cooked mostly with Rice-a-Roni, cream of mushroom soup, and TV dinners during my youth in the 50's. Her mother's recipes were just not passed down to my Mom, who was a feminist college student, then a daring flapper, and then a home front warrior, and wife to an overseas soldier.
Someone, very soon, is going to get rich connecting us to the unadulterated alternatives to the grocery store boxes that my mother's mother would likely have shown her daughter.
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Old 11-05-2006, 08:33 PM   #40
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ChefJune, I've met plenty of elderly people in my time whose partner has died and whose children now live a long way away. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the care they receive from their children, these elderly people, a lot of them women, find cooking a proper meal for themselves, day in, day out, a chore. These are women who have produced what you would term proper food for their families but who now really cannot be bothered just for themselves. You may feel this is reprehensible and that they are failing in their duty to themselves, but it is a fact.

Many of these women are very proud, in my experience, and are trying to maintain their independence and do not wish to go and live with their children or to be a burden on them in any way. Who am I—or indeed, who are you—to tell them they can’t eat dehydrated potato? Boxed food may contain high levels of salt, but it is often enriched with vitamins and minerals. Above all, it is a source of calories. For the elderly, it may be essential. Certainly far healthier and a more varied diet than a fried egg every night.

Maybe care for the elderly is much better where you live. But I imagine that if you look around your own community, you will find people like I have described. Potato flakes rehydrated with boiled water from the tap weighs a lot less per meal to get home than a bag of real potatoes. However much an eighty-year-old lady might know that the real thing is better for her, it might be more than she can manage.

If you don't do it already, next time you go out, ask an elderly or sick neighbour if there's anything heavy they'd like bringing home from the shops. You might even have a neighbour you would like to "adopt".
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