From Scratch


At work this last week the women were razzing one our male co-workers about his cooking skills.  I came in on the tail end of the conversation so I missed part of the story.  Evidently his girlfriend cooked him a wonderful meal and he returned the favor by fixing her dinner except he didn’t cook but went to the market and bought heat and serve items.  He had all sorts of justification but we women were having done of it – even if he did set an elegant table.  Finally he threw out the comment “who cooks from scratch any more – not that I even know what cooking from scratch is.”

A survey by McDougalls Flour says parents fail to teach kids basic cooking skills due to lack of time.

– 25% of parents never teach their kids how to cook.

-“87 per cent of children said they don’t know how to make simple confectionery such as peppermint creams, while 70 per cent said they don’t know how to knead dough.”

– “65 per cent said they wouldn’t even know how to go about boiling an egg.”

Well, I know and for the most part it is something that I do – except pie crusts.  I have never been able to make great pie crust.

And you know what? Potlucks are not fun anymore.  I used to really look forward to them because of the great dishes that people made.  Now not so much since most of the items are store bought.  Last time we had one we had a great green salad then store bought relish tray, cheese cake, pasta salad , chips, hot dogs  and hummus.

I went surfing the web for more information and found lots explaining how cooking from scratch is healthier and  less expensive but honestly I just think it taste better.  How about you – do you still cook from scratch?  Feel free to share some of your quick easy recipes.

– Leigh AAR

7 thoughts on “From Scratch

  1. Gail

    I do cook from scratch, more and more over recent years (I’m 26) because I’ve gotten pickier. The stuff I make at home is both cheaper and better than a lot of restaurant food.

    Rather than specific recipes I’m going to recommend some of my favorite cookbooks. I highly recommend Moosewood New Classics to omnivores as well as vegetarians. One of my best friends had to go vegetarian for health reasons and I’ve been teaching her to cook from that book.
    For new cooks I’d recommend Clueless in the Kitchen, or the general works of Alton Brown like I’m Just Here For the Food and it’s sequel I’m Just Here For More Food. I’ve also liked Slow Cooker Revolution and have the standard copy of Joy of Cooking.

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  2. maggie b.

    I do cook from scratch. I also cook short cut dishes (Italian beef, and green bean casserole are short cuts to me since they include ready to eat ingredients) and I enjoy eating out.

    I use a lot of Taste of Home cookbooks – I literally have a shelf of them. I also use Pillsbury cookbooks. Most of the time the Pillsbury ingredient is canned tomatoes or broth, items that can be switched for fresh if you wish. I get recipes off the internet a lot too. Just whatever I am in the mood for.

    Leigh, I don’t make pie crusts or angel food cake. Both can bought easily and they taste as good as what I would cook. On the other hand, I will not eat store potato salad, cole slaw or anything like that. They put tons of vinegar in it, which totally ruins the dish. Much prefer home made in those cases.

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  3. LeeB.

    I can bake easy stuff from scratch, like blueberry muffins or cookies. Fortunately when we have potlucks at work, most people do bring in homemade things. Yum!

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  4. Victoria S

    I do both. Cooking from scratch is surely better tasting, and cooking from “store bought” is quicker. My niece and nephew both know how to cook because of me. I pick them up after school, and since she was about 7 or 8 the niece was interested in cooking. The nephew was also about 8 when he became interested. They help in the kitchen and are allowed to do everything but handle knives. I find teaching a young person to cook so much fun, yeah, it takes you a bit longer to get done, but the rewards you get from hearing them say “Mommy, I cooked dinner” is positively priceless.

    As for store bought, I use a combo scratch/store method. For example, I use ShopRite tuna and macaroni salads to make macaroni and tuna salad when I am pressed for time, but I make spaghetti sauce from scratch. But then again not true “scratch”, as I use canned tomatoes not fresh.

    I don’t have a cookbook I use, I like to make stuff up, or get recipes from the Cooking Channel; Rachel Rays Paella is to die for!!

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  5. Leigh

    I consider using store bought items like pasta, can tomatoes, etc still cooking. I will admit that I have never made home made pasta, or tamales but I do know how to do bread. Like you Maggie, I don’t consider store bought potato salad anything like the real thing.

    I had my mother’s angel food cake pan for years but never made one – since you are right store bought is just as good I finally gave it away to the Goodwill store.

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  6. Leigh

    Gail, thanks for the recommendations on the cookbooks. I will have to check them out.

    Lee, I think our problem on potlucks is that we work 12 hour shifts – so most of us don’t get home until 8 pm. And then have to be at work the next morning at 0645. So it is easier to just go by the store.

    Victoria, that is so sweet. And yes I can remember the pride I felt as a kid cooking.

    Kathy, you are right- I should try crusts again. Cookies, cakes, biscuits, bread all seem easy – but pie crusts – not so much.

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