I was 14 when I learned to cook. Making things from scratch was a real badge of honor then. I had learned to make gumbo from scratch. I could make spaghetti sauce from scratch. In fact, if I hadn’t spent at least an hour in the kitchen making whatever I was making I felt lazy. I’m sick. I know.
Over the years, I began to realize why from scratch was so important. It is amazing what major manufacturers put into things for the sake of shelf life or consumer appeal. I’m sure you’re well aware of the dyes and corn syrup but what you may not be so aware of is wood pulp. Yes, wood pulp is often added to baked goods for the sake of texture. A previous co-worker of mine once told me she couldn’t eat boxed cornbread because of her religious beliefs. I went to my pantry, pulled a box and sure enough there is pork in that cornbread. There is also pork in marshmallows. Why the hell is there pork in my marshmallows?!
I was so completely grossed out by this concept, I vowed to make everything from scratch. I learned to make tortillas, bread and pie shells from scratch. I made pancakes from scratch, pudding from scratch and yes even my corn muffins were from scratch. Truthfully, it was quite a bit of work but I was very pleased by how much money we were saving. Plus the peace of mind was well worth the effort. It went on like this for months. Nearly every meal, every day was homemade from scratch. I was a freaking champ.
Then I burnt myself out and got real. There are certain things that are neither time or cost efficient enough to be worth making from scratch. While I do love a sweet homemade pie, those refrigerated pie shells are just as good and cost nearly the same as the ones I was making. Also, I suck at rolling them out. The same was true for tortillas. If I had a tortilla press, things would be different. I also have no problems picking up a can of spaghetti sauce if I’m feeling lazy. Hunts Traditional is good stuff.
Semi homemade, at least for me, is the way to go. My pancakes are still made from scratch but if you think I’m making the butter pecan syrup. you’re out of your mind. This is not Ihop! It’s a give and take. I still can’t enter a clean kitchen and not immediately dirty it up with some good home cooking. I just no longer want live in there.