I’m more than old enough to know that not everything that I read is true (but wait! I read it on the internet AND heard it on talk radio, it MUST be true). Every once in a while, though, an idea expressed makes me wonder.
Recently I listened to The End of Overeating as an audio book, and it got me thinking enough to do a test of my own.
The book mentions the process used by most franchised, sit down restaurants of injecting the meat numerous times to break up the muscle fibers. That way a mixed bite (protein, veggies, simple carbs, etc.) will all be ready for swallowing at the same time. Basically, it is pre-chewing the protein for us. Gross! The next time I went out to eat, I recognized that phenomenon, which I had tested at home and it doesn’t occur when I’m preparing the food.
(Aren’t you glad I waited until after the holidays were over to bring this up!)
All of this reminded me of a post by HomeEc 101 (of course I’d read that blog!) called “Scratch Cooking: The Whys.” In it Heather talks about the reasons why she cooks from scratch including wanting to know what was in her food and trying to reduce waste. For me, I take great pride in preparing food and find chopping a relaxing activity – when I’m not slicing my finger! As all my long-time readers know, it is also a frugal thing. It costs me less to make things at home, and honestly, I think they taste better as well.
With time being a valuable commodity these days, I combine my cooking activities whenever possible. In my last food prep binge, I baked and pureed a pumpkin and made what Lisa at The Meaning of Me calls “garbage soup” – making veggie broth out of the ends, cores, and peels of vegetables that would have been either thrown away or composted otherwise (they are still composted after cooking). With all the sodium in the store-bought broth, I feel much better using mine.
Spending this time allows me on more busy days to still use ingredients that I prepared myself.
This is not to say that I don’t do convenience foods as well. Bisquick (the Heart Healthy kind) does live in my house and so do cream of mushroom soup, boxed mac ‘n’ cheese, and canned spaghetti sauce (sad as it seems, I prefer the kind in the can to the kinds in a jar). They are comfort foods, not for every day, but boy can they be yummy!
When I was discussing my propensity to partake of cheat meals (using boxed/canned ingredients and throwing them together), my friend Ms. M said that my version of cheat meals is what many other people consider to be cooking. It made me feel better about my guilty pleasures.
How often do you cook from scratch? or What is your favorite convenience food?