Fancyhats and I are always trying to figure out why people cook and don’t cook. One general theory I’ve heard floated is that our parents cook and so we cook. Well, yes and no. Fancyhats always had fresh, hot dinner, but I didn’t. There were a lot of microwaved meals and Jack in the Box (San Diego, holla!) in my childhood. I’m not going to turn down a fine Jack in the Box taco (made from faque meat, natch) but I’m also not going to make that part of my family’s daily menu. Because. Gross. Also, delicious. And can we all give a moment of thanks for Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. I still love that doctored up with extra butter and some grated Cheddar. OMG. And Tabasco.
Anyway. We don’t eat that stuff for reasons that I’m just going to be honest about. I think we get into this food stuff, particularly in Portland, and it makes it hard for people to want to cook. If I say to you I don’t want to eat processed food because of obesity and the environment, that’s sort of ridiculous. Those are huge issues that my eating or not eating processed food is not going to change. And it makes eating fresh foods unattractive to many people. It makes it too heavy. Too much of a big deal. Because the environment and a health epidemic are riding on that taco!!
So I’m just going to be honest here and tell you why I make things from scratch.
It starts with something like this. That’s puff pastry I bought at our local posh grocery store. It was $9.99. Next to it was Pepperidge Farm puff pastry for $4.99. Less than half the price. But Michael Pollan told me that I should “Pay more, and eat less.” So I say that to myself in the market. I say, “we will pay more for good foods and not eat so much.” So far, that’s working out okay. In fact, for the first time ever, we came in under budget on our groceries last month.
Anyway, I stuck it in my cart. And checked out. And came home and looked at it and thought: What the hell. I could make that. It’s flour and butter and salt, maybe. And I could freeze the puff pastry I made just like I do with cookie dough and then it becomes a convenience food. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?
What I’m telling you is that I make things from scratch because I’m extremely cheap and I hate having things put over on me. To me, it feels like a racket that I just got suckered into. And I blame posh grocery stores.
Maybe a little.
But the truth is, can I make puff pastry? It’s not like molecular gastronomy. It’s a pastry dough. Like pie crust. Fat, starch, gluten (eek!) and moisture. Damn you grand central! Damn you New Seasons! Damn you Michael Pollan! As god as my witness, I will never purchase puff pastry again.
And so, gentle reader, that is why I make things from scratch. Because I have a temper. And I’m cheap. And I figure I have two hands I can read a recipe and so it’s stupid to have someone else do it for me.