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I'm a fraud


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Boxes of cake mix which I doctor and use to make birthday cakes (e.g. more Barbie cakes that I care to admit to) for friends' children.  In my defense, a) I can't see wasting "real" cake on a group of 5 year old girls who are already hopped up on frosting and soda and b) I have a very hard time getting "real" cakes to rise consistently (maybe the new stove will help) and I'm usually very pressed for time.

I completely agree with using a boxed cake in an instance like this. Personally, I'm not made of money, and I've also got limited time... why would I waste a really good, made-from-scratch cake on somebody who can't appreciate it? I know, I know, that makes me a bad foodie, but really... especially since you doctor them, I feel it's perfectly acceptable. (And my own confession: I have a few family members who prefer cake mix cakes. I found this out on accident when I had very little time and grabbed a box mix and added some pudding mix. They always compliment me on how much better cakes "made from scratch" are and how "it tastes just like the cakes I remember from my childhood". These are people who think Costco cakes taste great, so they get cake from a mix. Give 'em what they like, I suppose.)

I do completely see the logic in not killing yourself laboring over a real cake for anyone that you suspect will not appreciate it . . . however, I just want to point out that I went the first couple of decades of my life thinking that I didn't like cake, because the only kind I ever got was cake from a mix with premade frosting, or grocery store sheet cakes with crunchy royal frosting.

Yeah, my son won't eat cake b/c that nasty shortening "buttercream" they use on grocery-store cakes is foisted off on children so often (school rules prohibit me from making a "real" cake with "real" frosting and bringing it in to them from my home kitchen)--In my defense, I do make my own frosting, even on cake mix cakes.

Okay then, you get a pass! :biggrin: Seriously, the frosting is what counts.

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I agree with all of those who say that these are reasonable timesavers, not "cheats", unlike my Costco lasagna, and I am finding a lot of good shortcuts here. (Coming from such an audience, I tend to trust them not to make me look foolish!)

Keep 'em coming. thanks, FG ! :wink:

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I use Minors Soup bases..(beef and Chkn), And have no apologies for doing it, cause its better than my stock and lots quicker. Kicks up all sorts of stuff the proverbial notch......Beef even makes a nice onion soup...Only problem is the Rest. food supply place stopped selling retail and I have to Mail order it...

Bud

They sell it at BJs ...maybe at Costco too :unsure:

a dollop in tomato sauce is good too

tracey

No pun intended, But whats BJ's???

From the desert on the leward side of the rockies...

Bud

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My big "fraud" is the take and bake ciabattini rolls from Trader Joe's. The guests remark on how wonderful they are (my kids call them "the bomb), and I have no comments. BTW, their pizza dough is very good, as well. I'm dough impaired, so I'll take every bit of help I can, and my rule of thumb is to offer nothing. If pushed, I'll admit, but otherwise, let them think I've made it myself.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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When I owned a gourmet shop one lady used to come in every month with her large glass serving bowl and she'd buy whatever salad struck her fancy and have us fill the serving bowl. Then off to the PTA pot luck she would go refusing to divulge her recipe.

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I use Minors Soup bases..(beef and Chkn), And have no apologies for doing it, cause its better than my stock and lots quicker. Kicks up all sorts of stuff the proverbial notch......Beef even makes a nice onion soup...Only problem is the Rest. food supply place stopped selling retail and I have to Mail order it...

Bud

They sell it at BJs ...maybe at Costco too :unsure:

a dollop in tomato sauce is good too

tracey

No pun intended, But whats BJ's???

From the desert on the leward side of the rockies...

Bud

http://www.bjs.com/

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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I use a garlic press... but only for certain things like salad dressings.

A little bottle of Grace's Browning Caramel makes my occasional beigeish offering a more succulent brownish. I think it's a better product than the Kitchen Bouquet my grandmother used.

While y'all are hearing my confession...three words... Better than Bouillon.

Now tell me my punishment but consider... is it cheating or is it using System D to save something from heading south.

Edited by Susie Q (log)
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Oh I do that too, Lilija. I love garlic but hate all the peeling and the pounding and the mincing. I love minced garlic in a jar. So quick and efficient for a lazybones like me.

Edited by Domestic Goddess (log)

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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I currently live with some friends on their small farm, where we have seasonal access to raw goat milk, organic eggs and fresh organic veggies and where, during the winter, there are home-canned and frozen veggies and humanely-raised goat and sheep meat and the occasional chicken. We also have a friend who has frozen wild-caught fish sent to us regularly. Several of us have various food allergies as well (soy, refined sugar, food dyes, etc.) So you'd think this would be a bucolic wonderland of all-natural, shortcut-free cooking. Well...no.

We have not one but TWO jars of Better than Bouillon in the house. Granted, they are most often used as a base for slow-cooked soups containing the aforementioned organic veggies and sheep or goat meat, but still...heh.

We have been known to eat Kraft Mac n' Cheese (made with goat milk!) into which is mixed cut-up cheap weenies, canned mushrooms and frozen peas.

Despite having a bread machine (and a housemate who knows how to use it) we often get bread from the "day old" bin at the grocery store. Also, despite the abundance of eggs in the warm months (during the summer I collected over a dozen each day, most of the time) packaged breakfast cereal is so coveted that people have to mark their initials on the box to keep the others from eating it all.

There is an economy-sized flat of Ramen in the pantry, and more than one person consumes it. Because the farm hosts a lot of gatherings for my friends' church group, we are often left with party food like marshmallows, cookies, bags of chips and jars of dip and salsa which everyone consumes with gusto, ignoring the healthful stir-fries or stews someone has been cooking all day.

On the other hand, there are a lot of home-canned goods around, and baking takes place pretty regularly in the wood stove during the colder months, and not much produced on the farm is wasted -- for instance, the spines from butchered animals are put into pressure cookers to make soup. We often get fresh fruit from other organic farms or from the "dead bin" at the store, and make tasty pies or other desserts from them. But still, lurking in the fridge are many jarred and bottled condiments and other food items we did not make ourselves nor which are really necessary, and the pantry has more than its share of dinged-up discount canned vegetables and beans, as well as snack foods and (worst of all) some kind of pre-cooked ground meat in a vacu-seal package that one housemate in particular adores (the rest of us think it tastes and smells like spoiled cat food.)

Maybe this makes us sound like a bunch of slackers who don't appreciate what we've got, but honestly, we do consume a lot of tasty, healthy, SOLE food here. It's just that even people who have immediate (as in, from the back yard) access to fresh organic food sometimes desire a can of Progresso instead of a tupperware container of last fall's beet soup, or would rather throw together a microwavable meal after a hard day cutting firewood than take an hour to roast a leg of lamb. Life's too short to obsess or feel guilty about the shortcuts.

Granted, none of us have ever tried to pass off Stouffer's as our own cooking, or steamed clams in a dishwasher (which we don't have) but rural areas generally lack the same opportunities for such audacity, amusing though it is to think about :biggrin:

There is no sincerer love than the love of food. -- George Bernard Shaw
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Yeah, my son won't eat cake b/c that nasty shortening "buttercream" they use on grocery-store cakes is foisted off on children so often (school rules prohibit me from making a "real" cake with "real" frosting and bringing it in to them from my home kitchen)--In my defense, I do make my own frosting, even on cake mix cakes.

I wonder if it's against the rules to make your own cake and put it in a store bought box and pawn it off as the stores?

While working at various financial exchanges we were constantly coming up with innovated procedures to stay in compliance with exchange rules.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

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In the same vein, I never did it but I was tempted to make home made cookies and muffins and put them in a store container and pass them off as store bought.

The co-op preschool rules insisted that the snacks we brought for the kids had to be store bought (ie made in an approved kitchen) with a label clearly showing no peanut products.

Thank god the store bought rules didn't apply to our parent meeting nights, auction nights and bake sale days.

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Yeah, my son won't eat cake b/c that nasty shortening "buttercream" they use on grocery-store cakes is foisted off on children so often (school rules prohibit me from making a "real" cake with "real" frosting and bringing it in to them from my home kitchen)--In my defense, I do make my own frosting, even on cake mix cakes.

I wonder if it's against the rules to make your own cake and put it in a store bought box and pawn it off as the stores?

While working at various financial exchanges we were constantly coming up with innovated procedures to stay in compliance with exchange rules.

I like the way you think! Sort of an "anti-fraud" technique. :biggrin:

Feast then thy heart, for what the heart has had, the hand of no heir shall ever hold.
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Vegetarian food tastes much better when made with chicken stock instead of vegetable stock, although parve stock powder is OK but salty...

That is beyond fraud and into the realm of villanry. I knew a i guy once who knowingly used ham stock for his vegetarian soup and fed it to his veggie guests. This was ten years ago and i've never looked at him the same since.

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I'm seeing a thing happen that maybe a lot of these (including my own) AREN'T fradulent, but more along the lines of daily survival. The much heralded "System D" if you will.

That said, here are a couple more of mine:

This happened 2 nights ago. Large Hotel, busy as hell, one of my cooks comes to me 2 minutes before service completely out of hummus (we buy it). Of course the storeroom is closed and banquets has neither the product I need OR chickpeas to make it from scratch.

Here's what you do: Take the 6th pan of chickpeas you find in the walk-in. Add some roasted garlic from the pizza station, some mashed potatoes, some sesame oil, s&p and a few prayers and buzz the shit out of it in a buffalo chopper. Pretty passable.

Another one (and this one probably IS fradulent) happened during my first days at CIA, way back when. I'd never made hollandaise before and was always really nervous about it. When it came time for our practical, the chef (Chef Bagna, wonder whatever happened to him) told us that he would be grading color and consistency, not taste. Not wanting to F it up, I simply didn't cook the yolks and made butter mayonnaise. Looked great, I got an A- for the day.

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One I don't use and don't get it is canned chicken (another Sandra Lee staple come to think of it). It really doesn't take that long to poach (or grill on a countertop grill) chicken breasts/thighs in order to make chicken salad.

unless you are johnnybird. i keep a few retort packets of chicken breasts and salmon from various companies for his use if i am away. i do also keep a tin of chicken so he can make chicken salad for himself - though usually i do up food and leave an EXTREMELY detailed list if what is for when.

seriously there are issues with time, slowness(john marches to his own precussion section) and being able to multitask.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I feel like a fraud for keeping my garlic cloves in the freezer, where they keep forever. They are not fresh!

Do they freeze well enough to use as one would use never-frozen-garlic? I always have trouble with rotting garlic, since I can never use up an entire head before it goes bad (and I have to buy garlic in bags of three heads!). If it works, I'm freezing mine!

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I feel like a fraud for keeping my garlic cloves in the freezer, where they keep forever. They are not fresh!

Do they freeze well enough to use as one would use never-frozen-garlic? I always have trouble with rotting garlic, since I can never use up an entire head before it goes bad (and I have to buy garlic in bags of three heads!). If it works, I'm freezing mine!

Well, it works for me. [insert shame-faced emoticon here.]

The appearance and texture does change: the garlic looks a little waxen and transparent, and it loses its crispness. It's fine in dishes where the garlic is cooked. In dishes where the garlic is used raw, the difference in texture would be palpable.

Some people say the flavor of the garlic deteriorates in the freezer, and some say the flavor gets harsher in the freezer, but some say there is no noticeable change in flavor.

Another option is to freeze it chopped up in some oil. There is said to be less change in flavor this way.

But frozen cloves are good enough for me, the fraud. Hey, no more rotting or sprouting garlic!

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Well, it works for me. [insert shame-faced emoticon here.]

The appearance and texture does change: the garlic looks a little waxen and transparent, and it loses its crispness. It's fine in dishes where the garlic is cooked. In dishes where the garlic is used raw, the difference in texture would be palpable.

Some people say the flavor of the garlic deteriorates in the freezer, and some say the flavor gets harsher in the freezer, but some say there is no noticeable change in flavor.

Another option is to freeze it chopped up in some oil. There is said to be less change in flavor this way.

But frozen cloves are good enough for me, the fraud. Hey, no more rotting or sprouting garlic!

Cool! Off to the freezer they go!

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