Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

TDG: What Would Mom Say?


Fat Guy
 Share

Recommended Posts

Very fun article!! My chef brother-in-law -- who gave up working with foodstuffs to work with wood as a guitarmaker -- uses bottled garlic and other convenience items when he cooks at home. He can't be bothered with all the prep ... And all his food turns out absolutely delish!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very fun article Monica, I think canned tomatoes rule. I pretty much use them exclusivly for all tomato sauces since supermarket "fresh" stuff tastes like nothing. As for the minced garlic and ginger...well that's a NO NO :smile: . They are cheap and easy to prepare at home from fresh.

Another thing I buy is the frozen seafood, mainly shellfish (shrimp, crab). Unless I am driving by the gulf and there is some known fresh seafood shops then I know the fresh stuff is fresh. As for other kinds of seafood, I almost always prefer fresh but frozen stuff is still ok especially the firm fleshed fish.

I do make my own yogurt pretty much all the time. I do make ghee, but I do not think I use it nearly as much of it as you do so I can manage making it once a month or so.

Frozen veggies, I always have a stock of frozen stir fry veggies, peas and carrots, and ripple cut carrots :smile: .

Let's see what else....No kraft mac and cheese stuff , no campbells soup, I do buy broths and stocks as well as making my own, I do have ground spices which I try buying form good sources, and I am with CWS on the thyme thing. However, come next month my first baby should be born. So ask me again in a few years and I might give a you a different answer.

Another thing, yes it does matter if the guests can tell the difference or not, for me at least. And I usually would tell them..."hey I did not get a chance to do this or that so I had to buy it", just because I feel sort of guilty even though they might have no clue. As long as I know it it will keep on bugging me. But on the other hand if someone complains I can always blame the store bought yogurt for the failed Korma :laugh:

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good for you, Monica! Better to entertain easily and often and enjoy the company of your friends than to tear your hair out because the garlic came pre-minced. Far better to spend those precious minutes enjoying one another's company.

It's much too easy to be dragged into the idea that if you don't have scads of free time and live next door to the Napa Valley then you should just throw in the towel and never have guests over.

I'd rather have pre-formed, 8 to a pack, frozen hamburger with my kids and grandkids once a week than a superb meal of fresh ingredients once every blue moon! It's about so much more than food.

Anna N

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You should all be ashamed of yourselves – this is eGullet!!

Me, I’m a true renaissance gourmand. I make my own mustard to season salami that I cure myself, to put on bread that is made from wheat ground in my garage, the grain grown in my backyard. I chase down wild boar in the great Santa Cruz Mountains, only to leave them hobbled, their feet pickling in a jar on my baker’s rack. I make cheese from whatever mammal is closest…

I do have one weakness in the kitchen, though. A couple of times each year, I will fly to South Carolina (not the sole purpose of the trip, but it happens) and load up on canned boiled peanuts.

Mom would be so ashamed. I hang my head.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's about so much more than food

It IS about more than food, but not by MUCH :biggrin:

Is it really that hard to make your own burger patties. I mean stocks, sauces, and such do take time but making a burger should take no time at all. I see no reason to buy something like that, but again this is just me.

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a lot of this may very much depend on where one lives.

People in the 'burbs and in the middle part of the country are often in a a situation where they go to the megamarket once a week (or less) to stock up on everything. This means that certain fresh ingredients just don't keep as well, and there may be limited choice and limited quality. I go down to Houston with some frequency, and I am dismayed at the quality of the fresh herbs even in the super-fancy, upscale and huge Central Market.

Me, on the other hand... I live on the Upper West Side. Many of the people I work with on a regular basis are within shouting distance from Fairway, so I go there several times a week. I go to the Union Square Green Market on weekend mornings. These things allow me to have fresh everything on a consistent and convenient basis. I know I would have to go to a lot more trouble to use the ingredients I use if I lived somewhere else.

BTW... I certainly don't think using canned tomatoes is a "guilty secret" by any means. Unless one is planning on using the tomatoes raw or barely-cooked, the canned variety -- especially San Marzano -- are way better anyway.

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the summer when tomatoes are in season and can be had for less than the price of supermarket hothouses, greenmarket varieties are what I try to get. These will go into pasta sauces, bruschetta, salads and confit. The rest of the time I make do without them, or if I really need to, then Pomi tomatoes come to the rescue.

Soba

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's face it, everyday cooking for most of us involves compromises; when you work all day, it's tough to come home and cook everthing from scratch. I think the the exact compromises that one is willing to make depend on lots of factors, including what one grew up eating, the quality of "ready-mades" available, and exactly what one is making.

And of course, "scratch" is a relative term -- how many of us dress our own chickens, mill our own flour, or churn our own butter?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:smile:

Hm. Adding up the charges here...

The righteous side:

I do go out of my way to stay away from Jewel/Safeway/Dominick's plastic foods and spend my money instead at neighborhood places, Whole Foods (rightly nicknamed 'Whole Paycheck'!), and Treasure Island, for the freshest, most unscrewed-up organic goods I can find.

I do grind my own black/green/white peppercorns, by hand, to spec.

I do chop/mince all my own fresh organically grown herbs by hand.

I do chop/mince/now-and-then brunoise my own fresh shallots and garlic, by hand.

I do juice all my own fruits and veggies with a hand reamer.

I do shred all my own cheeses to desired fineness as needed, by hand.

I do my own bread/muffin/pie baking, from scratch.

BUT:

I do occasionally use canned beans, particularly for fast white-bean salads in the summer that don't require stove/oven use.

I do keep a shelf full of canned low-salt College Inn stocks.

I do use bottled jalapeno salsa sometimes, instead of chopping my own whole jalapenos as needed.

I do get chopped liver from a local deli instead of making it at home myself.

What's the verdict, kinfolk?

:unsure:

Me, I vote for the joyride every time.

-- 2/19/2004

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm all over the San Marzanos. I use frozen peas and corn, but rarely any other vegetables. I also buy frozen stocks more often than not. I like to melt some frozen stock in a saucepan, bring it just to a simmer, and then toss in some frozen peas. It's a zero effort side dish that tastes quite good.

Finally, and I'm fully expecting to be asked to turn in my eGullet badge and spatula for this one, tubes of factory-made cookie dough have been known to spontaneously appear in my refrigerator.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

Link to comment
Share on other sites

my rule:

If I am cooking for myself, I'll use anything I damn well please. I'm not out to impress anyone, and sometimes convenience really does matter.

On the other hand, if I'm entertaining, then Mrs. Dash and her siblings, College Inn and Patak's go into the skeleton closet where they belong. :blink: ...until it's time to take them out again.

Cheers,

Soba

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with you about some ground spices, certain canned tomatoes (san marzano), and store squeezed orange juice. I hate squeezing orange juice!

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My convenenience items:

canned san marzanos

Busha Browne's Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning (made jerk seasoning before from scratch, the jury is out on which I preferred)

Demi-Glace Gold from More than Gourmet (would never have the patience to make my own; and surprisingly watched a visiting club chef make a demi from a instant disolve envelope thingy while at work)

frozen puff pastry (just won't do that at home and would probably kill someone if I had to make it at work)

jarred roasted red peppers

I've tinkered out of curiosity and made my own spreadable mustard and once tried ketchup from scratch. I always try to buy ingredients in wholes instead of already grated or ground. But I'm not into the make your own butter, bread (on a regular basis) grind my own meat for burgers or hand mix and stuff sausages, although one afternoon I may give it a try. I've once enjoyed the thought of purchasing wheat berries and grind my own flour, but then I took a look at that price tag of one found in King Arthur Flour's catalog -- Yikes! But this is no way the day to day sort of thing!

Guess I eat out more than in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beautiful, intelligent AND honest! Monica in my book your stock just keeps going up.

What a fun article. There was a time, long ago, when I was a purist and looked down my nose at people straying from the method and subtituting ingredients. But the pace is more hectic now and if you can find ways to save time and money without changing the end result too much, I now say, go for it.

As a first year student in Hotel School, I was to make Sweet & Sour pork for important guests my father had invited. I was appalled when the reciepe, in the chinse cookbook I got from the library, called for Tomato Ketchup and Sherry.But it was the best sweet-n-sour I ever had.

I know of at least two Italian restaurants where they pass off frozen batards as fresh baked bread and A-1 Steak Sauce is a staple in a lot of their sauces! Sales are in excess of 1.5 mil so people must like the stuff.

Indian restaurants ( I cannot speak for all of them ) are using frozen brocolli pureed in the saag paneer to give it body and enhance flavor. using Bisquick and milk powder to make Gulab Jamuns. And the garam masalla at most is store bought. My friend at his Indian restaurant takes a gallon of vanilla ice cream and blends it with chopped pistachios,almonds, raisins a drop of green color and some saffron dissolved in milk and refreezes it. its his most pupular dessert!

At the Bombay Curry Company, the Mango Sorbet which patrons love after a sicy meal is store bought and if anyone enquires we tell them that it is made in california by Brothers. They do it so much better and the product is consistent. Everone is happy so why rock the boat?

Thanks Monica, I feel so much lighter now, almost like after confession.

Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

Delhi Club

Arlington, Virginia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's what we did in our house last night. Got home a little after 6:00 PM. Thought I wasn't going to be home in time for dinner and hubby would have to get take-out so home-made pizza dough was still frozen. We'll have that later in the week. I had asked my child care person to take the salmon out of the freezer but she took out the wrong thing. Just so I'm not scolded too badly here, I often buy a whole side of salmon filet at Costco, cut it into pieces enough for my family of 4, wrap well, freeze then defrost overnight in the refrigerator to use the next day.

It was definitely a pasta night at my house. Luckily, I had enough of my simple home-made sauce still good in the refrigerator. I typically make it in a big batch with canned tomatos or fresh when I can get them, pre-chopped garlic, fresh basil, salt and garlic powder. Some gets frozen for later use and some goes into the refrigerator.

Also reheated some bread bought a few dayse ago in the oven but it was La Brea Bakery bread. I also made a simple caesar salad with bottled dressing but it's not a big brand that I really like and I did add parmesan that I freshly grated.

How'd I do?

So long and thanks for all the fish.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You did better than I would. I never have homemade sauce in my freezer. My freezer is way to full of beef :biggrin: Funny though, the one thing I always make from scratch is Ceasar Salad dressing for which I will actually chop garlic for, and make the bacon bits and croutons.

Tonight is tutoring for my son, so it's take out pizza. I can't cook on these nights because they work in the kitchen and I mustn't disturb them (that's my story and I'm sticking to it :rolleyes: )

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the chefs seem pretty quiet on this thread??

We make what we can from scratch, but we do have some fresh/frozen pasta in the freezer as a stand by for picky kids.Have used fron puff pastry in the past.But this is work, it's what we do for a living.At home i have probably more convience food than anyone here :laugh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to use frozen beef and chicken stocks a lot. I'll have 4-5 bags in the freezer, zap them to make a base for rice, sauces, etc. When I run low, I make more stock.

My one weakness is canned beans, which I'll often use if I lack time to prepare dried beans. Other than that, I tend to make most things from fresh shopping ( I generally food shop 4-5 times weekly), even pizza.

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm fortunate to live near Boston where I can buy day boat fish at a local market. The texture of some fish really degrades if it is frozen. Garlic is easy enough to peel and mince that I've never bothered to try the bottled stuff. On the other hand, I have never used more than a single head at a time. I get together with friends each fall to roast numerous cases of fresh New Mexican chiles. I haven't bought canned chiles in years. Canned tomatoes, of course. John Cope's dried sweet corn, I love it. I love baking bread, but there is a local bakery that does as good of a job as I and will often buy from them if time constrained.

Jim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...