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6 September 2006
I was confused when I saw a commercial for a Marie Callendar's chicken pot pie the other day. It said that it had a "flaky crust, made from scratch."
Now..."from scratch," to me, means that you make something at home, without using any premade mixes. I make most things "from scratch," especially pie crust, since I am very particular about my pie crust and if I want it nice and flaky, the only sure-fire way to get it is to make it myself. (I make a great pie crust, if I may be so bold as to boast.)
There was a time when "home baked" and "from scratch" were synonymous, but in this day of packaged...everything..."home baked" means just that. You buy pre-made cookies or biscuits or pot roasts or whatever at the store, you take it home, put it in your own pots and pans, plop them in the oven and voilą! You have a "home baked" dinner or "home baked" cookies, which means that you have baked them in your home. Ooooooooo!
When the whole "home baked" cookies thing started you would buy cookie dough in a long roll or in a bucket. You'd either cut off a slice or you'd scoop out a spoonful and put it on a cookie sheet to bake.
Home baked cookies.
Now, however, it appears that slicing or spooning is entirely too much work for the modern woman to do, and so to make it even more simple, now for your home baked cookies, all you have to do is take a pre-formed lump of dough out of a bag, or break it off of a slab that has pre-perforated lumps, and put it on a cookie sheet to bake.
More home baked cookies.
(I suppose eventually you'll be able to buy a disposable cookie sheet with the cookies already on it to just bring home and put in your oven to bake!)
I am amazed at how popular marinated chicken breasts are. And how much more expensive they are then buying chicken breasts and a bottle of marinade and putting the two together. Or heaven forbid! mixing some ingredients together and making your own marinade, the cheapest way yet.
It's an interesting anomaly that there seems to be a parallel growth in the popularity of The Food Channel and pre-packaged foods. I wonder if we are dividing into the "cooks" and the "non-cooks," based on your TV watching habits and your grocery buying habits.
It's all so hypnotic, seeing all those packaged, ready-to-heat things in the supermarket. It would be really nice to fill up with Hamburger Helper, TV dinners, pre-stuffed poultry, and the abundance of meals just ready for us to take home and pop in the oven or microwave.
But ever since I started cooking, I cooked. And when I compare the prices for the convenience foods vs. the raw ingredients (which, Lord knows, are expensive enough), I just can't let myself give in to the temptation to bring home something mass-prepared in a factory somewhere, when I know that I can make it at home from scratch for significantly less money...and that it will taste better (premade stuff rarely tastes as good as it looks on the package).
I don't even buy Papa Murphy's pizza.
So I know about "cooking from scratch," and buying pre-made, and I wonder if Marie Callendar's can really call its crust "made from scratch." Everything is made from scratch somewhere, even premade mixes start out as "scratch" somewhere. Marie Callendar's pies are mass produced in some factory somewhere, and does the fact that the factory mixes flour, shortening and water together rather than buying a lump of flour, shortening and water that someone else has mixed together in a different factory, really make it "from scratch"?
But it sounds good, as a marketing ploy. And if you're standing at the freezer trying to decide whether to buy Marie Callendar's or Swansons, I suppose the claim of having a crust made "from scratch" may be the thing that tips you in one direction or another.
But, I dunno. I like my own pie crust recipe and though I may
very, very rarely buy Marie Callendar's pot pies, I would never buy them because they
claim that their crust has been made "from scratch."
PHOTO OF THE DAY
It doesn't seem possible that it's 6 years that Bill has been