I have been cooking more and more from scratch at home then ever before. Partly I’m trying to be frugal and save money by buying basic baking and cooking supplies in bulk and then using them to make stuff at home.
Also, I really like being able to control the ingredients and what goes into the food we eat. After reading Real Food and watching Food, Inc. (more to come on that soon), I’m convinced that there’s a lot of “food” out there that isn’t really food, and that we shouldn’t be putting in our bodies. I’m also becoming more convinced that there is a lot of stuff that looks and sounds good for us, but when I turn the package over and read the ingredients I am unpleasantly surprised by what I find.
Another thing that’s great about cooking from scratch is that I can make at home what I may have previously had to run out the store and buy to be able to make dinner. Last night I was making Mexican Rice for our small group and realized I didn’t have any taco seasoning, so I looked up a recipe on allrecipes.com and viola, homemade taco seasoning and yummy homemade Mexican Rice. Or tonight we’re having quesadillas and I don’t have any tortillas. No worries, I now have tortilla dough resting on the counter waiting to be rolled out and cooked and then I can use them to make our quesadillas. With basic ingredients always on hand you know you’ll be able to throw together just about anything you might need to complete a homemade meal for your family.
I was recently reading an interview with the author Michael Pollan. He wrote The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. (I haven’t read either, but hope to within this year.) I thought it was really interesting, because in this interview, Mr. Pollan talks about cooking at home as an important step, maybe the most important step to take, in beginning to change our eating habits and changing the food industry. He says that when we let a big company or corporation cook for us, they use less than ideal ingredients because they are cheap and we think they taste good. They use way too much fat, salt and sugar, more than we would ever use if we were cooking for ourselves. Companies are not in the food business to provide us with the healthiest, best food for our bodies. They don’t have our best interest at heart. I had never thought about it in that way before, and it’s just one more reason for me to try to cook as much at home as I can.
Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Start by thinking of one or two things that you buy at the store that you could probably make pretty easily at home. Take baby steps, make small changes and before you know it, you’ll be making all kinds of things from scratch.
Here’s a quick list of things I used to buy, but now make at home:
Dried beans (instead of canned beans)
Vanilla Coffee Creamer
Bread (I still buy bread for sandwiches, trying to find a good homemade sandwich bread recipe)
Peanut Butter (I still buy natural peanut butter, but I do make it at home sometimes too)
*There may be more, but that’s about all I can think of right now.
And Things I still want to try making myself:
Pita bread – tried this once and it was a disaster – let’s just say I set off the fire alarm!
Mayo and Salad Dressings
*There’s lots more on this list too, but I have to keep it manageable and doable to not get overwhelmed. Baby steps, right!
Cooking from scratch at home gives us the opportunity to feed our families healthy, nourishing food that has not been processed beyond recognition, and not to trust our food to a company who cares more about their bottom line than about our waistline. I encourage you to try cooking one new thing from scratch at home this week!