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Cooking from Scratch

Me making pasta from scratch, circa. 2007. It's kinda been my dream to make everything in my kitchen from scratch.  I'm not sure why, but I like the idea that everything that I eat has been made by me, the old fashioned way with seasonal ingredients and outrageous flavor.  I mean, seriously though, when it comes to things like cookies and ice cream, aren't they always better when it was made start-to-finish in your own home?  Of course it was!  That's why everyone gets so excited when you pull a fresh batch of cookies from the oven.  They're that much better than store bought.  Plus, you know all the ingredients that you put into them.

Sugar, flour, salt, chocolate, butter, vanilla extract.  None of those words are hard to say.  Not like sodium benzoate or sulphur dioxide–I guess those words are that difficult to say, but didn't we study those in high school chemistry?  I don't want to rely on my 10th grade chemistry class which I've forgotten about nearly completely (except for the cute girls) and guess at what I'm putting in my body.  Sugar, flour, salt, chocolate, butter, vanilla extract are all tangible items to me.  I know what they are in their raw forms.  Sodium benzoate I do not.

Confession: There is a leftover bag of Skittles in my car right now that I am eager to finish off with every handful that I shovel into my mouth.

Clearly I'm not overly concerned about additives in my food.  However, I would like to all but eliminate things like Skittles from my diet.  Making sure that everything I eat I have made kinda ensures that.  I haven't found a recipe for skittles on the interwebs.  But I have found one for butterfingers, which sounds amazing!  And it makes 96.  Or David Lebovitz's recipe for salted butter caramel ice cream. I've never seen that in a store, but why buy it when I can make it.  So I'm dwelling on the sweets, but those, for me, are the easiest to just buy.  This way, if I want it, then I have to make it.  And if I don't have the energy to do that, then I probably shouldn't be eating it.

Meals themselves are where this will be tested and proven.  Bases in the kitchen are often just easier to buy.  Chicken stock is relatively cheap, but seriously, have you ever tasted store bought chicken stock and thought, "This is amazing!"?  I think not.  Plus making my own stock will, in the long term, be cheaper and produce less waste.  When I cook a whole chicken, instead of throwing away the bones, I'll make stock.  And with that stock, a few other ingredients and I'll have soup.  Add some parisienne dumplings and I have a pretty hardy soup that is dirt cheap.  This is the way restaurants do it and they have a lot less food waste than I had previously thought.

Homemade bread is one of the more satisfying things to make and eat.  It's also a lot easier to make than we think.  And after spending a whopping $15 at Sam's club on 50 lbs. of flour and 2 lbs. of yeast, I should be set for the year.  Math: Roughly 1.5 lbs flour gives me two loaves, which lasts me about a week and a half.  A minimum amount of yeast, some salt and water added to that and I'll get nearly a years worth of bread (50 weeks) for $15 (15 cents/loaf) and maybe, maybe, 40 minutes a week.  As opposed to $4 loaf for the same quality artisan bread bought at Whole Foods.  I'll post on this soon.

I think this will be far easier said than done, but in failure we learn how to succeed.  (I just made that up.)  I'll post on both.

For now, though, I need to get some fruit bought and some turkey carcass turned into stock.