The Garbage Experiment has left me pretty vigilant about unnecessary packaging and unwilling to buy all those aseptic boxes of stock. We all have to do what works for us. For me, I will make stock but I do not feel the need to grow/can/preserve/bake/make all my own food. Nor will you find me grinding my own flour or wearing sunbonnets.
I was thinking about the things that I have started making or would be easy to make and I found a ton of lists telling me what I should start doing myself and NEVER buy again. ("11 Real Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making from Scratch", "5 Packaged Foods You Never Need to Buy Again", "15 Foods You Should Never Buy Again".
I am stubborn and resent being told what to do. Here is what I am willing to do in spite it being told to do it.
Salad dressing: A traditional vinaigrette is really reidiculously simple. And, reading the ingredients list and looking on line will give you the basic info you need to recreate your favorite Annie's or Paul Newman's or whatever.
Broth/Stock --also worth doing. All those years working in restaurants and hotels, taught me a few things about controlling food costs. You just save all the bits! Keep all your parmesan rinds, carrot tops, mushroom stems, celery leaves and vegetable parings in a bag in the freezer for vegetable stock. Bonus, tastes fresher and lower in sodium!
Tomato sauce tastes good when you make it how you want it. You can make it for pizza (more oregano) or spicy or with a lot of basil! Making one big batch will cover you for a few meals. And, you can make a quick sauce that does not have to simmer all day. Really, it will still taste good.
Soup. Grandmom D. said, "Honey, anyone can make soup." That is the simple truth. You can use a recipe if you like, if it makes you feel more confident. But, you can get a good soup using what you have on hand or what you need to eat up before it goes the way of compost. Having a pot of soup around is awesome. For me, it means lunch is already made!
Hummus. Hummus is one of the things that should be vegan. So, why, oh why, would some brands have dairy in them? That is some good easy, healthy snacking.
Canned beans. I have a slow cooker. Maybe I should have a pressure cooker. In any case, there is no reason not to cook up a batch of beans. And they freeze just fine. No reason at all.
Bread crumbs. Was not on the list and is the easiest thing to do. If you buy good bread, your bread crumbs are gonna by great. Again, keep them in the freezer and make them as you need them. Wicked simple to do.
Spice mixes. I will not lie. I do have some of these in my pantry. But, I have started buying bulk spices. And, don't be surprised if spices mixes are in your Christmas stocking.
I start to balk at being told to make all my own condiments. Could I? Is it a good idea? Sure. Will I do it? No.
I am going to say that I do enjoy the convenience of coconut milk. I have done it. It would have made a great video what with all the chasing a coconut around the kitchen with a hammer and screw driver.
So, I am willing to make some stuff from scratch and not buy it anymore. But, I am not dropping out and eating only what I can raise myself or anything extreme. In fact, I am still mad about being told what to do. Until I see these list writers in my kitchen making my annual supply of homemade catsup for me, they need to shut up with all the nevers and shoulds.
Remember what they say. Moderation in all things, including cooking from scratch.
I just found these and thought they were lovely. Isaac Cordal is known for his Cement Bleak and Cement Eclipses series where small cement figures are placed in "real" situations throught the urban landscape. (more at Flickr) (More here and here)
These images are part of Cement Bleak. The altered strainers are designed to use public lighting to project the shadow portriats. Talk about transcending your material. Lovely and haunting. (more photos)
Dagwood and I will have a booth again this year at the spectacularly fun We Art the People Folk Arts Festival, this Sunday, Sept. 9th, 10am - 4pm. There are tons of art making activities for kids, food trucks if you get hungry and music and dance and other entertainment! Oh, and a giant puppet parade at 11am! You should definitely come by and check it out!
It is at Robinson Park (8th & Central) map. You know, the park where the Downtown Growers Market is held on Saturdays.
Dog photos copyright © The Libby Hall Collection
Read more about Libby Hall, collector of dog photography here.
If you had not yet discovered Spitalfields Life, you should definitely check it out! It is full of fascinating life stories and history. Some of my favorites: swan upping, mudlarks, market cats, umbrella makers, bios of master craftsmen and there are so many more!