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View Poll Results: How many meals/day do you prepare FROM SCRATCH on average?
0 12 9.09%
1 30 22.73%
2 45 34.09%
3 38 28.79%
4 or more 7 5.30%
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Poll: The lost art of cooking?
Old 12-23-2015, 07:57 AM   #1
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Poll: The lost art of cooking?

I know there are some foodies and chefs here, but with the advent of processed foods and more fast food and restaurant options than ever, cooking is a lost art for many. You see people on HGTV all the time confessing they don't actually cook, even people admitting they use the microwave almost exclusively.

There was a time before processed foods, where most people made three meals/day. Restaurants were special occasions for many.

I make breakfast and dinner from scratch almost every day, but I have an Amy's or Lean Cuisine for lunch most days. So I poll at 2.
  • Reheating processed/packaged foods does not count as "cooking!"
  • However reheating meals originally made from scratch does count IMO.
You?
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:00 AM   #2
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With all the prepackaged foods, who makes anything from scratch? They are mostly cheaper than buying individual items to make anything.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:16 AM   #3
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Almost everything from scratch.
With a low carb lifestyle it's practically essential.
Also, I enjoy cooking and am very happy with my own efforts.
Nothing fancy, just good plain food.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senator View Post
With all the prepackaged foods, who makes anything from scratch? They are mostly cheaper than buying individual items to make anything.
I guess if you don't care about flavour, that's a way to look at it.

Prepackaged foods taste like ... prepackaged foods. They'll never taste anywhere near a nice medium-rare steak taken fresh out of the oven on a cast iron grill pan, seasoned and seared just right.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:24 AM   #5
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Breakfast - bowl of cereal

Lunch - Almost always 2 peanut butter & honey sandwich's - been eating these for almost 50 years and still look forward to them. Does that count as made from scratch?

Dinner - I'm into cooking so I typically make a really nice dinner. Examples in last 7 days - Chicken Cacciatore w/ Zucchini & Mushrooms, Burgundy Pork Tenderloin, Beef Chili, Chicken Milano w/ Asparagus & Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. I make the mess, DW does the cleanup.

Agree with Senator that it probably costs more and certainly takes longer but the final product is restaurant quality good and is better for us with all of the fresh ingredients. Other than ice cream I very rarely get anything from the frozen aisle (I do love ice cream).
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:25 AM   #6
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I picked 1, since I do make dinner from scratch most days, and breakfast is frequently eggs and toast. So I figure it probably balances out to somewhere between 1 and 2.

But, although I do make toast, I don't bake bread, so does that really count as scratch?

And as for dinner, if it includes pasta, is it only scratch if I make the pasta myself (which I don't)?

I think I need to change my vote.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:28 AM   #7
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I'm still a w*rking stiff, so I only cook one meal a day from scratch.


Breakfasts: On Sunday, I prepare all of my breakfasts for the week (I usually just bake some bacon and scramble up a half-dozen eggs, then portion them out into 5 ZipLock containers).


Lunches: Every 2-3 weeks, I'll spend a couple of hours on the weekend making a huge batch of food (beef salsa rice, chili, pasta w/ chicken), portion them out into single-serving ZipLock containers, and put them in the freezer. I'll end up with 40-50 portions, for my wife and I to take to w*rk for lunches. I'm not counting those as cooking from scratch.


Supper: I do make supper from scratch. I get home before my wife, so I'll stop at the grocery store and pickup a protein, and possibly some veggies if I need them (there's just the two of us, so one item of produce will typically last us 2-3 meals). I cook supper from scratch pretty much every weeknight.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:39 AM   #8
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Weekdays the breakfasts are quick toast, yogurt, some fruit (mixed ziplock snack bags of apples, oranges, grapes, and pineapple cut from 'scratch' to last the week).


Lunches are usually 'free for alls' - could be left overs, could be fast food, could be a handful of mixed nuts and a cheese stick.


Dinners are most always from scratch.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:40 AM   #9
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I put 2 - but that's because lunch is almost always leftovers (of a from scratch dinner)... that is just reheated.

And breakfast and snacks are often not cooked - just pieces of fruit or a bowl of cereal. Does that count? (I do not make my own granola from scratch.) Or even a cliff bar or organic fig bars.... Which is definitely convenience food - because I can grab and go with them.

We don't use frozen prepared meals (ala lean cuisines) - but do use frozen veggies, frozen fish fillets, etc. Does that count as cooking from scratch?
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:44 AM   #10
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Sorry, I have to choose 0. I use pre-packaged bread and pre-packaged cheese and pre-packaged ham when I make my egg sandwich in the morning. I do use regular eggs and tomatoes, so maybe that's a half. Sometimes I use pre-packaged salad greens for my salads, and I always use pre-packaged salad dressings. Sometimes I make a dinner mostly from scratch, but often there's condiments and ingredients that come from a jar or bottle.

Truthfully I'm glad for pre-packaged foods. I wouldn't want to spend my retirement churning butter and grinding mustard seeds.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:46 AM   #11
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I do make breakfast and dinner from scratch, I suppose. I know, that probably makes me sound a little bit like a Little Suzy Homemaker, but that's not reality in my case.

Breakfast is just fruit, or hot cereal, or yogurt, or toast. No effort there. I don't bake bread any more but then I don't eat it often, either.

And then there's dinner. I have a (countertop) indoor electric grill, so it's not like I am knocking myself out when I'm just cooking dinner for myself alone. Some microwave meals take more effort and energy than just grilling something. I can watch TV, play video games, or post on the forum, for example, while I sit on a barstool and grill.

Occasionally I do more but only when I feel like it.

(Edited to add: ) As for lunch, it is never a microwave meal at home. We go out for lunch, and so it is prepared by chefs at various restaurants.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:50 AM   #12
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After just a few posts, it's clear that everyone has a different idea of what "from scratch" means. Taken to extremes, it could mean that you have to personally grow and process all the ingredients, which would be highly unusual, and impractical for most people. So, for example, a pumpkin pie made "from scratch" means you would have to grow the pumpkin! I personally think it's OK to include a meal that contains mostly simple ingredients with some processed items. Even the professional chefs use processed olive oil, fish sauce, etc.

I voted 3 meals, because I (now) make and eat most meals at home. That said, some meals may be very simple, such as a tossed garden salad. In my mind, cooking doesn't have to include heating things. One of the many advantages of cooking at home is the ability to experiment with leftovers. It's also very satisfying when you achieve the perfect omelet!
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:59 AM   #13
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Reheating a meal originally made from scratch is still cooking IMO, OP edited.

And anything made from scratch counts, no matter how simple. I'd count fried eggs and toast. I guess anything that your grandmother could have had as a child would count.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harley View Post
Truthfully I'm glad for pre-packaged foods. I wouldn't want to spend my retirement churning butter and grinding mustard seeds.
I'm pretty sure most folks who 'make food from scratch' aren't churning butter or grinding mustard seeds.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:04 AM   #15
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What about spaghetti sauce? What counts for "scratch" there? Using a jar of Classico? Making it from pre-canned tomatoes and using regular onions and garlic and herbs? Cooking down your own raw tomatoes and going from there? And don't get me started on pasta. Actually I use the Explore Asian Black Bean spaghetti, which I wouldn't have the first idea of how to make from scratch.

If the thread is about cooking meals as opposed to heating pre-made box meals or going out to dinner, I probably cook one to two/day. Although quite often one of those is a re-heating (often in a microwave) of something I made a day or two ago.
Edit: I see that was covered in the OP.

I never did learn how to only make two servings of something. Right now I have a huge pot of homemade chicken soup (although I did use boxed chicken broth and some frozen mixed vegetables in it) in the fridge, and we'll be eating that until Christmas. At which time we'll cook our spiral-sliced ham, sweet potatoes, and green beans (fresh), and then eat leftovers from that half way to New Years.

IMO there's very little cooking from "scratch" that goes on anymore. And almost none amongst those poor people who have to work for a living as well as dealing with kids. Cooking takes time, which for many people is in short supply. That's the best perk from FIRE.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:05 AM   #16
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So, for example, a pumpkin pie made "from scratch" means you would have to grow the pumpkin!
A few years ago we had a bumper crop of sugar pumpkins from the garden... It is definitely a lot of work to roast the pumpkin flesh, peel it, puree it. But I ended up with a nice group of frozen pumpkin puree - made from pumpkins we grew... and yes, we made pies from most of them.

But that was unusual. I usually make pumpkin pie starting with a can of pumpkin puree and a can of evaporated milk.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:07 AM   #17
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I just thought of another thing that's borderline "from scratch".... I'll toss together a soup, fairly often, starting with pre-packaged chicken broth.... It saves time. While we do make soups from the chicken carcass - we have soup fairly frequently - more often than we make stock from the bird... If you start with a packaged/convenience broth is it from scratch?
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:13 AM   #18
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Breakfast is homemade granola with plain yogurt
Lunch is either leftovers or ham po-boy
Dinner is usually cooked, rarely do anything prepared except spaghetti sauce which is used as a base for the seasonings I add. Never use canned anything, either fresh or frozen veggies.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:21 AM   #19
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Voted 3. Packaged foods led to both DW and I claiming obese BMI rankings. Cutting them out has led to 50 and 43 pound weight losses. Diets don't work for me, unless it's a different way of eating. If I willpower through a loss but don't change how I eat it won't last.

While the cost per meal might be lower with packaged foods the total cost might be greater. My wallet likes the fact I don't need six prescriptions every month!

Breakfast - steel cut Oatmeal with banana and 112 grams of fresh berries

Lunch - either package tuna/salmon or fresh grilled chicken breast. I'll get whole breast once a week, bone and skin it and freeze the "garbage". Freeze up celery tops and carrot trimmings as we use it, once a month homemade garbage soup.

Dinners - any fresh meat or fish, with a cooked starch and veggies. Fresh fish weekly, grass fed beef once a week. We generally have a meatless day once a week, last night was black beans and quinoa Enchaladis.

Snacks - seasonal in summer smoothie with fresh berries. Homemade potato chips (russet or sweet), various nuts no salt. I'm baking an apple pie for Christmas dessert!

We both enjoy our food more and feel very different.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:27 AM   #20
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I make two meals a day . A late breakfast made from scratch and dinner which is also made from scratch sometimes with a little help ( Frozen vegetables , packaged salad dressings ).
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