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08 April 2009


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Christy P.

Convenience foods I buy because it is too much trouble to make them: tamales, ice cream, ravioli (frozen), frozen vegetables that I don't grow in my garden, canned beans because sometimes I run out of ones that I cooked from dry and froze for later use. I feel fine with keeping pre-made guacamole in the freezer, although I acknowledge it is inferior to fresh. Each summer I process 50 or more pints of salsa from the garden, but I still have some cans of Herdez. Do I prefer homemade red sauce for pasta, yep. But I still have some high-quality purchased sauce in the cupboard because emergency dinner options are a good thing. If there is a rule of thumb here it is that I accept pre-made foods without too many ingredients that I can't pronounce. Balance in all things.


Hey, that was my post at F&F! And exactly the sort of discussion I thought you'd like, Erin.

Interestingly enough, the lists of convenience items you do and don't buy look much like my lists.


I buy canned chicken broth and pasta sauce (though I use it mainly on homemade pizza, not on spaghetti). Also, canned beans for some quick dishes, bread and tortillas (our grocery store makes fresh flour tortillas), and, every now and then for the kids, boxed mac 'n cheese (though I hate the stuff personally). Canned tuna and frozen vegetables.

I like to make my own salsa (w/canned tomatoes, often) and I almost never buy cake mixes or cookies or instant anything. (I did get a package of instant vanilla pudding free with something recently, and my girls wouldn't eat it. I remember the chocolate flavor being better, though.)

Christy P

I don't especially like instant pudding (or any pudding for that matter), but I do have some for making "fudgesicle" ice cream - super fast to basically mix up the powder with milk and put it into the pre-frozen ice cream maker and in 20 min you have soft chocolate ice cream. If you let it cure in the freezer for at least an hour it is better, but still a fun thing that even small kids can help make.


But chocolate pudding is so easy to make!

1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.

I double it.


Sorry Kelly, as easy as you say it is, that doesn't compare to "Add pudding mix to cold milk. Stir for 2 minutes. Eat."


But cooked pudding (either box or from scratch like Kelly's) tastes so yummy warm, with extra milk on top!


See, I think our perception of what counts as "homemade" is inextricably linked to our perception of what counts as "easy." (And how picky we are. For instance, I don't really *like* the flavor of scalded milk.)

I told my dh he should make his own French toast sometime on a weekend (when he wanted some and I was going to be out early in the morning) and assured him it was "as easy as scrambled eggs." When I came home he pointed a spatula at me and accused me of hyperbole, enumerating the many steps involved in French toast (such as slicing bread) which were, in fact, not involved in scrambled eggs. "You usually eat scrambled eggs with toast," I pointed out, but this did not move him.

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