I went to the local IGA Supermarket today, which is a rarity now, but it was a very quick trip. I needed some sugar for quince paste and looking through the aisles, it really hit me just how much of the “food” most people must be buying is processed and unnecessary “non food”. With our challenge criteria including avoiding buying from multinationals and imported food, there’s not much at a supermarket to eat really! And in fact, the Bundaberg sugar I bought probably doesn’t meet that criteria, but is the best option I’ve been able to find.
It all comes back to the kitchen. There’s a lot of twitter chat about cooking from scratch recently, and I gather that Michael Pollan’s new book “Cooked” has stirred the pot on this. I look forward to reading it, but take some comfort in the fact that I have been doing a fair bit more cooking from scratch this year as a result of our challenge, and don’t plan to turn back any time soon. I look forward to learning to make more things I never have before and depriving those big food processors of my tiny bit of hard earned cash.
I have always done a fair bit of my own cooking, but in order to keep our costs down and particularly to avoid buying from multinationals, there have been a few changes. I always have something baked on hand for lunchboxes, even if it’s from the freezer stash, and can’t remember having bought a salad dressing in years, but I am now running out of room in the cupboards and freezer, not to mention jam jars. We now usually have all these home made goodies on hand:
ice cream/sorbet – quince ice cream today!
jam (apricot, strawberry and lots of crabapple jelly)
tomato ketchup style sauce
tomato pasta sauce
roasted tomato puree
colouring for special occasions (in the form of strawberry & blueberry juice as ice blocks)
quince paste (ok, this isnt quite finished yet!)
muffins/biscuits/little cakes to go in lunchboxes
stewed rhubarb/apple etc (for muesli & lunchboxes)
There are other things that we have just gone without that I hope to start making ourselves – maybe when I’ve managed to get through the autumn harvest, I’ll have a little more time:
– some savoury sandwich spreads the kids will like – like hommous
– savory crackers – and starting with this recipe from A Fresh Legacy – thanks Kyrstie!
– bread – occasionally
– and maybe noodles too!
I hear you thinking: but I don’t have time! For me, the time involved in making the jams & sauces is not a feasible ongoing commitment, so it’s lucky that it’s only for a couple of months that the fruit is around. The other basics; muesli, baking, ice cream, etc are really very achievable to fit into a couple of enjoyable hours here & there – or a quick batch of Anzacs before school on the odd occasion!
It would be great to hear what you are making from scratch and how it fits with your lifestyle.