Cooking With Confidence
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A Macheesmo Hypocrite

by Nick

Ok.  So I’m not really a baby stealer.  And I might lie on occasion, but never to you lovely readers.

It’s very possible that I’m a hypocrite though.

Allow me to explain.  A few days ago a very astute reader commented on an old post:

I think it’s funny that the cook spouts so much fanatical anti-can propaganda and then procedes to produce a recipe that requires two cans (or one can and one foil lined box.) Make up your mind. Either make your meal from scratch or don’t, but don’t preach about not using canned soup and then use canned broth and vegetables.

After I pulled my shriveled ego out from under my desk, I thought to myself that this reader is actually correct.

I’m not sure that I would call my normal Macheesmo writings “propaganda”, but it’s very true that I sometimes contradict my own advice.

I’m a big believer in airing grievances so this post is my attempt at a defense!

What is From Scratch?

There are multiple recipes on Macheesmo that I claim to make something from scratch.

What does that mean though?  Depending on who you are talking to it could mean very different things.  A dairy farmer might think that you have to churn your own butter to make something from scratch.  Maybe it means you grind your own flour?

Maybe to call something “from scratch” you have to grow and make every single aspect of the dinner including smelting and forging your own cast iron pans!

Of course, I do none of that.  So what do I mean when I say something is from scratch?

I define from scratch as anytime you cook something using mostly raw or minimally processed ingredients.

Using this definition, I can cook something with canned tomatoes and still call it from scratch.  I don’t think this is a travesty.  Canning tomatoes is just a way to preserve them so they can be easily used when they aren’t in season.  In fact, I think it’s better to used canned things like tomatoes when they are out of season.

There’s a big difference between preserved tomatoes and cream of mushroom soup.  Even if both of them come packaged in cans.

The Gray Zone

Obviously, there is a huge amount of gray zone with this definition.  Depending on your experience and skill, you might have a completely different definition of what from scratch means.  Here’s a few examples of things that I think are in the gray zone:

Chicken/Veggie Stock – If you are used to making homemade stock often, you  might think that you must make your own stock if you call something from scratch.  Others might consider store-bought stock a perfectly acceptable ingredient.

Pasta – Pasta is definitely something that’s possible to make at home, but it’s also a pain in the butt!  Some people might be better at it than others and think of it as a necessity for some meals.  Some people have never made homemade pasta, will never make homemade pasta, and do not consider it necessary to do so.

Bread – If a recipe calls for bread, do you need to make that bread on your own or can you sub in store-bought bread?  Again, I think it depends on your experiences and level of cooking.

Where I Went Wrong

The thing that I think the above comment nailed is that I did use store-bought stock in a recipe that I called “from scratch“.  For a dude who raves about homemade stock as much as I do, that was maybe a stretch.

The only defense I have is that I was focusing on the normal preparation of the meal in question, beef stroganoff, which involves noodles, beef, and a few cans of cream of mushroom soup.

I didn’t make the noodles from scratch and used store-bought stock instead of homemade.  Instead of the cream of mushroom soup, I made a simple pan sauce with fresh mushrooms, cream, and a few other simple ingredients.

In my mind, I basically thought that since I wasn’t using the canned soup that it was from scratch.

I’m not sure that that is correct.  I can tell you that it tasted better, but I’m not sure on the from scratch issue.

Macheesmo the Human

Sometimes I get carried away with making homemade pasta and stock and all that stuff.  I enjoy doing that stuff and I think the results can be worth it.

That doesn’t mean that I do it all the time.  This is an important distinction.

I have a job, a wife who would like to see me outside of the kitchen occasionally, two needy animals, and some sort of feeble social life.

So I don’t make all my own pasta.  I try to make stock and freeze it, but sometimes I’m out.  I love making homemade bread, but sometimes I still buy the sliced stuff.

Basically, I’m busy like most of my readers.  I prioritize a lot of time and money toward cooking good meals because it’s important to me, but I’m very far from perfect.

I take shortcuts on occasion.

The Macheesmo Goal

The goal with Macheesmo has always been, since day one, to find ways to inspire people to cook more.  I don’t want people to think that if they don’t have the time to cook everything from scratch then they might as well just order take-out.

There’s a middle ground and that middle ground is huge.  And delicious.

I’m thrilled to death when someone tells me that they have tried one of my recipes.  Honestly, I don’t care if they change it or substitute store-bought stock for homemade stock.

You have to make the recipes your own and make them fit your life.

So yes.  You’ll occasionally see me use store-bought stock in recipes.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t fully realize that homemade is better.  It means that I just plain didn’t have time to make any!

It’s not my goal to be a hypocrite, but I can see how I might come off as one on occasion.

What do you think?

What makes a meal from scratch? More importantly, do you think I’m a horrible person on par with baby stealers?

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68 comments on “A Macheesmo Hypocrite

  1. To be honest – to a professional – “from scratch” means that you make an item opposed to opening a box with the meal premade.
    Let me explain:
    What the reader is splitting hairs about is whether or not it is okay to use a convenience product when making your dish, NOT whether it is from scratch. The difference is plain to see; of course you don’t have to churn your own butter to make your own croissants. You buy the conveniently made butter. The same goes for stock. Hey, at least you are not just using bouillon cubes like some people do. Even that is still a convenience product.
    A completely made meal is something like a Michalena’s Fettucini Alfredo. Just pop the plastic, pop it in the micro – and your work is done!
    Rest your mind easy Nick. Some people want to split hairs. Are you using canned tomatoes? Good on you. Even Mario Batali (of Molto Mario, Iron Chef, Etc) fame uses canned tomatoes. It’s about being confident in the kitchen – not about being snooty, and you are doing a fine job on that front.

  2. Sounds like someone just wanted to take you down a peg. Don’t let ‘em get to you. It just means that you’re reaching a wide enough audience that you’ve got a few hecklers. Certainly there is from scratch and then From Scratch! But I think most of the world is pretty comfortable with the idea that using canned broth or tomatoes in a recipe still counts as homemade. Like you, I make my own stock on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes run out, and use the boxed or canned stuff instead (I’m out right now, as a matter of fact). Life continues on! Keep up the good work.

  3. I’m totally with you on this one, Nick. Canned tomatoes, dried pasta, premade stock — all are fine in a “scratch” meal as far as I’m concerned. Heck, I even use canned beans in lots of recipes (all the while thinking, man I need to start doing my own dried beans!) and I still feel 100% comfortable putting those meals on the table for my family as “homemade”. I like the distinction you chose: packaged food vs. processed food. Don’t worry about the naysayers – I love your blog and I love many of your recipes. And I know how hard it is for me to get dinner on the table so I am IN AWE that you can do such awesome meals AND post about it every day. In awe. Keep up the good work!

  4. I think that when you are saying “from scratch” you really mean “made in your kitchen because I didn’t want to pay more money for the same food I can make that’s healthy for me.” Essentially, even if you use the packaged and canned stuff sometimes, doesn’t mean that you’re not in the kitchen cooking! And dammit, that’s what it really is all about. Keep up the good work! I use your recipes all the time and they are delicious!

  5. Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I also often use the “gray area” items. I would still consider that “from scratch.” Unless you are merely opening up a bag/box/can and reheating the contents only, I would still consider it “from scratch” cooking. I agree with the people who made comments on this entry, there is nothing wrong with using canned stock/tomatoes and pasta. Yes, the stroganoff in question contained canned soup as part of the sauce, but there’s nothing wrong with using something prepared occasionally. We’re all responsible adults, we do not have hours everyday to dedicate to food preparation. I think your practices are fine and totally acceptable in my book. Thank you for providing a wonderful blog.

  6. Heh, I think there’s a difference between ‘mild discrepancy’ and ‘hypocrisy.’ I do like your explanation, though, and I think it describes how a lot of us juggle cooking on top of other day-to-day demands. It’s also worth noting that probably a large percentage of readers would be too daunted by a recipe calling for homemade pasta, homemade tomato sauce, homemade stock to even attempt it (me!), and alienating readers is certainly not the goal. Anyway, I’ve made and enjoyed a number of your recipes…keep up the good work!

  7. Not having the time to leave a real comment, I will just say carry on Nick! You are doing a fine job and some people just like to stir up trouble. (no pun intended) lol

  8. Sounds like someone was having a bad day and took it out on you!! I think using “stock in a box” and canned tomatoes still considers it to be “from scratch”. Alot of people buy stove top and boxed mac and cheese rather than take the time to make a meal with fresh unprocessed ingredients. Hence, the sauce you made with FRESH mushrooms for your beef straganoff was, IMHO, way better than cream of mushroom soup (blah). Thanks for a great blog!

  9. My Momma used to say”If you don’t have anything nice to say say nothing at all. That person is a weiner. You rock!

  10. I totally agree NIck about the convenience factor and ditto what both Jason Sandeman and Elizabeth say… chef-on Nick! Too daunting to consider all of that home-madeness on a typical weeknight. And I also think not all tinned tomatoes and boxed stock and churned butter is created equal either. The brands you show in your photo, are similar to the brands I too pick and read labels for and taste test. When I find something simply made (not too much muck in the ingredient list), consistent and tasty, I stick with that brand, even if it means paying a little more. And… I’m going try that beef stroganoff recipe.

  11. Hey Nick,
    I just wanted to say that I think your recipes have always struck a good balance between being fresh and minimally processed, while still being able to be cooked for a weekday dinner. I would say “scratch enough”, for many of us.
    Also, you have many fans in Minneapolis. On more than one occasion I’ve been to a dinner party that features multiple Macheesmo dishes, and your site is often the first place I go when I need a meal idea.
    Keep it up!

  12. I don’t know what that guy is ranting about but at the end of your response I felt the need to get up from my desk and do a Macheesmo cheer, whatever that may entail. I like that your recipes are complicated enough to be delicious but are simple enough for me to tackle them on a weeknight. Surprisingly applying those two rules to a meal that also consists of real food is quite a difficult thing to do, but you haven’t failed me yet!

  13. Nick- that person needs to get a life. Period. Just cause you are trying to “have one” by using minimally processed, but packaged items is not hypocritical. I love your recipes. Keep doing what you’re doing.

  14. I think the guy was just being a jerk and you happened to be a handy target. I’ve always thought you’ve done an excellent balance of convenience to scratch in your recipes, and you generally have a particular convenience item recipe so that the person can easily make the ENTIRE meal (including pasta or whatever) from scratch if they so desire.

  15. Do I add anything to the conversation by echoing everyone’s sentiments? Dude is splitting hairs. To me this is the critical difference: canned tomatoes are relatively similar to home canned tomatoes, as long as you don’t by the cheap ones with lots of strange add-ins. Chicken stock in a box is not as flavorful as homemade stock, but it’s still stock. Cream of mushroom in a can is barely recognizable as soup.

  16. I don’t have anything to add to the comments above because I agree with everyone else, but I just wanted to leave a note to say I love your blog and I love the way you handled that comment by so clearly explaining your point of view and also treating it with a bit of humour .. I think if someone had said that to me I would just curl up in a ball and cry. Keep up the good work! :)

  17. Great post! Your blog is one of the most refreshing food sites out there and no matter what, like you said, the end goal is to encourage, influence, and excite people to cook more, store bought stock or not!

  18. Relax, Nick! Your blog is about so much more than scratch or not scratch. For example, I found confidence to buy a cast iron pan from reading this blog, and my cooking has improved a Lot because of that one thing. I know how to make my own stock and sauce, but the cast iron changed my life. We are on strict diets here, and don’t even like any of that tex-mex stuff, but I still like reading the recipes and the commentary. The blogs about the wedding, new house, garden, hiking and the needy animals were all really nice to read through. Thank you for sharing with us all through this real life and cooking blog!

  19. The person that commented on the ‘from scratch’ business, well he needs to get off of his high horse! I live half way around the world from you. Yes, 99% of what I cook is made from scratch…only because there is rarely any other option. Meals take time, on the average 2 hours to prepare and cook. It would be a blessing to have canned tomatoes or even a jar of sun dried totmatoes at hand. But even if I canned, yes, do know how to, its impossible as food would never survive the intense heat of the summers (and they start in March). FYI I also make my own butter, and we have our wheat ground as we need it. As long as you aren’t taking everything out of a can/jar to make the dish, its from stratch.

    Now I wonder if one buys yarn to knit a sweater, if that is handmade or not. Yep, we grow our own cotton, but still trying to find a spinning wheel.

  20. I have always seen you and your blog as laid-back yet ambitious about cooking quality meals – and “try and make your own stock if you can, but premade is fine if you’re out” fits in perfectly to that attitude. I do not consider you a hypocrite for touting the quality of homemade stock while sometimes using canned/boxed — it’s realistic! You are actually the reason I started making my own stock and ranch dressing; your posts make the real “from scratch” efforts seem simple (though I don’t think I am making pasta any time soon…).

    On a different note, I recently saw a commercial for a store-bought chicken pot pie advertising that they were “made from scratch.” How is one mass-produced product made from scratch any more than any other mass-produced product?

  21. The person the made you ask your readers if you are a hypocrite needs to get off his high horse and apologize. Any time some one starts to cook a recipe, if you open a can to use , it is just one ingredient of the recipe. You are still cooking from scratch. I think the person who called you a hypocrite needs to try cooking a recipe and to use canned ingredients.

  22. I think you’re a hypocrite. It’s not a terrible thing, though. Most people are. I guess if you say you are making a recipe from scratch, I’m less likely to make it. I’m like you; I have a job and a partner; no pets, but I do have parents that need taking care of. So, I’d prefer more honesty because I would have made the beef stroganoff. It’s not completely from scratch; I think I could swing that on a weeknight even. But I probably would have skipped reading further based on that line.

    That said, come on! It’s not that big a deal — it’s your blog, and your voice, and you should use your own metric on what makes things scratch or not!!! That’s why we read — for your judgement!!!!

  23. Shocking to think that in this day and age when peoples lives are so crazy busy that anyone would split hairs like that.
    I make my own stock but use pacakaged when I’m out, I used canned tomatoes and dried pasta too. Yes, homemade is fabulous but like you I have a career and a sweetheart I’d like to cuddle with, pets to walk and friends I’d like to visit with.
    There is a huge sense of satisfaction I get when I have spent hours preparing an incredible meal to share with those I love but there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do that all the time.
    I make no appologies for using what I have on hand to prepare a delicious meal for my family and neither should you. Your recipes are easy to follow, those I have tried are very good and I always look forward to seeing a new post from you in my inbox.
    Keep doing what you do and don’t sweat the small stuff!!

  24. When I was little and made cookies for the first time someone asked me if I made them “from scratch.” I never having heard the term, asked what that meant. They replied “Did you make it yourself, at home?” My response was “Oh, YEA!!” — The cookies were, of course, the pre-packaged roll of dough that I just spooned onto the cookie tray and then popped into the oven.
    Since then, I agree that there is a gray area and that it is all relative. After making my own stock I feel like I am “cheating” when I have to buy stock (and the price of it! eek!).
    The recipe in question: beef stroganoff. The first time I ever made that it was via Hamburger Helper. Something you couldn’t pay me to touch now. Your’s is a HECKUVA lot more “from scratch” than Hamburger Helper.
    From scratch is now a relative term. I like Darrin’s “scratch enough” comment. It is a new world and we’re having to find our way in it. You’re perfectly scratch enough for me (and a great many others it would seem). :)

    PS – Was the picky reader your wife?? That sounds like something my husband would try to point about something I wrote. ;)

  25. There’s not much more to add to all of the above, except that if there was a Macheesmo t-shirt, I would wear it with pride.

    1. Ha! I was actually talking about making T-shirts this weekend with a friend. I’m not really sure it would be worth it to do, but it’s in the back of my mind…

          1. Haha. I might just let him have that one. I’d have to come up with something awesome.

            I’ll see what I can brainstorm… maybe I’ll let people vote on it. ;)

          2. Or declare a “Design your own Macheesmo t-shirt” contest, and let everyone else do the work. (*Must be open to Canadians*)

          1. you should write a theme song!! way to one-up TFIMB. just kidding. a shirt is cool too

  26. No, I don’t think you’re a hypocrite, liar, or a baby stealer, lol – You are using products that most everyone who cooks “from scratch” would use – and organic too! I make most of my things from scratch, like my tomato sauce or chili, for example, and use canned tomatoes or canned beans. I still consider it “from scratch”, as I do your recipes, Nick. Not many of us have the time to soak beans (or remember to do it ahead of time…) or can our own tomatoes. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and hate seeing people so nit picky!!! I guess I have to keep that in mind as I prepare to start writing my blog. Sigh….

  27. Nick — I follow your blog with interest, and have tried a number of your recipes with good results. My kitchen isn’t a “fantasy land,” where I can set the highest goals for quality and from-scratchiness. It is a real-world kitchen – like yours – and suffers from the real-world problems of not-enough-time, not-enough energy, and finally, not-enough arrogance. I get the feeling you are a tradesman in the kitchen; you do neat and tasty things with food and tools and your hands. And I get a sense of your pride in what you are creating. And that’s what sells me on your blog. There is room in the kitchen for snobs – someone else’s kitchen.

  28. Wow!
    I have only just begun to read your blog and this really starts it up.
    I was so intrigued that I actually had to read through the comments.
    I haven’t read earlier posts but I have always thought “from scratch” referred to a home cooked meal instead of a tv dinner or eating out.
    Wouldn’t it be a lovely thing if we all had the time to spend in our kitchens cranking out multiply tins or jars of canned tomatoes.
    i think you do what you can do. The meal, I think is about the enjoyment it brings to you and the people you present it to but then, the reader didn’t sound too happy.

  29. Illegitimi non carborundum Nick! I think your recipes are creative and tasty, I look forward to every day that you offer original and inspirational recipes to tempt my taste buds. I think that using store bought stock makes your recipes seem that much more achievable for those of us who just want to come home after work and make something tasty without slaving over a hot stove for hours and hours.

    Don’t listen to the attention seeking haters :)

  30. It’s the balance between time and taste that I love about your blog. If I feel like an adventure (and have the time) I can cook 8hour pork from your recipe or I can whip up peach oat bakes (boy I love those peach things). You help inspire a better meal within whatever time and produce constraints we have.

  31. Meta-comment: It’s interesting to see what eager participation this post brought about. While it seems more appropriate to leave a comment something along the lines of “Here is an interesting inconsistency…” the fervor inspired when one accuses a blogger of “fanatical…propaganda” is quite the incentive for the commenter to continue with inflammatory language. (Quite the incentive for the blogger to use inflammatory language, too, for that matter, though this certainly doesn’t apply to you, Nick.) The irony is that the commenter probably doesn’t even realize the tenor of his/her language, while today’s commenters react, appropriately, to its connotations. Online, inconsistency becomes HYPOCRISY!, smirk-worthy humor becomes LOL!, and an over-long comment becomes ARROGANCE! ;-)

    I, too, really like how you used the comment as inspiration for another post that just advances the philosophy of Macheesmo. Use pre-made broth, canned veggies, dried pasta, whatever; but cook something.

  32. It makes some people feel more important to criticize others. If I had seen the original comment before you mentioned it I would have thought to myself … Hmmm can you say (crackpot)…oops did I say that out loud? Yup sure did. I think most of your loyal followers totally get the difference about using some convenience things once in a while. I do not think twice about subbing out recipe ingredients depending on what I have available. It is a choice.

    Thanks again Nick for your most awesome blog and all the cool recipes!

  33. Ditto to everyone else. Perhaps the best thing about this post is that it’s caused a TON of people to de-lurk in support of you! Carry on!

  34. Good lord, some people just want to whip up a pot of trouble.

    Nick, just last weekend I was telling someone about a post you had done some months ago where you outlined the products you think are worth making versus the ones where there are lots of good options already made. I could be wrong but I think you mentioned you don’t make catsup but you make mustard — or the other way around. Anyhow, keep up the great work.

  35. To me “from scratch” means that I get up off my duff, pull out a skillet or saucepan and turn on the stove and/or oven. Obviously, canned soup does not apply, but if it has more than 2 ingredients it counts. Even a sandwich is “from scratch,” as it must be assembled. So I guess assembly would be the measure of “from scratch.”

    By the way, I was so inspired by your apple cider brine that I did it for the first time for Thanksgiving, then turned around and brined a chicken for Christmas. My guest was impressed both times. Now she’s asking me to teach her to cook. Your influence reaches to the “third and fourth generation!”

    Keep on doing what you’re doing. I know when to substitute, and I love your blog.

  36. Ditto to just about all of the above. I make cakes from scratch (IMHO)…but I don’t milk a cow to get the from-scratch goods to make my own cream, sour cream, or butter…and I don’t mill my own flour. I’ve always understood a “from scratch” cake to mean that I don’t use a cake mix.

    That said, I love, love, love your blog! I just followed your recipe for the no-knead olive bread the other day, a recipe I’ve made repeatedly, and once again was so very glad you took the time to post it! We’ve also used others of your recipes as well.

    Thanks so much for sharing your culinary adventures. Carry on, old chap!

  37. I have nothing new to add, since all these fine people seem to share my view on your blog and cooking. Just had to say I read the post yesterday and just noticed the “baby stealer” on the picture today… seriously Laughed Out Loud (at work..at my desk…I’m totally not crazy!) Love it! Keep up the good work (and cookin’!)

  38. Oh, I almost forgot!

    “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.”

    -Dr. Carl Sagan

  39. Well I’ll join the chorus and say boo-urns to the hater too. I did think that they seemed to almost have an anti-packaging slant to their comment though, more of a fear-of-chemicals-in-tinned-food problem perhaps? It was the “foil lined box” reference that made me think that… anyway, for the record I have a similar philosophy that 100% scratch is an ultimate goal but good quality pre-bought base ingredients (like stock or bread) are totally fine. And while the majority of the meals I produce are completely home-made I do occassionaly “cheat” and make a packaged food (like a spiced lentil mix or something) for variety and to spend more of my limited free time goofing with my 1 year and hubby. Is that ideal? No, but it’s realistic, wholesome, and more importantly it works! So chalk me up as a puppy-kicker or something I guess….

  40. Nick, the reason I come to your sight everyday, and the reason that so many Macheesmo recipes have made it into my family’s routine, is because your recipes straddle the line between challenging and convenient. My wife and I love to cook meals, but also have two kids under two years old, so we can’t make stock every time we want it. We can make a quick mushroom sauce instead of cracking open the canned soup, though. It is these kinds of changes that have improved our eating and our lives.
    Here’s the quick summation- This sight is the best I have found for cooking good, real food on a time budget and a monetary budget. If that is not good enough for everyone, than I hope you don’t change too much your approach to please them. Your approach is perfect for me.

  41. “From Scratch” is exactly what YOU make it. There’s a huge difference from opening a box of hamburger helper and making a meal in your home. Anything you make in your home, mindfully and with love, constitutes as ”from scratch” to me. I bet that guy was eating Jack in the Box while he was reading your post.

  42. Someone seriously left that comment? Sounds like the commenter, M.L., needs to lighten up! I am a gourmet cook, but I don’t I don’t can my own tomatoes. I do enjoy making my own stock, when I have the time. That said, I do use quality boxed stock when I run out of homemade stock. I, too, also use good quality dried pasta (from Italy), and although I love making bread, I do purchase bread at the market. I don’t think that every single element of your meal has to be made by you at home in order to be considered “from scratch” or homemade. What if I want to make a Thai curry? Am I supposed to milk a coconut to get that coconut milk? That’s crazy! What I consider “from scratch” is clean, minimally processed foods and meals. If I am craving Thai curry, I don’t purchase the pre-made kind in a box in the ethnic aisle. I make it myself with fresh ingredients (and canned coconut milk). That, to me, is “from scratch”. Although I appreciate your sharing M.L.’s comment with us, and opening up this discussion, I think that you did not have to defend yourself regarding the recipe or the comment. Your beef stroganoff recipe was “from scratch” in my opinion. You have an amazing blog, Nick. Keep doing what you are doing! Oh- and print some t-shirts please! :-)

  43. That’s totally splitting hairs! Skipping the canned soup and making your own version is a huge thing (pretty awesome too). Sounds like a “from scratch” preparation to me.

  44. Many people said “That GUY is a jerk” for writing that. Well when I read it, I pictured a GIRL writing it, with really saggy boobs, and smelling like a hippy.

  45. I didn’t have time to read the whole post. I’m busy raising a cow for a hamburger I’m having this summer on July 4th. Of course I have milk it first so I can make the single cheese slice to top the burger.

  46. I’ve canned tomatoes. I frequently make my own bread. I frequently make my own stock.

    But then I also have no problems using pre-done (canned tomatoes, store bought bread, packaged stock) because I do have a life. I want to go ride my horse, read a book, watch tv, work on my hobbies, go to work, etc.

    Not like you pulled out a frozen dinner from the grocery freezer.

  47. Here’s my take on it: Canned broth or stock is basically a single-ingredient product, whereas canned soup has a great many ingredients. Canned tomatoes, single ingredient; canned spaghetti sauce, many. Canned pumpkin puree, single ingredient; canned pumpkin pie filling, many. If your dish contains some basic single-ingredient (or close to it) products, it’s from scratch. If it contains multi-ingredient convenience foods, it’s not. All in all, you seem to take the common-sense approach to the definition of “from scratch.” Keep up the good work!

  48. what an eloquent response to a truly mediocre and barely constructive criticism from a reader. like many others, when I’m stuck and in need of an idea of what to make for a quick and delicious (and sometimes by my standards, very impressive) meal, your site is the first place I look. revel in the glory of your readers’ support comments and like one reader commented above, chef-on!

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