Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Homemade Touch

 "HOME-made." I remember that comment, stretched-out and emphasized. "Store-bought" was a rarity in my kidhood days, living on a farm and with little money. We made our own bread, grew our veggies, and my mom stitched our clothes. To have something straight From the Store was something special -- a privilege.
      Until, as I got older, I realized something.
      The fancy cakes looked beautiful -- and tasted like sawdust. (To this day, I still don't like that thick, crunchy, oily frosting. Bleah.) My storebought shirt's buttonholes stretched out of shape faster than the Mama's work, and the thin fabric ripped and stained more easily. Those flawless peaches went from green to rotten in just a few days.
      Store-bought didn't necessarily mean "best" at all.

Nowadays, "homemade" doesn't contain the implied sneer it used to. We revert to store-purchased items because it's quicker and more convenient. If you've got work to get done at night, plus homework and baths to supervise, it may be the only choice.
     Or is it?

Brownies take only 15 minutes to mix -- far less than stopping at the store, then standing in line to check out. An easy cake is just as fast, especially if you don't frost it. (If you do, decorate with fresh fruit, like the example below -- or fresh flowers. A fancy look, for less effort.)
     It helps, too, if you:

*Cook or bake double. Make twice as much soup in the crockpot, or double the cookies. Ingredient-wise, it's just as simple. Freeze the extra -- or give it to a neighbor or friend who needs cheering up. Pull out the bag of cookies some night, when it's wet and drizzly -- you'll be well-paid for your effort.

*Have something in the freezer. Make it even easier on yourself -- freeze muffin batter directly in the paper muffin cups, then put the frozen 'muffins' directly in the muffin pan to bake. (They bake just as well -- only a few minutes extra.) Or freeze scoops of cookie dough; bake a few at a time, or a whole sheet-full as needed.

*Keep basic ingredients on hand at all times for at least three or four basic desserts your family -- or you! -- really like. A few soups. A couple of casseroles. Memorize these recipes, so you don't have to look them up every time you cook.

*Are there ingredients that you really like -- and use often? Keep them around, and you'll be more likely to cook, as well.

Even if your life is hectic, the smell of bread baking may be just the calm you need to relax. (Not to mention punching the heck out of the dough!)
      "Homemade" keeps your costs down -- and quality up. You choose the ingredients...including adding favorites! It lets you know exactly what you're eating...or wearing. It gives a sense of pride to be wearing socks you knit for yourself -- or see your friend sporting a scarf on a chilly day. "Homemade" is a quiet way to say:
       "I care."

ooh ooh...how about a homemade cake decorated with grapes, apricots or oranges?

A cake made by yourself says "I care."


Cynthia said...

I like this post. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one left who cooks from scratch. I especially like to do home made soups. They taste so much better.


Cindy Brick said...

Thanks so much for writing, Cynthia.

NO, you're not the only one! I don't always discipline myself to think 'ok, start from homemade.' But I've never regretted it when I do.

Soups make such amazing use of dribs and scraps. The only bad part: you can't always duplicate the especially-good ones!

Glad you stopped by to share.

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