If the world were perfect, and I had infinite time and energy to make everything from scratch, I would. To me, there are few things as satisfying as making a batch of cookies or a quiche or something else most people think only comes in a box from a supermarket. Books like The Homemade Pantry and Edible DIY fascinate me. I haven’t bought a loaf of bread since the beginning of the year and I’m not planning to look back.
But I can only do so much. As much as I love cooking, I also love my sanity. There are some foods I just don’t mind picking up at the store.
I’ve made some pretty good granola bars in my time, but homemade granola bars don’t satisfy the function of granola bars in my life. I like granola bars because they’re easy to grab on my way out the door or keep in my desk for an “emergency”. Homemade granola bars don’t last that long, in terms of both freshness and my ability to resist eating multiple bars in a given afternoon.
Yogurt is a pretty regular part of my diet, but I’m fairly picky about it. I’ll eat some regular yogurts, but usually it’s got to be Greek-style. The idea of spending hours making yogurt, then straining it in an attempt to get the proper thickness just doesn’t appeal to me. In addition, I don’t really like plain yogurt, so then I’d have to find out some way to flavor it. It’s just not in the cards at the moment.
I confess, I feel a little guilty about this one. Canned beans are salty, wasteful and considerably more expensive than dried beans. I have plenty of dried beans in my pantry and I don’t mind cooking a batch when I think far enough ahead. But if I need less than 2 cups of beans or a mix of varieties, I’m opening a can. I realize that I could cook batches of beans in advance, but as you may recall, there’s not room in my freezer to store them. So, for busy nights, canned beans are the answer.
Making nut butter isn’t hard, but it’s also not the same as store-made. Peanut butter is one of those rare things that taste better to me from the jar than they do homemade.
I made some really excellent crackers a while back, but that’s the only time I’ve ever gotten around to it. Homemade crackers are really different from store-bought crackers, there’s no way I’m going to be able to create something like a Triscuit. We go through crackers pretty quickly and though homemade crackers may taste better, there are other things I’m much more interested in spending my time making on a regular basis.
Just to be clear: I have no affiliation or material connection with the brands mentioned above, I just happen to like them and they happen to be in my pantry.