from scratch…

So my sister-in-law started me down another cooking philosophical rabbit hole (which I think we will call cuisinological conundrums from now on). My brother and I don’t speak often, not because we don’t want to, but because we don’t need to. I’m there for him and he’s there for me, when the chips are down. He’s an amazing guy, clever, sporty, good looking (we look the same by the way…) and he’s one of those weirdos that does decathlons or triathlons or those kind of things which prove you are a sporting great, even if you’re too old to play on a team anymore…

Which in and of itself should show you my brother is competitive, but actually, he’s REALLY competitive. And shock horror… So am I! But luckily for us as kids, it was usually in different arenas, but now we’re older, our interests have merged a bit more. We both cook, we both garden, we both have houses, yawn!

So my beautiful sister-in-law (and mother to my gorgeous niece and goddaughter) and I were talking about this very blog last week and we got chatting about my bro and how he loves to cook and how he reckons himself a bit of a cheffing genius himself. Well that’s like a red rag to a bull to me. My brother? Good at cooking? That’s my territory! He’s crap! He can’t possibly be better than me! I’ll kill him!

Wow, that one got away from me…

So then we start with bragging rights and the classic put downs and I’m slamming his lame pasta sauces while talking up my own skills and then I say… Well he doesn’t cook everything from scratch like I do, and there’s a huge pause at the other end as he thinks about that, then… What, even your own butter? And I say, YES, the butter in my fridge is home made! Oh the triumph of that statement… And it was true! Unbelievably. Just a couple of days before, my friend, the cheffing diva had given me a pot of home churned butter. Oh yes brother, I believe I beat you on that one and Britkitch owns you when it comes to the world of cooking. Eat it! Suck it!

Wow, got away from me again…

But sibling rivalries aside the cuisinological conundrum was raised. I am actually beyond proud of myself that I work full time, but still manage to make delicious “from scratch” food every night and weekend. Not for us the premade frozen dinner or pie or pre-marinaded kebab. We eat fresh vegetables every night, and sometimes I will add protein if it’s wanted, but that protein is always fresh too.

I got lucky in the silly argument above. They just happened to mention butter and I just happened to have some home made in the fridge, and if they had said bread, well we now eat homemade bread too, but if they had said pasta? I always buy dried and have never made it myself, I have shop bought butters and cheeses in my fridge, but I don’t have any premade sauces. I do have tins of Heinz baked beans, but I know how to make these myself, that’s just isn’t the kind of food I want to spend time making. And as for soups? I generally make a big soup for lunches around twice a month, but there are always tins of ready made for emergencies and we probably have Campbell’s cream of tomato about twice a month with grilled cheese sandwiches.

So I am not totally “from scratch” so can I really boast bragging rights about it? I could try to eat completely “from scratch” but that’s when your life would completely boil down to seasonal produce and local availability. I have to tell you, I want tomato soup year round and I am not willing to wait until the summer for it. Plus… Honestly? Heinz and Campbell’s cream of tomato soups are better than I could ever make because they are what my mother always gave me when I was sick and so they are inextricably linked with comfort for me. And having traveled round the world, but been able to find Heinz baked beans everywhere I go,  they have become my link with home and that’s not something I want to give up even if I can make them myself.

Hmm, so I guess the answer to the cuisinological conundrum is… You can only know what you are putting in your body if you make it yourself, from scratch. There aren’t any hidden preservatives, chemicals, salt or sugar in my food, unless you catch me on an off day, in which case, I will be the hypocrite on the couch, eating baked beans from a tin, but I will remind you that the bread is homemade and the butter on it is hand churned…

I guess the next challenge is… Homemade pasta… It just feels a bit nineties to me, and the fresh is apparently so much more fattening than the dried, but in for a penny, in for a pound, I need to be able to at least say that I CAN make everything from scratch, even if I then choose to take the easy route and use the tin. So I guess I had better go and buy some cream and start churning that butter too… It’s lucky I have three days off!

The Cheffing Diva's butter - it ain't pretty, but it tasted pretty amazing!
The Cheffing Diva’s butter – it ain’t pretty, but it tasted pretty amazing!

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