Yesterday for my post on how to make a “homemade” pumpkin pie the question of what makes something homemade came up. If you asked that question over a hundred years ago, pretty much everything was made from scratch and probably grown where you live. But what does it mean today?
Seven years ago my husband did not think that my apple pie made in a store-bought frozen pie crust was homemade since it was the crust that mattered to him. I could have grown the apples in our backyard and extract the sugar from sugar cane, it would not have mattered. The crust of a pie was what defined homemade for him.
If I make baklava with store-bought phyllo dough, is it not homemade? Or do I have to make and stretch out the dough on my living room floor for it to be considered made from scratch? If you use canned tomatoes for your spaghetti sauce that you season yourself and reduce on the stove for hours, does that make it not homemade? Do you have to make your own mozzarella for your lasagna to be homemade?
Is homemade always better? On the episode of Sugar where I watched Anna Olson make her pumpkin pie she stated that it was better to use canned pumpkin than roasting it yourself and as someone who has actually roasted a whole pumpkin myself, I agree with her. She said that getting the right consistency and making sure all the water is removed is just one of those steps the modern kitchen can do without. Canned pumpkin is truly just cooked pumpkin in a can, you add the flavourings, you make the filling.
Personally, I figure that if you make one component of the meal by hand and it means that you are eating less out of a cardboard box then you are one step closer to better health and tastier food. Homemade for me means I realistically do what I can for my love to get from my kitchen into my food.
What does homemade mean to you?
I love that: “I realistically do what I can for my love to get from my kitchen into my food”. Amen. I notice it when I am suddenly thrown into a situation of cooking when angry…and I try to get out of it. Homemade is made with love in my book. I have made dozens of homemade pumpkin pies, and they have all been with canned pumpkin. 😉
Debra She Who Seeks says
By my definition, if you make it at home, it’s home-made. Yes, that leaves a LOT of latitude! Realistically, no one can make every last little thing from scratch — and why on earth would you?
I like the two previous commenters definitions! I cook a lot. I love being able to use fresh ingredients when I can, but it’s not always possible, or the best way!
Using canned pumpkin – I’d definitely do that! If I had to roast the pumpkin AND make the crust – I probably wouldn’t do it!
I make home-made chili. It uses canned beans and tomatoes, but it’s definitely home-made in my book! If I make the majority of the meal without just throwing a frozen pizza in the oven, I consider it home-made!
Paula - Buenos Aires says
If it´s out of the box and into the oven, it´s store made.
If I add something, alter it in some way, It´s homemade.
That being said my hubbie told me once: “It´s so perfectly warmed up” about something that we had delivered and I just heated up a bit. 😀
I guess I’m the only purist. If my wife makes soup and uses a boillion (sp?) cube, I consider it inferior. Maybe still technically “home made”, but definitely inferior to something made without that cube.
I’m actually aghast to hear you say that canned pumpkin is better – the freshly roasted stuff is so incredibly more flavourful. And I’ve never once had “moisture issues”. I’m not even sure what that is. Bake it, mash it, use it. Done.
If you use good ingredients you do not need to hide them as much under herbs and spices – you can let the natural flavours of quality ingredients come through.
Store bought canned tomato is no comparison whatsoever to my home canned tomatoes. I select only the best quality tomatoes at the market, from a trusted local farmer, and the flavour I get out of them is nothing short of spectacular, versus the generic “blah” you get from a commercial can. Why would you even want to put your name on something made with that supermarket stuff? Yuck!
So I guess I’ll grant you “home made”, but it is still inferior not only in a very real and tangible gastronomic sense (let your taste buds do the walking), but also in the sense of being more sustainable and friendlier to the planet.
Homemade is making something yourself at home. Using store bought ingredients is only practical! Seriously, if you tried to do every little part yourself you would never leave the kitchen. Cooking is fun, but people need to live life too! Your pie was definitely homemade. <3
I would think that any dish made “at home” with a bit of alteration and care could be considered home made.
It is unrealistic to think that most people have the time or availability of fresh tomatoes to choose from to make their “own from scratch” tomato sauce, which they would then turn into spaghetti sauce. Sure it would be lovely, but unrealistic and who’s to say that it IS a better sauce. Depends on the recipe and spices and touch of the chef. What about canned organics? Do you have to grow your own oregano and make your own Parmesan cheese to qualify your meal as home made?
Home made to me means food prepared with a bit of effort in your own kitchen using as many fresh ingredients as possible but not exclusively, depending on availability and pocketbook and time. Oh yes, and lots of love added. Not just opening a jar or can or box.
I like your definition 🙂
I tend to do a lot from scratch, & have a lovely (well, weedy!) herb garden. I have a bunch of purchased spices, but also run outside (or dry ‘left over’ herbs) for a handful of herbs & a fresh bay leaf.
& I freeze onion, garlic, carrot etc trimmings, & make my own stock (simmer about 20 min, so easy to do while you’re prepping other things, & by freezing, you can do it in your own time!)
My kids tease that I rarely make something just like the recipe said. My mom made a lovely pie crust, & I’d always be kind of bummed when my mother-in law made holiday pies using purchased crusts – now, being gluten free, it’s a moot point – much easier to use my GF mix & some yummy coconut oil.
Betty crocker does have some great G F mixes these days, & the chocolate chip cookies my dau made using one yesterday count as ‘home made’ in my book! (esp with the ice cream – which came in a package as well 🙂
On love: A friend who’s Celtic, Cherokee & Choktaw said once that her mom & aunties always SANG while cooking, & she got sent out of the kitchen if she was in a bad mood! I love that.
One of my elderly clients who’s had ‘weight issues’ for years told me ~ 10 years ago that she *hated* food & *hated* to cook!!! I shared my friend’s comment, & suggested she might want to shift her attitude . . . which she did! But she’d never thought of it (I love the bit in Gilbran’s ‘Prophet’ about food cooked without love being done with bitterness)
home made is for this gal,
anything that gets made with OUT
the junk. AKA food preservatives, and words i can’t pronounce and have NO clue what they are..
I have to chime in once more here. I tell you what – if my husband had your attitude bushidoka – he would be doing ALL the cooking!
I don’t have the time to make my own stock so that I can make soup without using bouillon. I cook as much as I can with fresh ingredients, but boy – when you need to use a can of pumpkin, or a bouillon cube – it’s great too!
Suzie Ridler says
A purist is fine for people who can do it but it isn’t realistic all of the time. I know that my husband is grateful for any food that I make, no matter where it comes from. I do my best and that is good enough for us. I use boxed broth all the time Tammy, no way I can make everything from scratch all of the time and bouillon can really boost flavour.
I have made the pumpkin pie with a real pumpkin and I tell you, it’s a lot more work. It did taste great though but being disabled, how on earth am I going to get a pumpkin home? I can barely get regular groceries, LOL.
I think if we do our best, that’s what counts. Any effort is better than no effort at all!
Having done the Pumpkin Pie from scratch-roastin my own home grown pumpkins, I agree. No matter how hard I tried, it still turned out a little stringy.