What does cooking from scratch mean to you?

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What does cooking from scratch mean to you?

mpfm mpfm
I have come across several different definitions of "scratch cooking" over the years.

Some people think any time you make something at home it is cooking from scratch even if it involves heating up an entree or can of soup or baking a cake from a mix.

Some think if is cooking a dish with ingredients that include some combination of fresh and prepackaged items (ie spaghetti made with jarred sauce & boxed pasta & fresh meat and/or veggie)

Some think it counts only if every ingredient used was fresh--no cans, jars, mixes, etc. So bread and pasta made by hand, no canned chicken or beef broth, no container yogurt etc

I go by the second definition. Today I am making chili with fresh meat and some fresh veggies, but also canned tomato soup and canned chilis. And I say it is from scratch. We may even top it with store bought fritos and cheese...it's still from scratch in my book.
11/18/2011
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Antipova Antipova
I call things 'from scratch' when I make them from the raw ingredients---from flour and water and things that couldn't be broken down any further. There's definitely wiggle-room, though---when my makes spaghetti sauce, she uses canned tomatoes---but they're canned tomatoes that she canned in the summer when tomatoes were in season. Even though she also uses a store-bought can of tomato paste along with those, I'm hardly going to say she's not making her sauce from scratch.

You know? I've never defined it for myself before. I'm going to say that, to me, "from scratch" means from the bare-bonesest ingredients possible. So pasta where you add the egg to the flour and roll it out is pasta from scratch. The etymology of "from scratch" means "from nothing," right?

That said---if you make spaghetti with boxed pasta and jarred sauce (which is how I do it---my tomato sauces never come out deliciously so I've mostly given up, and I don't have a pasta roller), you can still tell your family "I made this for you," and there's no shame in that at all. "I made these biscuits from scratch" means "I cut some shortening into some flour and baking powder and kneaded the dough and cut some biscuits and baked them," not "I opened this can of Grands." But "I made this biscuits for you" covers both of those things, and it's admirable (and probably tasty) no matter whether or not it's from scratch.
11/18/2011
ToyGurl ToyGurl
I think cooking from scratch means that nothing was "pre-prepared". Everything was only spices, flour, butter, dry noodles, raw meat, etc. Nothing out of a box.
11/18/2011
Darklyvan Darklyvan
Quote:
Originally posted by mpfm
I have come across several different definitions of "scratch cooking" over the years.

Some people think any time you make something at home it is cooking from scratch even if it involves heating up an entree or can of soup or ...
Somewhere between 2 and three. I am not going to make pasta from scratch and making bread is not cooking, it is baking. However a do not call using canned goods starting from scratch. For instance two days ago I made Chicken carbonera. I bought a box of fettuccine, but other than that everything was fresh. Fresh eggs, heavy cream, butter, slab bacon, a wedge of parm, and peas I shucked myself.
11/18/2011
Jul!a Jul!a
I'm also somewhere between two and three. I've made pasta from scratch and it's not that hard, it's just a lot easier to use already made spaghetti. I try to keep things as simple as possible, but for the most part if it's more stuff you did yourself than stuff you took out of a box, then I'll let you say "from scratch."
11/18/2011
LilMissSub LilMissSub
Things like pasta and breads I let slide, it's sort of tough to get those things right without proper machinery or ample amount of time. Also, if it were that bread and pasta not from scratch make meat you buy at the grocery store not count as from scratch? Do you need to kill a chicken?
11/18/2011
indiglo indiglo
I consider cooking from scratch to be #3 - absolutely no prepackaged ingredients. Only ingredients like flour, sugar, fresh veggies, etc. Things that cannot be broken down any further. I don't usually cook from scratch, because it's a lot more work.

I usually do what I call "home cooking". That is #2 that you mentioned. You make something yourself with a mixture of prepackaged and fresh items. Like making spaghetti sauce with canned tomatoes, and herbs, spices, etc.
11/18/2011
Antipova Antipova
I'm with Indiglo.

"Home cooking" says "I made this," which is not *quite* the same as "I made this from scratch." They're both just fine, one takes longer
11/18/2011
Cherrylane Cherrylane
Quote:
Originally posted by Antipova
I call things 'from scratch' when I make them from the raw ingredients---from flour and water and things that couldn't be broken down any further. There's definitely wiggle-room, though---when my makes spaghetti sauce, she uses canned ...
This is me too.

And for example, I wouldn't consider heating up a can of cream of mushroom soup "cooking from scratch" but I have several recipes for various casseroles and things that call for cream of mushroom soup and I don't really think using it makes it "not from scratch" if there are other elements that are truly made from scratch.

Pasta and canned spaghetti sauce isn't made from scratch unless you're making the pasta yourself. IE making the dough and cutting the pasta in addition to cooking it in hot water.
11/18/2011
P'Gell P'Gell
If I bake a cake from a mix, I don't call it "from scratch." If I use flour and eggs and baking powder etc, I would call it "from scratch." If I were to use something like Hamburger Helper, I would not call that "from scratch." If I use a protein, cook pasta, and use the tomato sauce from a can, I might call it "from scratch."

As I am Mediterranean, I do not call jars of sauce "from scratch" even if something is added to it, but I do call sauce I made over hours and hours, using canned tomatoes "from scratch."

I think it varies for each person.

A chili where some of the ingredients were taken from cans? Yeah, I'd call that "from scratch" only if you used your own herb blend and didn't use one of those envelopes of a few herbs and a ton of MSG in it.
11/18/2011
Drakoni Drakoni
To me, "from scratch" means it's not a full mix or packaged meal. I also tend to think of it as no recipe or something that I can make off the top of my head. For example, I can make fajita's off the top of my head with either raw meat or pre-cooked fajita meat from a bag. Everything else (tortillas, cheese, sour cream, avocado, etc.) is fresh.
11/19/2011
married with children married with children
raw ingredients used to complete a meal.
11/19/2011
M121212 M121212
I think you have to have grown all the produce, milled the flour, slaughtered the animal.... just kidding.

While that is a beautiful romantic and probably delicious way to eat, I only do a little of that sometimes (eating produce I've grown at home).

I guess for me cooking from scratch involves the use of ingredients that I have prepared myself to some extent. For instance I almost always make my own soup stock these days and can really tell the difference if I use something pre-made. Making mac and cheese I don't really consider making from scratch as that is such a convenience food for me. (Packaged pasta, grate some cheese and throw on some store-bought pasta sauce.) Somehow the act of chopping vegetables makes me feel like I'm cooking from scratch.
11/19/2011
M121212 M121212
Quote:
Originally posted by P'Gell
If I bake a cake from a mix, I don't call it "from scratch." If I use flour and eggs and baking powder etc, I would call it "from scratch." If I were to use something like Hamburger Helper, I would not call that "from ...
I understand that when ready made cake mix was first produced, the manufacturers specifically chose to have consumers "just add an egg" because it made the consumer feel like she was actually doing something.
11/19/2011
Dawn (Lilac Distraction) Dawn (Lilac Distraction)
To me, it means having the individual ingredients instead of packaged mixes. For example, I make my cookies and cakes with flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, etc. instead of buying pre-made mixes. I find it just tastes better like that and I can make a whole bunch of stuff with basic ingredients.

Also, for me, "from scratch" is me being too lazy to go to the store to get a prepared mix.
11/19/2011
allinonekid allinonekid
Cooking from scratch means using all raw ingredients. Even if it calls for a broth as part of the recipe, I make my own broth to go in it.
11/20/2011
mpfm mpfm
Quote:
Originally posted by indiglo
I consider cooking from scratch to be #3 - absolutely no prepackaged ingredients. Only ingredients like flour, sugar, fresh veggies, etc. Things that cannot be broken down any further. I don't usually cook from scratch, because it's a lot ...
I like that term- home cooking. That's probably 95% of my cooking. I love the shortcuts.
11/22/2011
Peggi Peggi
to me, in order to "cook from scratch", you must use all natural and fresh ingredients. No canned products, nothing from a box. That's how I grew up. I remember my mom making our ground beef in a grinder with hunks of meat, even! We've almost always grown our own produce growing up, so to me canned veggies don't even taste good!
12/24/2011
indiglo indiglo
Quote:
Originally posted by mpfm
I like that term- home cooking. That's probably 95% of my cooking. I love the shortcuts.
Yeah, I like the shortcuts too! In this day and age, cooking completely from scratch is not something I do often. Just don't have the time or energy. But I do love a good home cooked meal!
12/25/2011
AndroAngel AndroAngel
To me "Home cooking" can be a mix of fresh and prepared ingredients and "From Scratch" means from raw ingredients in their base form.
12/25/2011
Cookie Monster Mike Cookie Monster Mike
I also mostly go by the second definition. I have a lot of dishes I like to cook that I will use fresh ingredients but also some canned goods like cream of mushroom or canned tomatoes. I still think these types of ingredients can be considered from scratch so long as the fresh ingredients out weight the pre-packaged ones. If you add fresh meat to hamburger helper, that is not from scratch at all.

Then again, there is no way when making green bean casserole I will make cream of mushroom from scratch, I don't have that much time to waste lol.
01/03/2012
Rory Rory
I agree with the second definition. If a recipe calls for sugar would you start with sugar cane?
Not from scratch means open box, add water, mix and cook.
12/11/2012
His scarlett His scarlett
To me it means taking raw ingredients and making something.

But I don't really think it matters, if people are in the kitchen and creating something from whatever they choose and are making it with love then that is perfect.

It is the intention, and if someone chooses to open a jar of pasta sauce rather than making it from tomatoes they grew themselves then that is just fine. It is the thought and intention that matters, really.
03/10/2013
Total posts: 23
Unique posters: 19