The Norman Transcript

June 28, 2013

Is homemade better?


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Our society is all about instant gratification and convenience.

In some respects, especially when it comes to food, the siren song of convenience is hard to resist. Just as the Sirens of Greek mythology overrode common sense with their singing, the lure of “fast” and “easy” is hard to resist at the end of the day.

Due to an unfortunate but irrefutable fact of life, our bodies require fuel, in the form of food. Very inconvenient, but true. Consequently, somebody in the household has to prepare meals.

Contrary to popular belief, subsisting on frozen meals, dry cereal, cookies, chips and soda does not work well. It is very strange, but such edible delights do not stick to your ribs for long and before you know it, you have to scrounge for something else to stuff in your pie hole.

This, by the way, is the modern version of the hunter/gatherer process. We hunt for something to munch on which requires little effort to prepare and gather the munchies in our arms to watch television and eat.

Sometimes if our cars are willing to take a detour, then fast food is another alternative to the dilemma of “what’s for dinner.” However, the fast and easy form of the “fuel du jour” has some unwanted side effects. The primary and most noticeable side effects being our burgeoning girth and subsequent poor health.

Aside from being bombarded with the excess calories we gain from the foregoing eating habits, the fast and easy meals do not translate into “appetizing” and “delicious.” Part of the reason is because there is very little actual food in packaged meals. In essence, we are munching on the byproducts of chemistry labs. If you doubt this, read the labels.

Enter the alternative fueling system, homemade and made from scratch meals. Our intentions made be good, but the effort to produce such culinary delights can be mind boggling.

Say you ran out of worcestershire sauce. No problem. You can go online and search for a recipe for the homemade version of the sauce. Simple. Right?

As with anything sought on the Internet, the variety of choices is coma-inducing. Nevertheless, you eventually settle on a recipe and the directions consist of two pages of fine print. This means that not only will you be spending hours preparing the “healthy” version of the sauce, but as a side benefit, you will also go blind trying to read the directions.

Admittedly, the directions and the ingredients looked daunting, so you decided to read the comments section from other adventurous cooks. The reviews ran the gamut from “I would make it again” to “Ughhh!” The latter was intriguing enough to read the body of the comment — “This is not a recipe to be used with anything edible. I used it to stain the siding on my barn.”

OK then. That would be a big pass on making worcestershire sauce at home. Besides, the two year aging process, which mellows the flavors, does not mesh well with the modern concept of fast and easy.

Aside from this particular recipe, I have made homemade versions of soft tortillas, English muffins, puff pastry and countless other goodies. Admittedly, some were a bit tedious to prepare, especially the puff pastry. My Latina friends fell over laughing when they saw the palm-sized tortillas I made. Although the English muffins fared better when it came to the correct-sized end result.

My adventurous cooking inclinations notwithstanding, I did draw the line at making homemade dog biscuits. Besides, Spaz will eating anything, including the box it comes in.

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her novels “The Dionysus Connection” and “The Marathon Man” are available on amazon.com. Visit her website: www.elizabethcowan.com.