Cooking From Scratch Is It A Thing Of The Past?

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Cooking from scratch is it a thing of the past? This last weekend I had part of my family here for Thanksgiving. Ellie wanted to make creamed chip beef on toast or homemade rolls. I tried making a video with my granddaughter making a roux.

I’m not good at editing videos YET, but I’m working on it. Anyway, I was using my iPhone and of course, at the end of the filming, someone screams “what?” Well, we all laughed and then I tried to “edit the video” to get the loud word removed.

I own it, I cannot edit videos as of today. So I do not have a video on how to make a roux. Life is life, we just roll with it.

Every time my family comes to our home or I go to their homes, I try to teach them the skills I have by cooking from scratch. Most of my daughters cook from scratch even though all four daughters have one or two jobs each. Proud mama here that my daughters know how to work. My one daughter is a single mom and her son enjoys cooking from scratch, I love it!

Netflix Documentaries

I have watched a few Netflix documentaries that have opened my eyes to the quality of the food we are able to buy and prepare at home. It’s not good, my friends to see all the people around us dealing with weight and other health issues.

We must grow our own food or buy from local Farmer’s markets if at all possible. I have watched some documentaries that show how overweight people are in the US. Here’s the deal, when we eat out the food tastes yummy because they sometimes add more butter, salt and sugar than we may realize on that oversized plate of food. We are what we eat.

Dinner Plate Sizes

Cooking From Scratch

I love comparing dinner plate sizes to the pioneer plate sizes. They used salad size plates and they worked on farms. Hard work, six or seven days a week. Picture eight-inch plates to the 12-inch plates we are using today. I swear, they bring out a platter of food at a local Mexican food restaurant here in Southern Utah for one person. The plates above show approximately the white eight-inch plate sizes years ago and the cute 12-inch turquoise plate size today.

Cooking From Scratch

Cooking From Scratch

Here are my favorite basics you need in order to cook from scratch. Feel free to tell me some items I should add to my list.

  1. Beans
  2. Rice
  3. Soups
  4. White bread flour
  5. Yeast
  6. Crackers
  7. Peanut butter
  8. Jams and jelly
  9. Powdered eggs
  10. Instant milk
  11. Popcorn
  12. Dehydrated onions
  13. Lemons juice
  14. Cocoa
  15. Garlic
  16. Raisins
  17. Spices
  18. Tortillas
  19. Chicken broth
  20. Olive oil/Coconut oil
  21. Dehydrated or fresh potatoes
  22. Pasta: who loves spaghetti?
  23. Tomato paste or flakes
  24. Salt
  25. Sugar
  26. Honey
  27. Baking soda
  28. Baking powder
  29. Cream of tartar
  30. Canned meat
  31. Wheat
  32. Dehydrated carrots & celery
  33. Salsa and green chilies
  34. Water
  35. Fruit
  36. Vegetables
  37. Oatmeal
  38. Cornstarch
  39. Fresh produce when possible
  40. Vinegar
  41. Cheese

How To Make A Roux

Cooking From Scratch Is It A Thing Of The Past?

If you are wondering how to make a roux (pronounced roo) all you do is take a saucepan and use equal amounts of butter and flour. Then add milk according to how thick you want your cream sauce or roux. For instance, melt one cup of butter in the saucepan and then add one cup of flour. Stir quickly with a whisk. Whisk until smooth and add milk slowly. Sometimes it takes 2-quarts of milk or more. You must stir or whisk constantly. I add salt, pepper, and sugar.

Yes, sugar, it makes my sauce taste fabulous! You can cook it for 20-30 minutes to make the flavors stand out and to reach the full flavor and thickening. Again, you will add more or less milk depending on how thick you want your roux or creamy white sauce to be.

If you make a roux, you can make creamed chipped beef on toast or biscuits, add cheese to make mac and cheese, or add clams simmered with onions and celery to make clam chowder. The possibilities are endless. You can make just about any creamy soup you can think of with leftovers, love this recipe!

Beans

You can buy dried beans in a bag or purchase ready to use canned beans. You can make soups, hummus, side dishes, or chili, and you have a great protein meal at the same time. I can make a meal with beans and my favorite spices then add some tortillas and salsa.

Rice

White rice has a longer shelf life than brown rice, so I store very little brown rice. I can use rice to stretch so many frugal meals, love it! It’s fairly inexpensive even in smaller bags. I like to buy white rice in #10 cans, the shelf life is 30 years (unopened) because it is commercially packed compared to the bagged rice from supermarkets. I prefer not to use mylar bags. I only want to buy food storage once with zero waste. Brown rice lasts about 6 months from the grocery store because it has a higher fat content over white rice. You can store brown rice in the refrigerator for 2-3 months longer if kept in an airtight container.

Soups

Some people make their own creamed soup from scratch. I buy Campbell’s cream of chicken by the case. I can make just about any casserole or soup with it. I watch for the case lot sales in the fall. Be sure and check the expiration dates.

White Bread Flour

If you can make bread you can barter and survive. Trust me, people love hot bread right out of the oven. You can make muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies, cakes and so much more with flour of any kind.

Yeast: I purchase the brand SAF Yeast for my bread and biscuits. Period. I have not had good luck with other yeast brands. I store the amount of yeast I will use for a month in the refrigerator. The rest of the packages I store in my freezer. They have lasted three years for me in the freezer if unopened. If you can’t find it where you live, you can buy it online: Saf Instant Yeast, 1 Pound Pouch

Crackers

Need I say more. Crackers are great with chili, soups and topped with your favorite chicken salad made with mayonnaise.

Peanut Butter

Sometimes my husband and I have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. I make homemade whole wheat bread which is a bonus for my budget.

Jams and Jelly

These are great for sandwiches, biscuits, rolls, and bread.

Powdered Eggs

These are great for baking only, it’s nice to have a can of powdered eggs in the pantry if you run out of eggs. Of course, fresh eggs are better, but if you have an ice storm you can still make cookies and stay off the icy roads if your egg cartons are empty. My favorite shelf-stable egg product is: OvaEasy

Instant Milk

This is a bonus for every family. I store my opened #10 can of instant milk in the refrigerator so it’s ready in a flash if I run out of milk. It’s good for two years opened. Check the date on the milk you buy because every manufacturer is different.

Popcorn

Popcorn is a great tummy filler and comfort food in a bad storm. Add some melted butter to popped corn with a smidge of salt and you have a great treat for everyone! You can add other spices as well and flavor the popcorn to your preference.

Dehydrated Onions

I personally rarely buy fresh onions except maybe in the summer if my garden hasn’t produced enough yet. I love knowing I can add a scoop of dehydrated onions to taco meat, soups, chili, casseroles, omelets and not have to peel, cut or chop them. I also love stocking 10-12 bags of frozen chopped onions in the freezer, no waste ever.

Lemon Juice

I do buy lemon juice for the refrigerator, but I also buy these packets I use every day and for emergencies: True Lemon Bulk Pack, 500 Count

Cocoa

Can you smell the chocolate cake baking or relish the taste of hot chocolate right now?

Garlic

Now you can buy a HUGE jar like my daughter, Heidi and store it in the refrigerator or buy some fresh garlic.

Raisins

These are great for snacks, muffins, bread pudding, etc.

Spices

Be sure and keep your pantry full of your favorite spices. I can’t get by without vanilla, chili powder, and cinnamon. You know the ones you need, right?

Tortillas

I can make my own tortillas with the stuff on this list, except my corn tortillas. Keep a few tortillas on your pantry shelves (check the expiration dates) and a few in the freezer. If you feel so inclined, learn to make tortillas. They taste yummy and fresh!

Chicken Broth

If I have some leftover from cooking a chicken I will freeze it, but I prefer to use: Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base 8 oz. Of course, you will need water. If I see a good buy on canned or boxed chicken broth I will pick up a few for the pantry.

Olive oil/Coconut Oil

We can make so many things with oil. I just added it to the list because we know we need some.

Dehydrated or Fresh Potatoes

We can mash, fry or bake potatoes. I love dehydrated potatoes to add to soups and chowders. No peeling, chopping or dicing. I can add them right from the can to my soups.

Pasta

Who loves spaghetti? Oh, and mac and cheese. Everyone needs pasta in a pantry, right?

Tomato Paste, Flakes or Diced

You can make soups, spaghetti, chili, stews, etc.

Salt

It’s all about flavor.

Sugar

I have to have sugar to make my bread, cookies, cakes and to put on certain cereals.

Honey

You can make bread with honey, peanut butter with honey sandwiches, make cookies and all kinds of other baked goods. I only buy honey from Cox’s Honey because it’s pure, raw honey. Honey is a natural food and is so good for you. Give it a try in place of sugar next time.

Baking soda

I need it for baking muffins, cookies, etc.

Baking powder

I need it for baking, muffins, biscuits, etc.

Cream of Tartar

I know this is a spice, but I need to make my biscuits and play dough for kids.

Canned Meats

If you pressure can your own that’s awesome! I buy mine at Costco. I like chicken and tuna with water. I stock up big time when they go on sale.

Wheat

If you can grind wheat and make bread that is awesome. You can also make hot cereal with just the wheat and water to make a wholesome meal. Here is how I make hot whole wheat cereal: 1 cup washed whole wheat berries, 3 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional), place all the ingredients in a slow cooker at night for 12 hours and you will have hot cereal in the morning.

Drain off excess water and store unused wheat in the refrigerator. Add a little milk and honey when serving, if desired. You can double or triple the recipe if your slow cooker will hold it. You can add the cooked wheat to many meals as you do rice or quinoa.

Dehydrated Vegetables

Carrots, onions, and celery are always in my pantry. I can throw them in soups and stews.

Salsa and Green Chilies

I can eat these on everything, just saying.

Water

Store as much as your budget allows. We need water to survive and to make most meals out of our pantry stash.

Fruit

Cans of fruit, freeze-dried fruit (longer shelf life), or dehydrate your own for one-year shelf life.

Vegetables

Canned, freeze-dried or dehydrated.

Oatmeal

Typically lasts about 2-3 years depending on the type you buy whether it’s steel cut, old-fashioned or instant (quick). Always store these in airtight containers in a cool place.

Cornstarch

We can always use a thickener, right?

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

This is where a garden would be awesome or a Farmer’s Market.

Vinegar

I have written a few posts about the awesome benefits of vinegar. It’s inexpensive and has so many uses.  35 Reasons Why You Should Store Vinegar 

Final Word

Let me know if you have ideas to bring back cooking from scratch, we need to keep these skills going. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. If you have time to teach classes to your neighbors, please do it. We will all need to know how to cook from scratch, I promise.

Back To Basics Bread Making by Linda

Back To Basics Emergency Kitchen by Linda

Please be prepared: “Prepare Your Family For Survival”  by Linda Loosli, thank you!

18 thoughts on “Cooking From Scratch Is It A Thing Of The Past?

  • May 14, 2019 at 7:10 am
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    I cook from scratch every day. I quit using boxed & can goods several years ago when I learned about GMO’s and the damage caused by the preservatives in foods.

    Reply
  • May 14, 2019 at 7:31 am
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    Hi Linda,

    I have to agree–I think making a roux is critical to cooking more from scratch. What’s even better is being able to make it entirely from long term food storage! And even better than that is having it pre-made in the refrigerator (while we still have electricity, that is)!

    In its original version called Magic Mix, and it’s 1 cup of flour plus 1 cup of butter and 2 1/3 cups of powdered milk. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter in until the mixture looks like cornmeal. Store in the refrigerator.

    In my entirely long term food storage version, coconut oil is substituted for the butter. It doesn’t need refrigeration. In my experience, when stored properly coconut oil has at least a five year shelf life.

    It works perfectly to make all those cream soups–cream of chicken, celery, mushroom–at a fraction of the cost with far less waste and none of the preservative garbage. The banana cream pie–all food storage–was divine. The cheaper dry milk from the Home Storage Center works just as well or better than the expensive dry milks. Oh, and the milk from the HSC is more nutritious than any of the expensive dry milks. It may not be so important for adults, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind for children.

    Lots of recipes posted on PrepSchoolDaily dot blogspot dot com.

    Have a great day!

    Jennifer

    Reply
    • May 14, 2019 at 10:39 am
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      My husband is allergic to coconut oil. Is there something else that can be used instead?

      Thank you for the great advice!

      Audrey

      Reply
      • May 14, 2019 at 11:41 am
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        Hi Audrey,

        That’s a really great question. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great answer for you. Lard or bacon grease might work in some gravies, but would be horrible in banana cream pie. Maybe olive oil would work for making cream of tomato soup, maybe chocolate pudding, but I kind of doubt that. I think even margarine would taste gross.

        But I could also be entirely wrong. I didn’t think coconut oil would work in making cream of chicken soup or gravy. And yet, it was great. I really didn’t think coconut oil would work in making pudding, but I was too curious to not try it. Lo and behold, one of my daughters said that chocolate pudding was even better than before, and she didn’t know I had played around with using coconut oil instead.

        I’m really sorry I couldn’t help you out with this.

        Jennifer

        Reply
  • May 14, 2019 at 10:37 am
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    Hi, Linda ~
    I love cooking from scratch. As a single person, I rarely cook for more than myself. This makes it difficult to say the least! I try to eat protein, veggies and fruit at most of my meals.

    One thing that must say about this list is that if we are truly cooking from scratch, we would make our own soups – as Jennifer mentioned the Magic Mix, there are recipes online for Master Mix for making biscuits, etc. When I was raising my family, I made the Master Mix and used it a lot! Less expensive than Bisquick and much more satisfying. I suppose I could make both Mixes and have on hand, but I try not to eat so many breads and gravies!!! They have both expanded my waistline over the years! Love them both so much.

    I have also made my own crackers in the past and they are so much better than store bought. And so versatile. I have added herbs like crushed rosemary, garlic, onion, and more to make them “go” with whatever I was making.
    I have done the same thing with my homemade noodles. I don’t have nor have I ever used a pasta machine. Sometimes I thought that would have made noodle making much simpler but I read so much about cleaning the machine that I decided years ago when I had my family at home that it would not be worth it. And, there is something about making it all myself. My noodles were always thicker than store bought but that just made them better in my book. When I wanted to make Mac & Cheese, I simply made my noodles and cut them into macaroni sized pieces. My daughter didn’t know that macaroni was supposed to have a hole in the middle until grade school when she had boxed mac & “cheese” at a friend’s house!

    I wish I could say that I currently cook from scratch but I don’t do a lot! That being said, I do know HOW and in an emergency situation I would!

    Reply
    • May 14, 2019 at 11:03 am
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      Hi Leanne, oh my gosh, the macaroni story! I love that comment! It reminds me of the time my girls would ask for Wonder Bread. They wanted the bread they could smash up in their hands. They only had homemade bread, such is life. Linda

      Reply
  • May 14, 2019 at 1:28 pm
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    Cooking from scratch had different meanings. It’s an argument I heard growing up.
    You make biscuits from “scratch” but did you? You grew, bleached and milled that flour?
    I harvest, butcher, grind, slice and cook my own deer. It’s from scratch until I add in hog fat for sausage from one I didn’t raise.
    Just a thought from those who are hard on others in their vocalizing opinions. I’ve seen women make others cry over it when in truth they ain’t no better. They just mixed more ingredients.

    Reply
    • May 14, 2019 at 2:13 pm
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      Hi Matt, wow, I had no idea people are hard on others cooking from scratch. My husband got a deer once, we skinned it or whatever but took somewhere to have it cut up. You are my hero for all the things you do!! My thoughts are this, I make a really good chocolate cake with a cake mix, a pudding mix, sour cream, etc. It’s partially from scratch but man is it yummy! My sister thinks her husband cooks from scratch by throwing a piece of meat on the grill. I view cooking from scratch by knowing how to butcher a deer like you, packaging it and cooking it. I also think anyone that can grab a bowl with some flour, baking powder, etc. that can make biscuits is cooking from scratch. I feel anything we eat at home is better than eating food at a drive-through. But I will never criticize someone who grills a piece of chicken. But I will admire someone who can make bread, crackers or whatever. Life is good with skills. AND you have many Matt!! Love it! Linda

      Reply
  • May 14, 2019 at 5:47 pm
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    Again, a great article Linda. I was raised on a farm and cooking from scratch comes natural for me. My wife was a Washington DC girl and never new what cooking from scratch was. She learned very soon how good it was and will never cook any other way. We buy vegetables from a local farm and can and freeze. One would think that she was a farm girl because she loves to put food away and cook the old fashion way. I learned to cook at the old age of 11 years old, my Mom was sick and being the oldest the job of cooking fell into my hands. Dad would carry her down the stairs and sit her in a chair to teach and supervise me. My wife says i make the best fried chicken gravy in the world. It was the best time of my life and i was too young to realize it. We just finished canning 100 quarts of tomatoes, i guess string beans, and cornfield beans are next. If people would just try cooking from scratch they would find how delicious the food is, and how healthy it is.

    Reply
    • May 15, 2019 at 8:39 am
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      OH Hearl, I LOVE your comment! I can almost visualize you standing there canning those tomatoes!! What a blessing! I love fried chicken gravy!!! You brought a smile to my face today!! Keep up the good work! Linda

      Reply
  • May 16, 2019 at 6:33 pm
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    What, no cheese. Life is better with cheddar 🙂

    I like cheese sticks or slices from a bar or brick as part of my snacks with granola bars, bananas, grapes or crackers. And my doctor told me it was okay for me to eat cheese since it provided protein. I’ve also become a fan of Ceasar salad.

    And all those good foods you store (Oatmeal, carrots, peas) are good for feeding the dog. And peanut butter can be used to make doggie treats.

    Reply
    • May 16, 2019 at 7:46 pm
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      Hi Frank, I just added cheese to my list! I love cheese! Yes, we need doggy treats! Linda

      Reply
  • May 18, 2019 at 8:27 pm
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    It’ interesting how ‘cooking from scratch’ can be interpreted.
    To me it simply means independence. I no longer have to worry about manufacturers or retailers deleting my favourite meal mixers etc. And provided I keep basics such as you suggest in my pantry I no longer have to say, ‘Oh, I can’t make that, I don’t have the packet mix available.

    Reply
    • May 18, 2019 at 8:51 pm
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      Hi Carol, you are so right!! I feel exactly the same way! I like your term “independence”!! Love it! Linda

      Reply

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