Is it really homemade?

Living in Maine sometimes as a Black woman can get lonely as hell. Yes, I do have some Black friends up here but truthfully everyone is so busy trying to survive that free time to just hang out is hard to come by. Which is why yesterday was a treat for me, I spent a good part of the day with one of my sista-friends, she is going through some life changes and as she put it she just needed to chill with someone who got it and that she didn’t need to be the Black ambassador with, believe me I know that feeling well.

Anyway whenever T & I get together, food always comes up since early this year we had a little tiff around her cooking me a birthday meal that I couldn’t eat because my stomach is sensitive as hell. Long story short she hooked a sista up with a southern style meal, fried chicken, collards greens, baked mac and cheese and potato salad. Sadly since my weight loss, too much grease causes a reaction within my stomach that can only be cured with a long visit to the porcelain throne.

So you know how it is, I was irritated that she cooked a meal I told her, I couldn’t eat and she was mad because well she thought a sista was being an ungrateful wench. However this is Maine and the pool of sistas who connect is small as hell, so we both got over it. But as sistas whenever we hang out food does come up, last night she brought her boys over and I had made pumpkin pie since mini-me wanted me to do something with all these pumpkins she has been collecting.

Now I don’t know about you but trying to cut a pumpkin up and turn it into something edible is really not that easy, I know because last year when I tried it after hacking that pumpkin open, the inside was stringy as hell and rather unpleasant. So not wanting to disappoint the little one, I opened a can of pureed pumpkin and used it to cook with and well I didn’t tell the little one. Thankfully she was 2 so she didn’t notice Mama’s subterfuge.

So yesterday when I made the pie, I did it while mini-me was at daycare and simply moved one of her pumpkins away, so she would think I used one to bake the pie with, now I know some of y’all are laughing. However when my girlfriend came over as I was taking the pie out the oven and she oohing over how great it smelled, I confessed that the pie was not really homemade. See, I didn’t make the crust, in fact when I make pies I rarely make the crust, instead I use the store bought ones since as a working Mama, time is at a premium.

While I was confessing to my girl that I cheated with both canned pumpkin and a store bought crust, she started laughing and told me “Black girl get real, of course that shit is homemade”… I love sista-friends we keep it real with each other. Now my girl, we cool but truth is she ain’t much of a cook outside of a few items (she does however throw down with her greens and sweet potato pie).

Yet once again today I found myself thinking about how much true cooking from scratch I do, see this morning I was at the store getting canned broth for the meal I was putting on for dinner tonight, chicken and barley cooked in the crock-pot. Its a simple recipe chicken, veggies, barley, seasonings and broth thrown in the crock-pot and cooked all day. By the time its done, its a simple yet tasty ass meal, everyone here likes it and sometimes I even make drop biscuits to go along, but I use Bisquick for the biscuits.

Now, with thrift and frugality being in vogue, there are many foodie blogs I visit where folks cook everything from scratch, I must admit I get a tad jealous yet while I like to cook, and for the most part do make things myself, things like broth from scratch are simply a pain in the ass to make. Yeah, I know take your chicken carcass and boil, boil, boil. I tried it and frankly it came out like shit and still didn’t net me enough broth plus I rarely eat whole chickens. Shit, I think last Thanksgivings turkey carcass is still in my deep freezer since I meant to use that to make broth but 11 months never got around to it.

In the end, I guess the question is does it really matter if when cooking you use a few aids to speed up the process? I would like to say no, though I know true foodies would say my shit is not homemade. So what about y’all, any regular readers who cook everything from scratch? If you do, please tell me how you make time for it.

Anyway its lunch time here, today’s lunch is indeed homemade, Maine lobster and salad. Not only homemade but all the food is local. Time to get my eat on, so I can get back to work.

5 thoughts on “Is it really homemade?”

  1. Hey…if you can easily pronounce all the ingredients and they are all things that can’t be cooked up in a laboratory vial then it’s pretty much cooking from scratch.

    Since I work from home…it’s pretty much integrated into my schedule to cook. When I worked for an employer I spent the weekends cooking and making sure I had enough for leftovers for 2-3 days….that is after I got caught up on sleep. Once that was gone then it was pretty much catch as catch can.

    I feel you on the grease and stomach thingy though.

  2. LoL @ the pumpkin story!!! My little boy is straight harassing me about eating these pumpkins we have around her. I tried to make pumpkin muffins with the pumpkins but the boy was not fooled!!

    And you ain’t never lie. Homemade broth is a “b” to make. I’ve found a broth powder I like, basic ingredients and I’m good to go!

    Well, I cook most things “from scratch with help” as I like to say. I can’t stand roasting pumpkins to make pumpkin pie so I use the can. It tastes the same without me driving myself nutso. Same goes for tomatoes–canned tomatoes are already diced and they generally cost less than fresh tomatoes–even organic. I would like to learn to can my own tomatoes when we get the garden going but for now, I don’t bat an eye using the canned stuff. I have lots of dried beans but sometimes I forget to soak them so I’ll whip out a can of beans. Sometimes I just want to make hummus right quick and not wait an hour for the beans to cook. I’ll even buy a jar of pasta sauce but by the time I get done with that jar it won’t taste anything like store-bought–I add my roasted peppers (that I roasted myself), sauteed onions and lots of garlic, my special spice and seasoning blend, and some finely diced parsley and kale, and of course, tofu “meat” balls. It’s homemade! And even if you do take a few shortcuts, by using the most basic ingredients, you can still avoid lots of additives and other unwanted stuff (like excessive sugar). My philosophy is to take help with prepping the raw ingredients which often comes in the form of cans or frozen fruits and veggies. I don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen with two small boys so this allows me to make more elaborate meals in less time. I really couldn’t care less what “true foodies” have to say because I never claimed to be one. I just enjoy making delicious, nourishing food for my family. No guilt and no shame!!

  3. I would say to cut yourself a break on whether the pumpkin was freshly scraped out at your table vs. scraped out of the can, but I’m more like your friend when it comes to classifying what is homemade. I grew up in a home where NOTHING was truly homemade as you describe, lots of things were microwaved and my veggies regularly came from a can, so I give myself credit for cooking, even with the shortcuts. :-X

    I *do* like a homemade pie crust, especially since I discovered how easy it was to make, but the store bought ones are definitely more convenient. I bet your pie was delicious, either way!

  4. Checking out your blog, via gozack.com

    Maine?!?!?!?

    I have not been further north than Boston on the Eastern seaboard; so I can only imagine. I remember living in Rogers Park and seeing a group of black people in a car with those Maine license plates that feature a lobster.

    I thought to myself: ‘Maine?!?!?!?!’

    I will check in from time to time…

  5. This post speaks to the popularity of the “Semi-Home Made” cooking show and books by Sandra somebody (thin blonde-haired lady). Very few people have the time or the patience to cook from scratch anymore, especially when they’re trying to make a living at the same time. Semi-home made is better, healthier and usually cheaper than McDonalds or KFC, etc.!

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