Friday, December 19, 2008

Going all the way

In this world of shortcuts and cheap substitutions, every now and again you'll find someone who decides that making a product from scratch, using real ingredients will deliver a stellar product that is worth going out of your way for and possibly paying more of your hard earned dollars for. To find a breadmaker who is using starters and pre-ferments in their doughs, a pizza maker who makes his or her sauce from scratch, a home cook that realizes that while it's okay to take shortcuts during the busy year, once or twice a year, you need to refamiliarize yourself with how something is supposed to taste: these are the people I try and find and support.

The problem is though that you need to go all the way. You can't make one component of your dish from scratch and then skimp out on the other parts. Today, in the cafeteria where I work, it was advertised that there was a turkey casserole with homemade egg noodles. So, I decided to give it a try. After talking with the lunch lady (good lord, I haven't used that phrase since 4th grade), I was convinced that the noodles were indeed made from scratch. And unfortunately, that's where the from-scratch-goodness ended. Along with the lovely noodles (which were indeed lovely), came a sauce consisting of cream of mushroom soup (the casserole chameleon as it were), cut up cubes of what had to be the worst tasting, most chemically treated deli turkey meat, and topped off with Stove Top stuffing.

I basically picked out all of the turkey and ate the rest. Noodles? Good. Stove Top topping? A little too herbaceous and not quite as crispy as it should've been. The CoM glop holding it all together? Not so good. It just strikes me as odd that you'd even bother making homemade noodles with the rest of this concoction.

This just reminds me too much of that horrid casserole monstrosity, GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE. A nemesis if I ever had one. Over salted, over processed, over hyped. Granted I don't make my own version of GBC very often as it does take more time to put together than opening a can of this and a can of that. But when I do make it, I make every component from scratch. And you know what, it's good. So good that my grandmother actually asked me for the recipe the first time she tried it and she is the queen of the Campbell's Cream of ... soups.

Not just the goodness factor, but there is also the love factor. I know that when I make this dish, it is hearty, healthy, and delicious. It goes to show to those I serve it to that I am expressing my love and caring for them. That I have their well-being in mind as well.

So, if you're going to do it, then DO IT. Go all the way and you will be rewarded. As the great wise and all-powerful Yoda once said, "Do or do not. There is no try."
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