General Question

lilikoi's avatar

Is there any food you absolutely must make yourself?

Asked by lilikoi (10079points) April 25th, 2010

I’m talking about foods. For example, I insist on making my own salad dressing, spaghetti sauce, pizza, ice cream, whipped cream, some soups, tortillas, mayo, and now cat food. The store-bought versions are just never as good. However, I like to buy crackers, a good cheese, and a nice bottle of wine, and I haven’t mastered Indian food so I dine out for that.

There seems to be a turning point where the cost in time and energy are offset by the quality you get from making it yourself, and it becomes worthwhile to do this.

Are there certain food items you absolutely must make at home or, conversely, must buy? What are they and what’s your motivation?

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27 Answers

faye's avatar

Soups and spahetti sauce, for sure. Store soup has that taste. I also make my own tortillas for chimichangas, refied beans, and turkey stuffing. I’ve been baking my own bread this last few months and tweaking up some old recipes. I’ve never been able to make baked beans in tomato sauce that taste right to me, though and so I buy them. They should be the easiest thing to make!!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Hollandaise sauce I have to make at home. Restaurants take too many shortcuts (even the French ones) because it’s so much work for so little product – they thin it out and add stuff to make it last longer that just ruins it.
Spaghetti sauce, but I don’t usually make it myself, I have my dad make extra for me when he makes it.
There’s a lot of stuff I prefer to have homemade, but I don’t anymore because my kitchen is so tiny and the appliances and sink don’t really work. So I eat out a lot…

Judi's avatar

Huevos Rancheros. Before fajitas were popular I made them very similar. Eggs with salsa just doesn’t cut it for me.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I’ve got this rad Teriyaki chicken recipie and I’ve never found a store bought sauce that can match it.

jeanmay's avatar

Pizza! After you’ve made your own, general take-out pizza is just not good enough. Plus dough is really not that hard to make. I used to think bread/dough = hours of effort, but that’s simply not true.

I’ll second @faye with the baked beans. Out of a tin, every time.

susanc's avatar

Soup, spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, hot fudge sauce. I thought I was the only person who knew how to make gravy at Thanksgiving, but my daughter-in-law’s mother is better than me. YAY! Off the hook!

DarkScribe's avatar

I make pretty well everything – I am the cook in our family – although my wife is a fine cook when she wants to be. I make my own soups, bastes, sauces and marinades, really only buy chicken and seafood, plus spices and seasoning. I have a permaculture garden for all vegetables as well as nine fruit trees and numerous vines.

free_fallin's avatar

I won’t eat Italian in a restaurant; I’ve had and make authentic Italian food. I’ve recently begun making my own sushi which means I’ll probably stop buying it at restaurants.

I love to cook.

eden2eve's avatar

Soups, Thanksgiving dinner, cookies, mashed potatoes and gravy, potato salad, bread. All sauces and dressings. Yogurt, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, and all canned fruits (except pineapple and mandarin oranges.)

thriftymaid's avatar

Birthday cakes – I always bake them myself. I would never buy iced tea in the grocery store. I rarely eat in restaurants anymore; I prefer to eat food that I prepare. I usually make my own bread too.

DominicX's avatar

Well, I won’t have any other kind of lentil soup (and many other soups and stews) than what my parents make. I used to like Progresso lentil soup until they put Romano cheese in it. Who the hell puts Romano cheese in lentil soup? That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

MissAusten's avatar

Cookies. Homemade cookies are just so much yummier than any packaged cookie! I have a big list of cookie recipes and make at least one batch a week. I know what goes into them, so I don’t mind letting my kids have them for an afternoon snack once or twice a week. Although I wouldn’t turn down some Oreos with a big glass of milk!

There are other things I prefer to make myself, like pasta sauce, applesauce, chicken stock and soup, ice cream, cakes and frosting, BBQ sauce, jam, canned fruit. A lot of things most people don’t make themselves are actually quite simple to throw together. My sister in law and I made mozzarella cheese once, and it was fantastic! Anyway, I don’t always have time to make quite everything from scratch, but I do when I can.

deni's avatar

I will eat apple pie that someone else has made, but mine is so much better. 2 pounds of cinnamon in a single pie is gross and most people really overdo it in that area. I am much happier with the kind my mom makes, which is the same recipe I use now. And it’s not 5 dollars a slice!

I also like my pizza a lot better than most restaurants. Admitted—the kind I make isn’t as thin or as good in general as a lot of east coast pizza, but since I no longer live on the east coast I have to accept that if I want pizza in Colorado I am much better off making it myself than buying it from some of these phonies who don’t know what good thin crust is. Despicable.

stratman37's avatar

beef jerky – cheaper and with just the right amount of fat.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No,and you can’t make me.So,there!! ;))

Cruiser's avatar

Back when I was stone cold broke I brewed beer and still can’t find any that are as good as what I made that didn’t cost a dollar a bottle. Other than that I try to avoid prepared store bought every step of the way. The only thing I will not waste time on is making noodles or ravioli’s…not enough time in the year to do that!

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Grilled salmon. Anything that I’ve ever ordered out is so blah tasting. I spice mine up with garlic butter, dill & Mrs. Dash. I don’t even order it out anymore. It’s too tasteless.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Anything my children eat.

Haleth's avatar

There are plenty of things I make at home that I’ll also get from the store or a restaurant, but I only make my own guacamole and fresh salsa. Unless you go to a very good restaurant, ingredients in fresh dips like these are usually cut up first, and then they let them sit for a few hours and they start to get kind of soggy. When I make guacamole at home, I use avocado, plenty of cilantro, red onions, sea salt, black pepper, plenty of lime, a bit of cumin, diced thai peppers, and diced habanero peppers. My recipes for pico de gallo and mango salsa are tweaked a little bit, too.

Another one is fish. I love to bake or grill whole rockfish or red snapper at home with fillings like mango salsa or shallots, fish sauce, lime, and rosemary. It’s prohibitively expensive to get something like this at a restaurant.

Judi's avatar

@Haleth , Can I come to your house for dinner?

Draconess25's avatar

I can’t cook. At all. My Kitten cooks for me; Hamburgers fried in fresh butter & garlic, still a bit red in the middle, & with an egg fried in the juice to top it off….oatmeal with cinnamnon, honey, & cream….& a German chocolate cake for my birthday!

Cruiser's avatar

@Draconess25 I absolutely love German Chocolate cake especially on my birthday! Yum!

Draconess25's avatar

@Cruiser So I’m not the only one!

Jabe73's avatar

Homemade beef noodle soup, lasanga, spaghetti, chicken/beef pot pie and macaroni & cheese. These are foods that i CAN NOT EAT unless i make them my own specific way, even if other people make them from scratch themselves i can only eat my own (spaghetti sauce is an occasional exception).

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

I have to make stuffed mushrooms myself

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