NEW YORK--(Recipe.com has done something every cook has wondered about at some time or another: evaluated the cost, effort, and taste payoff of making recipes from scratch vs. buying the food already prepared. Their conclusion: It’s a tradeoff, and it all depends on what’s important to you.)--
“Our food editors looked at recipes that seem to generate the most debate, like pie crust from scratch and chocolate chip cookies from scratch”
“Our food editors looked at recipes that seem to generate the most debate, like pie crust from scratch and chocolate chip cookies from scratch,” said Cheryl Brown, Editorial Director for Recipe.com. “They added up the cost of making the recipes from scratch – even with the discounts from coupons and store specials – added up the time involved, and then evaluated the final taste differences. We don’t anyone to feel guilty, no matter what they choose—we just wanted to understand the tradeoffs. Some people would never make their own chicken broth, for example, because it’s too labor intensive; others swear it’s no big deal to make broth from scratch and wouldn’t touch the stuff out of a can.”
The answer to pie crust: buy it vs. make it was a no brainer for the Recipe.com editors. They absolutely are in favor of making it. Cost-wise it’s about half the price of store-bought crust, and there’s not much effort involved, especially if you have a food processor. As for taste, no matter where you stand in the overall debate, most people agree that you can’t beat the taste of a homemade pie crust.
Whether to buy or make chocolate chip cookies was more debatable. The cost of homemade cookies was a bit more than store-bought (butter and chocolate chips aren’t cheap); and the level of effort a toss-up. The taste of the from-scratch version was far better, however. It really comes down to what kind of cook you are – some people don’t consider making cookies “work”; others do.
In the question of chicken broth: buy it vs. make it the bottom line is effort. The Recipe.com editors admit that it takes a lot of time and planning to make chicken broth from scratch. The cost is less, and taste is clearly better with homemade broth, so it all comes down to the value you place on time.
There are lots of pancake mixes available in the supermarket, so to figure out the cost of pancake mix: buy it vs. make it the Recipe.com editors chose two different boxed mixes and contrasted them with a fancy pancake recipe and an ordinary recipe. The conclusion: it’s much cheaper to make pancakes from scratch, and once you have the ingredients stocked in your pantry, the effort is almost the same. As for the taste, the editors prefer homemade over bought because they can be customized to suit their family’s tastes and needs (whole wheat flour, berries, nuts, etc).
At first, the notion of making homemade hummus made the editors laugh with disbelief—almost all of them assumed it would be too labor intensive. But they quickly found that by using a food processor, you can make hummus in less than 10 minutes, and it costs less than prepackaged hummus. And the taste sealed the deal: The flavor of homemade was far superior in every way.
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Recipe.com, home of the Internet's best-branded recipes, is the first to tie its award-winning recipes to specials and coupons in local grocery stores across America. Their pioneering technology gives cooks the power to select their neighborhood store, check out what’s on special, print coupons and print, share and rate recipes. Recipe.com’s over 20,000 recipes have professional photos from partners ranging from innovative chefs to internationally respected food companies to media brands, such as Better Homes and Gardens, Food & Wine, Fine Cooking, EatingWell, Vegetarian Times, The Food Channel, Taste of the South, Family Circle, and Fitness magazine.