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Does anybody cook real food anymore? - Page 3

post #61 of 86
I'm completely obsessed with making food from scratch and it sounds like I'm in like company! Cool!

I even make my dogs' food from scratch and I think they're much healthier as a result!

I like to occasionally write Foodnetwork and suggest that all the paula deen recipes that use cake mix really don't count... But, that's only when I'm in a cranky mood!
post #62 of 86
Neeps, it's a funny thing. I always tell folks that I may not know much about allot of things but I know enough to get me into a world of trouble with just about everything
post #63 of 86
I haven't gone through that process, shroom.

I don't disagree with what you're saying. But my purpose wasn't to establish culinary differences, only to learn the skill of doing it.

If I were running a restaurant or catering company I'd certainly make the effort. And then arrange with a local farmer to supply the breed I particularly favored.

In addition to breed, flavor profiles are affected by the hog's diet. One reason Smithfield hams were traditionally so good is that the pigs were fed peanuts.

When I break-down a hog, the majority of it gets cured and smoked. That would include the hams, neck, bacon, and jowls. I wonder how much difference breed & diet would make to the final results?
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #64 of 86
bet you have plenty of heirloom piggies in your area......if you're ever coming this way there are some really great pigs, (great prices) 1/2 300# live weight is alittle over $100. I was inventorying the freezer and found 8 pig feet...hmmmmm........
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #65 of 86
I usually take half a shoulder and make that into bacon too. Makes great sandwiches! :lips:
post #66 of 86
Thread Starter 
I still have so many things to learn how to make from scratch. I'd love to know how to make my own bacon.

I recently got a handle on making consistently good homemade bread. I am surprised at how easy it is to make, with a little bit of preparation. Even on the laziest of days it's only as hard as pulling a premade loaf out of the freezer and tossing it in the oven later.
post #67 of 86

Like so many "country" crafts, making your own bacon isn't difficult. But it is time consuming.

There are lots of books on the subject. But, basically, you start by curing the meat. This means burying the belly, jowl, whatever in a mixture of salt and other flavorings. Takes roughly a week of this (turning, reburying, adding more cure if necessary) until all the moisture has been drawn out and drained away.

When making hams, it's particularly important that you work the cure fully up around the bone.

After that it's a matter of wrapping and hanging. Or smoking, if that's the route you choose.

Although commercial makers do this year round, in temperature-controlled rooms, home curing of hams, bacon, etc. traditionally was done in the cool weather of fall. Hogs were killed, butchered, and put by then.

If you want more precise instructions for doing a single piece (which means, among other things, you can use your fridge), PM me and I'll provide directions and a cure formula.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #68 of 86
KY mentions the whole autumn pork thing.

Reminds me of a story I heard on Vermont Public Radio a few years back. In Barre (middle of the state EW, 3/4 up NS), there's an enormous granite deposit, so in the early 20th century they hired all these stoneworkers from Italy. The cemeteries are insane: these guys would make 8-foot Madonnas in their off evenings.

But the thing that sticks with me more than anything is the reminiscence of an older woman, remembering that in her childhood, her bedroom up at the top of the little house would always, every fall through mid-winter, have rows and rows of hanging hams, sausages, bacon, and every other pork product. See, in Vermont, you can't do it outside too long, because the stuff freezes solid, so you need a high, drafty place. You slaughter in early fall, cure for a couple weeks until it gets colder, hang it outside enough to harden, then put it way up for months until it's ready.

Okay, now I'm salivating. One of these days I'm going to do this in my own little Vermont house, dag-nabbit!
post #69 of 86
If you do, Chris, better lay a tarp down on the floor.

Long about March there comes what is called a secondary sweat. The cured and hardened pork products, for reasons I've never understood, exude more moisture. Normally this is just enough to coat the surface, and it soon redries, forming an additional protective outter layer.

This, btw, is why you sometimes find a powdering mold on the outside of hams and the like. Mold formed during that secondary sweat. But it's only on the surface, and wiping it off is all it takes. But I digress.

The point is, there is often enough of this liquid formed to drip. And, unless you want an attic floor that is a permanent vermin attraction, you want to lay down something to catch it.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #70 of 86
I just did -- to catch my drooling.

Did I mention that I live in Kyoto this year? You can get good ham, but it's on the order of $6 per 100g, or $27/lb. And it's not that great. Cheese? Forget it: think $8 per 100g for a functional cheddar -- that's $36/lb.

I adore Kyoto, and I can get an unbelievable range of wonderful food here, but this thread has now digressed into Chris-must-now-go-lean-over-a-basin territory.
post #71 of 86
I'll echo the unnecessary smugness call from the earlier post, and without any melodrama or tounge-in-cheek-ness.

IMHO (and I'm sure this will send waves of indignance throughout the forum):

- making your own ketchup is great and all, but "I drink well water from above the arctic circle that's been tripple distilled by Sweedish lesbian nuns, EXCLUSIVELY" is a little absurd. I wish I had the money to turn down Evean because it wasn't my brand of bottled water. Then again, if I did, I'd probably spend it on some non-organic, fat and salt laden goodness. The tough-man competition to prove you have the least amount of perservatives in your pantry is a little silly, too. (where's Shel, BTW, this is right up his alley)

- What's with the morbid fear of salt? I'd rather have high blood pressure than bland food. (for those of you for whom HBP is a serious health problem - CALM DOWN. I have nothing against your special diet. For the rest of us, if it won't kill you, have at it)

- You could eat an entire lifetime of organic, vegan, all-raw goodness and you may live to be 150, but I'll trade 75 of those years for a single Big Mac on occasion.

- That being said, I'd love to make my own proscuitto, can my own veggies, and churn my own butter someday. But really just to say I did it, not because I have to cook food for which I was present for conception.

post #72 of 86
I agree with Focus, except for one thing: I want to make homemade prosciutto some time not just to say I did it but because you can get a high-quality pig leg for not a whole lot of money, the curing is dirt-cheap, and prosciutto costs a fortune.
post #73 of 86
KY I've got a country ham that's been in my fridge for a few (probably 3 years now, uncut/unopened.....Johnston County buffet style boneless ham...probably 3#. Waiting for just the right occasion....or just plain forgetting it in the back of the fridge sitting on top of the 8 year old wax dipped 5# block of Goatsbeard chevre...not sure if this one has a name, it was a "mistake".....

My question is do they every go bad?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #74 of 86
I cook, can, make everything I can from "scratch". Why?

Because I find myself here alive on Earth without having been given a guidebook as to why I'm here and what I'm supposed to be doing.

SO, since my inbred inclination is to eat, and because I have time to kill, and because I enjoy cooking, and canning, and making everything from scratch, I end up saving money, feeding my appetite, and feeling a general satisfaction from the doing and the eating and the satiation that occurs afterwards.

When finally I die one day, maybe the worms will fight over my organic body! :(

As I always think: One hundred years from now, I'll be gone, and everyone I ever knew will be gone, and what difference does any of it really make?

We're all just basically "killin' time" until "Surprise, you're next" saith the Grim Reaper.

post #75 of 86
Yes, they do. Problem is, there's no normal way to tell before cutting it.

When you cut it, shave off all the mold and green and whatnot from the outside until you get to the happy pink part. Let it come to room temperature, or a little warmer, and smell it. Is it okay?

A bad ham, as I understand it, will (a) smell nasty, and/or (b) have bits of mold and wet yellow yuck going right down to the bone. If you have either of these problems, don't eat it.

My sense is that one usually eats a ham like this within a year of its being finished, so I'd not wait all that long before checking in. Fortunately, the kind of ham you describe is I think usually boiled or braised before eating, so at worst it would taste awful: you'll have killed anything that would kill you first.

There are these techniques where you run a probe like a barding needle into the ham and sort of take a core sample, but I don't know how you know whether the sample is either valid or acceptable.
post #76 of 86
I was hired by Whole Foods. I turned it down because down deep I do not believe that the public should be ripped off and overcharged under the guise of health. The only word that should be believed is ''No Antibiotics Organic''as this is really the only term that the FDA and USDA has absolutely defined.
All the rest is nonsence.
Diebetic, low fat,healthy, natural, dietetic, unsaturates, low cholesterol, low sodium, un processed etc.
post #77 of 86
chris, boneless this one is smaller than a football, thin slices on bisquits is the general use for these additional cooking.....I'm not cutting/poking into it until I'm ready to eat it, just think if poked it's more apt to spoil. This is not a bone in leg but a well wrapped commercially sold country ham.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #78 of 86
Shroom, I'm not sure about those boneless hams. In theory, they shouldn't go bad anymore than a regular, properly cured ham, does (people used to buy Smithfields at a child's birth, then hand it down when they got married, or came of age, or at some other similar happy event).

But, those boneless ones are injected with additional water, and I have no idea how that effects the longevity. If the label says to refrigerate it, I wouldn't think it lasts as long as a regular ham.

And you're right about not poking or cutting it until you're ready to eat it. That's a definate way to introduce bacteria and mold spores to the inside.

That aside, what are you waiting for? If "just the right occasion" hasn't appeared after three years chances are it ain't gonna. I'd start slicing and enjoying the ham.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #79 of 86
Thanks, and you're right about the cost effectiveness. I forgot about that. I could eat pounds of the stuff but not at 12.99 or whatever the going rate is. Definitely cost effective to DIY
post #80 of 86
I have always tried to cook healthy, low salt and health conscious. Even when I'm being extravagant. I was surprised to see the Biggest Loser cookbook written by Devin Alexander. Her Healthy Decadence theory is intriguing. It seems to be geared for people that want to feel like they're "cheating" everyday. I might be crazy, but I thought it was a good attempt to bridge comfort foods and restaurant cuisine with low calorie and low-fat alternatives.
post #81 of 86
I admit, I'm guilty of eating and cooking "less than organic" food. I'll eat Zataran's instead of cooking red beans and rice for the 2+ hours it takes. I'll grab a sandwich at the caf at work instead of making my lunch from organic meats the previous day. I love me some hot dogs and mac and cheese out of the box. I have Heinz Ketchup running in my blood (i think that's ingrained in our heads at birth though since it's made here).

I do, however, love free range chicken and fresh meat. The problem is, the only way to get it cheap enough is to buy bulk and I can only do that occasionally. So I'll occasionally pitch in with my dad and buy a side or something. It just tastes better. Veggies, though, I can eat frozen and in some cases canned. It's just cheaper and easier, both things I like.

My old chef now works down the street from where I live (he runs a Deli now, calls it his retirement) and is my wife's boss there (small world huh?). I'll walk in occassionally after work or grocery shopping to visit them. I believe he summed up my feelings on the whole "making things from scratch" argument. A kinda stuck up girl that works there saw me with Zats in my grocery bag while I was talking to Chef and she asked "I thought you were a good cook, why do you eat that sh*t?" He looked at her and said "Because he doesn't get paid to cook that sh*t"

I love that old man lol.
"**** is finding myself left with only vegan food, light beer, and menthol cigarettes."
"**** is finding myself left with only vegan food, light beer, and menthol cigarettes."
post #82 of 86
I do quick&easy now and then as well. heh, life is actually short . . .

but I would suggest separating "organic" from the rest of the debate.

while I support the general theory of organic being less influenced by "better living thru chemistry" I totally discount the free radical organic nut cases who insist a single molecule of msg will kill you.

I garden organically. worms and cow flop work wonders.

I try to fix as much foodstuff from "the original ingredients" as possible. now, that means chilly from dried red beans - vs canned beans with salt&goop - but frankly, I don't go out of my way to find "organic beans"

some of it is just outrageous - see the thread about "organic sea salt" -
huh? organic is pulled from the pond by ox vs. John Deere? the crystal grinder is powered by cow methane vs. diesel? just exactly how does one make a mineral product "organic"?

common sense applies . . .
post #83 of 86
yoghurt and other dairy products
canned tomatoes
canned tuna
frozen peas
dry pasta
frozen puff pastry and phyllo
dried spices
broth occasionally
sausage and cured meats
dried fruits

I cook mostly from scratch, and yes I can fresh Albacore, King Salmon,Peaches and Apricotts from my Garden, make Pomagranate Jelly ( have a gallon of juice left in the freezer ), freeze black and boysenberries, make my own sundried Tomatoes, grow basil,chives,tyme,etc.etc. In summer I grow vegies galore and freeze them for winter. All this in the hot AZ Desert. The fish we catch in August when we go to the Klamath River and sometimes are lucky enough to catch Ocean Rockfish, nothing better than fresh.
When we catch Salmon I smoke about 12 halfpints and vacumseal the rest
I do use processed foods like flour, sugar, honey, herbs and spices and some froozen things, so I am not a foodnut. I like in-n-out and pizza hut too, lol.
post #84 of 86

I do almost all my cooking from scratch. However, m

I have three very busy kids and a husband who travels extensively and there are times that those cans of "crap" come in handy to help me at least PARTIALLY home cook meals for my kids.
I am a bit of a food purist in the sense that to me, if it has processed food in it you can't call it homemade but I am also realistic and there are times that call for breaking my own rules and lowering my standards LOL.
I recently went to a dinner party with an Iron Chef theme and I was really surprised that most of the dishes weren't really homemade/from scratch. Many were even store bought. It really was a shock to me, I figured that most people going to a "dinner club" party would at least MAKE the food yk?
oh well..
post #85 of 86
I do! I never use "chemical crap". I like how my own food looks and tastes. And I always know WHAT I eat! Actually, cooking is fun and it's not that hard. With all those kitchen helpers (mixer, blenders, etc...) cooking is fast and easy. Ant it is healthy! I am healthy, look way younger and a not fat because I know what I eat. An, by the way, I work overtime. But it is always possible to find time for cooking. At least something quick. People are sick and fat because of all those junks and "chemical crap". :cry:
post #86 of 86
I have mixed feelings about "Crap"....

As a human bean who cares for other Human's health and lives, I would really like to abolish all the crap and processed food from the world.

As a business owner, the worse the crap there is out there, the better MY food tastes and sells.

Don't sneer at crap, if it didn't sell it wouldn't be offered. Who was it, Kissinger who said something like, "The abscence of alternatives clarifies the mind marvelously"...?

Look, I grew up in the 70's and then it was the norm to have Dad at work and Mom at home. My Mom wasn't a fantastic cook, but she did cook 3 squares every day, and none of it came out of a can or box. Heck, out of a school of 200 kids I think only a handfull came from single parent families. Highschools offered Home EC classes for girls and Shop for boys and there were no coke or chip machines in the halls. People worked 40 hr weeks and there was no internet to suck up time. The Microwave was very large, rare, and very expensive, vacuum packaging was rare too, and most supermarkets had more "real" food than processed crap.

Nice, so I just listed a bunch of facts that no one cares about. But these facts have paved the way for crap to be sold us. At my kid's school a good 1/4 of the kids come from single parent families, the majority have dual income parents, and the slim--very slim minority have a stay-at-home parent. And this is a private school too. School potluck dinners are a "learning experience" for me. You'd think that as a parent bringing a dish to be displayed in front of 200 other parents that you'd put your "best foot forward", but I've seen alot of crap and ill-prepared food at these events. Many highschools do not offer Home Ec, many parents do not know how to cook--or more importantly how to shop, (or garden) and can not pass these life skills to their children, and there is far more processed crap then "real" food offered at the store.

I do NOT envy the single parent, do not envy the dual income family where one parent has exactly 1/2 hr to prepare a meal, and I have sympathy for people who know they don't know how to cook, don't like to cook, and more importantly, have no time to cook.

IMHO the people who can cook "real" food are people who: 1) cook professionly, 2) people who enjoy cooking and enjoy a decent meal at home, and 3), people who have time.

The crap is only out there because people buy it.

Ever wonder what would happen if there was no media advertising?..................
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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