Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why Scratch?

When Chris and I got married in the fall of 2002, I already cooked things from scratch quite a bit. Chris was sensitive to pesticides and MSG (a chemical additive used to enhance flavours), so I started paying more attention to what I bought and the ingredients in our groceries.  
I was surprised to read all the chemicals we were consuming. We realized that he is also sensitive to sulfites, a type of preservative used extensively in processed foods.
When I say that he is sensitive to these additives, what I mean is that after eating something that included these chemicals, he would get a blinding migraine. An entire day or two could easily be written off by one sandwich of sulfite-laden lunch meats or half a can of condensed soup containing MSG.
As a result, I began making bits and pieces of everything from scratch, and I do mean everything. Salad dressing, soup stock, sauces of every type imaginable, bread, pasta, spice blends, marinades, cakes and cookies, and almost anything else you can think of.  We have even successfully made spring rolls and the dipping sauce on many occasions.
I realize that making all of this from scratch all the time is a full time job all by itself. Even though I am at home right now, I do not have the time to make all of it all of the time.  
The key is paying attention. I have been paying much closer attention these last 8 years and have been making better choices. I do not make all our bread, pasta, pizza dough, and canning. However, I can make some of it from scratch and the rest of the time, I can read the labels. 
Reading the labels always gets me thinking... If I know what all the ingredients are (flour, olive oil, yeast, salt, water, sugar) and I have them in my kitchen, why am I paying so much for this pizza dough rather than just making it myself?


  1. So true...reading labels has become an art all in itself. If you google names for MSG, you would be surprised at how many different terms are used on labels which are actually msg!!! Good advice for all of us, Jess...thanks!

  2. I completely agree! I run a catering company based upon this principle... we never serve processed foods. I like your blog, Jess.

  3. Joanne - it truly has! You have taught me much about this topic!!

  4. Rebecca - thank you for the comment! What is your catering company called? Where is it? It sounds wonderful! We need (as a society) to get away from the processed and back to basics, like meat, fruit, and veg.