Our Eating Lives features stories about how food, cooking, and eating have shaped who we are and how we live.
I’m not going to lie. I’m a giant food snob when it comes to making things from scratch. I don’t know if it’s just because I didn’t grow up with boxed mixes, but I avoid them at every turn and I sneer at those who use them.
I claim to be able to taste when something comes from a mix, especially when it comes to cake. I think it bothers me most when people use cake mix. I mean, it’s cake. It’s not that hard. Flour, sugar, salt, fat, baking powder, spices… that’s pretty much what is in a mix. It tastes so much better to combine these ingredients yourself instead of pulling them out of plastic and cardboard. They taste stale to me.
Now I recognize the convenience of short cuts. I’m a busy person and I do sometimes get behind. But the thing is, you do still have to do some mixing, and you also have to bake the darn thing. if you’re already going to all this trouble, why not go one extra step and present yourself or someone else with a lovingly created from scratch cake?
I’m the same way about everything… not just cakes. I have to seriously swallow my pride when I’m helping others cook and they ask me to “mash up some avocados and mix in the guacamole mix.” All I want to do when people tell me to do that is to raid their spice cabinet and grab an onion. Maybe it’s because I am a “process” cook just as much, if not more, than a “product” cook. I love cooking, tasting, tweaking, adjusting and experimenting.
In fairness, though, I’m not even going to touch Margarita mix. Why mess with perfection and delay how quickly you can start drinking?
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