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May 13, 2008 08:36 AM

Things you'd never make at home (because storebought is always best)?

I'm not talking about brand-name chocolate bars or very processed foods... But what kinds of simple dishes would you not even attempt at home, because store-bought would always be best?

I wouldn't make (or trust others to make):

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  1. Smoked meat. But only from The Main or Schwartz's in Montreal. Second the bagels (Montreal-style).

    1. Croissants and phyllo pastry- just because it is so time consuming and what you can buy is good.

      1. Pancake syrup. Because I have no idea how to make Mrs. Butterworth's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Firegoat

          Thanks for reminding me: maple syrup.

        2. Are we including dishes we order from restaurants that are also too much work to make at home? If so, I'd have to confess to eggplant and chicken parmiagana. I just don't have the patience to make a batch of either, especially since it was always my hubby's job to make these dishes. Now that he's gone I just can't be bothered to make them - I'd rather get them on occasion from my local pizzeria!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Catskillgirl

            In that case, chicago-style pizza. I enjoy making pizza at home, but I just can't match the seksiness of their ovens

            1. re: Firegoat

              Chinese food, I have tried and tried.

              1. re: Sean

                You need to get "Mrs Changs Szechwan Cookbook". Everything I have made from this cookbook has been wonderful and (mostly) not too difficult. I have been cooking from this for about 30 years. Book is probably out of print, but available from Amazon or Ebay.

            2. re: Catskillgirl

              I'm the opposite! I won't get those out :) (Maybe chicken parm. if I've tasted or scene someone else's before.)

            3. Pierogi. I made them once from scratch. It took forever, and what I ended up with was a dead ringer for Mrs. T.'s. Only more expensive. Lesson learned.

              11 Replies
              1. re: small h

                I actually much prefer homemade pierogi. Perhaps it had to do with the recipe you used? My grandfather had his own recipe, but my sister and I weren't able to find it the last time we looked, so we used the one off of Martha Stewart's website, stuffing it with our own recipe for mashed potatoes. Not too time consuming and DEFINITELY worth the effort. Store-bought pierogi are now an absolute last resort for me.

                1. re: Al_Pal

                  The recipe was fine. What I ended up with was fine. But I've eaten pierogi approximately 8,000,000 times, and there isn't much variation, as far as I can tell, between homemade (I've had other people's), restaurant-made, and store-bought. Thus, any effort on my part is too much effort. I was hoping that I'd end up with something fantastic. Didn't happen. The MS recipe does look different than what I used, though, so if I get ambitious, maybe I'll try again.

                  1. re: small h

                    You might also want to switch up what you stuff it with. In addition to potato, we've also always eaten cheese (farmer's cheese) and sauerkraut pierogi, which I've never been able to find frozen. Also, one of the most noticeable differences between our homemade pierogi and the storebought is the thickness of the dough. The frozen ones tend to be far too thick with more dough than stuffing. If you ever try making them again, roll the dough very very thin. It makes a huge difference.

                    If you're going to stick to storebought though, you might want to give Target's Archer Farms potato and mushroom pierogi a whirl. They're surprisingly good :)

                    1. re: Al_Pal

                      Scroll down for my opinion of cheese-filled pierogi! I'll try the Target, if I'm ever near a Target. Thanks!

                      1. re: Al_Pal

                        I don't know a lot about pierogies, but I've been told by someone that makes them for a living that the problem with sauerkraut pierogi is that (even when flash frozen) sauerkraut doesn't freeze well. It's the only variety he makes that is sold "fresh only, never frozen".

                  2. re: small h

                    Mrs T's pierogi are an abomination! The dough is so thick, it's like chewing on rubber bands. Absolutely dreadful. The dough should be tender and thin. And no self-respecting Pole would use cheddar cheese! Tangy farmer cheese, lots of golden brown onions, and riced russet potatoes for the filling.

                    1. re: phofiend

                      Gracious, such vehemence! I've been eating them all my life, and I like them, and if you don't, fine. I think cheese pierogi are an abomination, myself, farmer or otherwise. Potato, mushroom, sauerkraut, the end. Cheese is for blintzes. According to me.

                      1. re: small h

                        Mrs. T's was my very fist pierogi. Probably not traditional, but we ate them boiled and topped with spaghetti sauce. Believe it or not, one of my favorite frozen pierogies were Pathmark brand. The dough was kind of chewy and had a mochi-like quality to it. But I then discovered how good mashed potatoes wrapped in wonton wrappers were. The dough was so thin and delicate.

                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          That would never have occurred to me, but I will definitely try it. Thanks for the tip!

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            How do you cook that? (the mashed potatoes in wonton wrappers)
                            Those sound pretty yummy.

                          2. re: small h

                            my Polish mum always made periogi with both cheese and potato together in the filling. Also thin, tender dough. Delicious.