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What normally storebought items would you only ever make from scratch?

Less chowhoundy people tend to buy a lot of easy-to-make stuff prepackaged in the grocery store.

What are your items that wouldn't fly in your house if they weren't made from scratch?

In my house:
Caesar dressing and any type of vinaigrette
Mayo
Cakes
Stock (chicken, beef, etc)
Gravy (I have no idea if people other than my friend buy this in jars)
Pasta Sauce

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    1. pico de gallo
      chimichurri
      mustard sauce for stone crabs
      sofrito

      6 Replies
        1. re: Kontxesi

          I've never seen commercial pico de gallo. My Latino market makes it fresh and sells it but I don't think that counts as "commercial."

          1. re: c oliver

            I'm not sure if it counts as commercial, but the local Whole Foods and Wegmans seem to make it fresh also they carry a few from local restaurants.

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I wouldn't call the stuff made inhouse as commercial.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                My Wegmans, a lovely store with great customer service, has a great Mediterranean food bar where everything is $8.50/lb and over, including said pico de gallo.

                Which is chopped plum tomato [$1.19 lb in winter, 79c summer], onion yellow, red, 49-99 c, your choice of green chile $2.29 (serrano, jalapeno)-6.99 (thai), cilantro ($2/lg bunch) and lime (3.69/2lbs) etc. My labor and convenience value, ??? I prefer the freshness of my own tomatoes cut with my own hands under my own eyes! Takes me about 5 minutes to cut the tomatoes, onions etc.and these fixings are things I always have on hand. So, such fresh salsas definitely are cheaper for me to make at home, especially in any quantity.

                Marinated olives, green ones especially. So expensive in deli cases! Preserved lemons, too. Pickled beets.

                Modified Lebanese salads, where I reduce the amount of parsley, and add more legumes and veggies to my taste.

                All egg, tuna and chicken salads: I blanch when I see pans of such sitting under lights in deli cases, the tops drying out and turning brownish at the corners, in even the best stores.

                Many Indian snacks & mains some might prefer to purchase frozen or to order out.

                Green and red thai curry paste, when the rare mood strikes.

                Fresh grated coconut: it is a hassle, but essential for Indian sweets, and mandatory for any food used as votive offerings.

        2. I made pretty much everything at home. Off the top of my head:

          All bread
          Ice cream
          Pasta sauce
          Stock
          Mac and cheese

          1. Taco seasoning

            Cinnamon Sugar - I had no idea that everybody didn't mix their own until I saw a cannister in the store a couple of years ago.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MidwesternerTT

              You mean there exists something called "taco seasoning" that one could buy from a store?

              1. re: LorenzoGA

                I agree, once I started making my own taco seasoning, I haven't looked back at store mixed packets with mystery ingredients.

                1. re: LorenzoGA

                  sure, mccormick, shilling, etc. all make "taco seasoning" and they try to convince us its different than the fajita seasoning and the burrito seasoning, and the chicken fajita seasoning, and the . . . it may be, but if you read the ingredient list they are VERY similar.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    I always tried to figure out how they were different, I just assumed the proportions were different somehow.

              2. Stock, soups, gravy, mayo, salad dressings, sauces...I'm sure I'll think of more. :)

                1 Reply