Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Time Vs Quality and Creativity

Someone noted that making pumpkin pie filling from scratch was a lot of work and wondered if the taste difference was worth it.

I believe in time vs quality~ usually.

For the most part I am in favor of convenience if all other factors are equal or not significantly better (ie. the work of growing green beans, harvesting them, cleaning/canning - compared to Aldi frozen green beans). The difference in taste is not great enough, nor the cost difference (b/c time is $) enough to make me grow and can my own beans.

Bread on the other hand...I prefer the taste and quality and texture of homemade bread better than the overly-soft-chew-it-and-it-tastes-like-glue, store bought bread. More work - but better taste. I enjoy the creative aspect of bread baking and like trying new bread recipes, especially different breads from around the world. Baking bread takes a lot of time and once you begin baking it you are kind of "hostage" to the bread until you are finished and that might take 3 or 4 hours. You can't leave the bread to rise and take off for 5 hours or you'll come home to an overflowing bowl of bread. Thus, I also like the convenience of store bought bread...if you pay about double or triple the cost of the lame white sandwich bread you can get a heartier loaf that is fine for sandwiches. Sometimes I'm willing to spend the extra $ so I don't have to spend the extra time.

I feel the same way about sewing clothes vs buying them already made. Maybe I'd feel different if I was talented in that area but I'm not. I can't sew a stitch - except by hand. The cost of fabric can be expensive...then you have the cost of the pattern, thread, trim pieces etc. A new handmade dress could cost $30 or more. A dress in a mall store might cost $50 and up. A dress at a resale shop might cost $10...found at a garage sale it might cost $5. It may take hours and hours to make a dress - though it may also take hours and hours to find the right dress at the store.

The benefit of a handmade dress would again be the creative act...like an artist painting a picture or an architect designing a house. As well being able to make something specifically to fit yourself or someone else (instead of having to alter a store bought item) is a bonus. Recycling fabric could mean less cost to make the clothing.

Everyone has their own thinking about what is worth the extra effort and what isn't - and that is fine. Homeschooling for us, is another item that fits into that category of "worth the extra effort".

It is a lot of work to make my own pumpkin pie filling - much easier to open a can of pumpkin pie filling (already seasoned) or a can of cooked pumpkin. I'd say the homemade pumpkin vs the canned pumpkin - not a great difference in flavor. The difference is in the "creative" act of baking the pie from scratch (minus the store bought crust) - and personal "pride" in accomplishing something that not everyone attempts to do. Also the educational aspect - for the kids to watch and be aware of how things were done in the old days and to realize that there is another way to get food besides the grocery store.

I'd be curious to know what others have on their list of "worth the extra effort" - leave a comment and let me know!


Jennifer said...

Well, now that you've thrown in the aesthetic of making the pie from scratch, I can definitely see how it is worth it. :)

I don't make much from scratch, but a lot of that has more to do with skill and space than anything else. I can echo the sentiment that creating something from a bunch of nothings is very self-fulfilling.

The one thing that I've made myself instead of buying for a couple of years now though is jam. Making my own allows me to control the sugar content. I've made strawberryand blueberry jam as well as apple-butter. The canning process actually gives me the same feeling that I imagine you got from the scratch pumpkin pie.

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