I've been mostly following this rule before I even read Michael Pollan's book because I like to know for certain what exactly is in the food that my family and I eat. No red dye #40 or hydro-ethyl-acid-sulfite-propyl-benzoates for us! And besides....homemade just always tastes better.
There's still a few foods I'm still buying prepared and this is something I'm working to change. The three big items are hard pretzels, salad dressings, and potato chips. The first one I've not found a recipe but I've not searched too hard because out of all the snack foods out there, pretzels seem to be the one relatively simple and unadorned foods. Last week I made my first salad dressing and it was so easy that I can't believe I've not done it sooner. I plan on trying a homemade ranch dressing tonight.
The last one--potato chips--is something we don't eat very often around here but we all do enjoy on occasion. Tristyn has been asking and asking me if we could make them and I agreed but marching band and cheerleading practices and that whole pesky school thing has been getting n the way. An unexpected cancellation of practices last night gave us a chance to finally try making potato chips.
It was very simple to do. I peeled potatoes while Tristyn sliced them with the mandolin. Then we soaked the slices in water for about 30 minutes to remove excess starch while the oil heated up to 350 degrees. The potato slices were drained, patted dry and slipped into the oil. The chips were fried until they were golden brown. I dumped the fry basket out on paper towels to drain away the oil and Tristyn brandished the salt shaker. That was it!
Of course, Tristyn and I popped hot crunchy chip after hot crunchy chip in our mouths. A freshly fried potato chip is something everyone who rips open a bag of potato chips from the store has been missing. There's a loud crunch, an explosion of salt and potato shards, and then everything just melts in your mouth. Literally.
The chips cool quickly and are ready to serve plain or with a favorite dip. They can also be stored in an airtight container for a few days. Potato chips also make an excellent sandwich companion.....if...
...you don't eat too many hot chips and fill up! I ate plenty of chips during the making of them that after I took the picture I had to slide the chips back into the bowl--I only had room for the sandwich! Maybe that's why the rule states "...if you cook it yourself," because by the time you've cooked and sampled the food you don't want anymore. The onus of consuming the finished product is on everyone else!