What tasks do you refuse to do in your kitchen--regardless of the costs savings?
I had a reader once tell me that raw chicken meat grosses her out so much that she gladly pays extra money for pre-wrapped chicken breasts.
Sure, she could de-bone her own chicken breasts at home. It's not that hard to do, and it's meaningfully cheaper. The problem was it crossed too far into "ick" territory for her. And despite the fact that she's on a tight budget, this particular job grosses her out enough that she's happy to pay extra to avoid it.
In truth, we all have our own Ick Factors. We all have some gross or highly undesirable task in our kitchen or home that we will happily pay to avoid.
What's yours? Some people draw the line at making certain foods at home. The idea of making homemade hummus (and dealing with the cleanup afterwards) could be a preposterous "ick" exercise for some--especially when it's so easy to pick up a tub of decent hummus in your local grocery store. (On the other hand, if making homemade hummus is definitely your kind of thing, be sure to visit Casual Kitchen's huge blogroll of hummus recipes.)
Perhaps you'd rather pay extra for store-made hamburger patties because it skeeves you to handle raw ground beef. Maybe you're happy to pay extra for store-baked cookies, muffins or cupcakes because you can't bear to spend the extra time and mess of making them by hand at home.
Heck, I've got a great homemade tortilla chips recipe here at Casual Kitchen, but sometimes, when I think about the effort it will take to deal with the hot oil and the greasy cleanup (and when I compare it to the incredible convenience a $3.99 bag of Doritos), my Ick Factor alarm goes off too.
Where do you draw the line? And is it always a cost-based decision? Or are certain tasks so undesirable to you that you completely ignore the cost?
The thing is, in the world of frugal cooking, there's a mentality--a home-cooking samurai code, if you will--that we should always do everything at home. After all, most foods made at home are cheaper, healthier and of better quality (once we get good at making them, that is).
But is this true in all cases? I don't know for sure, but I don't think so. Heck, here's an obvious example: Homemade ice cream. For me, the idea of grappling with eggs, cream and an ice cream maker will never match up to the ease of buying Ben & Jerry's. And this will remain true for me no matter how much a pint of Cherry Garcia costs.
The Ick Factor question shows up outside of the kitchen too. One of the most popular posts in Trent Hamm's The Simple Dollar is his "recipe" for homemade laundry detergent. I absolutely love reading Trent, but for me, this particular post had Ick Factor written all over it.
Sure, many people gladly pay extra to have their cars washed, their toilets cleaned, their shirts ironed, their driveways shoveled, their burgers pre-made or their chicken breasts deboned. If there's a gross or irritating task that you are dying to avoid, it very well might be worth it--in terms of time, money and happiness--to pay extra to have someone else to make it or do it. You can then apply your time and effort towards accomplishing things that are more important to you.
Readers! What jobs or tasks set off your Ick Factor? What are the tasks in your home or kitchen that you just flat-out refuse to do yourself?
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Casual Kitchen would like to thank the Kitties x 3 blog for the spurring the ideas behind this post.
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