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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Kicking It Down Another Notch: Commercial Stock

Since I'm in the True Confessions mode, let me admit to another culinary transgression. I bought 26 boxes of College Inn Bold Chicken Broth at Big Lots. Reader, I was tempted. They were only $0.50 for a 32 oz box. And no, I did not clear the shelf.

I confess: I believe in homemade stock. But aside from being tempted by the super-low price, I had to take a good look at myself. I seldom buy chicken these days and, when I do (another transgression), I buy IQF breasts. In fact, I try to make my Thanksgiving turkey stock last as long as possible. Often, I admit, I water it down a bit too much.

So now, I can make my beloved potato-corn chowder, chicken pot pie, Thai coconut curry soup with chicken, Mexican tortilla soup, African peanut soup (oops--already did that). All these can be made with plain old water, but are better with broth. And how can I forget the ultimate soup: chicken and andouille gumbo, which cannot be made with water. Will all those boxes of broth doom me to an eternity of convenience foods?

In Paradise Lost, part of Satan's temptation of Eve involves suggesting that KNOWING evil (by doing it) can help you resist evil the next time:

if what is evil
Be real, why not known, since easier shunned?

As we all know, this is specious reasoning, as Satan well knows based on his own track record.

Is this broth a permanent addiction? Not likely! Luckily, I am too cheap---errrrr, FRUGAL---to buy this stuff at the regular price.

P.S. This stuff is potent. So I dilute it. That makes it equal about 50 boxes of broth.

Any culinary confessions you would like to share?


Over the Cubicle Wall said...

I love instant mashed potatoes. For some perspective, I love all things potato. I haven't bought a box since college, but I do love them still.

Meredith said...

Well, you can always consider those shelf stable boxes are doing double duty as emergency preparedness. I usually make my own soup, but I buy several cans of chili, too. All the homemade stock in the freezer won't keep if we lose power for a few days.

Lucy Marmalade said...

I love my instant coffee! Especially with a shake of hot chocolate mix in it.

Shelley said...

I have to confess that I have stock cubes or powder on hand most of the time, for chicken, beef, ham and even vegetarian. My excuse is that my fridge and freezer are about half to maybe 3/4 the size of one in the US; I simply don't have room to stockpile real stock. I use these cubes for far more than soup - they add flavour to casseroles, etc.

When I buy chicken I too buy breasts - at a discount place where each breast ends up costing about £1 and we have one between us for dinner. Bill is finicky about chicken on the bone; he'll only do the carved roast thing, not pick it up and eat with his fingers.

We all have to make compromises with convenience. As long as we make conscious choices I'm sure we still come out way ahead on the frugal scale.

Duchesse said...

Canned broth would be cause for divorce here- not kidding. Bouillon cubes are even worse. Loaded with salt.

I used disposible diapers (twins, that's my excuse) so figure I used my corner-cutting pass up.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Cubicle--Instant mashed potatoes are used in lots of fine restaurants. this was reported to me by a foodie friend, with many connections to chefs. So feel free to buy a box and chow down.

@Meredith--I have too much for the emergency excuse. In fact, I still have MREs from the weeks after Katrina.

@Lucy--The perfect college beverage!

@Shelley--I've read that European cubes are better, esp Italian brands. My stock at 50 cents a quart is cheaper than homemade--a danger of frugality!

Frugal Scholar said...

@Duchesse--I used cloth, so I must have a huge credit.

Chance said...

@frugal I prefer my own stock, but we have boxes of College Inn chicken stock in the pantry, bought on sale or yes, at Big Lots or wherever. They are salty (I dilute too) and are the product of industrially tortured chickens.

I try not to vote for that, by making my own stock with the natural stuff bone in, when I have it. That said, it is wonderful when I just want to make something simple, and have run out, and there is all that shelf-stable stock...I also use Goya (only Goya) canned black beans and have a pantry full bought on sale. We also have a little stash of ultrapasturized boxed milk in the pantry, which prevents melt-downs when we run out of half-and-half and it is 6 am and the Goddess needs her warm milk flavored with coffee.

As in life, good frugality is balance in all things, IMHO.

Conor said...

Not only does College Inn broth tastes great, but it is also an easy when you need to make some quick soup! It uses only the highest quality ingredients, plump chicken or tender beef, perfect vegetables, and just the right herbs and spices. This message is being posted on behalf of Del Monte and we hope that it is of interest for you.