I suffered from ready-made guilt during my last grocery shopping trip.
It’s the feeling that you are the laziest person on earth for grabbing a tub of something that is extra easy to make at home – and tastes better without all those stabilizers. We’re not just talking easy, we’re talking relatively quick to make, too.
So, why do we all keeping slinging tubs of pimento cheese, onion dip, ham salad and, gulp, pudding, into our carts?
Can we really be at the point where even the briefest time it takes to stir milk into instant pudding, or onion soup mix into sour cream, is more than we can bear?
Let’s take ham salad. Throw some ham chunks in a food processer with gherkins and some onion. Slap in some mayonnaise, maybe a little mustard and voila, lunch for a few days.
Look in any church cookbook and you’ll find half a dozen recipes for pimento cheese. They’re all pretty good – and simple to make. I can understand the hesitancy of diving into making a chicken salad – though with the plethora of rotisserie chickens laying about even this dish is relatively streamlined.
Maybe it’s nostalgia for the taste of a familiar product you grew up with. Perhaps the extra sugar and stuff added to the mix has you hooked. But, really, when simple homemade goodness goes by the wayside, as it has with chocolate-chip cookies, aren’t we losing something a little more than heirloom recipes?
The tub of food that got me started on this downward spiral was tzatziki sauce, that simple, fresh Mediterranean concoction of yogurt, garlic, cucumber and dill. Really, with some vinegar and salt, that’s all you need for tzatziki sauce – it’s a lot harder to spell than to make.
Sure, I could argue against making the stuff at home because cucumbers and dill aren’t in season – but neither were the pieces they used in the pre-made stuff.
So, next time I get a hankering for something relatively easy to make, I’ll buy the raw ingredients and whip it up, I swear – except for that BBQ slaw. I mean, a girl’s got to have something.
Use it as a topping for chicken in a pita, or a salad dressing, or on the side with grilled lamb or beef. It’s versatile.
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped coursely
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill (don’t use dried)
salt to taste
Put the cucumber in a sieve, sprinkle with the salt and let drain for 20 minutes. Rinse the cucumber and pat it dry with a paper towel. Place the cucumber in a bowl, sprinkle with vinegar and stir gently. Add the garlic, yogurt and dill. Taste and add salt if needed. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.