Cooking vs Assembling

Today was the last straw. One of the cooking blogs I follow posted a recipe for kumquat pie. The posting included beautiful photos of the finished product, as well as of the kumquats being ever-so-gently rinsed and prepared according to the recipe. And, once these delicate little fruits have been cleaned and pureed? The next step was to dump in a tub of Cool Whip.

Cool Whip??

Why would anyone want to do that to kumquat? or any other food? Why bother procuring, culling, and prepping fresh fruit if you're then going to smother it in that?

It just seemed too bizarre.

Here's the ingredient list and nutrition information from Kraft's website. While it does now indeed contain cream (back when I was a kid it was called "non-dairy whipped topping"), that comes only at the very end. Right after water, hydrogenated oil and two different sweeteners.

So why do people do this? Why take shortcuts like this? If you care enough about food to even bother with a kumquat, why not take the logical next step and just make your own mousse. Or custard or pudding or whatever cream pie base you think goes best with kumquat?

This was especially irritating last month during Holiday Baking Season. When people are making food intended for friends and loved ones. And using things like Cool Whip, canned soup, cake mixes, frozen pie crusts and cookie dough, etc. This is especially inappropriate. If you are preparing what is essentially a gift, it should be your very best effort.

Many people like the idea of making good food for the holidays. Many people like the idea of making their own food at home. Many people think they are saving time by using pre-made ingredients. Making this stuff from scratch is not all that difficult. Plus it tastes better. And you are getting more real food and less nonsense.

Over the coming weeks, I'll be posting information on how to create the basics needed to make real food at home - things like stock, roux, pastry shells and other essential building blocks to create quality meals after a long day at work without loosing your mind and reaching for that can of cream of mushroom.

If there is something in particular you're interested in learning how to prepare, drop me a line at

Food - image from Wikipedia

Not Food - image from Kraft Foods