It’s not homemade…it’s fauxmade!

Last week, my daughter and I made brownies. We went to a kids’ cooking class on using lemons. Saturday-into-Sunday, I made her a three-layer Fancy Nancy birthday cake.

We are a family obsessed with food. And not just any food, but the do-it-yourself kind of food. Fantastic, homemade food with less preservatives and additives and chemicals. Locally produced when possible. Organic when practical.

Thinking about food and eating this way is trendy right now, but I don’t think we cook and eat the way we do just because it’s popular (although popularity does help make this food widely available). Cool or not, I would still want to grow and eat from a garden. But we do fit into a certain food-related demographic, one that seems to be growing ever larger under the influence of the Food Network, Barbara Kingsolver, Emeril Lagasse…and so on.

However, it is not the only trendy food demographic these days. There is also the fauxmade crowd (I totally just made up that term). To illustrate this attitude toward food, I offer the following recipe, found on a package of C & H granulated sugar (courtesy of Semi-Homemade maven Sandra Lee).


* 1 package (18-ounce) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, room temperature
* 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup powdered sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or other flavoring
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

I’m just going to stop right here.  This is a RECIPE printed on a four-pound bag of SUGAR, for heaven’s sake. And the first ingredient is pre-packaged cookie dough! What the heck?! Why on earth would you buy a four-pound bag of sugar if you weren’t going to bake something with it? And by “bake” I mean mix up from real ingredients, not assemble from prepared items.

Okay, maybe I’m a snob. And I’m probably spoiled–I don’t work 40 hours per week these days, so I have more time to bake the old-fashioned way. I just can’t get behind this trend of semi-homemade food.

Did you know that Sandra Lee has trademarked the phrase “Semi-Homemade”? She also has a show on the Food Network, and she probably has a dozen cookbooks, if you care to call them that.


My feeling is, if you’re going to cook, cook. Don’t futz around making store-bought stuff LOOK homemade; it’s just a waste of time. You may create a warm and fuzzy illusion, but it’s just an that. As soon as anyone tastes your fauxmade food, the game is up. Because it doesn’t taste homemade. It tastes like the preservatives and stabilizers you’re trying to mask.



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4 Responses to “It’s not homemade…it’s fauxmade!”

  1. Michelle Says:

    I think I remember seeing this recipe once. I thought, “wouldn’t it be easier to mix up a batch of cookie dough (snickerdoodle dough is dead-easy too) than to thoroughly incorporated the cream cheese into the pre-made cookie dough?

  2. Dixiemom7 Says:

    I know what you mean; I absolutely detest store-bought cookie dough. NASTY! But, on the other hand, not everyone has the time or experience (or a teacher) to do full-on homemade. Shortcuts are necessary sometimes. That doesn’t mean that cook doesn’t care about the food they made or the people they cook for. I think the “touches” are more about showing they care. I usually use cake-mix for our birthday cakes. That doesn’t mean I can’t make a cake from scratch, in fact I do on occasion. But I know that it will turn out each time, the kids can mix it up on their own with minimal input from me, and it saves time for the decorating later, which can take a lot of time. I also usually use store-bought frosting when decorating because almost every time I try to do buttercream it comes out wrong. However, homemade frosting def. tastes better.
    It all come down to compromise, and not necessarily judging others according to our “values” or knowledge. Most people don’t know how to make jelly or preserves of any kind. Most don’t have the space or time or knowledge to plant and grow a garden. You are blessed. Be a mentor instead of a critic.
    Sandra-Lee is a product of our times; she saw a market and capitalized on it. (Kind of like those gross Jello concoctions.) I think it’s funny on her show that she’s using time-saving techniques on the cooking, but decorating the table too! I guess sometimes it’s all about perception.

  3. fractone Says:

    I think its the juxtaposition of not cooking from scratch against spending all that extra time to decorate that bothers me so much. I can understand being short on time or not knowing how to do something. But to follow the recipe on the sugar bag, you would have to have both time and knowledge.

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