Redditor u/hurrellster asked, "What are some things that you just don't understand people buying from stores when you can make much more, much better, for far cheaper at home?" As a generally bad (and often lazy) cook, I was pretty curious what little things I could start making in my day-to-day life to bring dinner to a whole new level. So, without further ado, here are 15 of the suggestions people shared:
Note: As many redditors have pointed out in the original thread, these examples are not to discredit how useful pre-prepared foods are to those who are disabled or have a super packed schedule. There's nothing wrong with buying these from the store — we all do (I say, with a jar of pasta sauce literally sitting on my counter right now). There's no shame in it! Think of these as simply helpful suggestions of foods that — with the right resources and time — people found to be much tastier and more cost-effective for them.
1."Coffee… I want that first thing. I don’t want to put clothes on, drive a few miles, wait in line just to spend $6 on a simple (or complex) coffee. There’s nothing better than waking up to the smell of coffee that turned itself on 15 minutes before I have to get up."
2."I completely understand people buying just about anything rather than making it, especially products like stock, pasta, and bread that are simple to make but take more time than a lot of folks have. Having said that, buying guacamole confounds me, unless you don't have access to avocados, need a ton of guac for a party, or have a good Mexican grocer nearby where you can get quality guac. Making guac at home takes maybe five minutes, and it tastes substantially better than store-bought. Like, I can get really good bread and pasta from the store, but any guac I could buy near me isn't gonna hold a candle to homemade."
3."Salad dressings. So easy and flexible to make with whatever you have on hand, and exponentially more delicious. I would just as soon not have a salad than have one with bottled Italian dressing."
4."There's a thing I remember from a while back where an American asked a French person why they didn't respect American food, and they replied, 'You buy croutons.' That always stuck with me."
5."Hard boiled eggs."
6."Eh, I understand that many people don't have the desire, time, skills, or confidence to cook from scratch all the time. So whilst I sometimes do and find it all way better and cheaper, I can understand why it's not for everyone. I will say, though, I don't understand pancake mix or bread dough mix. That is literally just flour/sugar/salt/yeast mixed together, and you still have to add milk or eggs or water. It saves you a couple of minutes of measuring stuff but costs, like, 10x more than the individual ingredients. You still have to bake it or cook it so doesn't save you time there. Really baffles me!"
7."Pasta sauce is something I just make myself. Good canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and some occasional additions beyond that. Freeze in containers."
8."Maybe less cooking and more drinking, but simple syrup. The prices for a small bottle at the grocery store were almost as expensive per ounce as the rum I was using in my mojitos. It’s literally just water and sugar boiled together in equal parts. Now I make a gallon of it at the beginning of summer and enjoy mojitos with mint from my garden all season."
9."'Light' coconut milk. It's usually more expensive than normal coconut milk, and it's generally just coconut milk with added water. Just buy the normal stuff and add water if you want it light. You effectively get twice as much for less."
10."Chicken noodle soup. It's quick, simple, makes a lot, you can freeze it, and tastes so much better than canned soup."
11."Caramel corn. The tubs of Topsy's here in Kansas City are something like $15 for a gallon? I can make twice that for about $3...and do at least twice a year."
12."Taco seasoning. We make our own in a huge batch."
13."Iced tea. So simple and easy to make at home."
14."Pesto. Homemade is literally miles better than store-bought, especially when you can customize it however you like, and you can make use of fresh herbs."
15.And finally, "Stock. The stuff from the store is either crazy expensive or flavored water."
Do you have a suggestion we missed? Let us know in the comments below!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.