“From scratch”

I was at the parents night for my daughter’s class last week. One of the children in the class has a severe nut allergy, so her mother was explaining what her child can and can not have in the classroom. She discussed nut allergy-safe birthday treats the rest of us might want to send in for our child’s birthday. She rattled off several mainstream brands of cookies and brownies which are “safe” from her nut-allergy perspective. I was silently cringing as I know Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines may meet her specific standards for safety, but they are far from what I feed my children based on my standards for safe, healthy and nutritious foods.

As she is talking, I am thinking is it really that hard to bake a cookie and not add nuts to it? What am I missing? Apparently thinking along the same lines, another parent asked the question. “What about just baking from scratch without nuts or nut oils?” “Yes,” the mother answered, I’ll make a list of brands which make nut-free mixes that are safe for my child.” “Well,” responded the inquiring parent, “I was not thinking about a mix, but from scratch.” After a pause, “Oh, like flour, from scratch?! That kind of from scratch? Well, if you really want to. I mean, knock yourself out! Sure, that’s ok.”

Wow, I thought to myself. We have grown so accustomed to boxed and processed foods, that “from scratch” can now be understood as “making from a mix”, and needs to be specifically clarified when one means baking from the original ingredients. I think I’ll offer to do a few cooking projects with the class. We’ll make things entirely “from scratch” to ensure the children also understand the original meaning of the phrase.

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