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Thread: General Food Talk

  1. #411
    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Re: General Food Talk

    I didn't really feel like cooking either, MRD. Unfortunately, there's nothing in this house that doesn't require cooking (vs. just heating up, like a can of soup) and it's been so cold lately that I thought soup would be a good thing today. Plus, it'll be lunch and dinner into the weekend
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  2. #412
    MRD
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    Re: General Food Talk

    Well, we should have leftovers too and I have soup leftover that I made 2 days ago, so maybe I can get by without cooking until Sun. or Mon.

    Why can't I just have enough money to lay around for the next few days and have a cook attend to our eating needs? (and a housekeeper to clean up after)
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  3. #413
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    Re: General Food Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellen;3261461;
    I think that defrosting in the microwave would be okay -- probably better at a lower (half-power maybe?) setting. What we often do, though, is defrost it in the microwave just enough to get the big lump of frozen soup out of the container and into a pot (one that's a little larger than really needed just to make things transfer more easily), and heat it on the stovetop.
    Thanks Ellen and mrd! That is what I ended up doing earlier. I started it in the microwave and did the rest of the thawing on the stovetop. Tastes delicious!

  4. #414
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    Re: General Food Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by PGM35;3261554;
    Thanks Ellen and mrd! That is what I ended up doing earlier. I started it in the microwave and did the rest of the thawing on the stovetop. Tastes delicious!
    I have also put the frozen block of soup in the crockpot and set it on low and it's thawed and warm in just a couple hours. Forgot about that. Glad yours turned out well.
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  5. #415
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    Re: General Food Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by Critical;3261502;
    Has anyone else got special food planned for today? I'm spending the day at home doing nothing (), but I did put a batch of veggie beef soup into the slow cooker a while ago. My house is going to smell amazing in an hour or so. I bought some of that Heart Smart Bisquick to try out. I've never used it before, but I LOVE Bisquick biscuits - I just can't eat them without feeling guilty over all the fat and calories. We'll see if the lighter ones are worth the effort.

    Heart Smart Bisquick is awesome! I love the pancakes so much more than regular Bisquick.
    A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. ~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

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    Re: General Food Talk

    Quote Originally Posted by myrosiedog;3261531;
    Why can't I just have enough money to lay around for the next few days and have a cook attend to our eating needs? (and a housekeeper to clean up after)
    i'm still looking for this too! but i want someone permanent!

  7. #417
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    Re: General Food Talk

    I've read that here in Southeastern Wisconsin, that idea of a store to go to and prepare meals appears to have died and gone bust. I'll give a link and the article:
    Kitchen feast turns to famine - JSOnline


    Kitchen feast turns to famine
    The gold-rush days are over for a do-it-yourself retail food-service concept
    By Rick Romell of the Journal Sentinel

    Posted: Jan. 3, 2009

    couple of years ago, meal-preparation businesses were sprouting across the country. Trend spotters were commenting on the growth, and franchisers were talking big.

    But what seemed like promising prospects turn out to have been not so robust, and the once-surging sector now is shrinking.

    The widely embraced idea was that time-strapped folks would flock to commercial kitchens where they could buy ingredients, follow recipes and in a couple of hours "assemble" several nutritious meals to place on the family table.

    Not exactly.

    "We found that if customers didn't have enough time to be in their own kitchens they probably didn't have enough to be in ours either," Barb Groth said.

    Groth is one of the survivors. Where more than 15 meal-prep shops popped up in greater Milwaukee over the last few years, it appears just six are left. Groth and her daughter own three of them.

    "On paper, it was a great idea," said Carri Albrecht, owner of Thyme Savvy, which operated for two years in Menomonee Falls and three in Brookfield before closing last summer.

    In 2006, prompted by the growth of her business to that point and by inquiries from customers about opening similar shops, Albrecht registered to market Thyme Savvy franchises. She didn't sell any.

    It turns out the market wasn't there, Albrecht said.

    The miscalculation of the appetite for meal-preparation kitchens hasn't been confined to Milwaukee. Nationally, the numbers have dropped from about 1,450 a little more than a year ago to roughly 900 now, said Mark Morgan, owner of Right About Food, a Waterford firm that consults for meal-prep businesses.
    "The concept certainly got on the fast track and just exploded," Morgan said. "I think a lot of people got into it without quite knowing it wasn't necessarily a proven concept, even though a number of franchisers said it was."

    In 2005, a one-shop Brookfield operation called Dish Delish was described as envisioning as many as 17 new franchise locations within two years.

    Today, its phone number is disconnected and it appears to be out of business.

    A year ago, Illinois-based franchiser Dinner by Design unveiled plans to expand in Wisconsin and five other Midwestern states, announcing that it had identified more than 100 new franchise territories.

    Today, Dinner by Design has closed as a franchising company, said Morgan, a former employee.

    About thirty-five former franchisees, including Groth, continue to operate as independent businesses under the Dinner by Design name. Morgan, a registered dietician, consults with most of them, doing such things as designing recipes, selecting ingredients and evaluating products
    .

    Groth and her daughter, Carii Liberto, own Dinner by Design shops in Greenfield, New Berlin and Sturtevant.

    Their business remains strong because it has evolved, Groth said. People still come to the outlets to assemble their meals, but Groth is shifting increasingly toward preparing food for her customers in a modified version of the carry-out restaurant model.

    Billie Jo Sandlin, owner of a Dinner by Design operation in Grafton, has taken a similar tack. About 60% of her orders now are carry-out - roughly half again as many as when she bought the business two years ago.
    "I think people are busy and just still want the food and they don't have time to do the (preparation) session," Sandlin said.
    While they're no longer part of a chain with aspirations for big expansion, Sandlin and Groth are enjoying one aspect of their independent-business status: No more royalty payments to a parent company.

    Ryan Knoll, a lawyer in Chicago who handles franchise issues, said one problem with a meal-preparation kitchen is that potential customers don't immediately grasp the concept.

    "They don't instinctually know exactly what it does," he said.
    The recession probably has hurt many of the businesses, but Knoll said the growth trend reversed before tough economic times settled in.

    "I think it was easily at least a year ago when it started to be pretty obvious that there was a lot of closing," he said.

    Groth and Sandlin, however, plan to forge ahead.

    "It's survival of the fittest," Sandlin said.

    Whether it's carry-out or prepare-it-yourself, she said her business offers tasty meals - barbecue meatloaf, chicken-and-sausage gumbo, Southwestern chicken rollups - for less than $4 a serving.

    "You know, people still have to eat," she said.

  8. #418
    MRD
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    Re: General Food Talk

    Interesting Gabriel. I've always wanted to try one of those and never did. I have friends that rave about them.

    One trend I've noticed that is popping up more lately is ready to go meals in places like Sam's Club, Costco, Fresh Market and even the grocery stores. The meal is prepared, you buy it, take it home and just cook it.

    If people are that time strapped then I can see why this approach is apparantly doing well or I wouldn't see so many of these prepared dinners for sale.

    I think the growth of the rotiesserie chicken is spawning similar meals (these aren't cooked like the chicken) that can be bought on the way home from work, stuck in the oven and dinner's ready and on the table in half an hour and the kitchen is still clean.
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  9. #419
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    Re: General Food Talk

    Anyone have a suggestion for a dish to take by someone's house after a funeral? I'm sure they're going to have plenty of casseroles, chicken, etc. What else is there to bring?
    Getting lost will help you find yourself.

  10. #420
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    Re: General Food Talk

    If you're in a colder climate, a big pot of chili always hits the spot this time of year.

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