Make or Buy: What Do You Say?

A few weeks ago, a very interesting discussion came up in the comment thread to one of our Make or Buy? posts. A few of you pointed out that, sure, making our own pantry staples like pasta, crackers, and granola bars is almost always going to win out over store-bought in taste, healthfulness, and even cost. But it's just not always practical. What do you think? When is homemade worth it and when is it too much?

I have to say that I was actually relieved when this discussion finally came up. After writing this series for several months now, I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the paradox of "make" coming out on top nearly every time, and yet knowing full well that very few of us can possibly make everything.

Taken one at a time, it does seem make sense to make these foods ourselves. It doesn't take that long to whip up a batch of pasta or a month's worth of ketchup. A pot of our own beans is always going to taste better than something from a can, and once you start baking your own bread, it's hard to go back to store-bought.

But when you add all these DIY projects together, we'd be doing nothing but cooking all day long if we made them all ourselves! I think there's this idea that just because we can make something ourselves, that we should. And that choosing to buy store-bought is somehow a weakness or shameful, when it really isn't.

What's the solution? I think we just have to make choices. Each of us has to decide what's worth it to make and what we can settle for buying.

Personally, I make my own bread and yogurt every week, but I usually buy canned beans, condiments, and pasta. I chose bread and yogurt because I enjoy making them, I prefer my homemade versions over store-bought, and I eat them every single day. If I start eating beans more regularly, maybe I'll add them to my routine. Maybe that will feel like one thing too many. I'll have to see how it goes.

What do you think about this "make vs. buy"? Which foods do you prioritize for making yourself and which ones do you buy at the store?

Read the Whole Series: Make or Buy?

Related: Is it Cost-Effective to Make Pantry Staples Yourself?

(Images: Flickr member sampitech licensed under Creative Commons and Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)

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