A small, family farm in Wisconsin

What Price Convenience?

Someone gave me a catalog the other day.  It’s for one of those Party Plan companies.  This one sells convenience food items such as seasoning mixes and sauces.  I was truly shocked to see the prices of these products.  I haven’t been to any of the home party events for years, so I’m out of the loop regarding the cost of this stuff.  Why would anyone pay nearly $9 big dollars for an 11 oz box that makes a pasta salad, after you add your own mayo and milk.  You still have to make the salad, so why not use your own ingredients?  I’ll help you out.  Here’s a recipe that’s similar to the boxed mix and I guarantee it won’t cost as much.

Chipotle Pasta Salad

1/2 pound pasta, cooked

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

4 scallions, minced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 Tbsp mayonnaise

2 tsp chipotle in adobo, minced

1 tbsp lemon juice

In a dry nonstick skillet, toast the garlic cloves and corn until the corn is spotty brown, about 5 minutes.  Mince the garlic and combine with corn, scallions, tomatoes and pasta.  Mix the mayo, chipotle and lemon juice.  Toss salad with dressing.  6 servings.

One Christmas I made a mix for Mexican Fiesta dip and gave it as gifts to family and friends.  It was quite good.  This catalog has the mix for sale, in a tiny 5.5 oz. jar, for $8.99  I promise that I made it for a lot less.  I got bonus points for using my own home grown and dried herbs.

Mexican Fiesta Dip Mix

1/2 cup dried parsley

1/3 cup dried minced onions

1/4 cup dried chives

1/3 cup chili powder

1/4 cup ground cumin

1/4 cup salt optional

This recipe makes 2 cups of dry mix.

To make the dip, mix 3 tablespoons of the dry mix with 1 cup of mayo and 1 cup of sour cream.  It works fine with low-fat and non fat products.

I understand that for busy families it’s very attractive to buy convenience, but when I do the math, it’s clear to me that there’s a hefty price to pay, and I’ve never been willing to spend my money that way.  In fact, I could take the $18.00 I would have spent for these two products and spend it at our local Aldi store.  I’d leave the store with more than 1 bag of groceries for my $18.00 and I’d feel a lot better about the purchases.

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Comments on: "What Price Convenience?" (1)

  1. Back in the day, we’d pay for “convenience”. Now that we’re pinching every penny we don’t go to Fivebucks (I mean Starbucks) or even eat out much at all. As for pre-packaged convenience foods–no way, no how.

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