I got into a discussion online the other day about some new and exciting things that are happening here at the Grill. In the process of describing what is different, it all-of-a-sudden hit me that I should really talk about what is the same. This led me to a bit of a rant on MY definition of “Scratch Cooking”. It’s a little frustrating as a real chef in the Land-of-the-Chain (aka Dayton, Ohio) how so many throw around the words “scratch” and “cooking” in the same sentence. Hence, this description of what I believe the words to mean.
At the Hawthorn Grill, “from scratch” doesn’t mean opening a box and throwing a frozen pie into the oven. It doesn’t mean dropping frozen mozzarella sticks in the fryer. It doesn’t mean mixing together a few spice packets and tossing that with pre-tenderized, pre-seasoned, pre-breaded, pre-cut chicken or fish or beef and putting that in the oven and calling it ours. It doesn’t mean taking a lump of bread or pizza dough out of the freezer and calling it made from scratch. Too many people use these ingredients and techniques in today’s hectic world of fast and cheap. However, in our kitchen, we use flour, cream, butter, yeast, sugar, carrots, onions and celery.
We cook things the way your grandmother did. We chop vegetables with a knife, we mix flour and butter together to make pie crust and fill that crust with apples we peel and dice in our kitchen. We peel real potatoes everyday for service, cook and mash them with butter, cream and salt. We roll out pasta that was made from nothing but flour and local eggs. We get in whole chickens, break them down, roast the bones for stock, brine the breasts for dinner service, and grind the thighs with freshly ground ancho chiles and tequila for real chicken chorizo.
We simmer mirepoix (carrots, celery and onion) with garlic and herbs for our vegetable stock. Would it be easier to get in pre-chopped veggies, pre-marinated meat, pre-bagged salad greens, canned stocks and bases and pre-made desserts? Of course. But that isn’t what we do. We cook. From scratch. Every day. Because we love it.
The next time you go out, think about what it is that happens in the kitchen….is it scratch…or is it memorex?