How do (i)you(/i) define "from scratch"? Or "homemade?"
Following what Bumblebeez and especially FOAS said in the Laugh thread (I'm hoping to adequately acknowledge their contributions here without hijacking the other thread), I was wondering how you all define "from scratch" and "homemade"?
Here are my own definitions:
From Scratch: From basic, singular ingredients as they come, transformed into something new.
To me that means entire foods and staples. There are many ingredients that can go into scratch cooking that have been made previously and preserved, but they should still be basic staples. These include stock, tomato puree/paste, flour, peanut butter, mayonnaise etc. These might have been homemade previously, or boughten. To me, scratch doesn't have to be Annie's level of scratch, where first you feed up some chicks and dig up some roots...
There are some fine lines. FOAS mentioned a can of stock in cooking in the question. I make my own from water, roots, aromatics and chicken parts, and freeze it. If I make chicken soup or tomato soup from mine, I call it scratch. I'd still say that tomato soup with a canned chicken stock in it was from scratch. OTOH, a chicken soup which doesn't have a lot else than the can of stock making the broth, no matter what's floating in it, doesn't seem like scratch to me.
Homemade: A dish that is created at home.
To me that means that the ingredients have been transformed rather than served as is, but that some of them might be packaged products. FOAS also mentioned a lasagna made with packaged shredded cheese, jarred sauce, etc. If I don't want to crank, I will use boxed pasta, and I buy my sausage and cheeses (and let the Cuisinart shred them), though I've been known to make mozzarella and ricotta.
Even if I made the sausage and only used pasta and cheese that I'd made--all within my abilities and experience (though for flavor I'd rather buy at least some fontina and romano, which I probably could make if I tried but I'm not about to try)--that is, even if I'd made all the ingredients from scratch, I wouldn't consider mine any more homemade than the one with the pre-shredded cheese and jarred sauce. It would be from scratch, while the other would not, but it would be equally homemade. OTOH, buying a lasagna at Costco and topping it with some extra sauce and cheese is decidedly not homemade.
Which leads us to "doctored".
Doctored: A prepared dish that is improved and altered with additional ingredients and preparation.
Bumblebeez mentioned baked beans that were doctored, having started out as canned baked beans as one ingredient in a recipe. Making baked beans into baked beans doesn't qualify for my definition of homemade because the dish--the bakedness of the beans--wasn't created at home. My grandmother, when she didn't feel up to making gefilte fish for a crowd, as she got older, would buy the jarred kind and recook it with her own seasonings. That's doctored. My mother cooks extra chicken and freezes parts in small packages. When she uses them for dinner, she'll add a sauce, vegetables, etc. Doctored. (Yes, that's what she calls it. "I doctored some chicken for dinner.")
OTOH, when she takes the leftover doctored chicken and cuts it up with a bunch of crunchy vegetables and adds a dressing, that's homemade chicken salad. It's not "from scratch" since it's made with prepared food, even though she did the preparing. I make chicken salad from scratch by poaching the chicken for it (because I don't often have leftover chicken that hasn't already been 'et).
I never even thought about these definitions before. I find the lines very interesting.
Where do the rest of you draw the lines?