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Last Call: Which processed food would you most love to make at home?

Illustration for article titled Last Call: Which processed food would you most love to make at home?
Photo: Alexander Shcherbak (Getty Images)
Last CallLast CallLast Call is The Takeout’s online watering hole where you can chat, share recipes, and use the comment section as an open thread. Here’s what we’ve been reading/watching/listening around the office today.

This morning we learned about Bon Appetit writer Rachel Sugar’s quest to create an Impossible Burger at home. Even Sugar herself admitted that it was a futile endeavor: “The liberating promise of processed food is that you can’t possibly do it better than the pros, with their patents and their isolates and unspecified natural flavors. So why try? Trying is exhausting. Instead, sit back. Relax. Enjoy modernity.” Still, she writes about food for a living, and quarantine is making her anxious, so she sourced up all sorts of gums and proteins and made her burger. And it wasn’t terrible!

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There’s something very satisfying about making something at home that you thought was only the province of restaurants and grocery stores. It makes you feel like you’ve suddenly developed magical powers. The genius of Stella Parks’s Serious Eats column Bravetart and the cookbook by the same name and Claire Saffitz’s Gourmet Makes Bon Appetit video series is that they’ve found ways to make homemade Twinkies and Oreos and potato chips and Pop Rocks that taste how you remember the real thing, not how it actually tastes. (It’s amazing what eliminating preservatives can do!)

The one thing I would most love to learn how to make at home, though, is McDonald’s French fries. I am deeply addicted to them, and it would make me very happy to get them crisp and hot in my own kitchen. (Providing the recipe isn’t too complicated and I’m not too lazy and etc.) Which processed or mass-produced food would you most like to learn how to make?

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

Dr Emilio Lizardo

I think potato chips are a good answer. I’ve made them at home a couple of times and they are great. But you have to break out the mandolin, get them into water to prevent browning, blotting them dry, and cleaning the fryer and you end up with chips that disappear in about 5 seconds no matter how many you make, and about a half hour each of prep and cleanup. Compare that with the ability to get a bag of almost as good chips these days for under $3 and it just isn’t worth the effort.

Same for pasta.  The effort just isn’t worth it, especially if you live near a place where you can buy fresh pasta.