I suppose I should have developed an appropriate level of cynicism when it comes the familiar products I use: No, they are not proprietary products based on secret formulas painstakingly developed by bench scientists during many years of research. No, most products are simply comprised of a few simple ingredients to which you add a bunch of preservatives so they store well on store shelves and a bunch of coloring agents that gets added to an impressive marketing campaign.

And so we pay through our ignorance, both in terms of cost and the possible side effects of ingesting all these funny chemicals.

Did you know that to make thousand island dressing, you only need 10 parts ketchup to 10 partsmayo to 1 part vinegar or thereabouts (Vary slightly to taste… Note that some suggest adding relish but this is crazy-talk.)? I did not, but I do now! Awesome—like a hotdog!

Indeed you could make your own ketchup and your own mayo as well.

In fact I am trying to get into the habit of searching the web for “homemade X” or “DIY X” every time I need some X. My last search was for some oven cleaner. No problem.

What you will find is that most products are made from the same basic staples, just like food. All you need to learn is how to put them together instead of relying on companies to supply them to you at a higher cost with additives and profit margins and other undesirables.

Originally posted 2010-01-12 23:07:28.