When to Buy Instead of Make

Of course, we all know that almost everything is better when it's homemade. But what do Chowhounds actually prefer to buy premade?

Phyllo dough is a top contender. "I actually can't imagine HOW to make the paper-thin store-bought phyllo at home," says Jasz. And drongo says that while it is possible to make the dough from scratch "with no equipment other than a rolling pin ... I think this is something where the industrial equipment has an advantage." sandylc adds that phyllo can made by stretching it "carefully over a tablecloth-covered table until you can see through it," but "I am not that patient."

Pizza is another item that's arguably better when purchased. "No way my home oven can get hot enough and too many great pizzerias in NYC," ratgirlagogo says.

But scott123 says that making pizzas at home isn't impossible: "High temperatures for pizza certainly help, but they aren't essential. With the right stone, better than pizzeria quality NY style pizza can be made at home." The exception, scott123 says, is if you have the option of going to Keste Pizza & Vino in New York City. Also, scott123 concedes, "Neapolitan pizza is a lot harder for the home chef."

Peas are another item you can feel good about picking up from the grocery store. "Frozen peas beat fresh shelled peas 99 percent of the time," says MplsM ary. "Even when I was a CSA member the peas had lost their sweetness in the few hours they sat at room temperature."

And sweetpotater's three things that you just shouldn't do yourself are gefilte fish, marshmallows, and ketchup. After attempting to make all three, sweetpotater testifies that the packaged versions of these ingredients are superior: "All of these in retrospect were a waste of effort: The commercial product in each case is just about perfect, IMHO."

Discuss: Poll -- What foods/food items do you prefer commercially made?

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