Chowhounds have been debating the merits of Mark Bittman’s New York Times piece on what to keep in your pantry and what to toss for a few weeks. Now Serious Eats has put the following section to the test:

“OUT: Bouillon cubes or powder, or canned stock.

“IN: Simmer a carrot, a celery stalk and half an onion in a couple of cups of water for 10 minutes and you’re better off; if you have any chicken scraps, even a half-hour of cooking with those same vegetables will give you something 10 times better than any canned stock.”

Serious Eat’s Michele Humes reports: “I sampled every brand of chicken stock in my grocery store, using batches of the real stuff and the ten-minute wonder broth—is my skepticism apparent?—for comparison.” Her findings? Homemade was optimal, but Bittman’s vegetable 10-minute method yielded a “surprisingly fragrant, but utterly tasteless, vegetable tea.” Kitchen Basics Natural Chicken Stock was good in both quick soups and sauces.

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