Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Things That Make Me Go Hmmmm...

On Friday, the peeps who got together for the TwizzaParty are assembling once again for a TwookieParty, thanks to the lovely Sarah & Kristin - loads of cookies and biscuits will be baked and I doubt there'll be a pound of butter left in the country afterwards (I must get ground rice tomorrow for one of my recipes).  I'm going to be altruistic and donate a lot of my creations as a dinner party gift on Saturday - nothing says "Thanks for having us" like a box of home-baked cookies...

And with that in mind, I nipped into Avoca Kilmacanogue this afternoon in search of nice packaging or cute things for the TwookieParty.  Avoca is without a doubt, beautifully presented and packaged and full of yummy things but they really are wiping the eye of the denizens of SoCoDu with their prices... €12 for two fishcakes, €4 for a tub of green bean salad and €10 for a tub of risotto.  My poor jaw is bruised from bouncing off the ground at the markup... I can make a VAT of risotto for about €2.50!

Image courtesy of Amazon

Another thing that made me wince and gave me a sad face was finding boxes of the ever-wonderful Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa cake and cookie mixes.  Just under €9 a box to make about 18 chocolate cookies is not playing nice.  Yes, I know it has to be imported from the US and there's loads of taxes and customs charges and whatever, but honest to God, you can make these for very little money and not a whole more effort than opening that box - and I'll prove it when I write up my cookie recipes in coming days. 

I'm not being holier than thou about bought stuff - I am the first one to take shortcuts as and when they suit me - particular favourites being Loyd Grossman Pasta Sauces and Knorr Touch of Taste or Stockpots which are regularly replenished in our house.  And I regularly squander money on frivolities (my mani & pedi in Mink Ballsbridge today being a prime example... although they are coasting on their reputation too based on my two recent visits)

But I'm wondering what you think?  Are packets and mixes worth the extra spend, or should you give it a go and make it yourself... please tell me.


  1. Nope. They normally taste like utter rubbish compared to the 10 mins it takes to beat a bit of butter and sugar together like! That, my dear, is the taste of SATISFACTION. And a bitta pride, with a pinch of smug (not too much tho, it gets bitter)

    In general, jaw drop at prices. Sigh.

  2. Can't believe that it's nearly €9 for a box of Barefoot Contessa mix?! That's madness. It would cost around that for the ingredients to make a load of cakes. Mixes might be handy if you don't know how to cook or if you need something really quick, but really it's just spending money on something you don't need. Once you're stocked up on flour and sugar and vanilla essence, you're good to go.
    Those Avoca prices in general are very high...the food is of brilliant quality but can people really afford that these days?
    Great topic!

  3. have to say i love the ready made cookie dough but not for cooking, just for eating... i am obviously going to die any day now because all over the packaging it says, do not eat raw. Ah well!

  4. I think mixes have their place, but the problem with knowing how to cook is that you also know the price of things and how easy it is to make things yourself from scratch. I rarely enjoy going out to eat anymore because all I can think is how I could make the same dish for four people for the same price as I pay for one person's meal in a restaurant, and more often than not I could cook it better too.

    Bring on the homemade cookies!

  5. As people have said mixes have their place and are great for people who don't have the time or the confidence to cook or bake but seriously €9!!! They can't be hugely different to other brand mixes on offer in supermarkets for a fraction of that price. Avoca are relying on aspirational purchases from their affluent customers who will think nothing of paying over the odds for a little bit of Ina Garten in their own kitchen. I made my #twookieparty cookies yesterday when I was landed with an unexpected free day and I would say I spent about €15 on the ingredients for 6 bathces of approx 36 each supplememted by my store cupboard supplies. I do love Avoca and will continue to buy pretty kitchen accessories there but would not fall into the trap of paying for something I can easily make at home for practically nothing.