The other humans who live in my house are bottomless pits of hunger.
Left to myself, I’d contentedly subsist on yogurt, granola, and smoothies, but these other humans continually insist on dinner–something different every day!–and breakfast, AND lunch, and in between those meals they inhale whatever else they can find.
The DIY Pantry, by Kresha Faber, offers crafty options for feeding the hungry hordes. The book contains recipes for creating your own pantry staples, such as baking mixes, sauces, and spreads, but it also offers recipes that recreate, more healthfully, the kinds of yummy junk foods that my kids otherwise never get on MY watch–there’s a mock Cheez Its recipe here, and a version of those store-bought chewy “fruit” snacks that don’t contain any actual fruit (they do here!), and a whole wheat version of Oreos.
I like recipes that I can creatively customize by flavoring them in different ways, so one of my favorite recipes from The DIY Pantry is the one for potato chips. I leave them plain for my kids, salt them for my partner, and pump them full of cayenne for myself. We eat them with sandwiches, or with dip for a snack, and they keep for a couple of days, so it’s easy to set some aside for a packed lunch for the next day.
The one thing that you MUST have for this recipe, that you may not already own, is a mandoline slicer. Foods like potato chips need to cook evenly, and they’re so thin that there’s really no leeway for allowing an unevenly sliced chip to cook perfectly. I’ve found that, at least for me, an investment in making wholesome foods leads to an investment in kitchen gear that I’d never otherwise have thought of, and thus, over the years, I’ve collected things like a pressure cooker, a wheat grinder, my beloved Vitamix, and yes, this Christmas, a mandoline slicer (I know, right? Give the woman kitchen appliances for Christmas–how cliche. But I ASKED for it specifically!). And once you’ve got a mandoline slicer to handle getting the potatoes to the perfect thickness for you, the rest of Faber’s recipe is a no-brainer.
For those who might wonder if making your own potato chips from scratch is more work than just buying potato chips from the store, then the answer is yes.
Seriously, why would you even wonder that?
I’m making a few batches of these potato chips today, as I write, so that my kids and I can take them on our ski trip tomorrow, and every 25 minutes I go to the kitchen, remove a tray of chips from the oven, slice another couple of potatoes, season then, set them in the oven, set the timer for 25 minutes, and pop back into my chair. It’s more work than calling my partner and telling him to stop and buy potato chips on the way back from the library, but it’s really not *that* much more work, and it’s worth it to have a fun snack tomorrow that’s wholesome and doesn’t make our tummies feel too yucky to ski. It’s more work than you’d want to do every day in order to have potato chips every day, but that’s a helpful reminder to us that we probably actually don’t need to have potato chips every day.
We only need them when we feel like going to the trouble of making them for ourselves!
I received a free copy of The DIY Pantry, because I can’t get my greasy potato chip fingers all over the pages of a book unless I have that book in my greasy potato chip hands!