There are times when I like to use soup mixes to liven-up the tastes of the meals I prepare and I'm particularly fond of a well-known mix with the highlighted words 'Beefy Onion' on the package (Lipton). But the fact is that one cannot find a single hint of beef products in the mix. Hmmm?
- 1 crushed (granulated) beef bouillon cube
- 2 Tbsp dried minced onions
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp corn starch
- 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
- 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/8 tsp onion powder
Semantics! I think that's when advertising companies slightly bend the meaning of words to represent something totally different. It sometimes confuses consumers, like me, into thinking they are buying something which they are not. I hate to say it but it happens to me all the time.
In this example, their use of the descriptive word 'beefy' means something which tastes similar to beef, (not the real thing), thus allowing the imitation beef flavor to stand out from the rest of the average onion soup mixes on your supermarket shelf. And, they charge a premium price for it.
While it's true that well-placed words on product packages can increase sales, it's also true when consumers don't take the time to analyze all the ingredients on labels they may not discover the differences between the imitation flavors and the real McCoys.
If you read the box labels on the most popular brands of onion soup mixes, for example, you will discover that each packet contains roughly 4 tablespoons of well-mixed ingredients. Much of this is salt which may be gratifying for instant soup lovers and good for quick gravies, but not useful for many types of cooking.
When salt is added at the beginning of the cooking process it usually toughens that which is being cooked, unless it is done on low heat for longer periods of time. Slow-cooking crock pots make excellent vessels for that particular cooking technique.
In the old days, meats which were preserved with rock salt in large 20-gallon ceramic containers would retain the salinity. The salty meats, therefore, had to be soaked in fresh water for dilution prior to cooking. Then the process of cooking for prolonged periods with low heat was utilized to achieve tenderness.
Moving on. All you have to do is break down the onion soup mix formulas into their integral parts and play around with different combos until you discover that magic taste and VIOLA! ... you just saved yourself a ton of money over the coming years.
Creating your own brand of 'beefy' onion soup mix at home will save you about 75% of the cost of buying it in the store. Plus, you come out with the real deal, a better deal and a better blend, too. It feels good to know you can make it fast, at a moment's notice, right from your own pantry and spice rack. You don't have all the preservatives and stuff that are in the packaged brands, either. 'Nuff said.
Mix together thoroughly and you are ready to go. Use your mix as you would with any store-bought variety.
Hint: If you want to make your mix "Extra Beefy", you can always add another crushed bouillon cube. You can also add about a half-teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper to 'Cajunize" your mix. This reminds me. Check out my DIY Cajun Seasoning mix and you will discover yet another pure and simple way to save money and end up with a superior product.
Save and Enjoy! Ahheee!!