packet sauce synthetic food sauces

Do you know what is in that cheesy packet sauce? Image: Adobe Stock

Seven reasons why you should not be a ‘packet sauce junkie’

Here’s what you can learn from this student’s six months of packet sauces – and why the real thing is so much better for you.

packet sauce synthetic food sauces

Do you know what is in that cheesy packet sauce? Image: Adobe Stock

Packet sauces are popular so you’re probably thinking, “why shouldn’t I buy them?” After all, they’re convenient, they look delicious and the packaging is pretty. Plus it is just so much effort to flit from shelf to shelf trying to find raw ingredients like organic cheese and earth-friendly coconut milk.

Now you might be wondering where I get my information from. Coming from a home which saw packet sauces as inferior to home-made ones, I looked forward to finally being a real student and buying these magical and mysterious items with all their pretty colours and promises.

Why packet sauces should be avoided

But that was the hype, not the actual thing.

Granules, weird ingredients, the disappointment was real. So I am sharing my disappointment, and sage advice, in the hope that you will avoid making the same mistake.

1. Packet sauces are EXPENSIVE

Like ridiculously so. But, guys, R50 for a measly packet of peanut sauce? Really? I’m not so sure that it’s totally worth it. Unless of course they’re on special you must want to burn money. In which case, I’ll light the fire and you can donate those dollars to my cause.

2. How much are you going to get out of them?

In my (admittedly limited) experience, a R50 box of peanut sauce makes enough for two people. OK, maybe three or four if you’re serving bite-sized portions at a weight-loss party. Otherwise it really doesn’t go far and you’ll have to buy more.

3. You become a packet sauce junkie

Seriously, there is so much awesomeness in cooking up your own homemade sauce. So, having the packet versions lying around just makes you look … well, like a junkie. It’s a prestige thing. Even I can’t bear the sight of my shelves right now. It’s beginning to smell of plastic around here.

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4. Do you know what they put into packet sauces?

Hydrogenated everything, preservatives, sugar, glue, whale fins. OK, not that perhaps but there are a lot of processed things in them. It’s so much better to control what goes into your body and know that what you’re eating is healthy.

Generally the zinger ingredients like the honey, the mustard, the cheese only constitute a minor portion. The rest, well, make up a really long list of funny-sounding words and E numbers.

5. It’s better to make your own

Then you can make up a big batch and freeze it for later. Plus, you can control what you put in. The flavour, the texture and the colour will all be in your hands, and you can forget about processed and refined ingredients. There might be a few, but there will definitely be less.

Plus, you can wow your friends, family and pets with your amazing skills, and be the talk of the town.

Honestly, I would ditch packet sauces for this fact alone.

Also, sometimes the salt content or spiciness level is beyond a joke, and it’s so much easier being able to control that too. Some of you may like the spiciness of that tikka sauce, but again, you can adjust your levels.

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6. If you make your own, you will learn to cook

And if you learn to cook, you gain some serious skills for years to come. Once you learn how to make a basic cheese sauce, you only get better. Trust me, nothing better than a good cheese sauce. That stuff goes with everything.

7. Packet sauces are about lifestyle, not about flavour

The manufacturers are trying to sell you an image of what food should look like. You’re not actually getting the genuine item, the real flavours of Italy, or a good, smoking-hot Indian curry. And a blue cheese sauce I bought recently contained mostly water.

Instead, make the real thing with love, time and patience, and a hint of garlic.

So, I’ve made my case, hopefully you’ll make yours (whether it’s carbonara, peanut sauce or both).

Now, where did I put that passata…