- Joined Aug 13, 2006
I don't have strong feelings on the issue, but can see both sides. In a sense, using tomato paste might be a bit of a cheat if you market your meal as "made from scratch." To me, that means that each ingredient begins in the simplest and most natural state available to the kitchen, or is otherwise a common cooking ingredient that has not been pre-mixed or specially processed. Obviously, some ingredients must be processed or mixed to be available to the kitchen, for example, anchovies, baking powder, and even flour, but I would not consider these "specially processed".
I just looked at a can of Contadina tomato paste, believing it to be a national brand, and found only one ingredient: Tomatoes
Arguably, tomatoes are available to the kitchen in a simpler form than paste. Sauce can be cooked down. So, if the use of store-bought, preprocessed tomato paste was banned in cooking competition, I would not argue the point. And if a purist raises a brow over the opening of a can of tomato paste, I would understand.
In the end, a close call and an interesting discussion, in my opinion, and perfect for those with the time to debate such things (and make their own tomato paste).
Now, if I could figure out where I set the Lipton Onion Soup mix, I could finsh my "homemade" meatloaf.....
Ok, the problem here, Buckeye, is that tomato paste and canned or bottled tomatoes originated through the need to have tomatoes all year long. It is perfectly absurd to take winter "tomatoes' and try to make ANYTHING any good, because they just don't taste good in winter, they need the hot sun to grow well and flavorful. Italians have for generations and generations bottled their own tomatoes if they lived in the country (or bought it from people who did if they lived in the city) and used it to make sauce all year long.
I know people who bottle their own tomatoes here, they have to have an outside area because it takes up a lot of space to make enough bottles for the whole year (and what's the point if you don't mkae that many?) and they use a bottle a day. You get a big gas ring and small gas tank, big pots to sterilize them, lots and lots of bottles, a capper, bottle caps, etc etc etc.
I don;t know anyone who makes their own paste.
Paste may be used with water to substitute for tomatoes, but is usually used to add a little depth of flavor. Everyone seems to have a little half-squeezed tube of tomato paste in the fridge. Why would you go and make a tomato reduction at home, with the risk of burning the tomatoes (high risk!).