Stocks vs. bases

818
16
Joined Oct 13, 2001
When I first started this biz we made our stocks from scratch.Now I see that the industry sells so much beef base, poultry base,lobster,clam, seafood,and even a vegetarian base. What is next?Perhaps a chefs base where a chef is not needed to bring real flavor to food?
Is the training we recieved as young cooks being thrown to the wind by the consumer and our sales reps? Labor, food costs as well as employee knowledge seem to be the drive behind this but is it better?
To roast the bones with mirepoix or pull the flavor out of shrimp and seafood shells cuttoffs included, gives the most wonderfull and true flavor in my opinion.Chicken stock is the best part of the chicken for me.
Stock is drawing the essence from the food and useing it with optimal preformance!Now all we need do is open a jar?
So what do you use? Peace , Doug..............
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
9,351
956
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I'm a home cook. Yes, I prefer a real fresh made stock. But it's not realistic as an every time thing. I've tried a few of the different bases and routinely use the better varieties. But I'll use a real stock when I can. Finding non-salted ones is the key.

Phil
 
338
11
Joined Oct 23, 2003
i do keep base around to fortify something if needed but would prefer to dump them entirely. I see the use of base as simple laziness for the most part by cooks. It's easier to scoop chix base into your soup-don't have to season it that way. When confronted with a choice of stock or base most reach for the base, even after explaining and tasting why we use one over the other-why? no need to season. One of my pet peeves is pee yellow soups or rice from overuse of base-drives me nuts. And what the heck is ham base-throw a friggin hamhock in there. Doesn't matter what you do to it base still tastes like base.
And then there are times when i'm called on spending $$ on a case veal or chix bones, lobster bodies, etc.-too bad the accountant can't do the math vs base. Go back in the office and let me do my job.
enough of my rant, definately touched on a sore subject for me.
danny
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
524
Joined Jun 11, 2001
You guys don't use Provimi Veal glace? There are some guys out there who make good "base" although I wouldn't call it base. It's real stock. More than Gourmet is one of them.

But yeah, I hate eating out. I hate ordering the "soup of the day" at family style places because I know it's chicken or beef base with vegetables and rice or some garbage soup that's been sitting around for ages. I hate ordering cream soup because I know half of the stuff out there is made with cream soup base.

The problem is when you make a lot of something, then people think they can waste it. You can have 15 gallons of veal stock in the cooler and the morning shift will decide that it's OK to use 5 gallons to make the day's soup or employee meal. Like it or not, some people who work in kitchens don't have a clue. They think you just dumped 25# of bones in a big pot and boiled it.

Same thing with turned vegetables or potatoes. You can stand there for four hours and turn 50# of carrots and the servers will pick up a handful and start munching on them like they're celery sticks or something.
 
1,586
11
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Everywhere I have worked, we always made our own stocks.

For those of you who have used both, what is the cost difference? making your own involves of course the cost of ingredients, the cost of labour - mainly veg chopping and some limited babysitting, and the opportunity cost in terms of limiting burner space for a few hours. Overall, this cost can be fairly significant. How does this compare to the cost of a good brand of glace?
 
2,518
33
Joined Nov 20, 2000
Ahh memories :D ....
Personally I have always felt that bases should be used as no more than another color in your pallet, but not the "base" if you'll pardon the pun.

Bases can fortify weak stocks if neccesary and add an unexpected depth or zip if used properly. Never though as a substitute, but remember not all kitchens are going to be upscale. Don't think for a second that a family style restaurant is going to be making a true stock. Take that into consideration when eating out and applying for a job.
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
524
Joined Jun 11, 2001
If your kitchen is setup correctly with a real stock pot and burner then it's totally worth the effort. When I used to do it veal bones were under $2.00 per pound. One of those frozen provimi veal stock bricks (1 lb I think) cost $18 I think. Can't remember. That was glace, so $18 for around a gallon of stock? 25# of bones is $50 in ingredients plus carrot shavings, celery bottoms, onion peels and bits, parsley stems, and miscellaneous stuff that "lands" in the stock pot you get 5 gallons of stock.

Next time you check in the order or when the salesperson comes in why don't you ask the price on frozen veal stock and then compare the price with veal bones?
 
818
16
Joined Oct 13, 2001
Good debate!So many times I have seen the dinner cooks(these are the guys in hotels who do the mass production in the main kitchen) useing chicken base in everything!Pea yellow as dano1 said is just not right!
Kuan, you mention a base that is a reduced stock for sale that you like.Provimi veal glace and more than Gourmet, who are your purveyers on this or are they local?
The reason I started this thread was because I love real stock!
Also I feel like a Judas in buying bases(minors) for my cooks as this is the corperate lock in and yes I am management!How do you get your cooks trained in the real classical way of preparing food when all they have to do is dip into the tub of base!From what I see corperations are managing to the weakest link and try to take all of the knowledgable factors out of there equasions!
I realy guess there is nothing to do(in my case) but cook at home do some catering and blow friends away at parties!
I just thought (and was taught) that stocks are the foundation of cooking?
Rant over,Doug......................
 
338
11
Joined Oct 23, 2003
i pay about 1.50 lb +- for veal bones. 1 case of bones, tomato product, mirepoix, bouquet, a split veal foot or 2, i'm out the door at close to 20.00/gal for demi. I show my dish how to do it, chopping mireopix, water, passing etc, i'll roast off the bones.
Yes having my demi end up as soup of the day is a flaying offense but has happened to just about everybody i'm sure. Never even heard of cream soup base, interesting.... Sadly stockmaking is becoming a lost art it seems. I've had recent culinary grads looking for the jar of base before.
danny
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,067
524
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Guys, you can get everything from SYSCO man. Yeah, even cream soup base. Just add water, precooked frozen chicken, and you have cream of chicken soup. Serious.

Kuan
 
338
11
Joined Oct 23, 2003
guess thats why we're becoming obsolete....keeps the labor down to dish levels in the kitchen too. No need to know anything, just add water.
danny
 
5
11
Joined Jul 21, 2004
I guess the buisness to get into would be R&D for the food companies that make the instant bases and whatnot, somebody has to make it perfect before they mass produce it. But I suppose that could be considered selling your soul or treason to all the real cooks and chefs out there.
Whoever figures out the compromise that allows us to work with convenience food rather than against them, let me know... so I can use the knowledge against them and ruin the "Instant meals in a box, bag, bucket or can" industry forever! Ha ha!! Vive la revolution!
 
Top Bottom