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Do I avoid the "do you use a mix" question?? - Page 6

post #76 of 246
I agree with Costumeczar and Ziggytarheel. Threads like these usually have a comment like that about nobody milking their own cows, growing their wheat, etc. I never understood that because I never thought that was the definition of scratch baking. That would be taking the freshest ingredients possible, whereas, most of us see scratch as taking all of the individual ingredients and combining them to produce an edible product. Some people are proud to be able to do this, it's not a knock on someone who doesn't.

You will get heavy and dense cakes if you use a heavy and dense recipe. There IS such thing as a light, white cake that doesn't taste like Jiffy. icon_lol.gif I'm not a fan of icing on Jiffy.

There are some who bake from scratch because they want to control what's going into their food (sugar, salt, etc.). As someone mentioned earlier, there are those who may be allergic to certain dyes and chemical additives in mixes. I know a woman who has two kids like this - allergic to everything! I can bake for her and she loves it and I'm glad I can provide that.

I don't care what anyone uses - use what is best for you and what your costumers want. If they ask, be upfront, you never know why they're asking. They're still coming to you because they like what you're putting out, so maintain your confidence.
post #77 of 246
A lot of people who request scratch/whole foods/whatever else you want to call it will know that you're not doing this by of the way you answer the question. You're providing a creative answer to the question instead of a direct answer and they will likely thank you for your time and keep shopping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KoryAK

but just be wary of why the customer is asking - what if its an allergy? There is more in that box than sugar, flour, and leavener.



This is really the most important reason to be honest with your customers. I don't care at all if a baker's preference is to use mix or if a chef starts from frozen and canned. I just want to know the truth about it if I ask. I don't have food allergies, I just want to know what's on my plate. I can tell the difference between fresh and canned, mix and scratch, because I only eat fresh/scratch, so if you're not honest with me and I've paid you for it, I'm going to be one p***ed off customer if I find out that's mix cake on my fork. But what about the customer with a medical reason to stay away from food additives or preservatives?

The other thing I wanted to say is that the number of people who are demanding scratch products & whole foods (for whatever their reasons may be) is growing and these folks are becoming increasingly more educated on the differences between whole and processed by both taste and sight.
Know your audience.
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Know your audience.
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post #78 of 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

The point is would you wag the boxes around out in the open like she has to do in her awesome and open new kitchen?

Quote:
Quote:

Honest but showing the customer that her cooking and baking is GOOD.



Here's the definition of 'but'
but ( ) conj. On the contrary: the plan caused not prosperity but ruin. Contrary to expectation; yet:

Just a random definition I got googling. So the statement could read:

"Honest and contrary to expectation showing the customer that her cooking and baking is GOOD."

So contrary to the expectation that mixes aren't good, Indy tells folks her stuff is good and she has a ton of momentum While op does not have a ton of momentum in her new space.

You do all see the prejudice doncha? Or else there would be no discussion. If we could all admit it's there that goes a looong way. Yes of course it shouldn't be there but contrary to expectation it is!

Truth should always be tempered with grace.
Pure truth, pure honesty is kinda ugly. It's still true though.

In this case she would have no opportunity to apply the grace and save face, protect her business.

If someone has an allergy to preservatives then they know that the packaging on a jillion products alone carries preservatives that can hurt them. If someone has an allergy to food additives they say I have an allergy to lecithin can we avoid that in your products? Or I know lecithin is an emulsifier in cake mix so I can't eat that. So you whip out recipes.

Those same additives could be in lots of other products so you ask. "Do you have msg or soy in your stuff?" If you have an allergy you talk about what it is you're allergic to.

I don't know anyone who is allergic to cake mix per se. Doctors do not test for cake mix allergies. Thee question scratch or mix has nothing whatsoever to do with allergies. Someone is taking your inventory when they ask that, sizing you up. Yeah huh.



I wasn't exactly replying to the OP.

And yes, in this case, the "but" does mean that contrary to the assumed intention of the questioner.

I'm very sympathetic to the OP. And I think I would minimize the random exposure of my cake boxes, in her situation.

However, there are many people who do not/cannot eat preservatives. Many people who can taste them. For 7 years, I was not allowed, by my doctors, to eat any preservatives.

I don't have a problem with not blatantly advertising that you use a mix, but I also think that you can be honest and still win most/or a lot of the business.

I'm not trying to be difficult in the least. Just showing my perspective.
"To laugh often and to love much..., to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to give one's self..., this is to have succeeded."
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"To laugh often and to love much..., to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to give one's self..., this is to have succeeded."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
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post #79 of 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by littlecake

Quote:
Originally Posted by txkat

I also don't eat icing made with shortening.



Hey txkat, do you use SMBC?

i was thinking of trying it...but how is it for you making it in large batches?

i go thru 60 quarts easy on a saturday, i know ya'll go thru tons more than that.



Our house buttercream is a hybrid between an IMBC and and SMBC. We make it in the 20 qt Hobart and go through about 10 batches on Friday/Saturday. We go through about 2 batches on a Monday or Tuesday.

If you want a nice all-round frosting make a batch of IMBC and then chuck in some of Bronwen Webers powdered sugar icing. It's really fluffy and easy to work with if you're used to working with non-crusting icings.
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Cake or Death?......Cake Please!
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Scratch bakers of the world UNITE !!
Inrideo ergo sum ~ I snark therefore I am.
Cake or Death?......Cake Please!
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post #80 of 246
The point is not whether or not one should or shouldn't bake from scratch. That is a personal/business decision. The point is that if someone takes the trouble to ask whatever their reason for asking, it is because it is important to them. Maybe its allergies, or maybe its a political " I don't want to buy food from the same company that packaged the poison dog food" or maybe its just because they really liked your cake at another event and they're curious. Whatever the reason, they are using it is a criteria in their decision making and deserve an honest answer.
Scratch bakers of the world UNITE !!
Inrideo ergo sum ~ I snark therefore I am.
Cake or Death?......Cake Please!
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Scratch bakers of the world UNITE !!
Inrideo ergo sum ~ I snark therefore I am.
Cake or Death?......Cake Please!
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post #81 of 246
I absolutely hate the "You don't mill your own flour or collect your own eggs or milk your own cow.. or you didn't create the universe" bullcrap that people tout off to justify their own views. This is not what the scratch vs mix debate is about.

I love you Doug, but your whole schpeal was totally off point. It's not about asking the artist if they grind their own pigments to make paints.. but asking if they used a paint by number picture or a blank canvas to create their art. Or asking the builder if they built a house using a pre-fab pattern where they just put side A next to side B and attach them you have a house or if they took actual plans and built a home piece by piece from the foundation up. Both can be beautiful.. but not the same. One option has a lot of the work done for you and the other takes more patience. Which is better?? It's not for me to judge. I know which is better for *me*.. but I would never impose my views on anyone else. I'm a firm believer that it takes all kinds of people to make up this wolrd of ours. Just be honest.

And if I was a mix baker.. to answer k8memphis.. I would have no problem having mixes where people could see them. If they asked me I would tell them anyway so why would I care if they saw the mixes?
post #82 of 246
OK, I don't sell cakes but from a "buyers" perspective (and this is just me), I really don't care how or where the cake is coming from, whether it's a box or scratch, I'm paying you to make a good cake and decorate it for me because I don't have the time or knowledge or whatever the reason may be. They are paying for your time to make/decorate, they are paying for supplies and they are paying for a good tasting cake, so if you are supplying this you should have no worries icon_wink.gif .
Did I just say the same thing twice?? icon_confused.gif Let me put the pipe down...

I like the premixed "dry ingredient" thing.

Loooove the cake shop!!
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post #83 of 246
Quote:
Quote:

OK, I don't sell cakes but from a "buyers" perspective (and this is just me), I really don't care how or where the cake is coming from



So because you don't care about it I shouldn't?

We've had decorators in CC not care about their cat licking the cakes, as long as they re-ice them so the tongue marks don't show. So maybe none of us should care about that either?

It's your business-- do what you wish. But don't lie to your customers. If someone asks, answer.
post #84 of 246
A simple, simple, honest answer is to have your flour, sugar, spices, and extracts at eye level. Have a few box mixes sitting out with them. That way, if someone prefers from scratch or box, when the question is asked of you. simply say, "It is your choice... I am the best at using all of them! Do you want me to use cream or sour cream, eggs or egg substitute, and what allergies do you possess?" No one cares... if you can do both, then you are better than all the others who just use a mix!

Customers want options and want to know all that is going into their mouth... after all, they want to know for what they are paying! So, if you have your stock displayed, they will not even ask.

Do not lie; give them the choice... put your price list up without saying it is for box mixes or from scratch... just do it per serving. They are the ones who get to choose whether it is chocolate or vanilla, mix or no mix, nuts or no nuts, etc.

You are making a mountain out of a box mix. I would be more concerned if you were putting chemicals like aspartame or splenda in my cakes and frostings without my knowledge. That would really tick me off if I were a customer; not whether it came from a cardboard box or a paper sack. Embrace the differences and let them know you are such a good baker that you can do either of them as requested.
post #85 of 246
Quote:
Quote:

What if it's a competitor at a bridal show wanting to sway business in front of customers? Because the answer can adversely and unfairly profile my business and therefore hurt my livelihood. Declaring either way can hurt you depending on the feelings of the person. Why divide your market?



Flip side, why not stand behind your product?

If you think that what you're doing is good, defend it honestly.

Do you think that your customers won't buy from you if they learn more about what they're buying?
post #86 of 246
Quote:
Quote:

Quote:
OK, I don't sell cakes but from a "buyers" perspective (and this is just me), I really don't care how or where the cake is coming from


So because you don't care about it I shouldn't?

We've had decorators in CC not care about their cat licking the cakes, as long as they re-ice them so the tongue marks don't show. So maybe none of us should care about that either?

It's your business-- do what you wish. But don't lie to your customers. If someone asks, answer.



I never said you shouldn't care, that's why I said "this is just me", because someone always takes it out of context. Everyone has and is entitled to their own opinion and we are not talking about cat's licking cakes, we are talking about a box, whether or not to have it out for the public to see. She needs to do what feels right for HER, not me, not you, her.
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post #87 of 246
my original snappy comeback post was intended a retorts for a very special subset of customers mentioned by a previous poster....

the snobby doyen dilettantes who fancy themselves ever so "cultured" and get all snooty about things having to be ever so "original" (somehow the image of Eulalie McKecknie Shinn and the Pic-a-Little Ladies from The Music Man and Margaret Dumont of Marx Brothers movie fame when I envision these people)

I love it when you watch a cooking show that show how the famous chef _____ cooks. Hmmm....I sure see a lot of prepackaged ingredients going into those dishes. Granted, they may buy all fresh, organic, local grown produce and I have to settle for what WalMart has which might (is) days old and a bit past it's peak. It's still edible either way and more affordable to me the WalMart (tho' I prefer Aldi) way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jkalman

I love you Doug, but your whole schpeal was totally off point. It's not about asking the artist if they grind their own pigments to make paints.. but asking if they used a paint by number picture or a blank canvas to create their art. Or asking the builder if they built a house using a pre-fab pattern where they just put side A next to side B and attach them you have a house or if they took actual plans and built a home piece by piece from the foundation up. Both can be beautiful.. but not the same. One option has a lot of the work done for you and the other takes more patience. Which is better??



one of my dreams is to own a big ol' timber framed home.

now, do I have it stick built or do I buy it prefab?

con$idering the dollar$ involved in $tick built, thank$, but I'll go prefab.

and interestingly, prefab homes are often BETTER built than stick built for reasons too numerous to discuss here.

----

possibly a better response would be when asked if scratch or mix:

Why do you ask?

then respond accordingly.

I flat out tell clients before we even get that far that I do not and will not accommodate any "special needs"

given that so many of the products we use beyond a possible cake mix can themselves contain allergens, preservatives or things that individuals might be sensitive to, it becomes almost a moot point to hassle over mix vs. scratch.

rather, we need to get the customer to focus on the end product. The taste and the quality of decoration.
Keep on cakin'!
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Keep on cakin'!
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post #88 of 246
I buy the full sheet cake sized mix from Smart and Final. They have white, choc, and vanilla. You can keep this mix in containers and call it "premeasured dry ingredients" and can say its a professional mix if they ask.

I just weight out the 18.25 oz like the box and then Dr. it.
post #89 of 246
Quote:
Quote:

the snobby doyen dilettantes who fancy themselves ever so "cultured" and get all snooty



Uppity women! That's so lovely to hear from a man in a group of women.

If you want to talk about all this in terms of class issues--and that's where you're going, Doug--this discussion is going to become very uncomfortable very quicky.
post #90 of 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug


the snobby doyen dilettantes who fancy themselves ever so "cultured" and get all snooty about things having to be ever so "original" (somehow the image of Eulalie McKecknie Shinn and the Pic-a-Little Ladies from The Music Man and Margaret Dumont of Marx Brothers movie fame when I envision these people).



How sad to realize that only a handful of us oldies on here will understand those references!! icon_lol.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug


and interestingly, prefab homes are often BETTER built than stick built for reasons too numerous to discuss here.


As hubby and I sit here discussing this thread, I had to laugh and interrupt his dissertation on stick-built vs. pre-fab to read your comments to him! icon_lol.gif He also offers "If you ask a contractor 'do you mix your own concrete or use a mix?', he's gonna look at you like you're nuts!"

Hubby also wants me share with y'all ... the REAL question is "is your cake good?" He offers his experiences with family reunions and work pitch in's where people brag on "I made this from SCRATCH!" and he says "....and it tastes like sh*t!"

As I've said before .... it's not whether it's mix-or-scratch .... it's the talent of the baker. If you can't bake, then it's doesn't matter what you use, it's gonna taste like crap.
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