Kitchen experiments aren't just for home-economics class. Perfecting your Orange Julius skills may not be as productive as it once was, but there is a prudent way to play in the kitchen. Jennifer Reese over at Slate recently put on her home-cook hat to test and ran a "cost-benefit analysis" on which of her staple grocery items would be cheaper to make herself.
She purchased the most affordable ingredients and detailed the total expense of cooking at home down to the cost of boiling water. Jennifer discovered that it's more cost-effective for her to make bagels, yogurt, and granola at home, and the quality of those items was accelerated compared to store-bought versions. She didn't have luck with the homemade cream cheese and now knows it's better to buy it, while she deemed her cracker experiment a wash when compared to the cheapest crackers at the store. As for her homemade jam, she recommends only going through the trouble if you have access to free (or nearly free) fruit.
Have you ever tried experimenting with this idea? Would you consider putting it to the test?