If you're connected with DIY at all, I'm sure you'll know what I mean by "prefab DIY." It's those all-in-one boxes that you have to do a little bit of assembly on, maybe add one ingredient, sometimes have a few basic tools on hand, and then you're done. Often there is very little scope for creativity — the satisfaction comes from making it look just like the photo on the box. Often, as well, the price of such certainty is reflected in what you pay.
Sometimes these kits are convenient (like when you really don't feel like having vast quantities of the raw materials left over), or they can be subverted easily enough to have fun with them. Last year, for example, the ever-fun Tara had a gingerbread house party, and we decided to make one depressed-area gingerbread house with graffiti and snow yellowed by food colouring, plus a surrealistic Das Candy-Haus of Dr. Caligari. There was lots of giggling and very pleasing results at the end of the afternoon.
And then... there's items like this one:
Someone took about seventy-five cents' worth of marshmallows, a dollar-fifty of chocolate bars, and maybe another dollar's worth of graham crackers, put it in a nifty box with a recipe, and created a S'mores kit that retails in the $10-$15 range (all prices in Canadian dollars).
Now, if the person who came up with this can sell it at that price, more power to them. But surely if you can cook well enough to follow a S'mores recipe, you can cook well enough to buy your own marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers, find a recipe on the internet if you don't have one already, and eat any leftover ingredients raw if you don't feel like doing anything else with them. (I would humbly suggest, however, that since you're more likely to have graham crackers and marshmallows left over than anything else, you could always break the crackers into pieces, melt the marshmallows, combine, and make a batch of graham cracker macaroons. I'm just saying.)
The thing is, I'm sure whoever decided to package, market, and sell these kits did their homework and worked out a price point that reflected what the market would bear and what consumer demand would deem reasonable. What irks me is what this says about the cooking aptitude of the general population in Canada and like countries.
I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and do a price comparison this weekend. I'll see how I do, and will report back.