Shocked …

Shocked …

There’s a pretty good article in the New York Times this morning about the way people are economizing on their food budgets. The shocking part, to me anyhow, is that the article cites several families who were eating out four to five nights a week. What? Perhaps I’m old, or cheap, or a misanthrope or something, but this seems really shocking to me.

Of course, it might be different if you live in a big city. We have a very limited number of restaurants here in town, and I remember when I was young and broke and working two jobs in New York City that I’d grab a cup of hot and sour soup and an egg roll from the Chinese joint on the corner when I’d get off the bus after job number two. But the families cited in the NY Times article are grad students, and a mom with small kids. Anyhow, eating out all the time like that seems very strange to me, perhaps because I like to cook and I like my own cooking. I remember flying home from Paris once dying for a roast chicken in my own kitchen. Maybe I’m just weird that way.

On the other hand, there was a piece on the front page of our local paper about how the restaurants in town are struggling which makes me think I need to make a little bit more of an effort to keep them afloat. I’m as broke as anyone right now, but I like my friends who have restaurants, so I guess I should try to go out once a week or so to see if we can’t help them survive the winter.

10 thoughts on “Shocked …

  1. We don’t go out much either – we love our cooking too! Also, we have two restaurants in our town and one is closed by 6:00 pm, the other by 8:00. Because we don’t go out very often, we really enjoy it when we do, and we go someplace really good. It’s a treat to us.

  2. Well clearly I’m preaching to the choir here (and yeah Meadowlark, I too would have a little issue with those kids, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t have spoiled them like that in the first place). I just find it incomprehensible that people go out more nights than not — I can see how it would be tempting if you lived someplace like my stepmother’s neighborhood in Seattle, but still, who can afford that? Even in flush times? Or an ex-boyfriend of mine back in grad school, who grew up eating at McDonalds because there were a lot of kids and it was cheap. Or my friends in LA, who were cooking a lot during the writers strike last year and who had people arguing with them that they were wasting their money, that it was cheaper to eat out all the time? I guess I always sort of knew that consumer society was out of hand, but the economic downturn has brought it into focus in ways I’m still finding startling.

  3. My cousin lives in New York, and she used to say that between the size of her kitchen, the amount of time she spent studying (she was a law student at the time) and the cost of food it was easier for her to just order in all the time. I don’t know if her outlook on that has changed at all.

    I find anymore that, with rare exceptions, I’d rather eat my cooking than go out. It’s more flavorful, healthier, and I can cook exactly what I want.

  4. How do people have the TIME, let alone the money, to go to restaurants so often? In the time it takes to get to the restaurant, order a drink, and look at the menu, I can have supper on the table at home. I specialize in quick, simple, one-pan meals….

  5. John and I eat out three or four times a month, always lunch, and always on a day when we’re running errands and going to be out anyway. We eat at one of two breakfast-and-lunch joints—and it’s only because friends own both of them and they need the business. As long as we can afford it, we’ll give them some. i can’t remember the last time we went out to eat at night. (Well, maybe I can: I think it was two years ago.)

  6. I like to cook, but the kids don’t like what I make. 😉 I have to say, if everyone in the family likes different food and/or has food allergies or whatever, it gets to be horrific to cook. Every person ends up with a different meal.

  7. Well, let me be the lone commenter identifying with those people…

    In college I ate in the campus cafeterias. I never cooked for myself; I didn’t have the infrastructure — no pots and pans, etc. After college I moved to the Baltics and I ate out every single meal for 2 1/2 years, alternating between cafeterias and restaurants. (Well, I skipped breakfast. And often I only had coffee for lunch.) When I moved back to the States — I was 25 at that point — I bought pots and pans and spices and silverware and dishes and all that, but I had a very tiny kitchen and? I didn’t know how to cook! My soon-to-be husband and I ate out, I would say, 4 dinners a week. Also I had lunch at the company cafeteria.

    When my son was born & I became a stay-at-home mom, I decided I needed to learn to cook… Now I have 2 kids and you couldn’t PAY me to go out to eat more than once a month! Kids and restaurants are a disaster.

  8. It shocks me too, and saddens me that those people aren’t able to enjoy good food eaten at home.

    RE the local restaurants, the good ones will survive.

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