8
   

cheaper to dine or cook

 
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 11:21 am
@dagmaraka,
I am in a region between Robert and Dag.

I go to the store, but find myself buy more already made things, even if they are in the freezer section. I can buy a healthy type frozen entrees, and build around it with fresh veggies, soup, bread, whatever. A lot of time when I get a 2 for 1 deal that I pick up at a restaurant, I do the same thing. If a meal that way for 2 people ends up costing more than a dollar or 2 that making it myself, I'd be surprised.

The cost of labor? What about the cost of my labor? I'm not some cheap floozie you know.

Sometimes, many times, I enjoy cooking, other times I don't.

The other day I went to Taco Cabana and got a whole chicken, which comes with beans and rice, tortillas, a little guacamole and sour cream, lettuce, tomato, and whatever type of salsa you want.

It was about $12. It covered us for 2 meals. That's 3 bucks a meal per person, an excellent value for all the time I'd have had to put into that.
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 11:31 am
@chai2,
Yep, I enjoy cooking when it's for an event, or i have friends over. In fact I love it then. For myself, i'd rather buy a salad or a frozen surinamese wrap. for 4EUR i can get a salad with shrimp and a few wide noodles that i love, very fresh, which i could live on for the rest of my life, i think.
but i also love sushi rice and spinach and fish (panglos) -- the preparation is totally minimal - maybe 20 mins with the total cooking time of the rice - but it's not that cheap in the end. not cheaper than buying the salad at least.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 11:41 am
@dlowan,
With the whole disclaimer thing that I don't personally care about how anyone else feeds themselves, and that my logorrhea only says I talk too much and I really don't think either lifestyle is "better" or "right" ....

dlowan wrote:
I suspect part of your time comments have to do with your working at home.


Not really. It comes from the realization that I used those excuses for ages, that I didn't have "time" when in my case (and in everyone else's case that I have seen) it really wasn't time but lack of preparation and that I really didn't want to cook or eat my cooking and that the cost of purchasing food was worth it to me because I can afford it.

I'm about as busy a person as you might meet. Last 7 days I worked 20 hour days including the weekend and I am always using the time excuse. My own familiarity with it makes me realize how often it's not actually true, and is a blanket excuse for laziness, lack of preparation etc.

I personally think that most people using the "time" factor could save more time if they really wanted to by cooking themselves (e.g. you can cook for the whole week in 2 hours, which is less time that the cumulative time it takes to dine out all week, there are plenty of meals that can be made in less time that it would take to walk to your car) but there are other factors involved that make it less desirable. That is, of course, their prerogative, but the time argument really only makes sense with additional qualifiers (like what you like to eat, and how long it takes you to cook what you like) because cooking just doesn't have to take that long (a banana is still as fast as any fast food).

My initial answer was in regard to a more simple question, whether or not it's cheaper to dine our or cook. That is a simple question with a simple answer. Asking whether it is cheaper to eat out or cook is a question that isn't absurd only in a few cultures where the act of cooking has steadily vanished and really cheap, really shitty food is commonplace. Everywhere else, people would look at you like you have a penis growing out of your forehead if you are seriously asking whether it costs more to eat out than cook at home.

Having lived in so many places where people still cook makes me respect that. It's not like these folk aren't busy but they just aren't wealthy enough to dine out without the difference in cost being noticeable and they have more simple diets and more simple tastes.

Quote:
If you are out, and grab food on the way home, or on the way to going to a different out, you aren't going out especially to grab food.


Still, I can come up with meals (tuna sandwich, hell any sandwich) that I can make and eat in less time than it would take you to go through a drive-through. I can come up with many more that would take less time than takeout (simple pasta with pre-prepared sauce), and just about anything takes less than dining out for real (hey, if you are eating good food presumably they actually have to cook it at that time as well). You probably wouldn't like all of them though, and I certainly don't want to eat them every day either, but once again this is a cultural difference, not time. Most people in the world eat pretty much the same thing every day. This isn't time, this is lifestyle, taste in food and cooking ability.

Quote:
I mean, I cook, and even normally prepare food from home to have at work for lunch, but I'd not consider more time a benefit of that (I do consider money and health a benefit) but, with my schedule, it would take way less time to buy food ready made.


I don't want to come across as trying to convince you (like I said, my "wrong" was about money, not time) but I really think that if you isolate the time argument you'll find that it has less influence than any other factor.

Is everything you eat out prepared before you order it? Or is it all ordered for delivery so that you don't have to wait for it? If not, then they presumably have to cook it too and I don't see how it's saving time.

And when all is said and done, I could make large menu with lots of variety that can be prepared in less time than even delivery or pre-cooked junk would take. And after a week or so I too would reject it in favor of actually eating what I want, but it wouldn't be because of time.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 11:43 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
The cost of labor? What about the cost of my labor? I'm not some cheap floozie you know.


That's not the word on the street.

Sorry couldn't resist.

CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 12:01 pm
It's definitely cheaper to cook at home regardless. Sure it is more convenient, time efficient and easier to grab a bite away from home, everyone can do
as they please, however it is still cheaper to cook at home.

chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 12:28 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

chai2 wrote:
The cost of labor? What about the cost of my labor? I'm not some cheap floozie you know.


That's not the word on the street.

Sorry couldn't resist.




I knew that was coming.

he he
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 01:16 pm
@CalamityJane,
Yep, CJ, i believe we all agree on that. The monetary value will be more important to some, the convenience (or variety or whatever it is) value to others. Values are multiple and money is just one of them. So I think we all agree, just prioritize differently.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 03:32 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Hmmm...ditto disclaimer that I DO cook, so I am not pushing anything...just kind of intrigued by the time thing...

The kind of eating out instead of cooking thing I am thinking of is where you grab meals where you are....so, where I work has a healthy cafeteria where I can get excellent sandwiches or salads in the five minutes it takes me to walk to and from the caf....or, if I am out and about, there are countless places I can drop off at on the way from hither to yon.

If I were to want to grab dinner, either while still working, or on my way to a social event not including food, again there are countless places I can drop off and grab, say a Vietnamese soup, some other Asian food, a fresh roll and some type of filling...or anything I please. None of it is crap like hamburgers or othere trash that people think of when they say fast food....it's all healthy and delicious.

And, it's either pre-assembled, like sandwiches and such, or prepared in a couple of minutes...like the soups and such...(the vegies cook in the broth, and meat is pre-cooked.)

And it's all very cheap. Not as cheap as cooking myself, of course...


I have to say that, if I wanted to live like that, I think I would save time.

The working from home thing thing is about your likely having to go out to get already prepared food.....I think what Daggles and I are saying is that we are already, as part of our normal activities, out where the food is, so there is no going somewhere to get it, not about your not working long hours.


I certainly used to live like that a lot when I was studying and working night jobs...now I only really do it when travelling. In most places I have travelled (I except England, where I lived on the breakfasts, British Rail baguettes in London, and whatever fresh I happened to be able to find , not generally being in reach of a Tesco's!) fabulous cheap food is readily available.

You know, just reflecting on what you said...I often DO eat very similar things most days....sounds like Daggles does, too.

dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 03:47 pm
yep, i do, heh. i'm a one trick pony - when i find something i like, i can live on it for days and weeks. i don't know how many shrimp salads that would make from september 1, but surely close to a hundred. that, and surinamese wraps of two kinds - which are, btw, also healthy and fantastically good. these three items constitute most of my dinners.
and yes, i am never home before dinner, always only well after dinner - so i am where the food is, and not where the kitchen is.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 03:57 pm
@dagmaraka,
I think I could eat GOOD Vietnamese cold rolls, or poh pia, or laksa or that lovely, deceptively simple, poached chicken over rice and vegies forever!!! Only the coconut milk in the laksa is too fatty.

Or those wonderful Vietnamese soups that are a whole meal.

Mint and coriander in salads...mmmmmmmmmmmm.....


Sliced vine ripened tomatoes with fresh basil, hint of fresh ground salt and pepper...and a drizzle of olive oil.....

Or those lovely, earthy, Lebanese and Greek dips...



I often assemble the ingredients for cold rolls, and put them, with the wraps and water for the softening thereof in the middle of the dinner table, if I have people who don't know each other all that well...and make them assemble them themselves.....once they have done that together, they are generally quite chummy!
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 04:01 pm
@dlowan,
yeah, we used to do that...back when i had friends, sigh. but only one more month of netherlands, and then slovakia here i come. and my OWN apartment, where cooking just might be a joy again.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 04:02 pm
@dagmaraka,
So...what do Slovaks eat?


I find myself thinking of potatoes????????


Now, THERE'S a delicious staple...I do love the humble spud.
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 04:15 pm
@dlowan,
potatoes and meat. Oh, and cabbage. But also lots of soups. Pirogis. Gnocchi with sheep cheese and bacon.

But things are changing, the regular supermarket now isn't much different from one here or in the States nowadays.
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 06:23 pm
@dagmaraka,
Gee, I just cooked up some corned beef and cabbage with potatoes, but we have one of the best Kosher deli's in the US about a mile away on the other side of Los Alamitos Race Track, Katella Deli. Eating there, the dinner is $10.99 with a side of Kashi and a vegetable. Even buying their corned beef and cooking at home, I figure it's about half of that. There's also leftovers.
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 06:35 pm
@Lightwizard,
That's Kugel, not Kashi!
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 07:27 pm
@Lightwizard,
Los Alamitos, thinking the Rancho/garden...

er, excuse me..
Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 08:44 pm
@ossobuco,
That's actually in Long Beach:

http://www.rancholosalamitos.com/
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 09:23 pm
@Lightwizard,
Long Beach, Newport, all south of my area... (snort - I'm half kidding by intertwining those names).
I had an acquaintance involved in some efforts in the restoration there, some time ago, so I picked up your mention of the name.
Back to food..
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 11:11 pm
@dagmaraka,
I also saw cabbage!

I like haloumi.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Sun 10 May, 2009 11:51 pm
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
I have to say that, if I wanted to live like that, I think I would save time.


I'm sure you might. But I'm sure I could think of a way that you could make your own food and save more time, and it's the rest of the lifestyle and diet choices that are the likely deal-killers (what, you don't like eating tuna sandwiches every day?) in my opinion.

Quote:
The working from home thing thing is about your likely having to go out to get already prepared food.


Working from home is a recent thing for me and in the last 10 years I've probably cooked a real meal less than 30 times. What most influences my opinion is actually from when I was in the corporate world eating every meal out and seeing a coworker (foreigner) eat better food every day that she prepared the night before for dinner in 20 minutes while watching television. She really wasn't spending any more time than we eat out folk were and even just ate at her desk, got her work done earlier and left for home earlier than us. And I see other people who get good enough at home economics (I am not, in case this comes across as criticism) who spend even less time and prepare food in greater, planned quantities (e.g cook their week's food while watching a movie on the weekend).

I've seen co-workers form lunch pacts where each prepares food one day for many coworkers. With 15 in the group it means they cook once every 15 days. I had a service where a lady would come to my apartment and cook my food for the week and leave it prepared. Now I was too lazy to heat it up so that didn't last but the point is that there are solutions out there that allow someone to save more time as well if they really want to. The host of other contributing factors are the legitimate ones IMO.

Don't get me wrong, I don't see anything at all wrong with eating out, and I just think that it's not necessarily a time-saver. I too have had the problem dagmaraka mentioned of purchases mainly going to waste and the economics of either (both time and money) will often depend on scale. A person who is going to eat out most of the time will often not save any time or money by cooking at home, while someone who always does so can if they get the home economics right for them.

Quote:
....I think what Daggles and I are saying is that we are already, as part of our normal activities, out where the food is, so there is no going somewhere to get it, not about your not working long hours.


What I'm saying is that the negligible amount of time that eating out takes is roughly equitable to the negligible amount of time that not eating out can be done in if needed and that it's the rest of the lifestyle (smaller social groups is one example, big families and groups of friends make the time and money economics for home very different) that makes a bigger difference.

Quote:
You know, just reflecting on what you said...I often DO eat very similar things most days....sounds like Daggles does, too.


I don't mean similar, I mean pretty much the exact same thing. As in eggs, beans and rice mixed from last night's dinner for breakfast, beans and rice and a piece of meat for lunch, beans and rice and a piece of meat for dinner. Every day. The variety is in stuff like having plantains with it versus a salad. Or maybe toss in a tortilla or something.

Not similar, as in the same couple of things you like, but the same thing, often cooked just once (e.g. beans cooked for multiple meals). I bet that the majority of the world's population lives closer to that than to how we eat. Here in Costa Rica the standard meal is called the "casado" (means "married" as what you eat for life once you marry) and is pretty much beans, rice, a piece of some meat and some sides. I like it as a refreshing difference from what I'd eat in the States but I couldn't live on it alone. Here is a look:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a6/Casado_Tico.jpg/800px-Casado_Tico.jpg

Much of the working class here eats this same meal ever single day for lunch and dinner, and for breakfast they have "gallo pinto" which is basically the leftovers mixed and eaten without meat:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Gallo_Pinto_at_breakfast.jpg/800px-Gallo_Pinto_at_breakfast.jpg

I like gallo pinto and will order it for dinner whenever I'm in a local diner and the Ticos think I'm weird to eat breakfast for dinner. I think it's weird that they think the same food they ate for dinner last night but mixed is that different but that should give you an idea of what I mean by really eating a staple exclusively. It's not just having the same couple of favorites, it's a very different diet.

Now I'm hungry...
 

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