Saturday, September 27, 2014

Food for Thought


Food for thought

This heading does not really sound like something a chef would have in mind. Chefs have food for your stomach in mind and they should, after all it’s their job to provide food for stomachs. 
So why come with a topic like this, well I've been advocating home cooked food as the right path to healthier living for some time now and thought that it would be interesting to have a look at the differences between cooking at home and restaurant cooking.

One out three or four people in the US are obese, may be with an exception here and there, but all these people became overweight for a reason and that reason is not because they eat healthy food.
Supermarket prices rise by 6% per year while restaurant prices remain somewhat flat. These facts provide the perception that eating out is cheaper than cooking and eating at home.

Americans are spending more and more of every paycheck on dining out; presently this is about 4.5% out of every paycheck, while the spending on groceries stays flat.
When the prices of groceries rise for you, obviously they rise for restaurants also, but restaurants buy in bulk you may argue. True, but so can you! 
Portion your bulk purchase, buddy shop, share, vacuum your portioned bulk purchases.

You can find a quality vacuum sealer here:  for USA and for Canada. 

Is it less expensive to cook at home

I research a bit for this article and found two articles that made clear how we, consumers, are misguided by the media. Let me share the stories.
The first part was a study conducted by a financial website Gobankingrates, I found it on MSN Money, with the heading “Eating out is Cheaper than cooking at home”, they compared a number of restaurant meals to the purchase of the same ingredients of that particular meal in a supermarket and claimed that the restaurant meals were $2.00 to $3.00 cheaper compared to the home cooked version.

Jane Dornbusch of the Boston Globe raised her eyebrows, like I did when she saw the article and investigated.
The study forgot, as I suspected, that you cannot calculate food cost apple to apple. 
One of the meals in question was a rib-eye steak with soup, asparagus and a salad for $17.99, cooking the meal at home costs according to the study $20.52

Jane made a trip to the restaurant and found that in reality $17.99 was the base price for the rib-eye steak, soup added $2.99, the asparagus added another $1.00 and at the end the bill eventually came up to $22.93  
A few days later she purchased the ingredients to duplicate the meal. The grocery bill was close to the restaurant bill but, and here is the whole misconception created, you do not use all ingredients for that one meal only! You use some of the soup and the salad for example. When she calculated exactly what she had used, the cost of the home cooked meal was $11.84.

Quite an amusing twist to the study, but also an eye-opener how we are made to believe that cooking at home is expensive, and therefore it seems better to eat out, this brings me back to the rising cost of supermarket prices. Restaurants and other food offering establishment also need to cover the rise in ingredient prices.
They cut wages by hiring less knowledgeable staff and compromise on quality of food, hard to detect compromises are made to maintain profits and your health pays the price in many cases, whereas you are in control when you cook at home.

Cooking at Home is (in most cases) healthier

The home cooked meal gives you the ability to control, calories, nutrients, quality of ingredients, salt levels, portioning and taste.
Whatever leftovers you have can innovatively be re-used for other dishes when you teach yourself a bit how and your vacuum sealer gives you the ability to keep your food in good condition. A little effort can easily save up to $100.00 per month or more.

Eating out is fine and good for all. It is good to be served and pampered once and a while. Just buying food to eat and out of so-called convenience leads in many cases to obesity, bad health and series of medical issues.

Enjoy a regular trip to your favorite restaurant, but keep in mind that your health is yours, keep it under your control.

By: Marinus Hoogendoorn   

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