Author Topic: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores  (Read 41689 times)

Pooperman

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #100 on: May 18, 2015, 09:11:30 AM »

Man this thread has reminded me I need to cut back on dining out. Having a vehicle has made it so much easier slip into the lazy method of going to where someone else does the cooking.

Alright you and others who eat out for convenience, here's a quick meal faster than fast food that can be done with some non-perishable items and things you have on hand anyway.

Get a big bag or 2 of the frozen stir fry or teriyaki vegetables at Wal-Mart. Get a big bottle of teriyaki sauce (or whatever sauce you prefer.) Keep eggs on hand, keep rice on hand, keep oil on hand. If you suspect you'll be needing a quick meal sometime, cook a big batch of rice ahead of time. If not, it works without rice.

All you have to do is scramble the eggs, cook the rice, stir fry the vegetables for a minute and then throw in a little water and put a lid on. They'll steam nicely, leave it in there until the water is almost gone. Then add in the eggs and rice, throw some leftover meat in if it is handy. Stir in the sauce and after it is all warmed up you can eat.

If you have leftover rice handy it takes 8 minutes. If you don't, either leave out the rice or take the 25 minutes to make it. You can't go get food and get back home with it in 8 minutes. Can be done in a wok or a pan, with lid. Delicious, easy, cheaper than take-out. I do make sauces from scratch and do more complicated stuff but this is a go-to if you're in a hurry.

I'm no master chef but it is 75% as good as whatever I get at the sit down Chinese places. If you want something fancier you can make many other Chinese things in a comparable amount of time to getting a table at a nice restaurant. Of course, if you need Peking Duck or something you can forget it.

I won't hear any more arguments that you can't cook as fast as you can order out. 8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

I do something like this when I want Chinese food (or fiancee does). Soy sauce + fish sauce + sesame oil+ brown sugar + spices (garlic, red pepper if you like it a bit spicy) = stir fry sauce. Start the rice in a rice cooker because lazy. Chop chicken and vegetables. Fry chicken in vegetable oil, throw in veggies and sauce. Mix, cover. When rice is done, stir fry is done too. Combine and enjoy. It's like 20 minutes to do. It's fairly authentic, and really yummy.

skunkfunk

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #101 on: May 18, 2015, 09:18:01 AM »

Man this thread has reminded me I need to cut back on dining out. Having a vehicle has made it so much easier slip into the lazy method of going to where someone else does the cooking.

Alright you and others who eat out for convenience, here's a quick meal faster than fast food that can be done with some non-perishable items and things you have on hand anyway.

Get a big bag or 2 of the frozen stir fry or teriyaki vegetables at Wal-Mart. Get a big bottle of teriyaki sauce (or whatever sauce you prefer.) Keep eggs on hand, keep rice on hand, keep oil on hand. If you suspect you'll be needing a quick meal sometime, cook a big batch of rice ahead of time. If not, it works without rice.

All you have to do is scramble the eggs, cook the rice, stir fry the vegetables for a minute and then throw in a little water and put a lid on. They'll steam nicely, leave it in there until the water is almost gone. Then add in the eggs and rice, throw some leftover meat in if it is handy. Stir in the sauce and after it is all warmed up you can eat.

If you have leftover rice handy it takes 8 minutes. If you don't, either leave out the rice or take the 25 minutes to make it. You can't go get food and get back home with it in 8 minutes. Can be done in a wok or a pan, with lid. Delicious, easy, cheaper than take-out. I do make sauces from scratch and do more complicated stuff but this is a go-to if you're in a hurry.

I'm no master chef but it is 75% as good as whatever I get at the sit down Chinese places. If you want something fancier you can make many other Chinese things in a comparable amount of time to getting a table at a nice restaurant. Of course, if you need Peking Duck or something you can forget it.

I won't hear any more arguments that you can't cook as fast as you can order out. 8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

I do something like this when I want Chinese food (or fiancee does). Soy sauce + fish sauce + sesame oil+ brown sugar + spices (garlic, red pepper if you like it a bit spicy) = stir fry sauce. Start the rice in a rice cooker because lazy. Chop chicken and vegetables. Fry chicken in vegetable oil, throw in veggies and sauce. Mix, cover. When rice is done, stir fry is done too. Combine and enjoy. It's like 20 minutes to do. It's fairly authentic, and really yummy.

Oh yeah, forgot the garlic. Definitely plop down some garlic for a few seconds before adding the vegetables if you have it handy. You can get as fancy as you'd like - scallions, ginger, chili sauce, toasted sesame oil, etc. but the basic recipe works with only those few ingredients.

Many great sauces are easy, but the point here is that you can throw it together faster than a box of spaghetti + a can of sauce and be done in 8 minutes. The teriyaki sauce or whatever you pick probably has garlic and such in it already.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #102 on: May 18, 2015, 10:40:58 AM »
I probably spend 50/50 on groceries and eating out. It's not great but I'm having a hard time budging those numbers.

8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

If you're really being honest about how much time it takes, you definitely need to include doing the dishes. And, yes, I can certainly go out and get food that fast. There are six bars and/or restaurants and/or coffee shops less than a one-minute walk from my front door, and with most you can call your order in and walk down and pick it up and come right back. (Or have it delivered if you're exceptionally lazy.) Welcome to urban life :-)

But that's not my problem with eating out. If I'm home, I eat home-made food. The problem is that there are a lot of days I'm just not at home between leaving for work in the morning and midnight. But I've yet to convince myself that saving $5 on a turkey sandwich grabbed on the way to something fun is worth having no social or cultural life outside the small apartment where I live alone. And the timing/distance/location just doesn't work for me to come home between getting off work and going out to do stuff in the evenings.

What I really hate is the way that healthy food costs a lot more when you are eating anything resembling fast food. You could eat incredibly cheaply in this town (probably cheaper than groceries) if you ate pizza, hot dogs, burgers, street cart food, etc. But for anything with a decent amount of vegetables you pay through the nose...

skunkfunk

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #103 on: May 18, 2015, 12:45:05 PM »
I probably spend 50/50 on groceries and eating out. It's not great but I'm having a hard time budging those numbers.

8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

If you're really being honest about how much time it takes, you definitely need to include doing the dishes. And, yes, I can certainly go out and get food that fast. There are six bars and/or restaurants and/or coffee shops less than a one-minute walk from my front door, and with most you can call your order in and walk down and pick it up and come right back. (Or have it delivered if you're exceptionally lazy.) Welcome to urban life :-)

But that's not my problem with eating out. If I'm home, I eat home-made food. The problem is that there are a lot of days I'm just not at home between leaving for work in the morning and midnight. But I've yet to convince myself that saving $5 on a turkey sandwich grabbed on the way to something fun is worth having no social or cultural life outside the small apartment where I live alone. And the timing/distance/location just doesn't work for me to come home between getting off work and going out to do stuff in the evenings.

What I really hate is the way that healthy food costs a lot more when you are eating anything resembling fast food. You could eat incredibly cheaply in this town (probably cheaper than groceries) if you ate pizza, hot dogs, burgers, street cart food, etc. But for anything with a decent amount of vegetables you pay through the nose...

Alright, cleaning one wok and a wooden spoon, throwing the rest of it in the dishwasher. 2 more minutes. Fine. 10 minutes, I'll give you. You can eat 2-4 meals, or more, depending on how much you make. Even better!

This sounds more like a case of "failure to plan" and "whineypants" than "I have to or all my friends will abandon me." See point 6.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 12:52:05 PM by skunkfunk »

TRBeck

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #104 on: May 18, 2015, 12:50:49 PM »
I probably spend 50/50 on groceries and eating out. It's not great but I'm having a hard time budging those numbers.

8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

If you're really being honest about how much time it takes, you definitely need to include doing the dishes. And, yes, I can certainly go out and get food that fast. There are six bars and/or restaurants and/or coffee shops less than a one-minute walk from my front door, and with most you can call your order in and walk down and pick it up and come right back. (Or have it delivered if you're exceptionally lazy.) Welcome to urban life :-)

But that's not my problem with eating out. If I'm home, I eat home-made food. The problem is that there are a lot of days I'm just not at home between leaving for work in the morning and midnight. But I've yet to convince myself that saving $5 on a turkey sandwich grabbed on the way to something fun is worth having no social or cultural life outside the small apartment where I live alone. And the timing/distance/location just doesn't work for me to come home between getting off work and going out to do stuff in the evenings.

What I really hate is the way that healthy food costs a lot more when you are eating anything resembling fast food. You could eat incredibly cheaply in this town (probably cheaper than groceries) if you ate pizza, hot dogs, burgers, street cart food, etc. But for anything with a decent amount of vegetables you pay through the nose...

This is why I do food prep on Sunday afternoons. It doesn't take long to put together a few sandwiches, some carrot and celery sticks, a big tub of salad, some snack-size baggies of almonds or peanuts...I grab everything I will need for the day in the morning and go. Sometimes that's just lunch; sometimes it's lunch, dinner, snacks, etc.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #105 on: May 18, 2015, 02:57:36 PM »
This sounds more like a case of "failure to plan" and "whineypants" than "I have to or all my friends will abandon me."

Failure to plan, yes, and that's what I'm trying to work out and gathering ideas on. But please don't put words in my mouth - I never said anything about my friends abandoning me if I don't go out. That's ridiculous. My friends don't give a shit when or where or how I eat as long as I am healthy and don't starve.

I frequently go out in the evenings because there are things in life that I'm very passionate about and enjoy very intensely that cannot happen at home or in the workplace. Some things are worth delaying FIRE a little bit - and we all have to decide what those things are for ourselves. I'd like to get the food budget down since it's just a side-effect of my schedule and has no impact on my happiness one way or another. I haven't been living here very long... it's still new to me. I went from getting home from work at 5:15 to getting home at 6:45 on the days when I go straight home, and not having time to stop at home at all on the evenings when I go out. And things cost a lot more here in general. I'm still figuring out the best way to do things. I got rid of the TV/cable, I cut electric use to the bone, I cut transportation costs as much as possible, now I'm working on my food budget.

skunkfunk

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #106 on: May 18, 2015, 03:02:02 PM »
But please don't put words in my mouth

Misunderstanding, I thought you were calling the meals out social events.

Have you considered TRBeck's suggestion? It sounds as if you are already considering the issue carefully, so I'll refrain from throwing out the usual list of suggestions. This is one of those things that many here have had to deal with but I can't offer firsthand advice. The extent of my uncontrollable fast food diet was merely due to being a lazy college student who didn't understand these things well enough.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #107 on: May 18, 2015, 05:46:52 PM »
Misunderstanding, I thought you were calling the meals out social events.
No... this is just purely for time efficiency. If I can't get home between work and whatever event I'm doing that night, I pick up a sandwich or a slice of pizza or whatever happens to be easy and cheap and not too unhealthy, just to feed myself on the way to where I'm going. On the plus side, NYC has super-cheap options for food (things like falafel, sandwiches, or chicken over rice can all be had for under $5) so I don't spend too terribly much. I end up skipping a lot of meals, too... or having a granola bar at dinnertime and eating a late-night meal when I get home. I would be tempted to try and live on $1 pizza slices if it weren't so unhealthy - three meals a day and your food budget for the month is $90! But then you'd have to factor in the cost of Lipitor... ;-)

Quote
Have you considered TRBeck's suggestion?
Yes, it's about the only thing I can really do to avoid eating out, although not having access to a fridge or microwave at work makes it less appealing to pre-prep everything from home. Can't really bring cooked leftovers at all, can't bring a lot of fresh and/or cooked foods for food safety reasons since they'd be sitting out all day. I think the best solution for me will be (after things at the new-ish job are more settled) to try and work slightly earlier hours so that I can go home for an hour in the evening. It would also be less stressful for me if I could chill out at home for a bit after work.

Daisy

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #108 on: May 18, 2015, 06:41:26 PM »
Yes, it's about the only thing I can really do to avoid eating out, although not having access to a fridge or microwave at work makes it less appealing to pre-prep everything from home. Can't really bring cooked leftovers at all, can't bring a lot of fresh and/or cooked foods for food safety reasons since they'd be sitting out all day.

Insulated lunch cooler + blue ice block

Pack your turkey sandwich at home and take it with you. Add some durable veggies such as cucumber, carrots, celery as a side salad.

Roast some chickpeas and eat it as your protein. They don't need refrigeration.

Take canned sardines or tuna as an alternate protein.

This is what I did when I took my lunch with me while on the ski slopes. Didn't even require refrigeration due to the cold weather.

http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-1080-TL-220-Blue-Ice%C2%AE-Block/dp/B0000DH4M3/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1431995941&sr=8-3&keywords=blue+ice+packs
http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid%C2%AE-Blue-Twin-Lunch-Pack/dp/B002N5IODU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1431995941&sr=8-4&keywords=blue+ice+packs
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 06:43:28 PM by Daisy »

Exhale

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #109 on: May 18, 2015, 07:35:17 PM »
Now that I really think about it, I think a major reason why Americans are eating out more than buying groceries is because Americans work a ridiculous amount of hours these days compared to previous generations.  After working a 60 hour week, many people are too tired to cook, so they just grab some takeout or eat out with friends.  Europeans, for example, work nowhere near as many hours as the typical American and they eat out less.

I agree with MoneyCat. It takes energy and planning to get food shopped, prepped and cooked. Luckily there are ways to streamline it and listen to your favorite radio program at the same time.

In addition to fatigue factor, eating out (or meeting for an overpriced coffee) seems to be the preferred way to socialize. Sometimes it seems like we're always eating or drinking (I'm in my mid 40s and can recall when folks didn't used walk around with coffee/tea cups in our hands. Now it's become normal.) That said, I don't seeing occasionally eating out as inherently bad - just skip the chains and support your local community businesses.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2015, 07:38:41 PM by Exhale »

thriftyc

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #110 on: May 18, 2015, 08:09:07 PM »
Interesting. Last year we spent $257 on restaurants and $2426 on groceries. So far in 2015 we're at $74 for restaurants and $470 for groceries. Somehow I don't think we'll be part of this statistic.

Last year we were 20$ spend on restaurants and about 2600$ on groceries.  We're aiming for 0$ this year.

Impressive!

dragoncar

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #111 on: May 20, 2015, 03:56:09 AM »
I probably spend 50/50 on groceries and eating out. It's not great but I'm having a hard time budging those numbers.

8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

If you're really being honest about how much time it takes, you definitely need to include doing the dishes. And, yes, I can certainly go out and get food that fast. There are six bars and/or restaurants and/or coffee shops less than a one-minute walk from my front door, and with most you can call your order in and walk down and pick it up and come right back. (Or have it delivered if you're exceptionally lazy.) Welcome to urban life :-)

But that's not my problem with eating out. If I'm home, I eat home-made food. The problem is that there are a lot of days I'm just not at home between leaving for work in the morning and midnight. But I've yet to convince myself that saving $5 on a turkey sandwich grabbed on the way to something fun is worth having no social or cultural life outside the small apartment where I live alone. And the timing/distance/location just doesn't work for me to come home between getting off work and going out to do stuff in the evenings.

What I really hate is the way that healthy food costs a lot more when you are eating anything resembling fast food. You could eat incredibly cheaply in this town (probably cheaper than groceries) if you ate pizza, hot dogs, burgers, street cart food, etc. But for anything with a decent amount of vegetables you pay through the nose...

I agree with you -- it's not faster.  But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #112 on: May 20, 2015, 08:30:11 AM »
But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.
Stopping by the grocery store is a great idea (albeit usually impractical in downtown Manhattan if you are short on time). But I feel like if you were able to get to a real grocery store there might be better options than gnawing on a whole head of raw broccoli. ;-)

I am happy to report that I went and crunched the Mint numbers for March (I was sick so much in April and May that my food bills were atypically low) and I have not actually reached the 50/50 mark on eating out. Restaurants and fast food are down in the 30s, percentage-wise. I think I've been exaggerating that expenditure in my head because I feel guilty about it. And I think I've been skipping more meals than I realized... for better or worse.

dragoncar

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #113 on: May 23, 2015, 09:04:02 AM »
But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.
Stopping by the grocery store is a great idea (albeit usually impractical in downtown Manhattan if you are short on time). But I feel like if you were able to get to a real grocery store there might be better options than gnawing on a whole head of raw broccoli. ;-)

Well, duh.  Broccoli was just an example.  Don't forget whole heads of garlic and onions, too.  Maybe grab a pumpkin and crack it open on the sidewalk, if in season.

PJ

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #114 on: May 24, 2015, 05:59:07 PM »
But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.
Stopping by the grocery store is a great idea (albeit usually impractical in downtown Manhattan if you are short on time). But I feel like if you were able to get to a real grocery store there might be better options than gnawing on a whole head of raw broccoli. ;-)

Well, duh.  Broccoli was just an example.  Don't forget whole heads of garlic and onions, too.  Maybe grab a pumpkin and crack it open on the sidewalk, if in season.

Hey!  Don't do that!  That's cruel.  You should at least humanely kill it before you crack it open on the sidewalk ...


Bob W

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #115 on: May 27, 2015, 10:25:03 AM »
I mentioned this on another thread --- Last week (I rarely eat breakfast out) I spent around $24 on breakfast for 2.   I had bacon eggs and toast and my friend had pancakes.  Coffee was $2.40.   Bob Evans.   

So the quick math tells me,  if my wife and I ate breakfast at Bob Evans daily our monthly breakfast bill would be $720.   That is twice what I strive for in monthly grocery purchases.   So I can see how a person could easily spend more eating out that on groceries.   

One more time,  I'm swearing off of restaurants!  This time I mean it!

forummm

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #116 on: May 27, 2015, 10:34:24 AM »
But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.
Stopping by the grocery store is a great idea (albeit usually impractical in downtown Manhattan if you are short on time). But I feel like if you were able to get to a real grocery store there might be better options than gnawing on a whole head of raw broccoli. ;-)

Well, duh.  Broccoli was just an example.  Don't forget whole heads of garlic and onions, too.  Maybe grab a pumpkin and crack it open on the sidewalk, if in season.

Hey!  Don't do that!  That's cruel.  You should at least humanely kill it before you crack it open on the sidewalk ...



You just never know what's going to show up on some of these threads...

chops

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #117 on: May 27, 2015, 05:47:22 PM »
Delicious, easy, cheaper than take-out. I do make sauces from scratch and do more complicated stuff but this is a go-to if you're in a hurry.

I'm no master chef but it is 75% as good as whatever I get at the sit down Chinese places. If you want something fancier you can make many other Chinese things in a comparable amount of time to getting a table at a nice restaurant. Of course, if you need Peking Duck or something you can forget it.

I won't hear any more arguments that you can't cook as fast as you can order out. 8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.
Damn I gotta try making this.  Sounds like even I couldn't screw this up.  Thanks!

 - Chops

escape

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #118 on: May 31, 2015, 04:51:02 AM »
Donut,

I'm really fond of http://www.cookingforengineers. com as they spend a lot of time delving into the science behind it. Perhaps it would make your parents feel a little more comfortable with the idea of cooking. I've learned to make the most delightful prime rib & nice, fluffy baked potatoes from them. Both are so easy, pretty much set the oven to the right temp & leave it the bleep alone until it's done. I also figured out that a lot of my cooking snafus were due to not leaving things alone when I should have. ;)

Since you're local, I can give you a couple of ideas to avoid bland food in the Phoenix area. Saturday mornings, there are three farmers markets on Central Ave, one downtown @ McKinley, One @ Bethany Home & one on Northern. There's always something new & different, depending on the season. One of our friends usually vends @ the one on northern. His wares are usually pre mixed, natural herb & spice blends that run towards the hot & spicy side.

You can buy single herbs in small quantities at any Sprouts, usually by the bathroom, towards the cold & dairy case. If you want a bigger selection, usually a better value & a more personal interaction with a local business, there is Two Hawks Herbs on the NE corner of 67th Ave & Peoria. You can look them up on FaceBook or call Kathy @ 602-989-8468. She also carries more exotic stuff, so you can buy an ounce of galangal or rose petals if you are feeling adventurous but don't want to make a years long commitment to something you may only use once or twice in your life.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2015, 04:53:04 AM by escape »

Bob W

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #119 on: June 04, 2015, 10:22:42 AM »
Many grocery stores around here have restaurants.

I'm curious why more grocery stores don't have a bar at the entrance.   We have one here that does Margaritas in the summer months and one that often has free shots in the liquor dept. 

If I ever open a grocery store it will definitely have a bar (we'll call it something cute though like a cabana or sports hub) up front.   The drinks will be cheap and there will be drink holders on the carts.  No cash needed.   Just take this card with you when you check out.  Tuesdays could be two for a dollar tequila sunrise days. 

Tell me why grocery carts don't all have drink holders and food trays attached already?   Why am I rushing at the store when it could be an entire "experience" and a relaxing getaway?  Everything is funner with a little booze. 

"hey honey,  I'm going to the store.  Be back in a few hours."


mm1970

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #120 on: June 04, 2015, 11:10:10 AM »
Many grocery stores around here have restaurants.

I'm curious why more grocery stores don't have a bar at the entrance.   We have one here that does Margaritas in the summer months and one that often has free shots in the liquor dept. 

If I ever open a grocery store it will definitely have a bar (we'll call it something cute though like a cabana or sports hub) up front.   The drinks will be cheap and there will be drink holders on the carts.  No cash needed.   Just take this card with you when you check out.  Tuesdays could be two for a dollar tequila sunrise days. 

Tell me why grocery carts don't all have drink holders and food trays attached already?   Why am I rushing at the store when it could be an entire "experience" and a relaxing getaway?  Everything is funner with a little booze. 

"hey honey,  I'm going to the store.  Be back in a few hours."
You gotta pay for that!  Whole Foods here has a wine/beer bar.

dragoncar

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #121 on: June 04, 2015, 11:33:22 AM »
Many grocery stores around here have restaurants.

I'm curious why more grocery stores don't have a bar at the entrance.   We have one here that does Margaritas in the summer months and one that often has free shots in the liquor dept. 

If I ever open a grocery store it will definitely have a bar (we'll call it something cute though like a cabana or sports hub) up front.   The drinks will be cheap and there will be drink holders on the carts.  No cash needed.   Just take this card with you when you check out.  Tuesdays could be two for a dollar tequila sunrise days. 

Tell me why grocery carts don't all have drink holders and food trays attached already?   Why am I rushing at the store when it could be an entire "experience" and a relaxing getaway?  Everything is funner with a little booze. 

"hey honey,  I'm going to the store.  Be back in a few hours."
You gotta pay for that!  Whole Foods here has a wine/beer bar.

I'm guessing they are worried about the licensing and insurance issues, but I agree they'd probably come out ahead.

You couldn't charge much of a markup -- there's a psychological issue when you see a 6-pack of beer for $7 in the next aisle over, and the "cabana" wants to charge you $3/beer.

And most people drive to the grocery store (maybe not on MMM, but that's my impression).

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #122 on: June 04, 2015, 11:46:10 AM »
Tell me why grocery carts don't all have drink holders and food trays attached already?

Actually the Kroger near me already does have drink holders on the carts.  I think they added them after they put a Starbucks in the store.

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #123 on: June 05, 2015, 05:23:25 PM »
I'm not surprised that so many people eat out so much.  I like to cook, and like to bake, having learned as a girl; but for a lot of years where I worked BigLaw hours, cooking for my family was a chore, even when I was more organized and did a lot of weekend batch cooking.  A vat of soup, a quick salad and a loaf of homemade bread got us through a lot of weeks.  DH is almost useless as a cook (though an occasionally willing sous chef); and sometimes the prospect of cooking AND doing all the dishes was just too much.  (DH has strategically avoided learning how to wash dishes;  he manages to splash them but leave them dirty, which is even more irritating than just leaving them, as I have to redo them.)

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #124 on: June 05, 2015, 06:15:42 PM »
Living downtown city it was really cheap to eat out, especially for lunch.  Buffet places, large carry out servings, and crazy markup at "soviet Safeway" grocery store.  Either they didn't have the loss leaders/ sale items or it was sad looking.  Then there started to be street vendors with fruit/veg like iin manhattan, which was fun.  Away from downtown its the complete reverse, the grocery stores are large and always over buy so there's something on clearance.  Even the convenience foods are discounted and I had to talk myself out of living on them because a $3 lasagna (family sized) still has more calories than I need.  So I splurge on the $1 each crab cakes and $4/lb feta stuffed flounder (ready to bake).

Melody

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #125 on: June 10, 2015, 06:14:05 AM »
This might be me :-( On the upside my total food bill is still only about 6% of my after tax pay. I go to fairly cheap restaurants and coupon and it forms part of my overall food "strategy" - yes I could go from $400 a month to $300 a month if I cooked more, but I'd spend a lot more time cooking and I don't enjoy it. If I as paying debt I'd do things differently.  (I'm in Australia so $50-$100 per person per week would be a pretty normal grocery budget so $100 a week to cover all food is reasonable.)

Chris22

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #126 on: June 12, 2015, 11:15:05 AM »

Man this thread has reminded me I need to cut back on dining out. Having a vehicle has made it so much easier slip into the lazy method of going to where someone else does the cooking.

Alright you and others who eat out for convenience, here's a quick meal faster than fast food that can be done with some non-perishable items and things you have on hand anyway.

Get a big bag or 2 of the frozen stir fry or teriyaki vegetables at Wal-Mart. Get a big bottle of teriyaki sauce (or whatever sauce you prefer.) Keep eggs on hand, keep rice on hand, keep oil on hand. If you suspect you'll be needing a quick meal sometime, cook a big batch of rice ahead of time. If not, it works without rice.

All you have to do is scramble the eggs, cook the rice, stir fry the vegetables for a minute and then throw in a little water and put a lid on. They'll steam nicely, leave it in there until the water is almost gone. Then add in the eggs and rice, throw some leftover meat in if it is handy. Stir in the sauce and after it is all warmed up you can eat.

If you have leftover rice handy it takes 8 minutes. If you don't, either leave out the rice or take the 25 minutes to make it. You can't go get food and get back home with it in 8 minutes. Can be done in a wok or a pan, with lid. Delicious, easy, cheaper than take-out. I do make sauces from scratch and do more complicated stuff but this is a go-to if you're in a hurry.

I'm no master chef but it is 75% as good as whatever I get at the sit down Chinese places. If you want something fancier you can make many other Chinese things in a comparable amount of time to getting a table at a nice restaurant. Of course, if you need Peking Duck or something you can forget it.

I won't hear any more arguments that you can't cook as fast as you can order out. 8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and B) I don't leave my house, go out, get food, and come back, I stop on my way home. 

Personally, I found when I was single that it was a pain to make something I both wanted to eat and was easy to make in a small portion.  Sure, you can make a casserole and eat it for a week, but who wants to eat the same thing every meal?  Once you start cooking for multiple people, it's a little easier to make it more appealing to cook at home.

skunkfunk

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #127 on: June 12, 2015, 01:52:52 PM »


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

dragoncar

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #128 on: June 12, 2015, 02:07:48 PM »


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

skunkfunk

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #129 on: June 12, 2015, 02:16:23 PM »


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

I don't, what I ate was good. Perhaps I misspoke. I'm saying it's better than the mixed rice I'd buy at Panda Express or wherever. I did go there once, it was nasty. I heard a cricket inside the ice machine and the meal was lukewarm.

dragoncar

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #130 on: June 12, 2015, 03:32:25 PM »


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

I don't, what I ate was good. Perhaps I misspoke. I'm saying it's better than the mixed rice I'd buy at Panda Express or wherever. I did go there once, it was nasty. I heard a cricket inside the ice machine and the meal was lukewarm.

The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small

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Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #131 on: June 12, 2015, 03:51:20 PM »
This is a habit I hate to see go. We have a very generous $50 a week entertainment budget which can be used for eating out, movies or going to the bar. The latter 2 aren't much of an issue, I side hustle at a bar so we can usually drink for free but not ordering pizza or going out to eat has been a habit that has been one of the hardest to break.
I. HATE. COOKING.
I'm not a terrible cook, I just don't get the same joy out of it as most people seem to. Unfortunately DH's cooking skills only extend to the microwave so cooking falls on me.

I hear you, hubby's skills are not great in the kitchen, so it falls on me too.  I don't hate cooking, but it was getting to be more of a chore for me.  I recently purchased an electric pressure cooker, and it has totally revitalized my desire to cook.  Doesn't hurt that I get to go do other stuff while the food is cooking.  Best $70 I spent!  :)

I don't understand this. Sure, my wife is the head chef in the kitchen: she makes the grocery list, decides on the meals for the week, etc. But when it's time to cook we're both working in the kitchen until it's done and we have meals for the week. Notable exceptions are when only one of us are home or I'm handling the grill outside; otherwise, we both contribute. Husbands may not enjoy cooking, but I'm certain they enjoy eating. Sounds like a good opportunity for growth and some joint skill building.

Edit: I don't mean to sound disparaging, but cooking is such a basic life skill and so much fun to do together. If I didn't learn to enjoy cooking or at least help out I'd go hungry.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 04:04:47 PM by Philociraptor »

skunkfunk

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #132 on: June 30, 2015, 11:39:31 AM »


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.

dragoncar

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #133 on: June 30, 2015, 01:22:33 PM »


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.

Can I get your sauce recipe?  That's easily made ahead of time as a batch.  I'm also a pretty fast chopper (or you can use a food processor)

skunkfunk

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #134 on: June 30, 2015, 01:31:50 PM »


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.

Can I get your sauce recipe?  That's easily made ahead of time as a batch.  I'm also a pretty fast chopper (or you can use a food processor)

I have the old Sunset Chinese cook book. I'm still working my way through it but that stuff has been great. Haven't had a bad sauce out of there.

Here's a few other simple sauces I've used in the stir fry.

This one looks like it would work better with some corn starch to thicken it.


Simple sweet and sour sauce.


This one works nicely too.


One reason that I get fired up about this is that I'm still a novice. I just started cooking seriously in the last year. I would have started years ago if I'd realized it was this easy to get the food I used to eat at restaurants. I'd love it if some cooks more experienced than myself would chime in with some sauces, too.

Sylly

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #135 on: July 01, 2015, 09:59:02 AM »
Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

Part of this may depend on geography. Some of us live in areas where we can toss a rock in any direction and find it land on good, cheap ethnic food. It spoiled me, I freely admit that. Enough such that one of my requirement for retirement location is proximity to a large enough metro area where there is sufficiently diverse food offerings available.

I probably eat out more than the average Mustachian (though far less than the typical American I'm sure), and I'm perfectly fine with it. Sometimes it's due to convenience, and other times due to "I feel like having such-and-such food we haven't figured out how to make well yet." I don't doubt that there are people here, who are better at cooking than I am, who can make just any type of food they want to eat. Good for them. As for me, I like variety, have tasted some very good restaurant food (whether it be ethnic or fine dining), and am not afraid to admit my skills aren't there yet to make such good food. So yes, every now and then I indulge.

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #136 on: July 01, 2015, 10:25:07 AM »
If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.
I can approximate a damn good sauce in the final 5 minutes of cooking the veggies (no extra time) with a quick deglaze, if I have the right shit lying around. Just cook it right into the pan. Ever tried it that way?

skunkfunk

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #137 on: July 01, 2015, 10:27:21 AM »
If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.
I can approximate a damn good sauce in the final 5 minutes of cooking the veggies (no extra time) with a quick deglaze, if I have the right shit lying around. Just cook it right into the pan. Ever tried it that way?

Not a bad plan. I haven't ever actually done that. I'll try it. Most of the extra time I spend doing it that way is cutting up peppers, though. I haven't figured out a good hack for cutting peppers.

zephyr911

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #138 on: July 01, 2015, 10:30:32 AM »
Not a bad plan. I haven't ever actually done that. I'll try it. Most of the extra time I spend doing it that way is cutting up peppers, though. I haven't figured out a good hack for cutting peppers.
I'm sure someone out there has a hack. Personally, I enjoy prep work enough that the time requirement rarely dissuades me. I find all that cutting very Zen.
If I'm too tired to stand up and do it, that's about the only time I veer away from cooking.

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #139 on: July 01, 2015, 10:37:19 AM »
As for the main topic of discussion, it's not really too surprising that this would happen eventually.  As people make more money, they spend more money on luxury stuff (eating out, etc.).  Additionally, with a transition to two working parents, people are going to eat out more because they don't want to spend the time cooking and cleaning dishes, but still want quality food.

It's much harder to increase your spending at the grocery store than it is to increase spending at restaurants and bars.

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #140 on: July 07, 2015, 10:09:07 AM »
If you factor in the amount of money spent at the grocery stores for food that is wasted the restaurant/bar spending ratio is even higher. People buy food with good intentions but then go out to eat instead. Sad.

dragoncar

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #141 on: July 07, 2015, 04:11:41 PM »
Not a bad plan. I haven't ever actually done that. I'll try it. Most of the extra time I spend doing it that way is cutting up peppers, though. I haven't figured out a good hack for cutting peppers.
I'm sure someone out there has a hack. Personally, I enjoy prep work enough that the time requirement rarely dissuades me. I find all that cutting very Zen.
If I'm too tired to stand up and do it, that's about the only time I veer away from cooking.

I'm not sure I understand what's hard or slow about cutting peppers.  Peppers are way faster than onions, for example.

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #142 on: July 07, 2015, 04:31:39 PM »
If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.
I can approximate a damn good sauce in the final 5 minutes of cooking the veggies (no extra time) with a quick deglaze, if I have the right shit lying around. Just cook it right into the pan. Ever tried it that way?
Bell peppers?
Not a bad plan. I haven't ever actually done that. I'll try it. Most of the extra time I spend doing it that way is cutting up peppers, though. I haven't figured out a good hack for cutting peppers.

Daisy

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #143 on: July 09, 2015, 08:22:07 PM »
Bell peppers?

Mind. Blown.

All of those years of cutting peppers and never thought to do that!

JGS1980

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #144 on: April 02, 2021, 09:15:34 PM »
How about now?

Does the Covid Pandemic change the math? Is cooking for oneself via base ingredients sourced at the local market just something that lessens more and more as you rise the economic ladder? How does the more recent trend of lawn to garden, roof gardens effect this?

Sorry, off the cuff here.

JGS

Dicey

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #145 on: April 06, 2021, 11:43:49 PM »
Wow! Quite a turn around, I'll bet. Thanks for reviving this thread!

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #146 on: April 06, 2021, 11:54:30 PM »
I eat out all the time because it's less psychic energy than cooking. Cooking requires setting up, planning, cleaning up, etc and I just don't want to spend the energy. It's not a matter of time/money for me, but a matter of conserving energy - same reason I pay an accountant to do my taxes when I'm well capable of doing them myself.


partgypsy

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #147 on: April 07, 2021, 06:38:30 AM »
Bell peppers?

Mind. Blown.

All of those years of cutting peppers and never thought to do that!

Weird. I've been doing a variation of that for awhile and didn't know it was something special.
yes. I bet spending habits have definitely changed over the past year. It would be interesting to see an article on it. I wonder if those changes will stick, or people will go back to restaurant eating once the stay at home orders lessen.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 06:40:37 AM by partgypsy »

dragoncar

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #148 on: April 07, 2021, 11:37:41 AM »
I eat out all the time because it's less psychic energy than cooking. Cooking requires setting up, planning, cleaning up, etc and I just don't want to spend the energy. It's not a matter of time/money for me, but a matter of conserving energy - same reason I pay an accountant to do my taxes when I'm well capable of doing them myself.

How much did you pay the ghostwriter to make this energy intensive comment?

TrMama

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Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
« Reply #149 on: April 07, 2021, 12:07:35 PM »
We didn't eat out that much in the Before Times, and the pandemic has decreased our frequency even more. We used to eat out as a family about once a week. Now DH and I have "date night" about once a month (we get take out and drive to a scenic spot to eat) and once every 2 months we get take out for the whole family. One of the reasons is that due to the threat of food shortages last spring, I now keep a ridiculous amount of food in the house. We have a big selection of lots of things at all times. So I basically never opt for restaurant food just because I don't have anything inspiring in the house like in the olden days. I'm also never too worn out from my commute to feel like cooking.

I put in a garden last spring (see previous fears about not having enough food). Since I also now work from home the garden is extremely well tended and produced a ton of food last summer. It's relaxing to take a 10 min break to pull a few weeds and pick a snack. There's also no way I'm going to let any of that produce go to waste after I've put so much work into growing it. Turing the veggies into dinner is a pleasure rather than a chore. These are both habits I hope to continue with long term, but realistically I don't think I'll ever get over the anxiety I felt from worrying that we might not even have access to much produce.