Author Topic: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant  (Read 22486 times)

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11730
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #100 on: September 18, 2017, 12:27:09 PM »

Most recipes are made for more than one serving, especially desserts.  If you are cooking for one and don't eat desserts much, you need to find a cookbook that does single servings.  Or learn to scale recipes down.  That recipe looks like it would be easy to make as a single serving, just divide everything by 4 or 5, depending on the size you want.  If you really like it, you could also scale up for when you have guests.

Galas are eating apples, so they are priced as such.  A bag of Macintosh or Cortland will be less expensive, and they don't turn to mush when they cook.  Even sold as single apples they are usually less expensive.

This is true. Organic apples will cost even more.

Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.

Same thing with groceries. People who live alone don't want to buy a five pound bag of potatoes, and get frustrated when that's the only size they can find at the store.

I find student cookbooks are best for singletons, they assume students are on their own or with maybe a room-mate. 

Package size depends so much on the person and where they live - larger quantities are fine if they will get used or can be stored, otherwise smaller quantities need to be purchased.  I buy meat at Costco, but most of it goes immediately into the freezer.  I buy fruit and vegetables mostly locally, because I can't store large quantities (I am cooking for one, but I love planned-overs = leftovers).

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14338
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #101 on: September 18, 2017, 01:18:11 PM »

Most recipes are made for more than one serving, especially desserts.  If you are cooking for one and don't eat desserts much, you need to find a cookbook that does single servings.  Or learn to scale recipes down.  That recipe looks like it would be easy to make as a single serving, just divide everything by 4 or 5, depending on the size you want.  If you really like it, you could also scale up for when you have guests.

Galas are eating apples, so they are priced as such.  A bag of Macintosh or Cortland will be less expensive, and they don't turn to mush when they cook.  Even sold as single apples they are usually less expensive.

This is true. Organic apples will cost even more.

Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.

Same thing with groceries. People who live alone don't want to buy a five pound bag of potatoes, and get frustrated when that's the only size they can find at the store.

Nooo. . . . don't cook for one!  Cook for four, five, or six and freeze the leftovers so that you have a ready supply of quick meals.  Use up all your groceries and freeze the stuff you don't want to eat!  After a few weeks of doing this you'll have amassed several months of ready made dinners, will use exponentially less dishes and will be tripping over the huge amount of free time you have.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11730
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #102 on: September 18, 2017, 02:49:15 PM »

Most recipes are made for more than one serving, especially desserts.  If you are cooking for one and don't eat desserts much, you need to find a cookbook that does single servings.  Or learn to scale recipes down.  That recipe looks like it would be easy to make as a single serving, just divide everything by 4 or 5, depending on the size you want.  If you really like it, you could also scale up for when you have guests.

Galas are eating apples, so they are priced as such.  A bag of Macintosh or Cortland will be less expensive, and they don't turn to mush when they cook.  Even sold as single apples they are usually less expensive.

This is true. Organic apples will cost even more.

Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.

Same thing with groceries. People who live alone don't want to buy a five pound bag of potatoes, and get frustrated when that's the only size they can find at the store.

Nooo. . . . don't cook for one!  Cook for four, five, or six and freeze the leftovers so that you have a ready supply of quick meals.  Use up all your groceries and freeze the stuff you don't want to eat!  After a few weeks of doing this you'll have amassed several months of ready made dinners, will use exponentially less dishes and will be tripping over the huge amount of free time you have.

Oh, I agree, but OP seems to not like left-overs planned-overs, at least for dessert.

A good batch of meat sauce is many meals - spaghetti sauce, chili, tacos, . . . .

Kyle Schuant

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 867
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #103 on: September 19, 2017, 07:55:41 PM »
Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.
Is it beyond people's mathematical ability to halve numbers? Like, turn 1 cup of flour into 1/2 cup?

Do people living alone not have friends and relatives to invite over for dinner from time to time?

Could not they make a recipe for dinner, eat 1 serve and put the rest away in the freezer for a day they can't be bothered cooking?

Chesleygirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 639
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #104 on: September 19, 2017, 08:55:51 PM »
Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.
Is it beyond people's mathematical ability to halve numbers? Like, turn 1 cup of flour into 1/2 cup?

Do people living alone not have friends and relatives to invite over for dinner from time to time?

Could not they make a recipe for dinner, eat 1 serve and put the rest away in the freezer for a day they can't be bothered cooking?

Sure they can portion out recipes. But that still doesn't solve the problem of grocery stores selling bulk food items that aren't appropriate for a one-person household.

And to be honest, when I was single, I didn't really host dinner parties in my home. I did that maybe once or twice.

Cranky

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1888
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #105 on: September 20, 2017, 05:02:23 AM »
I have a "Cooking for Two" cookbook that I bought in the 1970's, when there was just the two of us. I doubled or tripled some of those recipes when the kids were at home, and now I'm back to using the original amounts....

jinga nation

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1284
  • Location: 'Murica's Johnson
  • Left, Right, Peddlin' Shite
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #106 on: September 20, 2017, 05:53:14 AM »
Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.
Is it beyond people's mathematical ability to halve numbers? Like, turn 1 cup of flour into 1/2 cup?

Do people living alone not have friends and relatives to invite over for dinner from time to time?

Could not they make a recipe for dinner, eat 1 serve and put the rest away in the freezer for a day they can't be bothered cooking?
Is there an app for that?
Americans and Math. Two words that shouldn't be... you know the refrain.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11130
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #107 on: September 20, 2017, 06:02:20 AM »
Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.
Is it beyond people's mathematical ability to halve numbers? Like, turn 1 cup of flour into 1/2 cup?

Do people living alone not have friends and relatives to invite over for dinner from time to time?

Could not they make a recipe for dinner, eat 1 serve and put the rest away in the freezer for a day they can't be bothered cooking?

Sure they can portion out recipes. But that still doesn't solve the problem of grocery stores selling bulk food items that aren't appropriate for a one-person household.

And to be honest, when I was single, I didn't really host dinner parties in my home. I did that maybe once or twice.

What bulk-food items are you finding difficult to parse out into smaller portions? 
Certainly there are a few, more perishable items that will spoil before a one-person household can consume them all, but I haven't found many.

Perhaps that's a key lesson here; choose your ingredients carefully and not everything can scale to be cost effective. Agree with RetiredAt63's suggestion to seek out the numerous singles cookbooks that focus both on quantity and cost of meals.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14338
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #108 on: September 20, 2017, 08:06:00 AM »
Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.
Is it beyond people's mathematical ability to halve numbers? Like, turn 1 cup of flour into 1/2 cup?

Full disclosure - I've ruined a couple meals by modifying all the ingredient numbers but one.  Not really a math thing, just a forgetfulness thing.  I write out the updated ingredient list before hand to prevent this from happening any more.  :P

Carless

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 163
  • Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #109 on: September 20, 2017, 11:57:56 AM »
Another good reason to cook by weight - it lets you increase the size by 10%, 25% etc more easily.  If you're working in cups it gets to be annoying quickly.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11130
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #110 on: September 20, 2017, 12:13:54 PM »
Another good reason to cook by weight - it lets you increase the size by 10%, 25% etc more easily.  If you're working in cups it gets to be annoying quickly.
Cooking by weight is indeed the way to go, and it annoys me to no end that so few recipes use that option.
Regarding dividing imperial measurements, that's one of the unsung strengths of the imperial (vs. metric) system. Most everything in the old system is divisible by 2 and 4, which is easy to do by eye with good precision.  Metric gets a lot messier; think about taking a recipe that calls for 125mL of flour.  It's doable if you have measuring cups with the appropriate markings, but with imperial one cup becomes one quarter cup. 
I use metric for all my work (I'm in science) but there are good points to the old imperial system as well.

farfromfire

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 230
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #111 on: September 20, 2017, 12:24:02 PM »
Another good reason to cook by weight - it lets you increase the size by 10%, 25% etc more easily.  If you're working in cups it gets to be annoying quickly.
Cooking by weight is indeed the way to go, and it annoys me to no end that so few recipes use that option.
Regarding dividing imperial measurements, that's one of the unsung strengths of the imperial (vs. metric) system. Most everything in the old system is divisible by 2 and 4, which is easy to do by eye with good precision.  Metric gets a lot messier; think about taking a recipe that calls for 125mL of flour.  It's doable if you have measuring cups with the appropriate markings, but with imperial one cup becomes one quarter cup. 
I use metric for all my work (I'm in science) but there are good points to the old imperial system as well.
I don't think such recipes are common - if they are metric they are more likely to use weight, at least for dry ingredients, and measuring whatever weight of flour is easy with a scale assuming you can calculate 125/4.

The (biggest) problem with US customary units is that there are way too many of them, I need to remember how many cups are in a pint/quart/gallon/hogshead. For example, no one has a '1/8 qt' measuring cup. And what about multiplying recipes instead of dividing them? How does one possibly measure 12 Tbsp if they do not remember the conversion?

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2407
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #112 on: September 20, 2017, 12:47:17 PM »
How does one possibly measure 12 Tbsp if they do not remember the conversion?

The magic of The Google?

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11130
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #113 on: September 20, 2017, 12:54:25 PM »

The (biggest) problem with US customary units is that there are way too many of them, I need to remember how many cups are in a pint/quart/gallon/hogshead. For example, no one has a '1/8 qt' measuring cup. And what about multiplying recipes instead of dividing them? How does one possibly measure 12 Tbsp if they do not remember the conversion?
True. It requries some basic knowledge and terminology.  I learned this in primary school and now it's just natural (to me). Though I've yet to ever use a hogshead measurement for anything.
FWIW most of the measurements follow a x2 or x4 pattern. For example, A cup is 8 ounces, and a pint is 2 cups.  A quart is 2 pints.  A gallon is 4 quarts (which came from the word "quarter" - makes sense, no?).  An ounce is two tablespoons.  So 4x12T = 48 tablespoons or 6 cups.
Yes, I see how that's more confusing than base-10 systems, until you are halving or quartering numbers. That's basically how/why the imperial system evolved.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14338
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #114 on: September 20, 2017, 12:59:06 PM »
How does one possibly measure 12 Tbsp if they do not remember the conversion?

The magic of The Google?

I just scoop twelve times with a tablespoon.  There's a better way?

farfromfire

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 230
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #115 on: September 20, 2017, 01:08:17 PM »
How does one possibly measure 12 Tbsp if they do not remember the conversion?

The magic of The Google?
I thought this thread implicitly assumed one wasn't utilizing a calculator or internet. Otherwise GuitarStv wouldn't forget to halve an ingredient (same thing happens to me if I don't have technological help).
Nowadays, the recipe plug-ins in many food blogs have a feature for changing the number of servings such as in this post (no affiliation, can't attest that recipe is any good).

Laura33

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2407
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #116 on: September 20, 2017, 01:59:49 PM »
How does one possibly measure 12 Tbsp if they do not remember the conversion?

The magic of The Google?

I just scoop twelve times with a tablespoon.  There's a better way?

Well, sure, if you want to be old school.  Or you could do 3-1/4c. measures, or one 1/2 c. and one 1/4 c.  Or you could use my DD's Measuring Cups for People Who Can't Math and use the 3/4 c. measuring cup.

I thought this thread implicitly assumed one wasn't utilizing a calculator or internet. Otherwise GuitarStv wouldn't forget to halve an ingredient (same thing happens to me if I don't have technological help).
Nowadays, the recipe plug-ins in many food blogs have a feature for changing the number of servings such as in this post (no affiliation, can't attest that recipe is any good).

I've done the same thing as GuitarStv.  Usually I make the conversion just fine in my head -- I just forget to do it for one of the ingredients. 

Probably I should join the 21st century and use those new-fangled recipes that change the quantities for you.  But then my brain cells would atrophy because I am allowing modern technology to do the work for me, and y'all would boot me out of the forum. :-)

Chesleygirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 639
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #117 on: September 20, 2017, 05:15:42 PM »
Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.
Is it beyond people's mathematical ability to halve numbers? Like, turn 1 cup of flour into 1/2 cup?

Full disclosure - I've ruined a couple meals by modifying all the ingredient numbers but one.  Not really a math thing, just a forgetfulness thing.  I write out the updated ingredient list before hand to prevent this from happening any more.  :P

Same here. I've just forgotten. That's why I think we need cookbooks that have recipes for smaller meals. Even with my family of 5, I don't like it when I see that a recipe "serves 6". I think it's a holdover from a time period when people had much larger families.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11730
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #118 on: September 20, 2017, 05:28:39 PM »
Same here. I've just forgotten. That's why I think we need cookbooks that have recipes for smaller meals. Even with my family of 5, I don't like it when I see that a recipe "serves 6". I think it's a holdover from a time period when people had much larger families.

On some of my recipe cards I have the adjusted quantities for doubling or halving a recipe.  Otherwise it is easy to forget to adjust one ingredient.

"serves 6" really doesn't mean a lot.  6 adults? 2 adults and 4 kids? 2 adults, 2 kids and 2 teenagers?  Family of 4 and left-overs for lunch?  Whole chicken?  Whole pie?

penguintroopers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 190
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #119 on: September 20, 2017, 05:41:40 PM »
Most recipe books aren't up to date on the times we live in. One out of four people lives alone. That means they cook for one person, not four, five or six.
Is it beyond people's mathematical ability to halve numbers? Like, turn 1 cup of flour into 1/2 cup?

Do people living alone not have friends and relatives to invite over for dinner from time to time?

Could not they make a recipe for dinner, eat 1 serve and put the rest away in the freezer for a day they can't be bothered cooking?

While this is great in theory, sometimes cooking times and such might throw something off to have a dish not turn out right.

I mostly ran into this problem with crock-pot dishes before I learned.

penguintroopers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 190
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #120 on: September 20, 2017, 05:45:25 PM »

I thought this thread implicitly assumed one wasn't utilizing a calculator or internet. Otherwise GuitarStv wouldn't forget to halve an ingredient (same thing happens to me if I don't have technological help).
Nowadays, the recipe plug-ins in many food blogs have a feature for changing the number of servings such as in this post (no affiliation, can't attest that recipe is any good).

I've done the same thing as GuitarStv.  Usually I make the conversion just fine in my head -- I just forget to do it for one of the ingredients. 

Probably I should join the 21st century and use those new-fangled recipes that change the quantities for you.  But then my brain cells would atrophy because I am allowing modern technology to do the work for me, and y'all would boot me out of the forum. :-)

As MMM would say: would you like a bedpan and catheter to go with that?

Goldielocks

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6555
  • Location: BC
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #121 on: September 20, 2017, 08:31:36 PM »

What bulk-food items are you finding difficult to parse out into smaller portions? 
Certainly there are a few, more perishable items that will spoil before a one-person household can consume them all, but I haven't found many.

Perhaps that's a key lesson here; choose your ingredients carefully and not everything can scale to be cost effective. Agree with RetiredAt63's suggestion to seek out the numerous singles cookbooks that focus both on quantity and cost of meals.

A whole cabbage... although it keeps, it is hard to buy smaller quantities of, and then you eat cabbage every week for 4 weeks.
Potatoes, carrots, onions are under half price in bulk bags..

PizzaSteve

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #122 on: September 20, 2017, 11:05:12 PM »

What bulk-food items are you finding difficult to parse out into smaller portions? 
Certainly there are a few, more perishable items that will spoil before a one-person household can consume them all, but I haven't found many.

Perhaps that's a key lesson here; choose your ingredients carefully and not everything can scale to be cost effective. Agree with RetiredAt63's suggestion to seek out the numerous singles cookbooks that focus both on quantity and cost of meals.

A whole cabbage... although it keeps, it is hard to buy smaller quantities of, and then you eat cabbage every week for 4 weeks.
Potatoes, carrots, onions are under half price in bulk bags..
Nearly all problems are solved by soup.  Cabbage and stock plus whatever else, makes a month of lunches in our soup pot, just add freezer and plastic containers.

Plus, once you know how to cook, recipes are only vague guidelines.  Build those taste buds and get creative. 
« Last Edit: September 20, 2017, 11:08:08 PM by PizzaSteve »

Chesleygirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 639
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #123 on: September 21, 2017, 01:11:55 PM »

What bulk-food items are you finding difficult to parse out into smaller portions? 
Certainly there are a few, more perishable items that will spoil before a one-person household can consume them all, but I haven't found many.

Perhaps that's a key lesson here; choose your ingredients carefully and not everything can scale to be cost effective. Agree with RetiredAt63's suggestion to seek out the numerous singles cookbooks that focus both on quantity and cost of meals.

A whole cabbage... although it keeps, it is hard to buy smaller quantities of, and then you eat cabbage every week for 4 weeks.
Potatoes, carrots, onions are under half price in bulk bags..

I could probably think of a lot more examples when it comes to produce that will go bad before it can be consumed.  And when I live in an apartment, I only had a very small freezer space in my fridge. So there are definitely some challenges with living alone and trying to be conservative and frugal with food buying. Not that they can't be overcome, but the challenges are there.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11130
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #124 on: September 21, 2017, 01:40:43 PM »

What bulk-food items are you finding difficult to parse out into smaller portions? 
Certainly there are a few, more perishable items that will spoil before a one-person household can consume them all, but I haven't found many.

Perhaps that's a key lesson here; choose your ingredients carefully and not everything can scale to be cost effective. Agree with RetiredAt63's suggestion to seek out the numerous singles cookbooks that focus both on quantity and cost of meals.

A whole cabbage... although it keeps, it is hard to buy smaller quantities of, and then you eat cabbage every week for 4 weeks.
Potatoes, carrots, onions are under half price in bulk bags..

I could probably think of a lot more examples when it comes to produce that will go bad before it can be consumed.  And when I live in an apartment, I only had a very small freezer space in my fridge. So there are definitely some challenges with living alone and trying to be conservative and frugal with food buying. Not that they can't be overcome, but the challenges are there.
There are always challenges with any sized family. One disadvantage larger families have is adjusting to things certain members can't or won't eat.
If you can give us other examples of the challenges you've been facing we can probably help.  Cooking-for-one is a pretty common theme around here; I do it about 4 months out of the year.
Re: carrots, potatoes and onions - all are 'root-celler' veggies that can keep for months with proper storage. Some great life-hacks for keeping those, even when you buy a 10lb bag.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11730
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #125 on: September 21, 2017, 07:39:21 PM »
Root vegetables keep.  Others - get used to disguising excess in soups and stews (winter is coming).  Or just "pig out" on a vegetable, I can easily eat a huge pile of broccoli at one sitting.  I am not filling up on another vegetable or starch though, the broccoli (or cauliflower, or fresh peas, or beans, or whatever) is the vegetable du jour.

Just Joe

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3305
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #126 on: September 22, 2017, 07:37:50 AM »
But I will look at the Aeropress out of interest because I might buy one some day. But in the meantime, I don't feel like I'm wasting money to buy a $2.00 espresso, especially since I don't buy one every day. There are places in my area that charge $3.00 for an espresso and more money for other coffee drinks than starbucks' does.

If you want the "real deal" buy one of these:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moka_pot

Mine is going on 25 years old now. Was given mine by an Italian friend when I lived there for several years.

They come in different sizes. It is worthwhile to poke the pressure relief valve occasionally with a bent staple or similar just to make sure it is functional. 

A Definite Beta Guy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 573
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #127 on: September 22, 2017, 08:37:37 AM »
How does one possibly measure 12 Tbsp if they do not remember the conversion?

The magic of The Google?

I just scoop twelve times with a tablespoon.  There's a better way?


3/4 cup.

Sticklers use weights, though. Me, I'm lazy. 3/4 coup of flour, not xxx grams of flour!

Chesleygirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 639
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #128 on: September 25, 2017, 07:26:45 AM »
When I got married, my husband said he didn't want to dine out at restaurants because it costs too much. However, he'd go to the grocery store and impulsively buy lots of food, for no particular reason, and lots of fresh produce in bulk quantities, that would rot before we could use it. Like great, big bags of potatoes, gallons of milk when half-gallon would have been better, dozens of eggs at a time... Tons of money was wasted every month. We would have been okay dining out occasionally, if we could get his grocery shopping under control. It took me a long time to drive home this point with him. He'd often buy things we already had in stock in our fridge or pantry. So we'd have duplicates of things, like spices, that we didn't need. I started taking things back to stores for refunds. Finally I told him, that it would be better if he let me do grocery shopping and banned him from the stores for a while.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11130
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #129 on: September 25, 2017, 07:50:23 AM »
When I got married, my husband said he didn't want to dine out at restaurants because it costs too much. However, he'd go to the grocery store and impulsively buy lots of food, for no particular reason, and lots of fresh produce in bulk quantities, that would rot before we could use it. Like great, big bags of potatoes, gallons of milk when half-gallon would have been better, dozens of eggs at a time... Tons of money was wasted every month. We would have been okay dining out occasionally, if we could get his grocery shopping under control. It took me a long time to drive home this point with him. He'd often buy things we already had in stock in our fridge or pantry. So we'd have duplicates of things, like spices, that we didn't need. I started taking things back to stores for refunds. Finally I told him, that it would be better if he let me do grocery shopping and banned him from the stores for a while.

A close friend of mine has a similar situation - he calls it "refrigerator blindness".  His fridge is always bulging-to-overflowing, and when someone finally does clean it out its discovered that for every fresh herb, block of cheese or carton of cream in front there's at least one more in the back that spoiled weeks ago. Tupperware containers start a game of 'guess the leftover and the week'.  Sadly they're often so foul he tosses the entire container in the trash, adding to the waste.

'Clean out the fridge' has become a weekly mantra of ours, and we've gotten into the habit of selecting meals around whatever needs to get used up. 'Planned-overs' are our lunches the following day. As a result its rare we ever throw food out (and we have the tastiest lunches in the breakroom)

A Definite Beta Guy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 573
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #130 on: September 25, 2017, 08:31:56 AM »
I'm not sure food waste has been the biggest obstacle to lowering food spending. I can toss out 5 lbs of chicken and it'll cost me $10.

Bigger problems come when buying premium items. Like, I bought a rack of ribs on sale at $3.99/lb. But a 2.5 lb rack is going to feed 2 people (a lot of the weight is bone). So it's actually $10, or $5/person, or a luxury meal.

I see this being a bigger problem for a lot of households. My parents like to buy steaks that are "on sale" at $8.99/lb, and then eat them every night for dinner. That's where you can start getting into territory "my home cooking costs more than a restaurant!"

Especially when you start adding in seafood, expensive spices, and just buy stuff as you need it instead of buying stuff on sale. I still have a lot of friends that are in that boat, as they are young and haven't quite figured out these "grocery shopping" or "buying in bulk" or "buying on sale" things. Some of this is just experience, too. My Wife prefers to buy on sale, but she can't tell the difference between a good sale price and a fake sale price at our stores. I've finally gotten her to look at unit prices, too, instead of just looking at the final price tag. Doesn't matter if a single bottle is cheaper when it's half the size.


Wanting fancy expensive ingredients is definitely my downfall. Spanish paella looks so good until I start thinking about all the seafood.... :(
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 08:34:42 AM by A Definite Beta Guy »

Chesleygirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 639
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #131 on: September 25, 2017, 11:15:57 AM »

A close friend of mine has a similar situation - he calls it "refrigerator blindness".  His fridge is always bulging-to-overflowing, and when someone finally does clean it out its discovered that for every fresh herb, block of cheese or carton of cream in front there's at least one more in the back that spoiled weeks ago. Tupperware containers start a game of 'guess the leftover and the week'.  Sadly they're often so foul he tosses the entire container in the trash, adding to the waste.

'Clean out the fridge' has become a weekly mantra of ours, and we've gotten into the habit of selecting meals around whatever needs to get used up. 'Planned-overs' are our lunches the following day. As a result its rare we ever throw food out (and we have the tastiest lunches in the breakroom)

I started freezing leftovers more often. I've also found that when leftovers are packed away in containers, it's hard to see what's in them, so easier to forget about.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 11:23:10 AM by Chesleygirl »

Chesleygirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 639
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #132 on: September 25, 2017, 11:22:05 AM »
I see this being a bigger problem for a lot of households. My parents like to buy steaks that are "on sale" at $8.99/lb, and then eat them every night for dinner. That's where you can start getting into territory "my home cooking costs more than a restaurant!"

Yes, that and shopping at Whole Foods can wind up costing more than just eating a simple meal at a restaurant.

My dad and his wife decided at Thanksgiving, they wanted to serve prime rib. And wanted everyone in the family to pitch in $20 to attend the Thanksgiving meal. We declined to attend. For one thing, I'm a vegetarian and my husband doesn't eat a lot of red meat. And also, my dad and his wife and her entire family, have had life long compulsive spending habits, and in their older years, have no money saved for retirement. We would have gladly brought over some home-cooked potluck meals, though. But that's not what they wanted. They literally said "turkey is boring". In other words, they are too high-falutin' for ordinary food.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11130
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #133 on: September 25, 2017, 11:27:19 AM »

A close friend of mine has a similar situation - he calls it "refrigerator blindness".  His fridge is always bulging-to-overflowing, and when someone finally does clean it out its discovered that for every fresh herb, block of cheese or carton of cream in front there's at least one more in the back that spoiled weeks ago. Tupperware containers start a game of 'guess the leftover and the week'.  Sadly they're often so foul he tosses the entire container in the trash, adding to the waste.

'Clean out the fridge' has become a weekly mantra of ours, and we've gotten into the habit of selecting meals around whatever needs to get used up. 'Planned-overs' are our lunches the following day. As a result its rare we ever throw food out (and we have the tastiest lunches in the breakroom)

I started freezing leftovers more often. I've also found that when leftovers are packed away in containers, it's hard to see what's in them, so easier to forget about.

Sharpie + painters tape worked for us (particularly before they go into the 'deep freeze'). YMMV.

A Definite Beta Guy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 573
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #134 on: September 25, 2017, 12:07:46 PM »
I see this being a bigger problem for a lot of households. My parents like to buy steaks that are "on sale" at $8.99/lb, and then eat them every night for dinner. That's where you can start getting into territory "my home cooking costs more than a restaurant!"

Yes, that and shopping at Whole Foods can wind up costing more than just eating a simple meal at a restaurant.

My dad and his wife decided at Thanksgiving, they wanted to serve prime rib. And wanted everyone in the family to pitch in $20 to attend the Thanksgiving meal. We declined to attend. For one thing, I'm a vegetarian and my husband doesn't eat a lot of red meat. And also, my dad and his wife and her entire family, have had life long compulsive spending habits, and in their older years, have no money saved for retirement. We would have gladly brought over some home-cooked potluck meals, though. But that's not what they wanted. They literally said "turkey is boring". In other words, they are too high-falutin' for ordinary food.
Oooo, jeez, that's a nightmare. Sorry your Dad doesn't have a nest egg. :(

I told my parents that I wouldn't mind them living in my house, but they'll be eating what I eat, which means chicken and whatever vegetables are on sale, hehehehehe.

I'll cop to splurging on a rib roast last weekend. It hit $6.99/lb. We have a 8.5 lb roast, so $60/total. 8-10 for my friend circle. Assuming my in-laws come over for Christmas, there will be 9 meat-eaters total. I couldn't imagine trying to feed the Thanksgiving crowd with Prime Rib...I sent the invitations last weekend and we have 28 people on the list.

Yeah, you'll get turkey and like it!

Chesleygirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 639
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #135 on: September 25, 2017, 10:25:02 PM »

Oooo, jeez, that's a nightmare. Sorry your Dad doesn't have a nest egg. :(


His own fault. 

Now I am learning from his mistakes and don't want to wind up in the same situation.

My lunch today was a PB and J sandwich and an apple.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14338
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #136 on: September 26, 2017, 09:08:07 AM »

A close friend of mine has a similar situation - he calls it "refrigerator blindness".  His fridge is always bulging-to-overflowing, and when someone finally does clean it out its discovered that for every fresh herb, block of cheese or carton of cream in front there's at least one more in the back that spoiled weeks ago. Tupperware containers start a game of 'guess the leftover and the week'.  Sadly they're often so foul he tosses the entire container in the trash, adding to the waste.

'Clean out the fridge' has become a weekly mantra of ours, and we've gotten into the habit of selecting meals around whatever needs to get used up. 'Planned-overs' are our lunches the following day. As a result its rare we ever throw food out (and we have the tastiest lunches in the breakroom)

I started freezing leftovers more often. I've also found that when leftovers are packed away in containers, it's hard to see what's in them, so easier to forget about.

Sharpie + painters tape worked for us (particularly before they go into the 'deep freeze'). YMMV.

Yep, that's what we do.

Chesleygirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 639
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #137 on: September 26, 2017, 10:47:01 AM »
Also, I will absolutely throw stuff out if it's been in the fridge too long. I won't risk food poisoning or anyone in my family getting sick. Some of the worst offenders are soft foods like potato salad, refried beans, casserole type dishes. If it's been in the fridge longer than 3 days, it gets tossed. I'm pretty strict about it. Food poisoning can kill.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11130
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #138 on: September 26, 2017, 10:57:57 AM »
Also, I will absolutely throw stuff out if it's been in the fridge too long. I won't risk food poisoning or anyone in my family getting sick. Some of the worst offenders are soft foods like potato salad, refried beans, casserole type dishes. If it's been in the fridge longer than 3 days, it gets tossed. I'm pretty strict about it. Food poisoning can kill.
Sure, food poisoning is really, really bad.  But why let it get to this point? What is preventing you from using up already-cooked meals within three days? Seems there should be at least a half a dozen opportunities to consume left-overs within this time frame.  If you're still struggling this suggests a lack of a meal plan.

Bringing this discussion back to the OP - all successful restaurants put a lot of thought into how not to waste food. Weekday specials are a way to repackage ingredients from other dishes. Scraps get turned into stock. If a portion of a dish routinely comes back uneaten they either adjust serving portions or re-think the dish.  These techniques should be applied at home as well.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3643
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #139 on: September 26, 2017, 11:20:19 AM »

A close friend of mine has a similar situation - he calls it "refrigerator blindness".  His fridge is always bulging-to-overflowing, and when someone finally does clean it out its discovered that for every fresh herb, block of cheese or carton of cream in front there's at least one more in the back that spoiled weeks ago. Tupperware containers start a game of 'guess the leftover and the week'.  Sadly they're often so foul he tosses the entire container in the trash, adding to the waste.

'Clean out the fridge' has become a weekly mantra of ours, and we've gotten into the habit of selecting meals around whatever needs to get used up. 'Planned-overs' are our lunches the following day. As a result its rare we ever throw food out (and we have the tastiest lunches in the breakroom)

I started freezing leftovers more often. I've also found that when leftovers are packed away in containers, it's hard to see what's in them, so easier to forget about.

Sharpie + painters tape worked for us (particularly before they go into the 'deep freeze'). YMMV.

Yep, that's what we do.

Good call on the painters tape, I will do that. I've been meal prepping and freezing half the meals, and realized now that it makes it very hard to identify them and kept forgetting to buy labels, but I do have painter's tape.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14338
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #140 on: September 26, 2017, 11:43:06 AM »
In a pinch you can just write directly on the container.  I've found that Sharpie isn't permanent on most plastics after hard scrubbing.

penguintroopers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 190
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #141 on: September 26, 2017, 12:32:03 PM »
We do everything in quart sized or gallon sized baggies, then flatten out as much as possible and free on a baking sheet so its flat. All necessary info is written directly on the baggie with sharpie.

BFGirl

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 716
Re: When your homecooking costs more than a restaurant
« Reply #142 on: September 29, 2017, 12:56:16 PM »
In a pinch you can just write directly on the container.  I've found that Sharpie isn't permanent on most plastics after hard scrubbing.

rubbing alcohol will remove a lot of sharpie