Author Topic: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?  (Read 39743 times)

mamagoose

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 357
  • Location: FL
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #50 on: February 02, 2016, 11:36:41 AM »
... every time that Olive Garden commercial comes on it brings back soooo many good memories of dinners there ...

Hopefully I don't greatly offend anyone, but have tried eating at Olive Garden recently? I think that might cure you of any desire to go out to eat there at any rate.

We usually go out at least once a month, sometimes not at all, and sometimes a few times, so call it an average of over 1 but less than 2. That would be not counting vacation or other travel though which can be every night for a few weeks. The times we go less are when we have other "big meals" like dinner with friends at our house or theirs.

You're probably right. It's been years since I've been there and if it's anything like the trend with other chains, the quality has probably gone down over time. Last time I went to the Cheesecake Factory I remember thinking "wow the magic is gone". I'm a pretty decent home cook, my vegetarian shepherds pie is better than anything in a restaurant around here, but we often end up going out when my husband is running late from work and just wants a change of scenery (aka burritos on a patio somewhere).

mamagoose

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 357
  • Location: FL
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #51 on: February 02, 2016, 11:44:10 AM »
I don't really see why "never going out to eat" would be something to strive for. I cook occasionally. I might cook more if I didn't work all day, but I don't particularly want to waste all my free time on cooking.

It's not a real high-level goal for us, I just looked back on our spending from last year and categorized "pointless dining out" vs. "memorable quality time dining out" and it was clear to me that if I didn't remember the restaurant or why I went there (out of town for a bachelorette weekend is a memorable one, random dunkin donuts drive-thru is not), then I didn't want to spend that money again this year. I like making our meals out count in terms of memories. For example we have theme park passes, and when I take my daughter I know it's 1000x easier to pack our own PB&J lunch than to wait in line at Disney for a subpar veggie burger and then try to hunt down a seat while carrying a tray of food. I'd rather save our dining dollars for date nights & girls/guys night out. After having a kid "free time" takes on a new meaning. If I could go to a restaurant that actually offered something to entertain my toddler beyond crayons while the food was being cooked (i.e. toddlers are ticking time bombs the second you enter a restaurant), then I'd be a regular customer. I've only ever been to ONE "kids night" at a pizza place that actually brought out toys, let the kids see how the pizza is made, and encouraged the kids to be rambunctious and make new friends with each other, instead of sit quietly in your high chair with your tablet while the adults pretend to enjoy a meal. Unfortunately the pizza was narsty so we won't return.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10800
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #52 on: February 02, 2016, 12:19:25 PM »
You are wildly inefficient in the kitchen if you think that someone can pay for servers, chefs, dishwashers, food, electricity, rent, heat for a building, electronics to take your bill, and still provide you with food for what it costs to make at home.

Exactly.  Industry rule of thumb is that the cost of ingredients is 1/4 to 1/3 the menu price.  Most of our meals cost between $2-3/serving, and if we want to have something special we're still paying less than $10/person for something that restaurants would charge $25+ for (plus tax, plus tip).

Regarding the time it takes - meh... it gets back to being proficient in the kitchen, but going out to a restaurant (except fast-food) always takes us longer than the active time spent in the kitchen. 

tj

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1249
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Maui
    • Arcadia Power
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #53 on: February 02, 2016, 12:56:29 PM »
You are wildly inefficient in the kitchen if you think that someone can pay for servers, chefs, dishwashers, food, electricity, rent, heat for a building, electronics to take your bill, and still provide you with food for what it costs to make at home.

If you do large batches of food on the weekend, the cleanup is pretty minimal.  You just scoop some food out of a container in the fridge on to a dish during the week, so you've only got one dish and a fork to clean up each night . . . no pots and pans.  You just need to microwave the food for a couple minutes to heat it, so there is no waiting for an oven to preheat.
Well, yeah. I'm a single guy who doesn't abtch cook, so of course I'm inefficient compared to a restaurant cooking in bulk for a bunch of people.

When I prepare food at home, I cook individual portions because I do not like the taste of leftovers so much. Even when I buy a chicken breast from the butcher and it ends up being too much for one meal, I'll re-heat it up the next day to not waste it but it just doesn't taste the same to me. Consequently, I could also perhaps be more efficient with the take-out habit if I ordered larger portions at the take out places to last several meals and re-heated, but I prefer the taste of fresh food to re-heated. I was for a while buying packaged stuff from the grocery store, while it was a bit cheaper, it didn't seem any healthier and it didn't feel that great for my body.

In terms of the costs of eating out, I as a single guy who eats a relatively average amount of calories am absolutely subsidized by the larger groups, the people who order drinks, dessert, etc.

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #54 on: February 02, 2016, 01:12:37 PM »
Well, yeah. I'm a single guy who doesn't abtch cook, so of course I'm inefficient compared to a restaurant cooking in bulk for a bunch of people.

When I prepare food at home, I cook individual portions because I do not like the taste of leftovers so much. Even when I buy a chicken breast from the butcher and it ends up being too much for one meal, I'll re-heat it up the next day to not waste it but it just doesn't taste the same to me. Consequently, I could also perhaps be more efficient with the take-out habit if I ordered larger portions at the take out places to last several meals and re-heated, but I prefer the taste of fresh food to re-heated. I was for a while buying packaged stuff from the grocery store, while it was a bit cheaper, it didn't seem any healthier and it didn't feel that great for my body.

In terms of the costs of eating out, I as a single guy who eats a relatively average amount of calories am absolutely subsidized by the larger groups, the people who order drinks, dessert, etc.

Plenty of things are just as good leftover, chicken breast is not one of those things. 

I'm thinking taco meat, pasta sauce, rice, beans, chili, most soups, mashed potatoes, italian sausage (sliced).  I freeze most of these in single serving containers for easy thawing in the microwave or a pan.  Add in some frozen veggies you can put straight into a pan, some eggs to fry and put on top of things, and you're in business.  For chicken breast just cook it to order, especially if you slice it first it'll take a few minutes to cook at most.

Rice (add salsa and chicken buillon when cooking for approximate spanish rice), some beans or meat to go along with it, some quick pan sauteed frozen veggies, and a fried egg, and you're eating better than anything you get for $5 at a fast food place (and it doesn't cost $5), with about 10 minutes total time and one pan.

tj

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1249
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Maui
    • Arcadia Power
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #55 on: February 02, 2016, 01:21:28 PM »
Well, yeah. I'm a single guy who doesn't abtch cook, so of course I'm inefficient compared to a restaurant cooking in bulk for a bunch of people.

When I prepare food at home, I cook individual portions because I do not like the taste of leftovers so much. Even when I buy a chicken breast from the butcher and it ends up being too much for one meal, I'll re-heat it up the next day to not waste it but it just doesn't taste the same to me. Consequently, I could also perhaps be more efficient with the take-out habit if I ordered larger portions at the take out places to last several meals and re-heated, but I prefer the taste of fresh food to re-heated. I was for a while buying packaged stuff from the grocery store, while it was a bit cheaper, it didn't seem any healthier and it didn't feel that great for my body.

In terms of the costs of eating out, I as a single guy who eats a relatively average amount of calories am absolutely subsidized by the larger groups, the people who order drinks, dessert, etc.

Plenty of things are just as good leftover, chicken breast is not one of those things. 

I'm thinking taco meat, pasta sauce, rice, beans, chili, most soups, mashed potatoes, italian sausage (sliced).  I freeze most of these in single serving containers for easy thawing in the microwave or a pan.  Add in some frozen veggies you can put straight into a pan, some eggs to fry and put on top of things, and you're in business.  For chicken breast just cook it to order, especially if you slice it first it'll take a few minutes to cook at most.

Rice (add salsa and chicken buillon when cooking for approximate spanish rice), some beans or meat to go along with it, some quick pan sauteed frozen veggies, and a fried egg, and you're eating better than anything you get for $5 at a fast food place (and it doesn't cost $5), with about 10 minutes total time and one pan.

Thanks for the tips! I already avoid fast food, the exception might be a breakfast sandwich on the way to work. I always feel gross after having Jack in the Box (closest fast food place) and it'll be a few months in between doing that. These days its mostly mom and pop restaurants, but I don't get the huge platters, I'll get a few tacos, or an order of teriyaki chicken with no rice or chow mein. When I can get a couple chicken breasts already marinated and already cooked for say $4.00...it's almost exactly the same to buy it raw at the grocery store next door. My branching out into cooking was less about money and more about just feeling like a 30 year old man should know how to cook a few things...I think the eating out habit would definitely be more expensive if I lived in a tourist area.

Helvegen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 542
  • Location: PNW
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #56 on: February 02, 2016, 01:43:48 PM »
I'm curious where all of you live who never eat at restaurants because the quality is poor.  Is it a small town?   I'm in Houston, and while my girlfriend and I are both very good cooks, there are simply some things restaurants can do better or more efficiently than we can.  Vietnamese pho, Chinese Dim Sum, and a few Indian foods come to mind.  We eat somewhere like that probably twice a month, it's usually ~$15/person.

That being said, in my small hometown the restaurants are all pretty much below what I could make myself.  Maybe that's where you guys are coming from?

Nope, I live in a massive MSA and quality is largely still hit or miss.

$15 a person is still $45 and I would be hard pressed to find that here at a sit down place. I live in a M-HCOLA. $15 is the average cost of most entrees, then you add drinks, tax, tips on to it. How it gets jacked up to $60-$80 pretty fast.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10800
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #57 on: February 02, 2016, 02:47:14 PM »

Thanks for the tips! I already avoid fast food, the exception might be a breakfast sandwich on the way to work. I always feel gross after having Jack in the Box (closest fast food place) and it'll be a few months in between doing that. These days its mostly mom and pop restaurants, but I don't get the huge platters, I'll get a few tacos, or an order of teriyaki chicken with no rice or chow mein. When I can get a couple chicken breasts already marinated and already cooked for say $4.00...it's almost exactly the same to buy it raw at the grocery store next door. My branching out into cooking was less about money and more about just feeling like a 30 year old man should know how to cook a few things...I think the eating out habit would definitely be more expensive if I lived in a tourist area.
One other (hopefully) helpful tip TJ - sometimes it's best not to cook extra portions, but to leave them uncooked.  What I mean by that is a lot of things can be prepped and then stored either in the fridge or freezer. Then all you need to do is to pop them in the oven or stovetop and voila! you have a freshly cooked meal that isn't re-heated. 

Lasagna comes to mind, as does chicken pot pie, most any casserole dish, stir fries (chop the veggies, make the sauce, then freeze everything before cooking) and burritos.  Spend a bit of time googling "freeze ahead meals" and you'll be amazed at the variety; lots of people will make a month's worth of meals in a single weekend, cooking each one individually.  What works for a large family generally works for 1 person (I used to do exactly this) by changing the portions.

Agree with ooeei that chicken-breasts don't reheat well at all. Ditto for ground turkey. Substitute chicken thighs for most any recipe and they'll reheat much, much better, and give more flavor.  They're often cheaper too.

tj

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1249
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Maui
    • Arcadia Power
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #58 on: February 02, 2016, 02:54:27 PM »

Thanks for the tips! I already avoid fast food, the exception might be a breakfast sandwich on the way to work. I always feel gross after having Jack in the Box (closest fast food place) and it'll be a few months in between doing that. These days its mostly mom and pop restaurants, but I don't get the huge platters, I'll get a few tacos, or an order of teriyaki chicken with no rice or chow mein. When I can get a couple chicken breasts already marinated and already cooked for say $4.00...it's almost exactly the same to buy it raw at the grocery store next door. My branching out into cooking was less about money and more about just feeling like a 30 year old man should know how to cook a few things...I think the eating out habit would definitely be more expensive if I lived in a tourist area.
One other (hopefully) helpful tip TJ - sometimes it's best not to cook extra portions, but to leave them uncooked.  What I mean by that is a lot of things can be prepped and then stored either in the fridge or freezer. Then all you need to do is to pop them in the oven or stovetop and voila! you have a freshly cooked meal that isn't re-heated. 

Lasagna comes to mind, as does chicken pot pie, most any casserole dish, stir fries (chop the veggies, make the sauce, then freeze everything before cooking) and burritos.  Spend a bit of time googling "freeze ahead meals" and you'll be amazed at the variety; lots of people will make a month's worth of meals in a single weekend, cooking each one individually.  What works for a large family generally works for 1 person (I used to do exactly this) by changing the portions.

Agree with ooeei that chicken-breasts don't reheat well at all. Ditto for ground turkey. Substitute chicken thighs for most any recipe and they'll reheat much, much better, and give more flavor.  They're often cheaper too.

i actually do prefer thigh meat to breast meat, but Ralphs doesn't sell individual thighs like they do breasts. If thighs taste better re-heated I'll have to buy a pack and just get it a shot. Still, a whole pack of thighs is probably too much for just me unless I freeze some of it. Thanks for the tip on freeze ahead meals! Do you guys use FoodSaver to vacuum pack individual portions? My parents go nuts with vacuum packing. :)

Conjou

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 122
  • Location: Wherever I want to be
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #59 on: February 02, 2016, 03:04:42 PM »
I hate going out to eat. I always feel like I could cook as well or better for half the cost at home, that service and tipping have no relation, and that there is so much noise and frequent interruptions from poor service such that the experience isn't even enjoyable. I much prefer the French style of going to a restaurant where tipping is an affront due to how they pay servers there, the table is yours for the course of the evening and I walk away with a genuine pleasurable experience for the money. I had a meal like that once in the US at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. My other pleasurable "eating out" experiences in the US were in homes, my own or as a guest of others.

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #60 on: February 02, 2016, 03:05:25 PM »
i actually do prefer thigh meat to breast meat, but Ralphs doesn't sell individual thighs like they do breasts. If thighs taste better re-heated I'll have to buy a pack and just get it a shot. Still, a whole pack of thighs is probably too much for just me unless I freeze some of it. Thanks for the tip on freeze ahead meals! Do you guys use FoodSaver to vacuum pack individual portions? My parents go nuts with vacuum packing. :)


Thighs take a bit longer to cook, but they're so much better than breasts.

I use reditainers (from amazon), they come in multiple sizes all with the same lid, and are cheap enough that if you ruin a few you can trash them.  I've found the 8 oz to be a good size for meats and beans, the 16 oz for soups or stews and single servings of rice, and the 32 oz for larger portions i just keep in the fridge during the week (rice, mashed potatoes, etc).  I haven't noticed any freezerburn, but most of what I store is eaten within a month or so, and i generally try to fill them to minimize air inside.  They're microwave safe, but generally I transfer to a bowl before microwaving.

http://www.amazon.com/Reditainer-Extreme-Containers-8-Ounce-40-Pack/dp/B00N2TADKI/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1454450454&sr=8-11&keywords=reditainer

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10800
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #61 on: February 02, 2016, 03:11:04 PM »

i actually do prefer thigh meat to breast meat, but Ralphs doesn't sell individual thighs like they do breasts. If thighs taste better re-heated I'll have to buy a pack and just get it a shot. Still, a whole pack of thighs is probably too much for just me unless I freeze some of it. Thanks for the tip on freeze ahead meals! Do you guys use FoodSaver to vacuum pack individual portions? My parents go nuts with vacuum packing. :)
I've never liked the waste that comes with vacuum packing.  For many things zip-lock freezer bags are sufficient, which I reuse as long as there wasn't any raw meat inside. I do wrap some stuff in plastic wrap (which is thinner than foodsaver bags).  Things like Lasagna go into reusable pans with foil on top... you can get the disposable foil pans with wax-paper lids dirt cheap online, and those can be reused multiple times. For cookie-dough I'll roll it into logs and then wrap it in wax paper or parchment paper, then put the log into a zip-lock bag.  When I want some cookies I just slice the log and bake them right up... in 15 minutes I can four different kinds of freshly baked cookies cooling on my counter. I think this is part of the way i won my SO over :-) Speaking of which pies (both savory and sweet) freeze really well, as does anything inside dough (empanadas, pot-stickers, chicken in puffed pastry) 

Merrie

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 465
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #62 on: February 02, 2016, 04:15:52 PM »
I have other things I'd rather spend my money on. And eating out with two little kids is no fun whatsoever. For a rare "date" with my husband it can be nice, but really what I want is to go somewhere and sit down and chat with him for a while. In the summer, taking a picnic to a park is nice, but when the weather is colder, going out can be sort of a way of paying rent to sit somewhere for a while. The more I cook, the less I want to eat out, because everything I get when I eat out I'm thinking "I could have cooked something that I would like better and would be cheaper". A nice "date night" would be to have someone take the kids to their house, and we cook a nice dinner for the two of us here. My husband isn't as down on eating out as I am, and so we maybe eat out once a month, but I think he's becoming increasingly disenchanted with it as well. Unless it's a super-expensive gourmet place, the food isn't worth it, and a super-expensive gourmet place costs a stack.

Eventually when the kids are older and the debt is paid off, we'll probably take them out more often. But now when we have one who is super-picky and one who wants to climb onto the table... no.

Ebrat

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #63 on: February 02, 2016, 08:35:30 PM »
Eating out is usually underwhelming and makes me feel kind of gross.  We do like getting drinks and maybe an appetizer every 1-2 weeks.  But sitting down to a whole dinner out just isn't usually enjoyable for me.  Too much food, and never exactly what I want (whereas at home, I can infinitely "customize").

I think if you can identify a value-based reason for not eating out (generally poor pay/conditions for servers, less control over ethical food sourcing, or something like that), that's the most effective way to get yourself to not want to do it.

tobitonic

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 549
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #64 on: February 02, 2016, 08:47:25 PM »

A huge thing about Asian cooking is that charred wok flavour, but it is difficult/impossible to replicate at home unless you have the right kitchen setup. This post explains it better than I can.

With all due respect, this is one of my biggest cooking pet peeves because it paints an unrealistically narrow definition of what it means to have authentic "Asian cooking." Unless we're defining "Asian cooking" as eating food that tastes exactly the way at home as it does in a given "Asian restaurant" (which will, by definition, almost always be an Asian-American restaurant in the US unless every single ingredient and recipe is sourced directly from an Asian country in Asia), it's quite possible to have great "Asian cooking" at home. We just need a broader definition than the one lots of Internet "Asian cooks" are using, which often refers to food loaded up with butter, oil, and MSG to drown out the taste of the low-quality ingredients.

By this unrealistically narrow definition, none of the millions of Asians around the country cooking at home are making "Asian cooking," even if they literally just got off the boat (or plane) with suit cases full of Asian Cooking Ingredients. And that's before getting to the fact that people in Asia, right now, are cooking in their homes without restaurant-grade burners and ovens. Are they trying to replicate the restaurants too, or are they just...cooking traditionally Asian-sourced food with traditionally Asian recipes?

As with anything else in life, it's possible to cultivate a great amount of snobbery about Asian cooking with lots of "wok hei / hay" stuff and pseudo-mysticism. Grace Young is one of the biggest Asian-American wok afficionados in the US and she's one of the biggest proponents of this elitism, unfortunately.

All it takes to make "Asian cooking" is a desire to do so. Billions of people around the world are doing it right now on really cheap equipment; don't get sucked into the materialism of believing that things aren't authentic unless they aren't accessible.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 09:18:25 PM by tobitonic »

redbird

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 535
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #65 on: February 02, 2016, 08:50:58 PM »
I only eat out maybe once every 2-3 months. I like cooking and it's cheaper to eat at home.

tobitonic

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 549
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #66 on: February 02, 2016, 08:56:54 PM »
Returning to the topic of this thread, we're also in the camp of folks who almost never go to restaurants on our own because we feel we cook healthier and more humanely-raised food than what we could find in almost any restaurant. Organic this, ocean-caught that, cage-free, farm-raised, canola or olive oil, fresh vegetables, and so on. I like knowing we didn't just choose the cheapest ingredients but the healthiest ones we could, and that the animals we're eating, when we do eat them, were treated well before giving their lives to us. I'm not going to get that in just about any restaurant because a restaurant is in business to make money. We're working to feed our family and our spirits.

That said, when extended family is over or when we travel to them, we're perfectly willing to dine out or order in.

horsepoor

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3179
  • Location: At the Barn
  • Horses: for sanity & poverty!
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #67 on: February 02, 2016, 09:18:58 PM »
The more I cook, the less I want to eat out, because everything I get when I eat out I'm thinking "I could have cooked something that I would like better and would be cheaper". A nice "date night" would be to have someone take the kids to their house, and we cook a nice dinner for the two of us here. My husband isn't as down on eating out as I am, and so we maybe eat out once a month, but I think he's becoming increasingly disenchanted with it as well. Unless it's a super-expensive gourmet place, the food isn't worth it, and a super-expensive gourmet place costs a stack.

All of this.  And the higher-end ingredients we have at home.

We haven't been to a sit-down restaurant dinner since my birthday three months ago.  Since then, we've gotten $4 burritos at the local Mexican fast food joint a couple times, gone out for breakfast once or twice, and gotten slices at our favorite pizza place once.  The breakfast out is even starting to lose its charm, because at home we have fancy thick bacon, delicious home grown eggs, and way better coffee.  And we don't have to listen to some old man in the next booth rant about how "murrica is going down the crapper while we try to enjoy our $12 omelettes. Between homegrown and homemade stuff and locally raised meats and wild caught fish, it's hard for restaurants to compete with what we can make quickly and easily at home.

I've added a couple kitchen appliances that make cooking even that much easier (Instant Pot, sous vide circulator in particular), so the idea of schlepping off somewhere to get some subpar food isn't very attractive.  At least 75% of my eating out these days is when I'm traveling for work, and even then, I prefer to minimize it and bring food from home when I can.

ruthiegirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 337
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #68 on: February 02, 2016, 10:19:48 PM »
4 or 5 times a year and every time I reminded how utterly crap-awful I feel when I eat restaurant food. 

Ann

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 264
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #69 on: February 03, 2016, 03:29:53 AM »
I'm curious where all of you live who never eat at restaurants because the quality is poor.  Is it a small town?   I'm in Houston, and while my girlfriend and I are both very good cooks, there are simply some things restaurants can do better or more efficiently than we can.  Vietnamese pho, Chinese Dim Sum, and a few Indian foods come to mind.  We eat somewhere like that probably twice a month, it's usually ~$15/person.

That being said, in my small hometown the restaurants are all pretty much below what I could make myself.  Maybe that's where you guys are coming from?

I live in Houston, too, and I was also surprised that so many people choose to NEVER go out to eat because of quality.  Going to a restaurant can be a way to try a new food - especially something unusual or complicated- and seeing if you like it.  If you do, it might be worth the time and money to invest in unique (perishable) ingredients or kitchen wares it may take to prepare it.  And usually my meals don't get perfected the first try.  Because of economics of scale, it's less expensive for me to buy one bowl of pho than it is to make one bowl at home (it took me over a week of making it every single day to learn how to do it to my satisfaction).  If I do make it for a group of people or eat it every day, then yes making it at home wins. And I do that now because I love it.  But I had to try it in a restaurant first to see if it was worth it.

I certainly don't recommend eating out all the time.  But I do think doing it occasionally is a way to try new things and, yes, even experience other cultures (in a superficial way).

How do people who never eat out try new foods, especially ethnic ones that may use special preparation methods?  I'm curious.  Friends who actually cook?
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 03:36:54 AM by Ann »

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10800
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #70 on: February 03, 2016, 07:45:57 AM »

A huge thing about Asian cooking is that charred wok flavour, but it is difficult/impossible to replicate at home unless you have the right kitchen setup. This post explains it better than I can.

With all due respect, this is one of my biggest cooking pet peeves because it paints an unrealistically narrow definition of what it means to have authentic "Asian cooking." Unless we're defining "Asian cooking" as eating food that tastes exactly the way at home as it does in a given "Asian restaurant" (which will, by definition, almost always be an Asian-American restaurant in the US unless every single ingredient and recipe is sourced directly from an Asian country in Asia), it's quite possible to have great "Asian cooking" at home. We just need a broader definition than the one lots of Internet "Asian cooks" are using, which often refers to food loaded up with butter, oil, and MSG to drown out the taste of the low-quality ingredients.

By this unrealistically narrow definition, none of the millions of Asians around the country cooking at home are making "Asian cooking," even if they literally just got off the boat (or plane) with suit cases full of Asian Cooking Ingredients. And that's before getting to the fact that people in Asia, right now, are cooking in their homes without restaurant-grade burners and ovens. Are they trying to replicate the restaurants too, or are they just...cooking traditionally Asian-sourced food with traditionally Asian recipes?

As with anything else in life, it's possible to cultivate a great amount of snobbery about Asian cooking with lots of "wok hei / hay" stuff and pseudo-mysticism. Grace Young is one of the biggest Asian-American wok afficionados in the US and she's one of the biggest proponents of this elitism, unfortunately.

All it takes to make "Asian cooking" is a desire to do so. Billions of people around the world are doing it right now on really cheap equipment; don't get sucked into the materialism of believing that things aren't authentic unless they aren't accessible.
Every year I pick one culinary thing that I want to become more proficient cooking.  This year it's learning cooking styles from around China.  At Christmas my aunt said "who in the world cooks Chinese food at home?!".  My brother's response: "About a billion Chinese every day"

Agree with tobitonic: all it takes is a desire to do so, and wok cooking requires some of the least amount of hardware of any type of cuisine (a $24 wok, some bamboo steamers and.... that's about 98% of it).  There is no mysticism in cooking it at home.  Before Julia Child, American cooks were convinced that authentic French cooking was impossible for anyone who wasn't a classically trained chef.

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #71 on: February 03, 2016, 08:09:15 AM »
Every year I pick one culinary thing that I want to become more proficient cooking.  This year it's learning cooking styles from around China.  At Christmas my aunt said "who in the world cooks Chinese food at home?!".  My brother's response: "About a billion Chinese every day"

Agree with tobitonic: all it takes is a desire to do so, and wok cooking requires some of the least amount of hardware of any type of cuisine (a $24 wok, some bamboo steamers and.... that's about 98% of it).  There is no mysticism in cooking it at home.  Before Julia Child, American cooks were convinced that authentic French cooking was impossible for anyone who wasn't a classically trained chef.

Yeah, my girlfriend's family are Chinese, and I've almost never seen them do anything in a wok over high heat.  Lots of soups and stews, lots of foods with rich sauces, and lots of vegetables I've never seen before.  I don't like all of it, but it's certainly home cooked Chinese food!  China is a big place, with a lot of different food styles.

Limeandpepper is right about certain dishes that are especially popular though.  They aren't really doable in an American home kitchen, at least not to restaurant quality.

I live in Houston, too, and I was also surprised that so many people choose to NEVER go out to eat because of quality.  Going to a restaurant can be a way to try a new food - especially something unusual or complicated- and seeing if you like it.  If you do, it might be worth the time and money to invest in unique (perishable) ingredients or kitchen wares it may take to prepare it.  And usually my meals don't get perfected the first try.  Because of economics of scale, it's less expensive for me to buy one bowl of pho than it is to make one bowl at home (it took me over a week of making it every single day to learn how to do it to my satisfaction).  If I do make it for a group of people or eat it every day, then yes making it at home wins. And I do that now because I love it.  But I had to try it in a restaurant first to see if it was worth it.

I certainly don't recommend eating out all the time.  But I do think doing it occasionally is a way to try new things and, yes, even experience other cultures (in a superficial way).

How do people who never eat out try new foods, especially ethnic ones that may use special preparation methods?  I'm curious.  Friends who actually cook?

That's another good point.  There's an Italian place my girlfriend and I go to a couple of times a year just to try out the salads and a couple of entrees so we can reverse engineer them at home.  I've yet to find a salad recipe online that is better than the ones we make based on those trips.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 08:13:46 AM by ooeei »

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10800
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #72 on: February 03, 2016, 08:17:20 AM »

Yeah, my girlfriend's family are Chinese, and I've almost never seen them do anything in a wok over high heat.  Lots of soups and stews, lots of foods with rich sauces, and lots of vegetables I've never seen before.  I don't like all of it, but it's certainly home cooked Chinese food!  China is a big place, with a lot of different food styles.

Limeandpepper is right about certain dishes that are especially popular though.  They aren't really doable in an American home kitchen, at least not to restaurant quality.
Which ones?  I've yet to find something that I couldn't cook to 'restaurant quality*' after 3-4 attempts

*I'm speaking of mid-level, neighborhood restaurants here. 

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #73 on: February 03, 2016, 08:26:35 AM »

Limeandpepper is right about certain dishes that are especially popular though.  They aren't really doable in an American home kitchen, at least not to restaurant quality.
Which ones?  I've yet to find something that I couldn't cook to 'restaurant quality*' after 3-4 attempts

*I'm speaking of mid-level, neighborhood restaurants here.

Well the one he linked is a good example.  Really any stir fry will be better different at a good restaurant than what you can make on a stove at home.  That's not to say it won't be good if you make it on a stove at home, but it'll always be missing something compared to the restaurant version.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/06/the-food-lab-for-the-best-stir-fry-fire-up-the-grill.html

Edit: Naan is another good example.  You can make an approximation of it at home, but for the real deal you need an insanely hot oven you can slap dough to the side of.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 08:28:34 AM by ooeei »

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #74 on: February 03, 2016, 08:46:45 AM »
As I recall I never said that people shouldn't try to cook certain dishes at home. I merely said that for certain dishes you may not quite hit the mark due to certain limitations. If you can't tell the difference and you're satisfied with it, that's great. Not sure what the huge controversy is here.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10800
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #75 on: February 03, 2016, 09:22:33 AM »

Limeandpepper is right about certain dishes that are especially popular though.  They aren't really doable in an American home kitchen, at least not to restaurant quality.
Which ones?  I've yet to find something that I couldn't cook to 'restaurant quality*' after 3-4 attempts

*I'm speaking of mid-level, neighborhood restaurants here.

Well the one he linked is a good example.  Really any stir fry will be better different at a good restaurant than what you can make on a stove at home.  That's not to say it won't be good if you make it on a stove at home, but it'll always be missing something compared to the restaurant version.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/06/the-food-lab-for-the-best-stir-fry-fire-up-the-grill.html

Edit: Naan is another good example.  You can make an approximation of it at home, but for the real deal you need an insanely hot oven you can slap dough to the side of.

This is the proverbial whipping-boy about how you can't make authentic cuisine at home.  Smoke-point is smoke-point regardless of location, so all we're really talking about is heat output and food quantity.  What you can't do is heat a large quantity of food on an under-powered stove quickly to get a good sear, but that's not even remotely the same thing as saying you can't cook authentic dishes at home. Cooking for 2 isn't the same as cooking a dish that serves 4-6.  It looks like that food-lab article you linked is using a crap stove with an 8500btu burner- even big-box stores have cheap ranges have 21,000+ btu burners. Running a double-wok setup isn't particularly challenging either.  The dedicated turkey-burner is anther example of what's possible at home... espeically for those of us that cook frequently on our outdoor grills.

Similar story for Naan (or most other breads).  Oven temp goes to 600F and it can all be baked inside a pre-heated terracotta baking dish. 

I've worked in the food industry for 9 years and when people say 'you can't make this at home' we just shake our heads and chuckle.  The real truth is that you can't make a lot of dishes as well in a restaurant because of all the constraints that environment puts on the dish (time to table, cost, carryover, space etc).  Restaurant cooking is a series of compromises - you are a lot less constrained cooking at home. 

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #76 on: February 03, 2016, 10:14:03 AM »
This is the proverbial whipping-boy about how you can't make authentic cuisine at home.  Smoke-point is smoke-point regardless of location, so all we're really talking about is heat output and food quantity.  What you can't do is heat a large quantity of food on an under-powered stove quickly to get a good sear, but that's not even remotely the same thing as saying you can't cook authentic dishes at home. Cooking for 2 isn't the same as cooking a dish that serves 4-6.  It looks like that food-lab article you linked is using a crap stove with an 8500btu burner- even big-box stores have cheap ranges have 21,000+ btu burners. Running a double-wok setup isn't particularly challenging either.  The dedicated turkey-burner is anther example of what's possible at home... espeically for those of us that cook frequently on our outdoor grills.

I'm not so sure about getting 21,000+ btu from a cheap stove, but maybe you managed to get one of those.  Obviously if you set up your kitchen with this kind of cooking in mind, or have a dedicated turkey fryer outside, or a charcoal grill insert like the food lab article, you're good to go.  I suppose I'll rephrase my quote, "Those dishes cannot easily be done to the same quality a good restaurant can in a typical American home kitchen." A typical kitchen has electric coil burners, or a cheapo gas range.  Yes if you're cooking for one or two and preheat a cast iron skillet to searing hot and don't mind smoking up your house you can probably do it if you're skilled enough. 

Quote
Similar story for Naan (or most other breads).  Oven temp goes to 600F and it can all be baked inside a pre-heated terracotta baking dish. 

Mind sharing the recipe/technique?  I do pizza and ciabatta on a baking steel, but haven't ever gotten naan to work properly, it always ends up being a weirdly shaped thick pita.  Then again I haven't tried too many times, and have never made naan with someone experienced.  My oven hits 550 at the max.

Quote
I've worked in the food industry for 9 years and when people say 'you can't make this at home' we just shake our heads and chuckle.  The real truth is that you can't make a lot of dishes as well in a restaurant because of all the constraints that environment puts on the dish (time to table, cost, carryover, space etc).  Restaurant cooking is a series of compromises - you are a lot less constrained cooking at home.

Absolutely you can make most if not all dishes from a restaurant at home.  It's whether the trouble is worth it to you.  I make stir fries at home all the time, and don't really worry about the "wok-hei" because it's too much of a pain for me to bother with.  It ends up being great, and better than I get at a mediocre restaurant.  That being said, I do appreciate it on the rare occasion I have one at a good restaurant.  When I move into a house someday I'll probably try out a turkey fryer or the grill insert.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #77 on: February 03, 2016, 10:39:35 AM »
We used to eat out a lot more, and now we're changing our ways.  Now we just tend to go out for lunch on Sundays after church.

My interest in restaurants has fallen to the wayside.  I've traveled quite a bit and eaten out a lot.  Most restaurant food just doesn't "wow" me anymore.  Often I feel I can do better at home.  It's not that I like fancy food, but rather simple food (often ethnic) prepared really well.  My most recent great restaurant food experience was the Syrian food I had in Denver.  I tried to make baba ganoush when I came home and my version was pitiful.

I've also stepped up my DIY game and am making more things from scratch -- bread, granola, bean dishes, rice and veggies in every form, homemade stock... I enjoy the kitchen time when I can big batch cook, then freeze.   I also enjoy exploring other traditions and cultures through food.

I've never tracked expenses in any great detail, but did take a look (easy to do with bank and credit card statements at year end) at our expenses this past year and was shocked by how spending little bits here and there really added up.  My husband and I have (pretty successfully so far in 2016) adjusted our habit of running to get a snack on break (instead we bring them from home) or even buying the $2 sandwich in the college cafeteria.  And, in lieu of happy hour at restaurants I'm doing a lot more inviting people over (BYOB) after work.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #78 on: February 03, 2016, 10:54:52 AM »
Definitely less than before we had a kid. My wife has been on an elimination diet after finding out our son has allergies to a lot of things: wheat, dairy, soy, etc... this basically eliminates eating out at a LOT of places. I don't think we can *never* go out to eat though - cooking is just too laborious for us to do all the time. Anyway, we're pretty much confined to eating at less than a handful of places if we do eat out. A couple that come to mind are Chipotle and In and Out. Other than that, my wife treads very carefully. She's getting closer to stopping with pumping and feeding him though, so eating out may be on the rise soon enough LOL. It is a bit more trouble getting out of the house with the kid *just* to grab a bite though. It really depends on our mood and cravings. Living in SoCal, and with the plethora of food options, it's really hard to avoid eating out.

hoping2retire35

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1401
  • Location: UPCOUNTRY CAROLINA
  • just want to see where this appears
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #79 on: February 03, 2016, 11:38:50 AM »
We probably eat out once a month and that is just to give the kids some exposure to being somewhere else.

But other than the cost, we don't eat out b/c...
we can make it taste better
we can make it faster
we don't have to load everyone in the car
we know what we are giving our kids
we both like to cook

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #80 on: February 03, 2016, 11:50:57 AM »
With all due respect, this is one of my biggest cooking pet peeves because it paints an unrealistically narrow definition of what it means to have authentic "Asian cooking." Unless we're defining "Asian cooking" as eating food that tastes exactly the way at home as it does in a given "Asian restaurant" (which will, by definition, almost always be an Asian-American restaurant in the US unless every single ingredient and recipe is sourced directly from an Asian country in Asia), it's quite possible to have great "Asian cooking" at home. We just need a broader definition than the one lots of Internet "Asian cooks" are using, which often refers to food loaded up with butter, oil, and MSG to drown out the taste of the low-quality ingredients.

By this unrealistically narrow definition, none of the millions of Asians around the country cooking at home are making "Asian cooking," even if they literally just got off the boat (or plane) with suit cases full of Asian Cooking Ingredients. And that's before getting to the fact that people in Asia, right now, are cooking in their homes without restaurant-grade burners and ovens. Are they trying to replicate the restaurants too, or are they just...cooking traditionally Asian-sourced food with traditionally Asian recipes?

As with anything else in life, it's possible to cultivate a great amount of snobbery about Asian cooking with lots of "wok hei / hay" stuff and pseudo-mysticism. Grace Young is one of the biggest Asian-American wok afficionados in the US and she's one of the biggest proponents of this elitism, unfortunately.

All it takes to make "Asian cooking" is a desire to do so. Billions of people around the world are doing it right now on really cheap equipment; don't get sucked into the materialism of believing that things aren't authentic unless they aren't accessible.

Yes, I realise that, because I happen to be one of them. Look, I don't want to waste too much time in this thread, but I am Asian, and I cook Asian food (as well as other cuisines) at home. And I am far from materialistic or into fancy equipment, in fact I only learned how to use a dishwasher recently, and it's not my dishwasher, I probably will never own a dishwasher. Please don't assume a ton of things about me. I am simply someone who misses the food from my home country, if you want to call that being a snob, fine. And no, I can't recreate all of it at home to the same standards. Not even the restaurants in my second-home-country can, in many cases. Seriously - I respond to someone's post in which they say they can't do fried rice as good as their local place, and so I offer a possible reason why - and people want to be aggressive about that, which is sad.

By the way, I'm not familiar with Grace Young. I just looked her up. I don't see the problem. She is obviously passionate about wok-cooking and has a cookbook about this very subject, so presumably she is also trying to make this aspect Asian cooking accessible, and encouraging people to cook at home. I don't know why this apparently makes her such an elitist.

Philociraptor

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 980
  • Age: 30
  • Location: DFW, TX
  • Eat. Sleep. Lift. Repeat.
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #81 on: February 03, 2016, 12:30:16 PM »
We've reduced it by quite a bit, we used to go out to eat a few time a week, now we're down to a few times a month, typically limited to pizza, burgers, sushi, or Asian food (Vietnamese, Thai, Indian). We like to try new places out, see how their version of our favorite foods tastes. We also go out to eat when my parents invite us out, or when we're traveling.

The majority of our meals are cooked at home though. I make breakfast fresh every morning (3 eggs + 2 slices of bacon or a quarter cup Mexican chorizo), and we take a few hours on the weekends to prepare all of our lunches and dinners for the week. Leftover food that's handled safely (quickly cooled after cooking) will make it from Saturday's cook time to Friday's dinner just fine in the fridge, but we will freeze if we make too much. Restaurant / fast food meals are simply not large enough to fuel us; I eat 8 oz of protein per lunch/dinner, a cup of starch, and a cup of veggies, wife eats 6 oz protein, 1/2 cup of starch, and a cup of veggies. To get this amount of food would be insanely expensive most places.

tobitonic

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 549
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #82 on: February 03, 2016, 07:44:34 PM »
I am simply someone who misses the food from my home country, if you want to call that being a snob, fine.

That's not quite what I said. I said that the implication that you can't get authentic Asian cooking without restaurant-grade equipment doesn't make sense unless you set that as the default standard of Asian cooking. That's what I'd call snobbery.

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #83 on: February 03, 2016, 09:19:31 PM »
I am simply someone who misses the food from my home country, if you want to call that being a snob, fine.

That's not quite what I said. I said that the implication that you can't get authentic Asian cooking without restaurant-grade equipment doesn't make sense unless you set that as the default standard of Asian cooking. That's what I'd call snobbery.

What's wrong with accepting that sometimes my cooking may not always be as good or authentic as what I can get elsewhere from people who have different equipment and are more skillful than I am? Also, I cook authentic, inauthentic, and fusion stuff at home all the time and I am fine with this haphazard mix. I don't see why there has to be outrage if someone dares to suggest that certain dishes are more difficult to make well at home. I've had some amazing food from people who devote their life to making and selling one type of dish for decades, and I'm not ambitious enough to think that I can do that dish as well as they do (at least not with considerable effort). That doesn't mean I won't attempt to cook it at home, just that I have a realistic expectation about the results if I do.

Thing is,

the fact that people in Asia, right now, are cooking in their homes without restaurant-grade burners and ovens.

Indeed, and if you ask these people, they will probably also tell you that "wok hei" tends to be more difficult to achieve at home. Ask me how I know. But eh, if you think the whole "wok hei" thing is "pseudo-mysticism", then there is no point in discussing this particular element further, because we'll just go around in circles.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1370
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #84 on: February 04, 2016, 12:40:46 AM »
We go out to eat 1-2x per month. We used to go 3-4x per week. But we've come to realize a few things. The portions are too large and we end up over eating. The kids (now 3 and 5) get bored sitting and waiting for so long. Our kids are also very picky eaters and so despite our best efforts to force feed them, much of their food was going to waste (on the floor, in their milk, ...). Aside from the kids we got to the point that we didn't really enjoy the food that much. We've learned to be very good cooks and the quality of what we make at home is generally better/more enjoyable.

Now when we go it is mostly for date nights. One of the grandmas watches the kids (and makes mac and cheese for them) and we have a nice dinner out. We savor it more now that it is less common.

Other than date nights, we occasionally go out with the extended family, including kids. We don't mind prioritizing our spending for these because they are special and memorable.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4814
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #85 on: February 04, 2016, 04:43:15 AM »
Things I hate about restaurants:
- It all takes such a long time. Getting there. Waiting to be seated. (And no guarantee they have a table!) Waiing to order. Waiting for the food to be cooked and arrive (the only bit comparable with home cooking but your meal has to take its place in the queue around everyone else's). Waiting for the plates to be cleared. Waiting for the bill to come. Waiting to pay it. Getting home again.
- The NOISE and other people. Of course the hen party or overtired toddler is sat next to your table.
- The schedule. You can't really deviate from the prescribed schedule and expectation that your meal with move forward at the approved pace. You can't speed up or slow down any of it apart from delaying ordering or delaying the bill.
- Chatty waiters. "How's your meal?" It's FINE, you think I wouldn't have told you if there were a problem? Now go away and leave us alone.
- Inefficient waiters. *waves* Yes, hello? I've been trying to catch your eye for the past ten minutes but you just seem to be standing in the corner staring into space.
- Having to ask for everything. Want ketchup? Flag down a waiter, ask them for it, wait while your meal grows ever colder for them to bring back a minute ramekin with half a teaspoon of ketchup. Water? One jug at a time.
- Food intolerances. I can't eat onion or garlic. My restaurant meal choices are extremely limited.
- Having to sit around a table the entire time. Sometimes you're just tired and would love to kick back and move straight to the sofa. No sofa until you've waited for the plates to be cleared etc etc and made it home.
- Splitting the bill. I don't drink, my friends do. So even splitting is unfair but adding up individual meals is a PITA and feels joyless.
- Tipping. Fucking hate it as a concept.

Things I like about restaurants:
- No washing up.
- Everyone can have a different meal. (Except of course you have to agree on which type of restaurant to go to!)
- Eating things I don't make at home because they're too much fuss or the ingredients are too niche.

If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza) or just have something that doesn't need cooking (bread and cheese). Takeaways solve some of the problems of other people but you still have to wait.

tj

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1249
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Maui
    • Arcadia Power
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #86 on: February 04, 2016, 09:31:51 AM »
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14050
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #87 on: February 04, 2016, 09:43:09 AM »
Pizza is pretty easy to do at home, but throwing cheese on pita is not the way.

*Preheat your oven to about 550.

*Stick about a cup to a cup and a half of warm water in a bowl, throw in a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of yeast.

*After the yeast has dissolved for a couple minutes, throw in a teaspoon of salt.

*Add flour one cup at a time and mix until the dough becomes too hard to mix with a spoon.  Then knead in another cup or two of flour.  Depending on the type of flour you use, it'll be about 4-5 cups of flour in the end.

*Roll it out on to two large pans, spread the sauce (any jar or can of pasta sauce will work fine), throw grated cheese on top, and some toppings.

*By now your oven should be heated, so stick the pizza in.  It should be done in about 10 minutes.

Sooo . . . 20-30 minutes prep, 10 minutes cook time . . . two fresh pizzas from scratch in 30-40 minutes!

Pro-tip:  You wrap one tightly in plastic wrap and freeze it, then eat the other one.  Next time you want pizza, just take the frozen one out and warm it in the oven at 350 until it's warm (probably 10 - 15 minutes from frozen).  It'll taste like you just made it.

FINate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1370
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #88 on: February 04, 2016, 09:50:50 AM »
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.

I make my own using homemade sourdough and my Big Green Egg. I get the BGE setup with the pizza stone and bring it up to about 700F for about 30 min. It then takes about 2-4 minutes to cook each pizza, and they are way better than from a pizza place. But yeah, that takes quite a bit longer than popping a frozen pizza into the oven :)

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #89 on: February 04, 2016, 09:58:50 AM »
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.
Frozen pizza is $3.50 and a fresh one is at least seven bucks, and that's Dominos (which is probably the equivalent of frozen).

I like making my own pizza/ dough, but it's definitely not a weeknight thing (get home at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6 pm).

I don't think my oven goes to 550F.  Or at least, when I've tried to go above 450F, it doesn't go well.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 10:07:53 AM by mm1970 »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14050
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #90 on: February 04, 2016, 10:03:06 AM »
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.
Frozen pizza is $3.50 and a fresh one is at least seven bucks, and that's Dominos (which is probably the equivalent of frozen).

I like making my own pizza/ dough, but it's definitely not a weeknight thing (get home at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6 pm).

See above . . . get home at 5:30, dinner at 6:10.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6869
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #91 on: February 04, 2016, 10:10:03 AM »
Quote
If I want instant food I buy pre-made food from the supermarket (e.g. Frozen pizza)

Frozen pizza has never made a lot of sense to me because it's not really any cheaper than just getting a fresh one from a pizza place....and fresh tastes so much better. I feel like pizza would be incredibly easy to do at home though, just buy some pita or naan bread and put sauce and cheese on it and bake...close enough.
Frozen pizza is $3.50 and a fresh one is at least seven bucks, and that's Dominos (which is probably the equivalent of frozen).

I like making my own pizza/ dough, but it's definitely not a weeknight thing (get home at 5:30 pm, dinner at 6 pm).

See above . . . get home at 5:30, dinner at 6:10.
You posted before I updated, ha!

My oven does not go that high, so my best bet is to "pre-bake" my dough before topping and baking (I've experimented a bunch, so if I want pizza mid-week, I have to make the crusts on the weekend).

And #2, 3 year old toddler does not allow for that whole "dough" thing between 5:30  and 6 pm, when he needs: help washing his hands, wiping his butt, playing with his toys, getting a drink, getting a snack, getting a snuggle...

Jakejake

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 716
  • FIRE: June 17, 2016
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #92 on: February 04, 2016, 10:34:39 AM »
My husband's family is local, and we have to go out to restaurants with them for all the birthdays, mother's day, etc. We're close enough we can't skip out on the obligations, but just far enough that it's not worth all of them driving separately out to our house - we're the outliers.

So I eat out with them maybe once every 5 or 6 weeks, and that's it for me, except for maybe once a year when we are traveling to see my relatives.

Going to a restaurant is just too much work for me when I'm tired from a day at work - it's always so weird to me that others go out BECAUSE they are tired. I just want to get home, take off my shoes, put on yoga pants or sweats, and throw something together and just chill on the couch while it cooks. I definitely don't want to stay dressed up, fight traffic, stand around awkwardly waiting for a table, waiting for a waiter, waiting for food, and then paying as much for the one meal as we spend for an entire month's worth of groceries. The whole process seems insane to me.

shelivesthedream

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4814
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #93 on: February 04, 2016, 10:56:16 AM »
The point about frozen pizza wasn't that it is particularly nice or that you can't make it at home or even that it's cheap. It's that restaurant food is not quick and easy - frozen pizza is. It's out of the freezer and on your plate in twenty minutes (including time to preheat the oven) and requires almost no effort. Restaurant food, on the other hand, is a lot of effort and time (see my entire post). If you really want to get all foodie  about it, feel free to make your own pizza and then freeze it.

Kaydedid

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 214
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #94 on: February 04, 2016, 11:10:57 AM »
We used to eat out a lot.  This changed when I started growing most of our own veggies and some fruit.  Even with simple cooking, there is absolutely no comparison taste-wise with what the restaurants we can afford serve.  We also get our meat in bulk from a local, organic, grass-feeding farmer and again-no comparison.  We go to a fancy restaurant once a year for our anniversary, and get something that's a pain to make at home (creme brulee, eggplant parm etc.), and will pick up fried chinese food maybe a few times per year.  Other than that, I cook anywhere from one to 5 times per week, usually making an extra meal or two each time and freezing.  I also make full, 6-8 serving meals that give us leftovers for multiple meals. Some things like stuffed peppers get made once or twice a year when peppers are in season and frozen.

tobitonic

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 549
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #95 on: February 04, 2016, 07:40:18 PM »
Indeed, and if you ask these people, they will probably also tell you that "wok hei" tends to be more difficult to achieve at home.

I have. Pretty much all of them agree that "wok hei" is nonsense.

Wait...that's not true. Many of them thought it was a great way to get people to spend money in Chinese restaurants.

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #96 on: February 04, 2016, 08:24:42 PM »
I have. Pretty much all of them agree that "wok hei" is nonsense.

Wait...that's not true. Many of them thought it was a great way to get people to spend money in Chinese restaurants.

Forget the exotic-sounding term, it is basically just a descriptor for cooking food in a wok in a manner that produces a fragrant smoky flavour in the end result. Nothing mythical about that, just not necessarily super-simple to achieve. If you want to say that this particular flavour is a figment of people's imagination, that seems pretty ridiculous to me. But if you genuinely can't taste it, then I guess it explains your posts in this thread. :)

tobitonic

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 549
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #97 on: February 04, 2016, 08:43:32 PM »
But if you genuinely can't taste it, then I guess it explains your posts in this thread. :)

This comes back to that pseudo-mysticism bit earlier. I've heard the same argument used to justify $1000 headphones, multi-thousand dollar guitars, and similar "refinement" and "subtlety" pretensions in more hobby areas than I can remember.

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #98 on: February 04, 2016, 08:51:05 PM »
But if you genuinely can't taste it, then I guess it explains your posts in this thread. :)

This comes back to that pseudo-mysticism bit earlier. I've heard the same argument used to justify $1000 headphones, multi-thousand dollar guitars, and similar "refinement" and "subtlety" pretensions in more hobby areas than I can remember.

So I'm curious. Either you haven't had a really good smoky stir-fry (quite possible if you've never been to certain countries in Asia), or your taste buds are perhaps not very sensitive. Because to me that's like saying you can't tell the difference between caramelized and non-caramelized food, or burnt and not-burnt food.

By the way the good stuff I get costs about $1 - $2... :)

limeandpepper

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4500
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Does Anyone NEVER Go Out To Eat?
« Reply #99 on: February 04, 2016, 08:55:58 PM »
I've had great stir fry

Did it have a nice charred-but-not-burnt smoky flavour?