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7 Reasons We Prefer To Dine In March 30, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Home & Garden.
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The other day, a new acquaintance shared a list of her favorite restaurants with me, urging us to try them.  When I told her that we prefer to eat at home, she seemed surprised.

As touched upon in The Zen of Cooking, here are 7 reasons why we prefer to “dine in” rather than “going out” to eat:

1.  Healthier options and portions.   When we eat at home, we rarely eat fried foods and we tend to eat less.  Instead of downing behemoth servings of pasta served with a sprig of parsley for garnish, we eat fiber and vitamin rich foods that fill us up without filling us out.  Leftovers land in the fridge, not on our waist, hips, and thighs.

2.  No anchovies, please!  Preparing meals at home gives us control over the ingredients we use.  Instead of foods smothered in high caloric sauces or drowning in oil, we eat simply prepared fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans with no ‘shrooms, eggplants, or anchovies in sight!

3.  No waiting.  Many people view eating out as a time saver, when it rarely saves time.  We can enjoy a delicious and healthy dinner from start to finish (cooking, serving, eating, and cleaning up the leftovers) in far less time than driving to a restaurant, parking the car, waiting for a table, perusing the menu, waiting for a waiter, placing the order, waiting for the order, eating, waiting for the check, paying the check, waiting for a receipt, driving back home, and changing out of clothes that “suddenly” became too tight.

4.  No noise pollution.  Eating at home gives us  greater control over the environment.  We can choose the music, the lighting, and our dining companions,  creating an oasis of peace and quiet.  Conversation is not stilted or inhibited by loud and obnoxious cretins, crying babies, or cranky children vying for attention.

5.  We know the chef.  Our local news features a weekly segment called Dirty Dining.  The reporter goes behind the scenes in restaurants and eateries and documents . . . GROSS! . . . cockroaches and food storage issues and employees who do NOT wash their hands before touching food.  Yuck.  At home, we know the chef washed his/her hands before handling our food.

6.  Energy Savings.  Eating at home is better for the environment than making a special trip out to eat, and it results in less packaging waste from bulky styrofoam boxes used to transport leftovers.

abgott77. More for the Money.  We can  serve a delicious pasta dinner to 8 people for about $9, or just over $1 a serving:

1 lb. pasta ($1), 32 oz. spaghetti sauce  ($2), 1 lb. zucchini sautéed  with onions and peppers ($1), 1 loaf homemade Crusty Cuban  bread  ($1), salad with lettuce ($1.50), carrots ($.25), celery ($.25), red pepper ($.50), nuts, raisins, or olives ($.50), homemade Italian dressing ($1).

Ordering a similar dinner out might approach $20 per person: $12 (pasta and breadsticks) + $3 side salad + $3 tip + $1 tax = $19 per person.

Beverage not included.

Other crowd pleasing favorites that are healthy, simple to prepare, and easy on the budget include: vegetarian chilis, curries, stir fries, soups, stews, and casseroles.  For ideas and recipes:  A Month of Meatless Meals.

We do enjoy eating out once or twice a month, especially if the location adds real value to the experience (e.g., waterfront dining, gorgeous mountaintop vistas, or historical significance of the building itself ~ such as the historic taverns in Williamsburg), or the restaurant serves something we are not inclined to make at home, like . . .

Chocolate Bread Pudding “cradled by a warm bourbon sauce topped with Häagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream and a homemade chocolate crisp.”

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?  Do you prefer to dine in or eat out?  Does what you eat  depend upon where you eat?

And, on a related note, do you enjoy the journey of cooking?  Does creating in the kitchen fill you with pleasure, and allow you to relax and unwind?  Or would you rather leave the cooking to someone else?

Related posts: Holiday Parties * Top 10 Ways to Keep the Weight OFF * Lose Weight by Satisfying your True Hunger * Food & Fitness ~ Holiday Diet Tips

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 Artwork by Anne Abbgott ~ available at Island Gallery West.