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View Poll Results: How many meals/day do you prepare FROM SCRATCH on average?
0 12 9.09%
1 30 22.73%
2 45 34.09%
3 38 28.79%
4 or more 7 5.30%
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Old 12-23-2015, 01:27 PM   #41
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In this context, a reasonable definition of from scratch would include food that you wouldn't eat alone/by itself, and single ingredient items you might eat as-is (apple, milk)?

I answered 3 ... If everything at home is from scratch, we can go out to eat every other day, that rounds up to 3.
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Old 12-23-2015, 02:00 PM   #42
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We redid our kitchen while we were still working. We designed it for function not resale... So... stainless countertops, new gas range/oven plus kept the old electric wall oven (better for baking). It's an L shaped galley kitchen - so one can be prepping on one part of the L and not be in the way of the person prepping on the other. Extra plugs and spot lighting along the counter and behind the stove for when you need a mixmaster, grill, food processor, etc all going at once.

We'll be putting all the function to full use tomorrow night when we do our 7 fishes Christmas eve dinner... Everything but the shrimp platter will be from scratch.
Yeah, we were married for over 20 years before we built our own kitchen. Sheesh, what took us so long?! We used all of it (plus the Weber charcoal grill for the turkey) at Thanksgiving with two of our sons and their S.O.s were in; DW got called away for a delivery, which destroyed our timing. Endded up having 4 cooks in the kitchen for the last hour!

Objectively, the wide walkways and multiple work areas/sinks might be overkill, but when you need it, it is nice to have.
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Poll: The lost art of cooking?
Old 12-23-2015, 02:37 PM   #43
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Poll: The lost art of cooking?

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Originally Posted by Senator View Post
With all the prepackaged foods, who makes anything from scratch? They are mostly cheaper than buying individual items to make anything.

Yuk!

That stuff mostly clogs my insides with inferior tasting digestible product.


Fwiw, I try to make my food from ingredients that are as near to the way nature made them as possible within reason. The problem with many prepackaged and convenience foods is their lack of flavor (other than sugar and salt) and nutritional composition. But, there is a time and place for convenience foods and restaurant foods. To each his/her own.
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Old 12-23-2015, 02:53 PM   #44
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BTW, I had to eat at Olive Garden when traveling the other night (long story - was the only thing open nearby when I arrived late night). That stuff is SWILL! Totally inedible. Reminds me of how nasty some restaurant food can be. Manager asked me how my meal was and I politely told her. Guess cuz I was nice about it she wound up comping my entire meal..pretty thoughtful!
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We won't eat there either. I did eat there once or twice when traveling for work. But now that Frank and I are retired, with all the time in the world, we try to avoid national chains like that because our experience with them is always pretty substandard.
And yet it's one of the most popular restaurants chains around. The one near us is crowded every day/all day. In 20 years, we've probably eaten there 3 times, 2 of them because of a gift card. Robot service, only moderately clean, huge portions of mediocre quality food, and not surprisingly enormous customers (and I don't mean tall). We've noticed the latter is a characteristic of several restaurants we don't care for, Red Robin is another example...
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Old 12-23-2015, 03:01 PM   #45
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I would rather
my Italian friends think I was a Mafia hit man who cheats little old ladies out of their social security dollars than somebody who eats at Olive Garden. Same goes for all of those fake Italian pizza places and such. Ugh!


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Poll: The lost art of cooking?
Old 12-23-2015, 03:13 PM   #46
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Poll: The lost art of cooking?

I'm not a cook - I grill and smoke. DW can cook when she wants to. We've been gluten free for the past few months, making meals a challenge. I generally eat oatmeal and toast for breakfast, and chicken, steak, fruits and vegetables the rest of the day.


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Old 12-23-2015, 03:38 PM   #47
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And yet it's one of the most popular restaurants chains around. The one near us is crowded every day/all day. In 20 years, we've probably eaten there 3 times, 2 of them because of a gift card. Robot service, only moderately clean, huge portions of mediocre quality food, and not surprisingly enormous customers (and I don't mean tall). We've noticed the latter is a characteristic of several restaurants we don't care for, Red Robin is another example...
DW and I used to eat there fairly regularly. Macaroni Grill, too. Back "in the day" they USED to make edible / fairly decent food. But, like everything seems to be nowadays, it's all about maximizing profit (sadly) and serving things you wouldn't feed your dog with.

I'm far from a food "snob" though I AM a foodie. I don't even have WORDS to describe how bad this meal at Olive Garden was. I mean - who in the world eats this stuff?!

Maybe I'm just spoiled from all of the "from scratch" meals we cook (eg: we can our own pasta sauce from fresh grown Roma tomatoes, onions and lots of spices, grind our own wheat, cook amazing, "Ruth Chris" quality steaks on our BGE, etc), but the quality of restaurant food has become just north of things we feed our animals, IMHO. Really disappointing and just another example of how "cheap" our entire society has become - hey, it's all in the name of "maximizing PROFIT - quality be damned!". (I could make a KILLING if I opened a restaurant that served food like we eat at home..)

Good to know where I'll be saving money in RE..if we go out, it's going to be small, local, family run businesses. No national chains. Blech.
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Old 12-23-2015, 03:45 PM   #48
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PS: Amazingly, I have found a few "Lean Cusine" meals that are basically edible (and FAR north of Olive Garden quality) for a couple of bucks per serving that are pretty decent..

The Penne Chicken and Pasta with the apples is actually edible. And about $2.50 per serving, a decent value.

Sad to say, the $2.50 Lean Cuisine DESTROYED the Olive Garden meal at 10X the price (had I needed to pay).

If I had more cajones, I'd open an amazing restaurant in Retirement. National chains wouldn't scare me one iota, as I'd be serving (actually edible) food at a good value..

To that point - has anyone eaten MOD pizza? One opened near us, and this was my #1 idea.."build your own pizza" from fresh ingredients. They have a good price point, but WOW is that bad food. STAGGERINGLY bad. Makes Olive Garden look like Ruth Chris by comparison.

It truly is amazing what people will shell out hard earned $$s for. I think I'm on to something here. Time to open a restaurant that actually serves gourmet food at a fair price point..
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:09 PM   #49
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If I had more cajones, I'd open an amazing restaurant in Retirement. National chains wouldn't scare me one iota, as I'd be serving (actually edible) food at a good value..
Wow! I bet no one else has thought of that idea!
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:10 PM   #50
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I would rather my Italian friends think I was a Mafia hit man who cheats little old ladies out of their social security dollars than somebody who eats at Olive Garden. Same goes for all of those fake Italian pizza places and such. Ugh!
The in-laws will gather there once or twice a year. Definitely not my idea of 'fine dining', but I guess I've been lucky - I've had a few entrees that I actually thought were reasonably good. My expectations were low as well, but still, it was OK. But nothing like a 'real' Italian restaurant.

We also went to a Red Robin recently - heck, I thought their burgers were very good. Again, just a simple burger, not 'fine dining', but I don't think they claim to be anything but. I'd definitely go back, though we don't go to places like that often.

Most meals at home. Lunch is almost always leftovers. One, maybe two meals a week can be made from leftovers, sometimes transformed into a different dish.

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Old 12-23-2015, 04:12 PM   #51
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I still work and am not married. Even with full time work and house maintenance, I still manage to eat mostly non packaged food. I keep things simple and ready to go.
Breakfast: eggs fried in a little butter with spinach. Glass of homemade kefir with berries and flaxseed.
Lunch: easy to pack salad: salad greens, tuna or cooked diced chicken, a little dressing or mayo
Dinner: stir fry veggies (cut up on weekends) with steak, chicken, or fish. Or a crockpot chili. Or grilled meat and veggies on the George Foreman. Or a pasta dish made on the weekend.
If it is tasty I generally have no problem eating the same meal several days in a row. So cooking something in the crockpot, or a lasagna or the like, on the weekend, then freezing it in portions, works well for me. The key is to always have something ready to whip out of the fridge when I come home tired and cold from work. I can have dinner ready in about 20 minutes.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:14 PM   #52
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I said "1" meal per day but maybe that is a stretch.

Breakfast at home is almost always cooked cereal (oatmeal, cream of buckwheat or cream of wheat) topped with manuka honey and either fresh or dried fruit.

Lunch is generally a salad (greens, olives, jarred artichokes/roasted red peppers, avocado if I have it plus Italian tuna packed in olive oil or Portuguese sardines or diced leftover chicken or turkey). I make my own simple dressings but also like Good Seasons zesty Italian. Sometimes I just have a can of Progresso soup or a Lean Cuisine (my fave is stuffed cabbage roll with whipped potatoes) or Amy's frozen entree (tofu vegetable lasagne). I also like plain yogurt topped with fresh fruit and manuka honey.

I do cook my solitary dinner a couple of times a week and make enough for leftovers. Favorites are shrimp/veg stir fry with steamed rice, broiled fish with rice and kimchi (kimchi is store-bought), omelets or a baked potato topped with sour cream and a spoonful of caviar. I am on a bean kick right now and one of my favorite recipes is a pot of Rancho Gordo beans simmered with sauteed onion, garlic, a tomato, carrots, celery and herbs. I ate lunch out in Pittsburgh today at Curry on Murray (pumpkin curry) so tonight I think I will have a tuna sam and some Prosecco while I watch the evening news.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:16 PM   #53
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I answered 3 because we do cook a lot. But I probably should have answered 2 because we sometimes eat out and also sometimes are lazy or in a hurry and bake a frozen pizza or cook up a bag meal for dinner.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:22 PM   #54
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Wow! I bet no one else has thought of that idea!
Ummm..not sure what your point is. OF COURSE many people open restaurants. Duh. The POINT is that National Chains are often horrid, and there's a LOT of money to be made coming up with a better product.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:25 PM   #55
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T

We also went to a Red Robin recently - heck, I thought their burgers were very good. Again, just a simple burger, not 'fine dining', but I don't think they claim to be anything but. I'd definitely go back, though we don't go to places like that often.

-ERD50
Agreed. The one or two times we went to a Red Robin, it was decent. Not Ruth Chris, but not Olive Garden either.

We love eating out. I just wish there was more "decent" / worth it than the swill that seems to be the norm nowdays.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:30 PM   #56
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From a RE perspective, learning to cook halfway well can mean ~$240K in your pocket over 10 years. ($50/dinn, 4X / month * 10 years). AND, you'll eat a heck of a lot better in our experience..

I love to cook and am glad we can keep our expenses down in RE.
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Old 12-23-2015, 04:45 PM   #57
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Virtually everything from scratch. Though I guess we do use some processed foods (spaghetti sauce, noodles from a box, canned/jarred olives, condiments, already made hummus instead of chickpeas and tahini, etc).

Menu today:

Brunch: leftover homemade pizza (homemade dough, homemade pizza sauce, store bought pepperoni, sausage, sliced onions, olives from a can, grated whole milk mozzarella).

Dinner: Pho (water, pork shoulder blade bone plus a good bit of meat, reconstituted dried mushrooms from the Orient, pho cubes, hoison sauce, beef paste, tadang chili paste, thai chili paste, srirachi, fresh (then frozen and defrosted) lime juice, home grown kafir lime leaves, thai basil, cilantro, rice pho noodles)

We spent much of the day at the indoor water park, so I packed the kids a light lunch of PBJ on wheat and mandarin oranges (aka the easy to peel baby oranges).

Snack later? Maybe brie, it's about to go bad. With wheat thin crackers and whine (till the kids go to bed, then wine).

We'll occasionally buy frozen packaged food if it's substantially cheaper than making from scratch and it looks interesting (on clearance at Aldi for example). Otherwise, it's almost always something cooked from scratch at home. Sushi, pasta + red or white sauce, tacos/enchiladas/burritos, pork bbq, curries, stir fry, pho, pad thai, and salads are all pretty typical meals here. "American" food is relatively rare but we also enjoy it, just not as much as all the other stuff.

Most of our restaurant spending is on 2 things:

1. pizza from a chain, usually Domino's or Papa Johns and usually at a price of $0-6 per large pizza by using a couple of deals stacked up. It's just not that much more expensive than the ingredients themselves ($2 worth of cheese, $1 worth of pepperoni, $0.50 worth of dough ingredients, $0.25 worth of sauce, say $4).

2. Chinese take out from the buffet a block down the street. $5 gets a steaming tray full of pot sticker dumplings that would cost at least $3-4 if we bought them frozen and cooked ourselves (and those aren't as good as the ones from the restaurant, though I'm 99% sure they come frozen in a bag and not homemade). That's enough to feed DW and I if the kids are at school or away. $11-13 gets a plate slammed to near-breaking point with rounded piles of chicken, steak, and potstickers to feed the whole family. While one of us walks up to get the take out, the other is in the kitchen making some stir fry or steamed veggies and fresh lo mein, and the rice is already cooked (rice cooker). We get the expensive (and greasy!) meat and dumplings from the restaurant and make relatively healthy rice, noodles, and veggies at home (without much of the oil).

FYI I don't consider myself a foodie at all (and in fact think very little of the species). I just like to eat food that tastes good with bold flavors. Skip the garnish, fancy names, and just give me the main dish so I can eat.
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:05 PM   #58
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We eat only 2 meals a day, and we make them ourselves.

No, we do not raise our own chicken for eggs, or cure our own bacon. And I do use canned tomatoes for cooking as they are picked ripe for immediate canning compared to the fresh tomatoes that are picked green. I also do not make my own pasta, and my wife uses frozen philo dough, or frozen pie crust, etc...

However, I do grow a small fraction of the vegetable and herb that we consume.

The above said, in the pantry I do have a few cans of chili, Campbell soup, and even ramen noodles for the times I do not feel like cooking. But you will not find any frozen microwaveable meals in our fridges.
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:09 PM   #59
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And speaking of the "lost art" of cooking, I do not think it is true. Same as book reading, some people read a lot of books, while others read none. One can see on the Web and on youtube so much info and so many recipes and blogs about cooking. So, there are still many foodies who are into cooking, while many others eat out or just microwave packaged meals. Society just becomes more polarized.
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Old 12-23-2015, 05:13 PM   #60
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We just finished, (about four meals worth), a batch of vegetarian burritos I made, (although a lot of the ingredients, beans/tortillas/tomatoes, etc, are 'preprepared').

One thing we make, a couple times a month, is our own pizza....(although we don't mill the flour):



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