Driving down Highway 9 in downtown Alpharetta the other evening, I noticed that the parking lots were packed like a bunch of sardines in a can. Restaurants are popping up one by one as weeds would in the front of our yards. Crust, Salt, Pure, and others are all just a stones throw away from one another. Since this wasn’t a Saturday night, I gave pause for a moment to contemplate whether anyone in Atlanta actually cooks anymore. Have the kid’s sporting events, hectic work schedules, and brain overload just made us all say screw it and just give in to the fact that it is easier to just go out and eat?
With our family of five, I’ve noticed that even taking out casual fare restaurant food can run $50 to $60. Go out to a middle of the road type restaurant and you are talking $70 to $90 with basic fountain drinks. Add in a couple of appetizers, a glass of wine, and dessert and you could be reaching $100 for a family of five. Dining out and entertainment expenses have become a blurred line in the family budgeting process because of so many new places treating food like art. I’ll bet if you really read your credit and debit card statements, you are spending more than $1,000 a month on eating out between take out food, lunches, and dinners. Is that really possible?
Yes, it is very possible. But why is it that we really don’t cook at home as much anymore? I’m sure there are many answers, but the simple truth I have come down to centers around one four letter word . . . W-O-R-K. I’m not sure if they have done a study yet about the average amount of time a family watches cooking on television and the amount of time they actually spend cooking, but my guess is that the television hours could actually outweigh the actual cooking.
These shows can get you excited to make something you have never seen before in your life, but you would relish the opportunity to make at home. Then you realize that you’ll need fifteen ingredients, three hours of time, and some new cookware to actually make the dish happen. It is that moment when you begin to ask yourself whether or not there is a local restaurant that may serve that particular dish and you can just go there to try it out. No preparation. No W-O-R-K. No clean up.
Yeah, there are those of you that love cooking or grilling and you might do it once or twice a week, but it’s fading fast and only going to fade more in our futures. Given the ever shrinking amount of time we have in our lives and the ever growing W-O-R-K it will take us to make the dish we just saw on Chopped, there is only a preponderance of evidence that we will continue to eat out in record numbers.