I live in a tourist town, so I’ve access to many wonderful restaurants for fine dining, as well as many mom and pop diners. I have friends, who also live here, who swear by Blue Apron and other fresh meal delivery services, while many others eat out almost every meal.
Our condominium was built in 1965. The GE electric ranges, now over four decades old, are still going strong! The only reason I replaced mine, I was tired of lifting a full casserole dish above my noggin to reach the upper oven. Having a bottom oven of a real stove works so much better! The reason these stoves still work so well is most weekenders and vacationers ate most of their meals in restaurants.
Many of my friends believe eating out is as cost effective as buying groceries. The same holds true for my friends who buy the fresh meal delivery services. Cost is one way of looking at your food. Value is another.
Value includes not only the cost, but also the quality of the food, it’s healthfulness, but also if it was grown responsibly and if the farmer got a fair price for it. (I’m big on this last part, having a nephew in the organic farming business.)
In CORNIE’S KITCHEN, I’m also for the largest portions for the least amount of money. My mother was always trying to fill up the “hollow legs” of us growing children with real food. She had a degree in home economics, which sounds quaint and old fashioned today, but it was the science of home health for intelligent young women of her day.
The top photo is Cornie’s spaghetti sauce with baby spinach. This is very filling. You won’t need garlic bread, unless you have a man sized appetite. Ladies who don’t exercise won’t eat this much. It sticks to your ribs.
The question of expense varies. A fast food meal may average only $6 per person, but the value is so low because of the high fat, carb and sodium contents, it’s too unhealthy to make a consistent habit to pursue. Eating in restaurants may be a tad better, if you practice portion control and bring home half the meal in a doggie bag. Otherwise, overeating makes this a poor choice. This can make an $18 tab into a credit card bill for the next size of clothing. I once had a daily doughnut habit that sent me twice in one year to Dillard’s for my expansive tastes.
I believe in the restorative power of real food, cooked in real time, for real people, and shared together. Our families are our first communities. Here we learn to speak our piece and learn to keep our peace. We can share our hopes, our dreams, our pains, our schemes, and our stumbles around the ones who care for us best. Around food prepared with love, we can lift one another up through the hard times, until the times are good again.
When I go to the grocery store, I get to touch the food. I can select the best pieces. While I no longer have my family at home any more, I carry on the tradition of selecting the best, for I’m still worthy of care. I still have others to love and to encourage. I take care of myself so I can take care of the friends who visit in my kitchen. The value of grocery shopping for me is the privilege of small talking with others as I navigate the aisles. You can’t put a cost or price on that.