The graph isn’t that surprising to me really, but it is sad. Our moms and grandmothers (and dads and granddads, so as not to be sexist) cooked and ate at home more than they ate out generally speaking. So what happened?
I’ve always loved to cook and to bake, but as work demanded more of my time I ate more meals that strangers prepared for me. At first, I started to pick up dinner or lunch because it was convenient: I was exhausted from long hours at work and it was just easier to not think about cooking and doing dishes. But then work became less hectic and I had more time, but I was still eating out at least 1 meal per day. It had become a habit… a bad habit… and had taken its toll on my waistline.
I believe bad habits are meant to be broken. So in the last couple of months I have been making a concerted effort to eat more at home. I have even started to pack my lunch (not every day but at least a couple times a week). I feel better. Crazy, right? Knowing what I’m eating and the mere act of creating a meal no matter how simple, makes me feel better (physically and emotionally). I feel healthier, I’m saving money, and I’m having fun :)
I know I’m not the first or the only one making this shift. There are many examples in the blogosphere like Not Eating Out in New York just to name one.
The benefits of cooking at home are numerous: it’s generally healthier, less expensive, tends to promote family time together, and you can be as green as you want to be. And with the current state of the economy as well as the size of America’s collective waistline, it is no wonder that we’re seeing more people doing things “old school”.
What do you think? Are you cooking more at home? (or have you always cooked at home?)