Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Cooking versus Going Out

It's no secret that I like to cook. I'm also pretty good at it, for a DIY home chef. My wife is even better and can not only cook, but bake her ass off.

All leads to great things. My kids are totally spoiled on their diets. They have no idea how many of their friends are living on chicken tenders and frozen pizza. Not that we don't eat those, because Lord knows we do, but they are not our primary meals.

It also hurts in a way. I'm not a cheapskate when it comes to going out to dinner, but since we can cook really anything we want, it makes me really ache to spend money on meals that are not a decent "value". 

If you want just an egg, some bacon, and toast, you can cook it at home for like $1. If you're out and about, though, there's nothing wrong with going to Waffle House. Cheap, perfectly fine breakfast food, cooked by a real life person on a real life grill. Those fancy brunch places, on the other hand, would charge $12 for 2 eggs and 6 strawberries. Once again, perfectly fine food, plated prettier and a nicer atmosphere than the awful waffle, but I cannot stand to spend $12 on a couple eggs. That's a terrible value!

If I want a steak, I can buy prime aged steak at the shop for around $30 a pound. If I want just regular, unaged stuff, I can buy that for way cheaper at any grocery. I can grill a pretty damn fine steak with whatever rub I want on it, or no rub at all. Even at the highest end, I would spend less than $50 for us to eat an amazing damn steak dinner at home. That's a value. If I go to an actual NICE steak house (not some loud-ass Longhorn place with peanut buckets), you're easily looking at 4x that amount. Sure, they are very nice places to go, you might see come local celebrities, and the atmosphere is cool. But my God I cannot piss money away like that on a simple piece of beef. I could even take that $200, eat at a local Mexican joint with margaritas until I gain 10 lb and have to call an Uber home, and I would have $100 left in my pocket...and I would have an equivalently good time.

BBQ joints. I can make very good pulled pork, ribs, smoked chicken, etc., at home. I've gotten to be pretty damn good at it, enough that I would be willing to put it side-by-side with anyone. Doesn't mean I'd win, but it's at least comparable. But will I go to a barbecue joint? YES! Because it takes time and effort, and the stuff at Webb's or Eli's or whatever here in Cinci is comparable to mine, but I don't have to do the work! It's not an 8 minute broil like a t-bone.

Here's another. I've eaten to the Orchid at the Palms, a very nice fine dining place here in Cinci. Jenny and I had the 5-course meal, which the chef prepares the menu nightly for, so you don't really pick your food. Each course had a wine pairing and a sommelier described and poured it. Grand total: $300 for a 2 hour meal. AND IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY! I cannot make the stuff the chef made, nor can I have that level of service at my house. That IS A VALUE!

As you can see, I'm not cheap, but knowing how to cook keeps me from pissing my money away on places that provide me no value compared to what I can do at home. On a Saturday night, particularly if it's nice out, give me my grill, some meat and veg to cook on it, and a six pack. It's the best deal of them all.

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Cooking versus Going Out

It's no secret that I like to cook. I'm also pretty good at it, for a DIY home chef. My wife is even better and can not only cook, b...