I remember several years ago I went to a conference out of town with a couple of coworkers. One of them (Coworker A) had children while Coworker B did not (although she has since become a parent). Coworker B had a nasty habit of eating out several times a week with her husband (not surprisingly, Coworker B had trouble budgeting). While we were discussing this, Coworker A commented, “Well, for just the two of you it probably costs less to just eat out than to cook.” Of course, I kept my mouth shut. I don’t fancy getting into disagreements with others…..but I doubt I’d keep my mouth shut now. Even then, though, I knew it wasn’t true.
Last year a large chain of casual dining restaurants ran a special…2 entrées plus dessert for $20 or something. Their marketing campaign? It costs too much to cook for two people. Come to our restaurant.
I almost fell off my couch when I saw this. Really? Are you kidding me? I mean, look. I have those nights. You know those nights? Those nights when you had a lovely coq au vin or steak Béarnaise planned (obviously I am being facetious. Not even I really cook like that. Especially on weeknights.) and you just can’t do it so you go out to eat. But you know what? If you’re going to do it, call it what it is. You don’t feel like cooking. It happens. You are not saving money.
Anyway, I do get how cooking for two people is frustrating. Of course I do. I’ve been cooking for two for more than eleven years, after all. I learned to cook as a teenager when my mom wouldn’t get home until 6:30 or 7:00 most nights so I would often make dinner for the family. Usually it was something like spaghetti, tacos, or a roast, and there were usually four of us eating (my dad was a long-haul trucker back in those days so he wasn’t generally home during the week). As a college student I would buy bags of frozen chicken and just thaw what I needed…or I would eat ramen or cereal or something from the University Center. When Philip and I started dating, I wanted to cook for him….but I had no idea where to begin.
I recall the first time that I cooked him a meal. I made lasagna….a whole 13×9 pan of it. I knew no other way, and it never occurred to me to make a smaller batch than what my mom would normally make for our family of five (and by that time, it was actually our family of 6 or 7 because my uncle, who has Down syndrome, lived with us, and my grandfather would eat with us on many Sunday nights). I wonder what happened to the uneaten lasagna….I’d be willing to bet most of it was thrown in the trash.
I recall that the first two cookbooks I ever purchased for myself were “cooking for two” cookbooks…and they were terrible. I never made a single meal out of either of them, and I think I eventually gave them away. Trying to choose something to cook out of a different cookbook was daunting, though…..most of the recipes made at least 4 servings, and why would I want to cook that much (apparently I had never heard of leftovers?).
I’ve gotten over this phobia. Don’t fall for the hype-it’s not cheaper to eat out. Not even at Krystal. I’ve learned to eat leftovers. Or freeze my leftovers. Or only cook half. Need help? Just ask!