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No, we have that at home already

When I was very young, I would ask my mother to buy me Mc Donalds. Her response was, no, we have that at home already. She was really saying, I could make a better homemade burger. Kind of like the old Eddie Murphy bit…right. Here’s my point. Can you make it better at home? Have your culinary skills exceeded what’s available from the restaurants you can afford to eat in? Or, do you just prefer your own food?

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  1. This topic has been eating at me for some time now. I have some family members that are a terror to take out to eat, because they believe they can make it better. I tend to think they really just like thier own food!! Personally, I very seldom get pasta , of any kind, becasue most places over cook and just pour sauce over top.

    I think the more you know or pay attention to food, the harder it is to go out to eat. THe personal touch just might be present at restaurants. I love going to eat , for the experience as a whole not just the food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Augie6

      Yes, it’s nice to be pampered. I get disappointed more than impressed with most restaurants. It’s hard to listen to people criticize the food their eating. It takes the fun out of it. I just drink more wine until it all taste fine.

    2. I feel that way about most “run of the mill” Italian restaurants, most of all the chains. Like the previous poster, the pasta just isn’t right and I can do better on my own. I’m a pretty darn good cook, so yeah, I really do like my own food but there’s ethnic dishes that I don’t even attempt on my own, so we opt to go out for those… and anything fried always tasted better to me when someone else is doing the cooking. (out of sight out of mind, if someone else is doing the frying there’s much less guilt)

      10 Replies
      1. re: cgarner

        and AND! someone else is doing the cleaning after.

        1. re: hill food

          My mother used to say that she would cook for anyone, if they did all the cleaning. She would later say that if someone did all of the shopping, cutting, AND cleaning, then, she would cook anything for anyone.

          Now hat I cook, I completely understand.

          1. re: DougRisk

            I wonder if people who dislike cleaning up after a meal ever consider a distraction to entertain themselves while they are doing the 'dirty work.'

            It doesn't make work easier. But the time goes fast, and one could call it multi-tasking if that's your thang.

            1. re: Rella

              I think it is more of the, "Ugh, the walk back home is UP hill...damn".

                1. re: sunshine842

                  Maybe media of any sort you like; i.e., TV, video player, radio, music of any sort into your clean-up space.

                  If one has kids or grandkids, bring them to the kitchen while you are cleaning up and you-all can chat and they can entertain you.

                  Keep a laptop or notepad in the kitchen and write down all the kitchen notes or other notes you are thinking about as you work.

                  Take a minute out to make a phone call you don't want to make, come back to the clean-up, and you will be musing about your phone call and not thinking about your clean-up, as you will be doing it by rote.

                  Admire the beauty outside your window. If you pray, pray or think something inspirational while you work.

                  Create another mess while you are cleaning up; i.e., make something special, do a mis en place for another meal....

                  Try not to think about "getting out of the kitchen."

                2. re: Rella

                  I like to dishes first thing in the morning when I'm waiting for the coffee to brew. I do a pick up after dinner, but leave the dishes til morning when my brain isn't awake enough to really care what the heck I'm doing. And yes, it helps me wake up too.

                  1. re: cosmogrrl

                    I tend to let them wait, too -- because especially after we've had company, I'm tired...and being clumsy by nature, it's a lot cheaper for me to clean up in the morning!

              1. re: cgarner

                >>>anything fried always tasted better to me when someone else is doing the cooking.
                I'd so much rather not fry. I don't *deep* fry anything at all, but I also hate the mess regular pan-frying sometimes makes.

              2. There are some things I don't get when we go out because I like the way I make it better. Mainly pasta dishes and some types of soups. Also, I never order dessert. It isn't that my culinary skills exceed what's available, it's just that I make those things exactly how we like them. The recipes I use have been tweaked and tailored to our tastes.

                1. I can make a better burger at home (and I'm no culinary master), but can only come close on the french fries

                  1. For me and my family it's more about ordering something NEW. I may or may not make it better than a restaurant but if I'm paying someone to feed me I want to be surprised and happy about trying a new version, new way to eat the food.

                    1. I eat dinner out a handful of times a year, and rarely make it at home, but one thing I won't order at a restaurant is lobster. The few times I've tried it's been overcooked. Why pay the $ when it's so simple to cook for a quarter of the cost?

                      1. I just prefer my own food. I never eat bread at a restaurant because I make my own bread, so I control the flour I use. Usually I will order seafood in a restaurant, mainly because of the mess it saves me. I always have to tell them to make sure my seafood is cooked through and this annoys me - for whatever reason.
                        My spouse will order a steak because of the mess it saves him.

                        We will go to 5 guys for a hamburger, because we don't make hamburgers at home, but I wish for a better bun.

                        1. As much as I do love to cook, it just takes an emotional, financial burden on me. My roomies almost never, ever, buy groceries. I'm dumping, sometimes 150 bucks a week on groceries, and, sometimes I just want to quit fighting it.

                          Why cook/buy for a lot of work/money when I can just go to a China Buffet and eat for ten bucks?

                          Well, that's a bad example, I love chinese food, and I can't make it nearly as good as they do. And, yes, I can make a better burger than most of the places around me, but, because I levvy all of the cost and labour myself, it is just as cheap to go to Denny's.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Aramek

                            You are speaking the truth!!! Hitting the local specials in my areas I can eat for about the same cost as buying all the materials

                            I use to love cooking for the roomates, but just got to be expensive and tiresome

                          2. I eat out fairly often (2-3 times a week). I enjoy cooking too but there are a lot of things that trained, talented chefs/cooks do a lot better than I do, particularly (but not limited to) cuisines I'm not overly familiar with cooking-wise.

                            I think geography plays a role here. I live in Cambridge with dozens of terrific options within a 15 minute walk. When I visit relatives in Florida I generally prefer we stay in and cook because I'm often disappointed by the quality of the restaurants where they live.

                            1. Yes I'm pretty sure that as with my mother she was saying "I could make a better one" but I'm also certain she's saying in a nice way for our child-like ears "we can't afford to".

                              For the question, can I make it better than the restaurants I can afford to eat in? Absolutely, though in some instances (e.g. pho) it's not worth it since the time and quantities required to get it right essentially overshoot the cost of the bowl in the first place.

                              Do I prefer my own? Yes and no - I don't mind going out to eat something that I can make myself (convenience, being on the road etc). What I do mind is when the restaurant blows the dish that I order, especially if it's something like the doneness of meat.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: wattacetti

                                "we can't afford to".
                                Probably true. I think my mother was also saying I’m not going to pay for crap. I wish we had In-N-Out burger in No Cal back then. Their they only hamburger I crave besides my own now day’s.

                              2. I think I have decent cooking skills and we grew up very frugal. Eating out was definitely a treat. Now that I'm in a fortunate position to be able to eat out more frequently, I find that generally when we go out out to eat, we look for things I can't easily cook at home. Living in Los Angeles, we're fortunate to be surrounded by a wide variety of choices from various cultures. Many of them very inexpensive.

                                I prefer my own food when it comes to straight forward dishes such as steaks, stews, braises, roasts or pastas. But something like a pho or mole or anything of that sort, I'm going out for it.

                                1. I'll often order deep fried foods, as I never deep fry at home. We'll often go to cuisines or foods I don't or can't take the trouble to make at home; like gyros or al pastor tacos. When we eat Chinese, my wife invaribly says mine is better, Mexican too. We hit a lot of Thai and Vietnamese places. We often go for ethnic foods we have a "yen" for.

                                  I never order what I know I cook well.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    That is exactly how we do it. I cook healthy most of the time, seasonal foods, I pay for perfection in specialty ingredients, I master technique, etc.

                                    I will go out for "junk food" or food that I would never make at home. I will never put the effort into mastering a deep fried chicken chimichanga... so that is what I order at an Americanized Mexican restaurant....everytime.

                                  2. We eat out infrequently for because we like our own cooking so much and hate to spend good money on mediocre. We never go out for fast food and I do go out for lunch with girlfriends--salad, sandwich at restaurant where you could order a glass of wine or beer if you wanted. When I go out I tend to order those things I don't do at home for various reasons--duck confit, something with a complicated sauce--but almost never order Italian food because I never find it equal to mine.

                                    1. This is why I don't eat at chain restaurants unless I have to. I really can make it much better at home. I don't want to eat out unless it's better than what I could make, or so fiddly I wouldn't bother unless I had a lot of kitchen helpers to help with all the components of the dish (anything in the French Laundry cookbook, for example).

                                      1. Well, yes, it is always on my mind. I am an excellent cook and enjoy cooking *all the time* and it never fails to grab my goat to go out and spend $50 per person for a meal I could easily (and with great pleasure) cook at home for a fraction of the price.

                                        In general, the two categories of restaurants that are worth it, money wise, are the ethnic restaurants where I'm not familiar with the cuisine, and very high end restaurants where we pay not only for the food but for the setting and service (and the food will also be terrific itself, very high end restaurant cooking is something not easily done at home). But as for all the midrange, $20-$30 an entree type place, I only go there to have a good evening with family and friends.

                                        1. i will order anything l know i like, anywhere, whether I know I can make it well or not, because a) i like going out to eat and tasting someone else's take on the dish/ingredient, and b) i might learn something. i love everything about going out to dinner - being served, having nice wine, people-watching, reading menus, and trying good food. even if i'm disappointed, i'm glad i at least tried it. we eat at home 85% of the time - so i'm really happy to go out and try someone else's inspirations.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            I'm with mariacarmen. Also, somehow it always tastes different if you don't cook it yourself. I don't know why but I think it's true!

                                          2. I would say that my cooking is better than a lot of what is served at restaurants, particularly at more affordable places. For some cuisines or dishes this is more noticeable than others - soups, for example, or pastas, where I'm often disappointed.

                                            I do tend to go out for things that are not easily made at home. I can make great fish and chips, for example, but it''s a lot of work, and it makes the kitchen all greasy. So if there's a decent place to go to buy it, I'll let someone else clean up. Or for sushi, where it's tricky to get good enough ingredients and enough variety to do it well at home (note that by sushi I'm thinking of raw fish, rather than things like California rolls which are pretty easy to do at home).

                                            Quite often going out is a social activity - hanging out with friends having a nice pub meal and a beer or two, which wouldn't be the same sort of thing as hanging out in my living room after cooking all afternoon.

                                            Then there are meals where I could make each individual item no problem, but would have difficulty making eight or nine different dishes for a complete meal. I'm thinking of things like a fancy Chinese meal where you order a number of dishes. The restaurant is set up for this, my kitchen isn't.

                                            Restaurants are also good when you want to try a new cuisine that you don't know much about (or can't get ingredients for easily). They're also good when you want to eat in courses without having to stop and go back to cooking every 15 minutes.

                                            As others have said, restaurants are not just about eating the food, it's also about the experience around it.

                                            1. For the record, that "home burger vs McDonald's" comedy bit was done by Bill Cosby in the mid-1960s, not Eddie Murphy. Unless Murphy stole --- er, recycled it.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: BobB

                                                Eddie Murphy had a riff about "welfare burgers" on his Raw album in the 80s.

                                                You can find a transcript here: http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_sc...

                                                Search for the word "hamburger" -- it's about 3/4 of the way down the page.

                                                1. re: BobB

                                                  I guess he stole it. He did a good job with it....check it out


                                                2. My feelings echo many of the comments here. My wife and I love to cook and take pride in what we make. Because we enjoy cooking so much, we really dont go out that often.
                                                  I rarely go out for Italian food. I find it very easy to make at home and I can control the quality and portion size. I don't even remember the last time I went to an Italian place. Same is true with Mexican food, although I will hit a taqueria once in a blue moon for the more "exotic" cuts of meat. As others have said, we go out for ethnic foods, including sushi, although we have been doing sushi at home more and more because high quality nigiri is so expensive. For us, there are diners and other inexpensive restaurants we frequent, and then there are the splurges for top notch food. Its the $75-$100 dinner for 2 where I am almost always disappointed.

                                                  1. My Mother used to say that to me as well, and as it says above, I think she really was saying either "We can't afford it" or "I'm not paying for that crap".

                                                    Personally, I love going out to eat. I enjoy the ritual of dressing up and going out, or just not having to cook. I don't order things that I can make at home for the most part, but some dishes can be very complicated and somehow they taste better when someone else makes them. Some things like certain French dishes, prime rib, fried foods, and ethnic dishes. And like others said, i learn things by tasting others cooking. I'm always analyzing what I'm eating, so as to improve my own cooking.

                                                    Plus then I don't have to clean up. That's worth a few pennies to me.

                                                    1. I'm on a limited budget these days, so getting meals out isn't a frequent event. When I go, I almost always go for food that I don't generally make at home. So, yes, I choose restaurants that do what I can't.

                                                      1. I'm the only one in my house who likes risotto and I can't make a single or double serving of it, so I order that out. I also will order anything so labor-intensive (either in the cooking and/or the clean-up processes) that I just don't make it...baklava, for example, or anything requiriing deep frying. I also will eat at restaurants whose cuisines require ingredients that I don't ordinarily have at home..such as Thai, Indian, or Japanese.
                                                        I think it's more annoying when you go to a restaurant, and are suddenly hankering for something that you DO make at home. We went out the other day and all I felt like eating was grilled salmon...which we have at home all the time. But I wanted it, so I had it again.

                                                        1. I used to hear that too but my mother really was a better cook than what any restaurant could offer so we only wanted to eat "fast food" for the fun of it.

                                                          Now, that I'm doing the cooking, I love to eat out, especially since at home, I tend to overdue the low fat, low salt, low sugar...blah blah. I ruin a lot of good recipes!

                                                          When I eat out, I indulge and just have a great time. Although, with that said, it would be good if restaurants cut back on some of the salt, I puff up a lb a day when on vacation.

                                                          1. I just cooked a bag of frozen sweet potato fries for dinner... okay, that's not a very good example because it's a prepared food and all I did was open the bag and toss it in the oven. But I bought them because I've had a huge yen for the sweet potato fries from a takeout place near us, and I didn't want to spend the money - if I went there I'd drop four bucks for the fries and ten bucks for a sandwich and three bucks for a drink etc. Next time I want them I'll go there and just buy a basket of freshly deep-fried sweet potato fries...

                                                            I don't like eating out in the sort of places we can afford to eat in, because I can cook the same food far better and far cheaper for myself. We can't afford to eat in the restaurants that I'd really LIKE to visit! But there's food and food. Last week we had takeout Chinese for Easter. It was pretty horrible. This week we had a meatlover's pizza and a salad from a good pizza place. It cost exactly the same price as the Chinese but tasted worlds better.