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Resturant vs Homecooked

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Growing up, anyone enjoy a dish that you've had out but not so much your Mom's home-cooked version? Generally my Mom wasn't much for recreating dishes that we would have out at a restaurant but when she did decide she liked something, heaven help us all when she would give it a go. My mom would improvise more out of wanting to save time not because finances dictated and as a result taste was the first sacrificed. There were several dishes she butchered but my most vivid memory was her attempts with cooking Jambalaya. Not wishing to shop for the sausage needed or the shrimp, my mom was ok with subbing hotdogs and fish sticks. Needless to say my sister and I stopped making too many happy noises when we'd try something out least my mother try to recreate her "version". I'm interested in your experiences....

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  1. <my mom was ok with subbing hotdogs and fish sticks>

    Ha ha ha.

    Well, in general, home cooked dishes are "less salty, less fat, and less sugar" than restaurant dishes. Whenever I recreate restaurant dishes, I find out how much salt, sugar or fat, they add to the dishes.

    Back to childhood, my mom didn't usually recreate dishes, though my dad did. My mom was the usual home cook, but my dad cooked once a long while. He actually was able to recreate many restaurant dishes to decent effects. He just take very long time to do so. He would start in the late morning or early noon to create the dinner.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      your lucky to have both parents interested in cooking. My mom didn't care for cooking and has been less so as she's gotten older. My dad was never interested in cooking and only did so out of necessity and my mom being out of commission a couple times for medical issues. His idea of cooking was anything mixed in a bowl and microwaved on high for 3 minutes. I can't tell you how many of my Mom's nice teflon pans he ruined using a metal spatula. I was glad my Dad never wanted to cook, cause we kids literally teared-up at the thought of his meals.

      1. re: Munkipawse

        My mom was the regular cooks, and she certainly was not always into cooking gourmet. Her dinners were usually good, but her lunches were often quick meals. One of her creative favor fried rice recipes uses "hot dog". She sometime fed us (the kids) with instant noodle with vegetables. We also had many hot pockets and EggO waffles. That being said, more often than not it was us (the kids) who asked to eat instant noodle, hot pockets and eggo....etc I don't know why, but when I was a kid, I loved these processed foods more than home cook meals. This slowly switch during my college years.

        Anyway, I may have gone off-topic. When my mom wanted to recreate a dish, I say she was probably 33% successful, 33% passable, and 33% failure. My dad had a much higher success rate, but he rarely cooked -- probably like once a month on average.

    2. The reason we went out to dinner was to enjoy meals that we would ordinarily not get at home. Plus Mom got a reprieve. Which explains why we never had frozen fried shrimp at home. For many years, that was the only thing my sister would have when we ate out.

      1. Home cooks don't have access to the BTUs of a professional kitchen and are also less likely to be set up for really good deep frying, so some dishes will suffer at home.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Steve

          Yes, but home cook dishes get the detail attention which restaurant dishes do not.

        2. That sounds like something Pizza Hut or Dominoes would do in Sri Lanka. No, seriously. If you order a pizza that says it has sausages, it doesn't. It has wieners. Including in the "sausage-stuffed" crust.

          1. Both my parents were/are excellent cooks, so what we got at home was often better than a comparable restaurant meal, and they covered a wide range of cuisines, too. We also lived in a town of about 40,000, so access to high end dining or good multi-cultural cuisine was limited. I generally don't order normal home cooked food in restaurants to this day, because I'll be disappointed.

            I do think there are some things that you go out for. Deep frying, for example, can be difficult to do at home (pan size, temperature, etc) and very messy. Pizza cooked at home doesn't match a good restaurant with a wood fired pizza oven.

            1. My mom had a very firm divide between home cooked food and restaurant food. She saw no point in eating out at a restaurant similar to her cooking style - and also saw no point in learning new cuisines that she enjoyed eating out. It was years before I realized that my mother's rugelah (while very tasty) definitely weren't the "standard" version.

              For better or worse, I have very much so become my mother's daughter with cooking but really try to fight that trait. Not that all of my versions are restaurant quality or I stop wanting to eat both my versions and the restaurants - but I really want to avoid the mentality of "since I'm eating my cooking that rules out xyz cuisines".

              1. I remember being secretly mad at my mom, because her spaghetti was nothing like Big Boy's. I later realized it was because she was a wonderful cook!

                1. When I a small kid the only restaurant we ever went to was in China town a couple of times a year. My mom never even thought of trying to recreate any Chinese dishes. The restaurant was in Calgary. We went upstairs. Once we totaled nine people (two families). My father always told the waiter to just start beginning dishes until we had eaten all we could. There was a 'lazy Susan' in the middle of the table about four feet across. Amazing, delicious, exotic flavors. After a few hours we all left stuffed and holding big 'doggy bags'. The waiter brought my Dad the bill. He let me have a peek at it. The total, I'll never forget for some weird reason, was $24.00 and change.

                  1. We ate out a fair amount when I was growing up. My dad was the household cook, and he never really tried to make restaurant dishes. His cooking in general was nothing special, but no restaurant can touch his stews and chili. And his meatball subs are good, too. If we ordered dinner from the sub shop, it was never meatball.
                    The only time my mom would cook was when she wanted to lose a few lbs. Then we were subjected to her hideous healthy dishes like salmon patties (these were BAD), boiled and plain veggies, and various rice cake snacks.

                    1. My folks never tried to make the kitchen table into a restaurant. Just home cooking, with a nod to Fanny Farmer, and prepped frozen and refrigerated foods. I had no complaints.

                      1. There were quite a few dishes at restaurants that my mom just never tried to recreate or failed to recreate. However, while a great cook she didn't have or want to spend the time to research just how to make that dish great at home or to fiddle with it to get it just right. I have noticed however as an adult and a confessed food and food science obsessed nerd that there are few restaurant dishes which I can't create better at home, but that has often been the result of long Google sessions and the motivation to seek out the appropriate ingredients and to try different approaches until I succeed or quit after a couple, but rarely have I had to quit. It's great on the one hand but also ruins the motivation to go out and be lazy and have someone else cook for the night because I know that it's often better at home and I feel better afterwards.