Check out Richly Reasonable’s small tour de force, In or Out Burger? Cruising the Internet in search of some material for a post, she ran across an article from an apparently disinterested source claiming that a McDonald’s hamburger costs no more than a burger made at home.
Breaking out the calculator, she begs to differ. This lady is an accountant, and so her results are a bit more credible than my English-major math. You need to see what she concluded.
There are many benefits to eating in. IMHO, the financial aspect amounts to the least part of the matter. The fact is, if you’re even a halfway decent cook, home-cooked food tastes better. I like the occasional grilled hamburger, but I can’t stomach a McDonald’s…eewww! A McDonald’s patty doesn’t even taste like meat to me. Put it inside a flavorless balloon-bread bun and slather it with institutional garnish, and what have you got? Not anything you’d want to put in your mouth.
Also, even though you don’t know where your groceries have been before you get them, at least you do know how the food was stored and prepared after it arrived in your kitchen.
My ex- and I used to eat out all the time—three to five times a week. After I left him, I took up with SDXB, who had been a multi-award-winning investigative reporter. He refused to eat in restaurants, partly because he was famously frugal but mainly because he had once done a series on what goes on in the restaurant kitchen. Because of what he learned in that project, he simply would not eat in restaurants.
I spent several years with this man, who loved to cook. The result was that I came to dislike restaurant food. The truth is, it’s not very good! Now I still enjoy eating in a few restaurants, but, with the exception of one family-run Mexican joint, they’re way too expensive to enjoy more than once every month or two.
It’s a matter of breaking a habit. When you start fixing your own meals with real, unprocessed food, you discover that most restaurant and junk food is not very good, just as you realize, six or eight weeks after kicking the soda-pop habit, that sicky-sweet soft drinks don’t really taste very good or, a year after quitting cigarettes, that tobacco smoke stinks.
Once that particular light dawns, the cost is irrelevant: today I wouldn’t drink a glass of pop if it was free and I had to pay for water. Nor, given a choice, would I prefer to eat out than in.