Thursday, March 28, 2019

Eat In Or Dine Out?

by Karen Rose Smith

As I mentioned last week, we recently returned from a trip half way across the country to visit our son.  The question each day was, "Are we eating in or going out for dinner?"  It turns out that we divided our meals between the two.  We dined out our first and last nights of the visit and did some home cooking for the other two meals.  We chose restaurants that are not near our home in Pennsylvania but were close to our son's house--Cracker Barrel and Red Robin.  While I love a good home-cooked meal, I also enjoyed dining out and spending family time with my husband and son with no worries about prep or cleanup.

Back at home, I was rapidly faced with the question my husband and I debate each evening before going to bed--"What's for dinner tomorrow night?"   That usually requires pulling something from the freezer or stopping at the store.  I love to cook and create new recipes for my Caprice De Luca Home Staging  Mysteries and Daisy's Tea Garden Mysteries.  But then again, I never mind when he suggests we go out or order home delivery.

Here are some of the advantages of both:

Home-cooked meals
  • Can adjust recipe to your taste  
  • Can control the quality of the ingredients
  • More economical
  • There are often leftovers for another meal  
  • Can eat at the table or in front of the television--your preference
Dining Out
  • No prep or cleanup
  • Can order food that you would not normally make at home
  • Can try new dishes
  • Each person can order their own meal preference
  • Relaxing time to connect with your family without distractions at home

Italian dining at a restaurant

Italian dining at home

Breakfast at a local restaurant
Homemade breakfast scones

Hearty soup at home

Pretzel sandwich at a local eatery
Lemon tea cakes (A recipe I
 developed for my book 
One of my favorite parts of dining out is dessert, though I'm usually too full to enjoy it...and, of course, the calorie count tells me I should avoid decadent desserts.  Sometimes I just pick up a few Whoopie Pies at our local Amish market as a special at-home dessert if I'm not experimenting with a new dessert recipe for one of my books.  My husband particularly likes when I'm creating new recipes because he gets to taste test the finished products until they are perfected.  I'm pretty popular too with our neighbors because they often get to sample the new goodies.

An antipasto tray I prepared 
for New Year's Eve
Fruit and relish trays from 
Sam's Club
When I threw a viewing party for the release of A VERY COUNTRY CHRISTMAS, a movie on the UPtv Network based on my book HIS COUNTRY CINDERELLA, I decided to purchase a cheese and fruit tray and a relish tray from our local Sam's Club, because I've always been impressed with the quality of their party trays.  They were a time-saver and were as tasty as anything I could prepare.  But for New Year's Eve I chose to prepare my own antipasto tray, using my favorite ingredients.

Do you prefer to cook at home or dine out?  Is your family satisfied with a purchased dessert?  Do you prepare your own party trays?

I think I prefer an even balance of eating at home and dining out, but you sure can't beat home cooking!  Purchased desserts usually look better than they taste.  It's hard to beat a homemade apple pie.  And my party tables are usually a combination of items I purchase and homemade specialties...the best of both worlds.


Dianne B. said...

I don't really care to cook, in fact, I really dislike cooking and meal planning but since we are now retired, we eat more at home. It is more economical. To be truthful, eating out, doesn't have all that much appeal since we have a limited number of eating establishments in our community of 15,000 people. We have the usual fast food places. My husband likes to eat breakfast out which is the one meal I would prefer to eat, at home. I'm not a breakfast person and I only want a bowl of cereal or a couple pieces of toast. If I'm going to eat out, I prefer lunch or supper meals.

SandyG265 said...

I don’t mind cooking so we go out for dinner once a week and eat dinner home the rest of the week. We do go out to lunch or breakfast a couple of times a week. Breakfast because my boyfriend likes to sit and talk to the regulars at the diner and lunch because we like to get a slice of pizza or Asian food, neither of which tastes the same if you make it at home.