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Eating for less: home or away?

Dahlink has just challenged Robert of Cross Keys' assertion that families can eat cheaper at a chain than at home, or something like that. I'm not going to go back and try to find the original post because then I'll have to copy it here and that will mess up the coding etc. etc. and then maybe half my blog's main page will disappear again.

But I kind of get what he means. It started me thinking: When do I or my family tend to eat out? It's when I need a treat and don't feel like fixing dinner. If I decide No, I must cook dinner at home. I go somewhere like Eddie's and buy ready-to-saute crab cakes for three or a nice little rib eye and maybe asparagus or an avocado or other things that seem, well, like a treat to make up for having to cook. Then I'm appalled when I get to the checkout counter and realize how much I've spent.

But if we go out... 

...just not having to cook is treat enough. I look at the menu and think, Ugh. Everything is so expensive. I'm perfectly happy to have a glass of wine, some bread and a nice little salad, soup or vegetarian pasta. My husband and daughter do the same thing (my daughter probably would just have water) because they prefer to eat that way anyway. We might easily end up spending less than I would at the gourmet supermarket, and no dishes.


(Photo by Bonnie Trafelet/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

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