Friday, December 7, 2012

New challenges in cooking.

I've just returned from a visit to Southern California, basked in sunshine, enjoyed my extended family members, and re-lived the adrenalin rush that is LA. Everywhere we went we were tempted with marvelous food and many, many choices.

These are the food trends I discovered:

1. Cafeteria style take outs. In Manhattan Beach and in many other areas, you can pick up enough fresh food to feed a family with different needs: take-outs from restaurants like Lemonade as well as take outs from chain groceries like Whole Foods.

2. The cost of picking up ingredients is equivalent to the cost of picking up ready made food. This is especially true for fresh fish!

3. Restaurants have become adept at making adjustments. No salt? No problem. Light dressing on the side? Absolutely. Hold the mayo, add mustard and a drizzle of fruit juice? Certainly!

4. Cooking for a family that has different schedules can be a nightmare. Your food must be easily re-heated in the microwave, or kept cool in the refrigerator. (I tip my hat to you mothers!)

5. You might have too many leftovers in the refrigerator, and additional trash to dispose of.

6. People are not loyal to a particular chain store. Except the Costco customers!

7. It's very easy to see a new eating place and want to try it out.

8. Farmers' markets sell anything you'd possibly need, even gadgets for picking bones out of whole salmon you can buy from a fishmonger who swears he caught the fish that very morning!

9. Overall, eating is way more expensive in a big city. However, the cost of restaurant meals are about the same!

10. Most families cook once or twice a week from scratch. Mostly, they rely on ready to go meals or restaurant meals to feed their families.

How about it in your city? What trends have you noticed?


  1. There is a lot of eating out, the drive-thru is very popular. My husband likes to cook and I love to eat his cooking so I would say we are above the average of those who cook at home frequently.

  2. So glad you enjoyed your trip to L.A and those are some interesting observations you made! You are so right about the price of the ingredients equaling the price of ready made food. We have over 300 restaurants here in Lafayette and that's not counting fast food! So, it's hard not to order out, a lot of the time. I do like to cook for my family a couple of times a week, though.

  3. We live full time in a beach resort area. There are lots of restaurants and to make money off-season they offer specials that are real bargains. We grill all summer and eat out in winter!

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  5. interesting observations! I think you are spot on about loyal Costco customers!! we are in the minority in my family, i think, because I like to cook and cook about 6 nights a week., most of my friends families go out to eat at least 3 times a week...and it is mostly fast post!!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  6. A lot of that is true here, also. I've taken to getting rotisserie chickens, ready-made, from the store, because it is actually CHEAPER than buying a raw chicken. That is so strange. We have the rotisserie chicken as a meal one day, then use the meat for at least one more meal later on in the week.

    Some weeks I make all homemade meals, some weeks it's a mix, and some weeks lean dismayingly toward take-out/frozen food. It depends on how busy I am, my energy levels, and whether I've made it to the store for food.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse