Reading bad journalism can't make you fat or poor but following the examples given in said articles can. Let's look at this piece from MSN, via the Christian Science Monitor (red words mine):
Dude, how many people consider their family dinner as billable hours? By that logic, you'd have to factor your 'hourly rate' into every domestic activity. By extension, you could save hundreds of dollars a week just by canceling your cable TV. Does Dude think about his 'hourly rate ' during sex? There's a word for that. A dish as well: puttanesca sauce.
By the time he's driven to the farmers market, bought the organic veggies and spent an hour cooking a meal for himself and his wife, Mark Chernesky figures he's spent $30.
What is he buying? $30 will buy more than enough veggies, organic or not, to feed two people. I can feed myself for an entire week for $30 using pasta, veggies and bread. Dude must be buying meat or seafood.
Dude has also factored driving and preparation time into his food cost.
That's why recently, after fighting rush hour, the Atlanta multimedia coordinator dashed in to Figo, a pasta place, for hand-stuffed ravioli slathered with puttanesca sauce. "I'll get out of here for $17 plus tip," he said.
First, an admission of prejudice. I hate anchovies. Second, dude has factored time and gas into his home-cooking expense; in the take-out example, these should apply as well- "rush hour traffic" and tip, plus $17 dollars, plus time...are we nearing $30 yet? Third, puttanesca is not especially expensive to make and the upscale-sounding phrase 'hand-stuffed' is just another way of saying that you are willing to pay someone else to stuff your ravioli for you. That's an indulgence.
Crunch the numbers, and across America the refrain is the same:is the same: Eating out is the new eating in. Even with wages stagnant, time-strapped workers are abandoning the family kitchen in droves.
The preceding paragraph adds absolutely nothing to the argument that eating out is cheaper than eating at home. It does, however, lend credence to my theory that people are lazier than ever before.
"When I add my hourly rate, the time to cook at home, I can instead take my family out to dinner, and it comes out pretty even," said Paul Howard, a manager-instructor at Café Laura, a restaurant run by college students at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa.
Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to have a family and my most pleasant images are of preparing and sharing meals together. According to this article, Americans are beginning to consider the nightly repast as a necessary evil to be dispensed with as quickly as possible in order to get back to doing whatever it is that is more important to them than spending time with their families. That is sad.
In addition to the time spent together, when you fix your own meals you can reduce and/or eliminate fats, sugars, salt, even meat if you choose ...whatever you don't want, you don't get. When you eat out, you have no idea what you are getting and how many calories it contains.
Here's a good two-step method for estimating take-out calories:
1)Look at whatever it is that you are getting ready to eat. Make a guess at it's caloric content using your worst nightmares as a guideline.
2)Double that estimate.
I know that there are some readers who will make arguments for eating out. I'm not against eating out. I'm disputing the argument that it is cheaper than eating at home.
I'll bet you dinner that I'm right.