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How many meals do you cook at home each week?

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43 replies to this topic

#1 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 27 November 2001 - 12:09 PM

With our surveys ranging from favorite kitchen gadgets to favorite cooking utensils, I suddenly wondered how many meals a week each of us cooks at home.  And on a continuum from scratch to re-heat, how do you define "cook".

To start things out, my husband doesn't boil water, so I cook all meals.  Lunches 5 days a week, dinners 7.  We buy at farmer's markets, our local grocer and butcher.  Just about everything is from scratch.  Although we are surrounded by what are considered excellent restaurants, we eat out very occasionally when we are in town, probably because it is just easier to eat at home, and there are always the makings of a better than average meal in the pantry.

#2 Rosie

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Posted 27 November 2001 - 12:27 PM

Lowell makes breakfast daily which involves cutting a bagel in half and toasting it. On weekends he sometimes makes eggs or on a cold winter day hot cereal. This is not often though. For lunch I usually have yogurt and an apple. I cook dinner about 4 times a week. It's important that I dine out alot so that I can tell everyone about NJ restaurants! ;) When we had a garden we grew all of our vegetables.  

#3 helenas

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Posted 27 November 2001 - 12:35 PM

I cook 7 dinners and 2 breakfasts (on weekend).
Usually before going to sleep, i decide what to cook
for the next dinner. I go shopping every day after work,
so my freezer and fridge are almost empty, except for
some chicken stock, cheese and butter. I usually go to
Wegmans, or Delicious Orchards, occasionally to russian or chinese grocery. If i find something inspiring which is not on my shopping list, i might change my plans for what to cook.
We have dinner pretty late, since my husband comes back from work around 10. I came home around 6,
so there is a lot of time even for serious stuff. Sometimes i have time cycles left to prepare a dessert.
And if i'm late, there is always a paella, that can be done in 40 minutes

#4 Wilfrid

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Posted 27 November 2001 - 01:25 PM

Apart from two late breakfasts at the weekend, dinner is the only meal we might be at home for.  Typical week breaks down into one or two restaurants (was two or three before 'baby' arrived), four or five meals cooked, and one night scrabbling around not eating properly (delivery/cans/sandwich).  

I think of cooking as making a meal from scratch,  involving at least some fresh ingedients (some ingredients are going to be pre-prepared).  Time is the problem.  I work in a busy office, and I am now accustomed to eating dinner around ten in the evening.  Shopping is the problem rather than cooking.  Once I have the ingredients, I can either prepare this evening's dinner quickly enough and/or start a longer dish for tomorrow's dinner.

Sunday is a good cooking day, so it may involve preparing dishes likes stews or braises to eat Monday/Tuesday (tasting all the better for that), or putting meat in marinades for later preparation.

I cook around 90% of the dinners we eat.  My partner has been known to cook, but seems to feel it's morally equivalent to successfully import home-cooked food prepared by her friends and family (since her friends and family are Dominican, they always cook far more than they need and give the rest away).

#5 Steve Klc

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Posted 27 November 2001 - 02:10 PM

this thread might be a good tie-in with the "Americans don't cook at home anymore" thread on the Cooking board--which supposedly was the hypothesis of Michael Whiteman, a restaurant consultant and fellow contributor to Food Arts magazine.  Andy quoted him as saying that "Americans gave up cooking a long time ago and have no intention of taking it up again."

By way of answering this question, I find I agree:

Between my wife and myself--we "cook" a total of 2 breakfasts and 3 dinners per week--the rest of the time we eat out or take out from restaurants and eat in.  The only thing I cooked--savory-wise-- in the past week was a killer de Puy lentil salad with crisp lardons for Thanksgiving.  Our habits haven't changed since 9/11--though we are spending slightly less overall on food, probably subconsciously due to the recession we just found out we have been in since March.

#6 mamster

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Posted 28 November 2001 - 09:28 AM

Since I'm having a murderous university quarter of senior biology requirements, I'm cooking much less right now.  As of the new year things should be back to normal, which is typically five to six meals a week, dinners and a weekend lunch or two.  I start to get cranky if I'm not cooking enough.

#7 Wilfrid

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Posted 28 November 2001 - 09:47 AM

Quote: from Steve Klc on 4:10 pm on Nov. 27, 2001
this thread might be a good tie-in with the "Americans don't cook at home anymore" thread

Remember, some of us aren't American.  (Not that there's anything wrong with it.)  :biggrin:

#8 lullyloo

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Posted 28 November 2001 - 10:17 AM

Helena, what is your recipe for paella in 40 minutes?

#9 helenas

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Posted 28 November 2001 - 12:24 PM

I use the recipe from Bittman's "The Minimalist Cooks at Home" book. It's very simple, but i use Bomba rice, imported spanish chorizo and tomato powder. Once i was out of chorizo and my husband had paella cravings, so i uses kielbasa and spanish paprika. The taste was not there.
The temperature is also important. But fortunately, my gas range gives the necessary 500F.
BTW, i cooked through half of the Casas' Paella! book. In most cases it can be done in less then 50-60 min.

#10 girl chow

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Posted 28 November 2001 - 04:32 PM

Dinner at home for us is at least 5 nights a week.

Typically, 3 of those 5 meals are well executed (at least in theory) complete dinners. At least two nights a week (usually my deadline days) are a quick noodle or pasta dish -- such as rice noodles with a phad thai jar sauce (a staple in my fridge) and some veggies or pasta with a quick white sauce with a sprinkle of parmesan. (That's what we've had so far this week.)

We do dinner out once a week and takeout another day. We used to eat out a lot more before our son was born 11 months ago (he's in a stage now where he thinks throwing food is funny, but I doubt many diners would find it cute). Before the "recession," I also used to have a fantastic expense account for weekly restaurant dinners. Miss that.

Lunch is leftovers, yogurt or something from the emergency freezer stash (right now: crab cakes). Breakfast is yogurt or toast or whatever our son is throwing at us that morning :) Weekend breakfasts I like to spend in a diner.

#11 Rail Paul

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Posted 28 November 2001 - 06:02 PM

Generally prepare 4-5 dinners at home. Will usually grill something on Monday (meat, fish) and recycle it during the week in salads, or make a stew on Monday and reuse it as soup or pasta topping. Pick up salad ingredients / pasta on the way home. Wednesday is usually something from the Times. Will be dining with clients or traveling or working late at least one night during the week.

Usually bake fresh bread 3-4 times weekly. Sometimes dinner will be just bread, although my wife usually wants something more substantial. If I have time in the morning, I'll start a hearty loaf and let it rise during the day. Otherwise I'll take the starter from the previous day, add yeast, flour and water and let it rise an hour and that's fine.

#12 franklanguage

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Posted 01 December 2001 - 11:16 AM

Interesting question: before I read the replies, I was ready to say I cooked at home all the time. I must admit, though, that breakfast is usually just poured or microwaved, so I don't really count that as cooking.

I have to cook at home more lately because I'm not eating dairy and it's ridiculously impossible to find a pizza made with dairy-free cheese or even a coffee shop that offers soymilk - even in New York City, forget the rest of the country. Unfortunately, it's not too practical to always carry your own.

And I'm always experimenting with baking; does that count as a meal? I have to bake an apple pie and probably a couple of pumpkin pies today, because in the harvest season I tend to stockpile fruit and vegetables. (In harvest season, I bake about a pie a week.)

#13 anil

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Posted 09 December 2001 - 07:38 PM

After 9/11 - zero. Before that two - three a week.

#14 GumboYaYa

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Posted 12 December 2001 - 01:32 PM

Hate to brag...but how about never.  With all the great restaurants, and most of them walking distance from home, I eat out all the time.  There are enough restaurants around here that I don't have to eat at the same place twice for a month or so. I hate cooking anyways, I always lose my appetite when preparing food for myself.

#15 MegArkee

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Posted 12 December 2001 - 04:02 PM

Sigh -- I do so miss the days when we all ate at home every night. Not so anymore, with three teenagers who are into everything from Scouts to church activities to sports. Not that any one of them has an overload, but with three varying sets of interests, there's rarely a day when everyone is home. We can usually corral everyone for a big Sunday meal, since there's more wiggle room when figuring out what time to eat.
My bf gets home from work 2ish, I at around 6. He basically does the cooking (bless his heart), leaving just last-minute stuff for me. But when we shop on Saturdays, we're finding more and more that big family meals are being accommodated less and less. On the run, the kids prefer to grab a 5-spot for takeout to grabbing dinner at the table!

#16 jhlurie

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Posted 19 December 2001 - 08:44 AM

This being jointly a restaurant AND cooking BBS, I'm pretty sure that you can rightfully be proud of your "zero" answer, GumboYaYa--especially with where you live.

I'm close to your figure.  I'll prepare real food for myself maybe twice a week, excluding Microwaved/pre-prepared foods.  I live in a reasonable area for restaurants too (nothing like New Orleans, of course), but I also live in close proximity to wealthy towns with all kinds of gourmet shops and gourmet supermarkets, so even the prepared food is better than most regions.  I also live in the take-out capital of NJ--the number of decent restaurants who provide this is my area is probably higher than anywhere except Manhattan.

Thank god for it too.  With my commute, if there wasn't decent prepared food/take-out, I'd probably starve.  The rare times when I do cook, I take my time (which is probably just as well, since the skill-set I have to work with is pretty low).

#17 stellabella

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Posted 19 December 2001 - 12:42 PM


I gleaned through all the replies, and concur with most.  My husband and I are both on academic calendars.  During the semester we find it hard to commit to eating at home.  He always has meetings.  I am always grading papers.  Someone mentioned that when he/she doesn't cook enough, he/she begins to feel cranky.  I am the same way.  To make it more complicated, we live 50 miles from Atlanta in a small country town with no restaurants.  We often end up eating salads or beans and rice for supper during the week.  On weeends we like to treat ourselves to a meal out, usually in Athens.  We're also fortunate to be in a community of great cooks, so we share a lot of meals in other people's homes.  To me there's nothing better than a home-cooked meal at SOMEBODY ELSE'S house.

#18 Ruby

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Posted 19 December 2001 - 12:51 PM

Does opening a can of tuna and toasting bread count as cooking?? No, I didn't think so. ;)

#19 helenas

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Posted 11 July 2002 - 06:10 PM

Just wanted to push this thread up, in case new members would like to contribute.

#20 nyfirepatrolchef

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Posted 12 July 2002 - 05:52 AM

Usually five dinners out of every 8 days (I work two days of every 8 so I have an 8 day week) maybe two at work depending on my Housewatch tours. Occasionally a hot breakfast....more in winter.

#21 foodie52

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Posted 13 July 2002 - 09:06 AM

The only times we eat out is if one of us has a margarita/enchiladas craving! Otherwise, since I work in a specialty foods store, we eat at home all the time: who can resist the lure of raw, fresh meat/seafood and produce?? So I shop every day after work and cook whatever looks appealing to me. We've lately enjoyed the Copper River salmon.

#22 SobaAddict70

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 01:04 PM

When I'm not working late at the office, at least four evenings a week, not counting breakfast and lunch during the weekend. I reserve one or two evenings for "cooking breaks"....aka eating out. If I didn't, I think I'd go bananas.

I cook for both my roommate and I, and sometimes friends who stop by for impromptu get-togethers....occasionally my bf.

Most of what I do, I either make ahead or prep in advance. That said, a well-stocked kitchen and refrigerator is a great boon when I'm in a hurry.

If I know I'm having a dinner party, I try to make the appropriate stock(s) the preceding Saturday, and freeze them. If I'm caught unawares, and its happened in the past, College Inn or my local Chinese restaurant comes to the rescue. You'd be surprised what plain Chinese chicken broth from a reliable Cantonese take-out joint can do in a pinch. If I know vegetarians will be coming by, I try to accomodate them, even by making roasted veggie stock for use in whatever's on the menu. Freezer trays and zip lock bags rule.


#23 col klink

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 01:29 PM

I start to get cranky if I'm not cooking enough.

Here, here. I need to cook dinner (or reheat leftovers) at least twice a week or I get irritated. That is of course if I'm lucky enough to go out for sushi. If I could afford it, I'd eat out for sushi 6 nights a week. The chef has to have at least one day off a week. :smile:

#24 VMBrasseur

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 02:08 PM

I cook dinners at home at least five times a week, breakfast (old-fashioned put it in a pot heat it and wait a while whole grains) at least twice a week. Lunch is almost always leftovers from dinner earlier in the week. I used to go out even more often, but since I've admitted how much I enjoy cooking (which, not coincidentally, coincided with me getting my own kitchen again) I try to stay at home and cook. Practice makes perfect, after all. My fridge is always waaaaay too stocked with produce and such things.

Plus, when I do go out I like it to be to nice places. Which, in this area (SF Bay), are rarely cheap. So limiting it to once or twice a week helps keep costs down. Which is a good thing, considering how much I spend on groceries every two weeks.


#25 rlynnw

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 02:46 PM

I usually cook about 5 or 6 fairly involved evening meals a week and about 5 not-so-involved noon meals a week. Friday night is our "cookout" night. I love to cook and my partner loves to clean up.

#26 Kim WB

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Posted 16 July 2002 - 06:52 PM

You've heard of weekend warriors, those folks who are dormant through the week and then play competitive hockey or softball ont e weekends...and then pull a major muscle or something? Anyway, we're weekend cooks...How it works is that during the week, I make all the kid food, which needs to be easy, quick and re-heatable. Ours are 17,15, and 12. Lots of sports, part time jobs, summer school and activities. Usually, I roast two chickens on Sat or Sunday. All the meat is pulled and packaged for the week. Differnet kids mean different prep: If the two older teens are home, they can be trusted to make their own pasta...then its adding either grandma's sauce she delivers. or prego, and a few handfuls f the shredded chicken. The little guy prefers veggies and red meat, so I might defrost some homemade meatballs, and pre-cook some borccoli that he can heat in the microwave. If my eldest daughter is home, its making sure there is romaine and fresh cheeses,her meal is complete. Middle son is mostly yucky prepared foods: rice a roni, mac and cheese, frozen raviolis and piazza. Without guilt, I admit at least a once a week foray to pizza or chinese..and often, Micky D's. Luckily in the summer, we also get a lot of sleepover invites...when they are the invitee, who cares, when they are th inviter, I make grilled steaks and pierogyis from a great Slovakian/hungarian shop in the town nearby. Somehow, the kids never starve, LOL. Usually, we have business dinnersduring these times...if not, we choose local Italian bistro places or sushi, at least 2x a week. WE go out to a reservation like place once a week, 3 times in NJ, one time in Philly or NYC. It's our date night. We only have planned family dinners on Mondays. EVERY MONDAY, and those of you with toddlers might think this is terible. but the truth is, its pretty good to have one day you always dine with yourTEEN kids. I mean, the gymnastic coach for son #2 doesn't co-ordinate with the owner of the flower shop that daughter #1 works for, nor the retail computer store running a DIABLO tournament that son #1 MUST attend..drop him off at 9, pick himup at 3am!!!! Plus, there are days during the week that one kid or another winds up with us for dinner...we're not always alone!!!

ANYWAY, weekends mean my husband shops for the main stuff..he'll do Wegman's, McCaffrey's, or Whole foods for fish, game and beef. Then, we'll figure a recipe from our books or our experience. I'll go to the farmer's market or Korean market to fill in the gaps of what he's bought...he'll shop wines either in the cellar or the stores, and we'll cook over the weekend. I make some variations the kids might like, certainly for my little guy who is more at home than his bro and sis, and luckily the most adventurous...lately, we've been big on duck, cause we can make it lots of ways, variation of spices, and he's loving it.

Gosh, I wrote alot. I kinda love my life, and love how my food and cooking stuff works out..I'm proud of what we can do within the constraints of our lives, activities. kids and abilities. None of them are conniseurs, but at least I do nothing to STOP them from being one! LOL. I sound like a geeky leave it to beaver person, but I figure for the 2000's, I'm as close as they come!

#27 Kim WB

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Posted 17 July 2002 - 05:18 AM

Wow, I drank a lot of wine last night. Yes, I am fully aware that the above posts shares WAY more information then anyone wants to know about me!! :shock: These keyboards should have a breathalyzer lock, you can't type boring monologues if you've had a few. :rolleyes:

#28 sequim

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 02:40 PM

I enjoyed reading this old topic since I've been thinking about it myself and wondering how my habits differ from others. I think on this board, there is ALOT of money being spent on eating out and food than the average person. As an aside I'm kinda interested in that topic as well. I loved KimWB's drunken ramblings (go on everybody, drink and ramble :laugh: ), am amazed that Col Klink can eat sushi 6 days a week (but what about BBQ?), and find myself impressed with SobaAddict70's stock making - oh there's just so much more I can be doing!

For me I take breakfast and lunch to work so that limits cooking. Since I don't like eating right after getting up and only having that pot of coffee matters, breakfast is things like fruit yogurt, bananas and any homemade baked goods I have on hand. I love PIE for breakfast. On the weekends I usually do oatmeal, fresh squeezed OJ and toasted country bread. I try to have a filling breakfast so I don't need lunch as it slows me down. Lunch during a work week is generally leftovers heated in the microwave from dinners I make or my mom's leftovers that she loads me down with on the weekend. For dinner, I enjoy eating out but that's costly and I do enjoy cooking and yes, get cranky when I don't for awhile. If I don't feel like being elaborate (and it's usually just me) I always have staples on hand for quick meals like bean threads or a variety of asian noodles, bacon, cilantro, soy and hoisin sauces (chow fun?), eggs ( for scrambled), bread (for toast), cheddar cheese for grilled cheese, vine ripened tomatoes and lettuce for salad makings. I have a well stocked freezer of frozen shrimp, meats, raviolis, asian dumplings. Once every couple weeks my friend and I will get together to make a fancy meal in which we try different things we're trying to learn. There has to be a variety of wine in the house. I might cook a full course-type dinner once during the week but on the weekends I frequently go crazy cooking, especially now in the winter. I can't get enough of it. But then I also have people around to share it with. Cooking for one tends to make more than enough leftovers and this can be a problem. What to do with all the leftovers as I hate throwing food out.

Sorry, my post might have gotten alittle off track. It's more about how I eat than how many times I cook.... :wacko:

#29 torakris

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 03:48 PM

Thanks for pulling this back up.

Except for this week which is quite unusual in the number of times I am eating out, I normally cook 7 breakfasts a week (ok 5 of those might just be make if you don't count things like toast or instant oatmeal :biggrin: ), and usually 6 lunches a week. For dinner we may eat out once or twice a month so generally I am cooking 7 dinners a night.
Breakfast and dinners are always for 5 people, the weekday lunches are usually for 2 (my son and I), though I make my husband a Japanese style bento lunch every morning before he goes to work.
Basically I spend a lot of time in the kitchen!

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#30 GSBravo

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 03:59 PM

If I define "cook" as the main dish is done mostly from scratch, then I'm looking at 4-5 times a week. Breakfast, more like brunch, is done once or twice a month.
As I don't get home till after 8 in the evening, most often the big meals are on the weekends. Roughly every other week I'm off Friday and the following Monday, which allows me lots of time to cook.
Those are the days I make pasta, grind beef, and generally spend 3 or 4 hours on a thirty minute meal.