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WSJ Articles on Food, Drink, Cooking, and Culinary Culture


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I don't have a link, but has anyone read a recent Wall Street Journal article claiming that it costs more to cook at home than to eat out? One example they gave claimed that it cost $30(!) to make a blueberry pie from scratch. They paid $15 for out-of-season blueberries. You can take it from there.

Sheesh, the WSJ just lost a ton of credibility in my eyes right there....

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One example they gave claimed that it cost $30(!) to make a blueberry pie from scratch.

Leaving aside the ridiculous price they paid for the blueberries, at $30 for a whole pie it would still be cheaper than having it at a restaurant. The reason: a mid-range restaurant is going to serve it for at maybe $5-$6 dollars a slice and get at least 6 slices from one pie, unlike a bakery that would sell you the whole pie. That's not even including tax and tip. I know this is only one example from the article (which I haven't read), but I can't help but think the author doesn't know what they're talking about.

And anyway, as I've said before in another thread - pie served at restaurants is almost always an abomination.

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Here's an example they gave:

Cheese ravioli with garlic, olive oil and sage

• Cost: $17.18 per person

• Restaurant price: $13, La Pastaia, San Jose

• Time: 2 hours

• Biggest hassle: The shopping. We had to visit three supermarkets before we found fresh sage.

• Comment: It is a lot cheaper to make this dish if you have olive oil on hand (We spent $13.99 on fancy olive oil the owner of our local cheese shop recommended. He also convinced us to buy the "red cow" parmesan for $6.52.)

----

The context was how people can't afford to eat at home. They also mentioned how today's 20 and 30-somethings are trying to save money by learning how to cook, but find that it's costing them more money than eating out.

Not that I think the article is credible at all. I just think it's an interesting look at how the WSJ (and the people they interviewed) perceive cooking in general.

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One of the subjects was a 31 year old woman who "almost every night either ate in a restaurant or orered takeout." She said "I grew up eating Yodels and pizza" and "I never learned to cook." Now that she's unemployed, she has time to cook, albeit with expensive tools.

The article ends with the conclusion that many people need highly specialized tools and ingredients to precisely replicate a fancy recipe. Substitution of ingredients, a pantry of staples, buying ingredients fresh / on sale are as foreign to these folks as letting your kid arrange her own play date or join a pick-up softball game down the street.

(Visions of the WSJ writer interviewing people as they buy $50 bottles of superb olive oil at Citarella or $60 pieces of beef at Lobels in NY)

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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For a business newspaper, the "cost of each dish" employs some awfully weak financial analysis.

If you don't have any olive oil, and you buy it to make a dish, the full cost of the bottle is applied to the dish. This makes sense if you cook so rarely that your olive oil is going to spoil before you go to use it again, but generally it would seem reasonable to amortize the cost across a fairly large number of meals.

I think that the article is correct in pointing out that it's easily possible to spend a ridiculously large amount of money cooking, especially as you start out and if you are afflicted by gadget envy.

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I think that the article is correct in pointing out that it's easily possible to spend a ridiculously large amount of money cooking, especially as you start out and if you are afflicted by gadget envy.

it seems that this is the only point it's really making (i haven't read it).

and considering anyone with half a brain knows this, it seems that this is a fluff piece and would be better suited for the New York Post. you know, that paper that stupid people read.

:wacko:

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No matter how you slice it, a two dollar espresso is going to be cheaper than a can of Illy coffee. Can you imagine what it would cost to make a bucket of wings if they only sold whole chickens in your market.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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For a business newspaper, the "cost of each dish" employs some awfully weak financial analysis.

If you don't have any olive oil, and you buy it to make a dish, the full cost of the bottle is applied to the dish.

You mean the Wall Street Journal doesn't know how to amortize capital expenses? That's humorous.

It's also hard for me to believe that WSJ readers shop at supermarkets that don't sell fresh sage.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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why?  what types of places don't offer fresh sage?  i'm thinking that in a lot of rural areas, fresh sage is hard to come by.

Maybe my stereotype of WSJ readers is outdated--I'm envisioning them carrying a basket through Balducci's.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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Maybe my stereotype of WSJ readers is outdated--I'm envisioning them carrying a basket through Balducci's.

indeed it is.

availability of fresh sage probably a function of where you live. lot's of communities way out in the 'burbs are still playing catch-up re decent food stores, restaurants, etc.

:smile:

not to mention, an awful lot of younger people read the WSJ, and i'd be willing to bet that a lot of them have no idea what fresh sage is. they're probably struggling, don't know how to cook, and they are also most likely the target audience for the article (which i still haven't read).

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Well, yeah Rachel, but that assumes one knows something about food. And the sad part is that the subjects in the article don't. They know so little that they think they have to follow a recipe down to the last grain of fleur de sel -- instead of just using their own "taste" and "judgment" about food. There's a huge disconnect there between eating food and understanding anything about food. :sad::sad::sad:

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Tsquare: Too right! Also sorrel, thyme, tarragon and swiss chard.

I don't live in NYC so I don't have a basis for comparison. But around Chicago there are some amazing stores..Valli's, Caputo's and Sun Harvest where the prices quoted would make the average customer doubt the merchant's sanity.

To your point, Suzanne. Apparently these people's parent's never cooked. That's the only reason I can see for them being so insecure about substitutions, etc.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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To your point, Suzanne.  Apparently these people's parent's never cooked.  That's the only reason I can see for them being so insecure about substitutions, etc.

your parents' habits or abilities don't necessary correlate to your own. unless you were being sarcastic, i'm failing to see your point.

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Haven't read the article, just your comments ( :blink: ), and I venture this guess: the WSJ is really saying, hey, the restaurants are hurting a bit. It costs too much to cook for yoursevles, why don't you go out to eat? It's really a "money saver."

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*Tommy* Here's the deal. My mother was and is a spectacular, sophisticated cook. Her mother was the proverbial "good plain cook." Real meals, fresh, every night, except for the weird '60's French Canadian take-out Chinese on occasion.

Having an example of someone who cooks regularly and isn't fazed by substitutions, doubling amounts, cooking from the remnants in the freezer will teach the child and cook of the future that it ain't rocket science.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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Having an example of someone who cooks regularly and isn't fazed by substitutions, doubling amounts, cooking from the remnants in the freezer  will teach the child and cook of the future that it ain't rocket science.

my mother didn't cook and i'm a very accomplished home cook. mrs. tommy's mother cooked all the time and was/is incredible, and mrs. tommy don't cook. it ain't science at all. there goes your theory. :blink:

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Having an example of someone who cooks regularly and isn't fazed by substitutions, doubling amounts, cooking from the remnants in the freezer  will teach the child and cook of the future that it ain't rocket science.

Rocket Science ain't science, it's engineering... :rolleyes:

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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Awright, so maybe it's not nurture, then. How about nature? People take vocational tests to determine if they prefer working with people, things, or data. What if all those WSJ readers are data-types, and have never developed a sense of "how food-thing works" or "how food makes people feel good?" Yeah, yeah, tommy's a data-type, but not exclusively (otherwise he wouldn't have so many posts :biggrin: )

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