fr00t wrote:I don't understand where the common misconception about buying ingredients being more expensive than food comes from. It's not even remotely true; in fact, by definition: restaurants typically price dishes by marking up the ingredient cost something like 300%. Obviously they are dealing with wholesale prices but it's still not even close.
The one complaint about cooking that is true is how much time it takes. If you consider it to be a chore, and it stresses you out (like my mom), then it probably isn't for you. It is a skill to be able to cook efficiently, that is, have good time management in the kitchen, make only the required amount of mess, and be able to consider these factors when you plan meals and purchase ingredients.
flowchart could read, "does it taste good?" -> "yes" -> "keep reasonable stock of fresh and ubiquitous ingredients, only buying obscure and expensive ones for special occasions" -> "cook"
Where the idea comes from is from people who don't cook much. If you don't cook much, you don't have a pantryful of general supplies ready to use. When you run across a recipe you want to try, you have to purchase all of that just to make one meal. If there are more than a couple of ingredients in the meal you want to make, the up-front cost is greater than getting that same sort of meal from a restaurant. I can order two medium two-topping pizzas from Domino's for $20 delivery (if I tip the driver almost $5; with that habit, our pizzas always arrive within 10 minutes). On the other hand, if I have to go buy 5lb of flour, 3lb of sugar, a box of salt, a 3-pack of yeast, a bottle of olive oil, a jar of pizza sauce, a bottle of oregano (this makes a world of difference), a bag of shredded cheese, a bag of pepperoni, two green bell peppers, and a can of olives, I'm going to be well over $20 for making two pizzas at home. After I've been making pizza and other things at home for a while, of course, I will already have many of those ingredients. It's gotten to the point where I just have to go buy the fresh bell peppers and a jar of pizza sauce if I want to do pizza--which, on its own, is far cheaper than $20. And if I were to go through all of my ingredients and figure out exactly how much each ingredient as I use it actually cost, it would still be cheaper. Before I got into a rhythm of "things we all like to eat that are fairly simple and cheap that share some ingredients with other things we both like to eat," we had a LOT of food waste, a LOT of overspending, and it was looking pretty bad.
My main frustration now is the time commitment. If I cook, there's nothing that takes me less than half an hour of in-kitchen time to prepare. Most of the meals I cook take me over an hour in the kitchen. And afterwards, with no dishwasher, there's always at least half an hour of dish-washing involved. With working and night classes, sometimes I just get to the end of the day and really don't want to even set foot in the kitchen. I know someone earlier in the thread was saying how it's only "leisure time" that cooking cuts into, but plenty of times I still have homework after I'm done cooking, and more often than not it's time to go to bed and I still have to do the dishes. It can be really exhausting right now. The only reason I cook so much now is to save money. I aim for leftovers because I can't afford two or more hours of kitchen time per night.