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-   -   Self-quarantine dining: in or out? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=892387)

DCnDC 03-23-2020 11:11 AM

Self-quarantine dining: in or out?
 
How's your self-quarantine dining going?

Are you cooking at home more, getting takeout more, or doing both about the same as before?

DCnDC 03-23-2020 11:18 AM

I'm actively avoiding the supermarket, so I've been getting a lot of takeout/delivery lately. Trying to keep it mostly to "real" restaurants and not fast food, but that discipline will surely break down at some point. Most restaurant entrees are usually good for at least 2 meals for me, so the expense is not yet squeezing my wallet too badly.

RealityChuck 03-23-2020 11:20 AM

We don't get takeout a lot, but we've been doing it a bit more often to support local restaurants (not chains).

pulykamell 03-23-2020 11:21 AM

I cook almost every day for our family (and when I don't, it's because we're at my parents' for Sunday dinner), so eating habits have not really changed. We stocked up a few days ago, so shopping habits have changed -- I typically shop every day or every second day for dinner meals. Now I'm prepared for having enough food for a few weeks stocked.

Ulfreida 03-23-2020 11:30 AM

We almost never eat out, always keep the pantry stocked, shop every ten days or so .... exactly what we are doing now, except we are to the best of our ability disinfecting ourselves whenever we do shop.

robardin 03-23-2020 11:45 AM

I rarely used to order food for delivery to my door, but now all the "go out to eat" meals are replaced with "order food in". I have learned to call the restaurant first to get a real estimate as to the delivery time, since often they only have a few people making deliveries and a potentially long queue during busy times. If they have a "pickup at store" option I may go for that - they have my order ready in a bag by name and I just walk in, take it, and go. Minimal if any added risk, and I avoid a 45 minute wait.

Another reason to call the restaurant first is that I've found that online delivery portals, in particular my experience with Seamless yesterday, apparently may not know or care if the restaurant is actually operating, believe it or not.

I would have thought in order for them to route orders to a place, they'd have logged on to their system at some point to indicate "ready to take orders", and then log off when they approach closing time to indicate "not taking any more orders". But no.

Seamless showed me a list of nearby restaurants with delivery at that time (while also showing that numerous restaurants were NOT able to deliver); took a large order for my family of five; sent me MULTIPLE confirmation emails/notifications about "your order is in process" and and estimated delivery window and contact phone numbers; then, after two hours had passed (double the longest wait time in any estimate), I started calling the numbers they provided, one for the restaurant and one for Seamless customer service. Nobody picked up either one.

I finally drove over to the restaurant, about 5 minutes away, and sure enough it was shuttered.

I get that not every restaurant will be operating as normal for delivery, but showing ones that are not operating AT ALL on their portal, still taking orders for the place, and sending multiple confirmation notifications? WTF?

As for the cooking at home, I'm not afraid to go to the supermarket every 3 days or so to get fresh fruits and vegetables, especially the Fairway where I scan my purchases as I put them into my bag, then do a self-checkout / pay with credit card at the exit and never have to interact with anybody, not even with other customers to line up at a register.

The other specialty supermarket I frequent I do still have to wait in a line for a register, then I simply try to stand apart from other people in line and only use my own credit card to swipe at the payment step (avoiding handing over cash to the register worker). Haven't gone there in a week or so now.

I don't have the storage in my house for "stocking up" for 2+ weeks of food at a time for a family of five. Certainly not the refrigerator space, and I would not want to consign myself to canned and dry foods only for an indefinite period of time. The risks are not that bad for going out to shop for fresh food, not for me or to me, at least.

Procrustus 03-23-2020 11:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulfreida (Post 22205536)
We almost never eat out, always keep the pantry stocked, shop every ten days or so .... exactly what we are doing now, except we are to the best of our ability disinfecting ourselves whenever we do shop.

We're at the other end of the spectrum. We normally eat out 3 to 4 days a week. Take out (usually pizza) another day. Se, we're definitely cooking at home more than usual now. We don't have many take out options around here, so that's out.

silenus 03-23-2020 12:07 PM

Dinner isn't any different in that the wife (who is an excellent cook) is continuing to prepare hawt cewzine for our dining pleasure. The big difference is breakfast. Since the schools are locked down I no longer grab a breakfast burrito or the like from fast food on the way to work. Eating at home means a lot less fat and salt and stuff like that. The wife commented when I got out of the shower this morning that it looks like I'm losing some weight.

So I got that going for me.

NotherYinzer 03-23-2020 12:16 PM

We belong to Dinnerly and Hello Fresh so we get a weekly delivery. Our fridge is actually backed up with food as we were out of town last week for a funeral. There's no room to put anything more in the fridge or our backup freezer. It's kind of a good problem to have.

RikWriter 03-23-2020 12:19 PM

We usually eat dine-in once a week, but we have changed that to curbside pickup instead.

FastDan1 03-23-2020 01:14 PM

We would normally go to a restaurant or get delivery maybe 1-3 times a week. We are strictly home prep now.

Snowboarder Bo 03-23-2020 01:20 PM

I prepare my own food. Eating out/ordering in is expensive in normal times and these ain't normal times.

Ukulele Ike 03-23-2020 01:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pulykamell (Post 22205521)
I cook almost every day for our family (and when I don't, it's because we're at my parents' for Sunday dinner), so eating habits have not really changed. We stocked up a few days ago, so shopping habits have changed -- I typically shop every day or every second day for dinner meals. Now I'm prepared for having enough food for a few weeks stocked.

This for me, too. Except for the Sunday dinner with parents thing. We stopped getting invitations after they died.

Elendil's Heir 03-23-2020 01:47 PM

We're cooking at home a lot more, but last night we got take-out pizza from our favorite place for the first time since the lockdown started here. The cash register guy told me they'd had two-hour waits for pizza on Saturday night; we had to wait an hour before it was ready for pickup last night, but when I got there there were only two other customers waiting. (We kept an appropriate distance from each other). The cash register guy wanted to take and swipe my credit card, but allowed me to step around the counter and swipe it myself. I didn't set down the pizza boxes anywhere in our house, but helped my wife transfer the pizza directly to serving plates. Very tasty, too!

DCnDC 03-23-2020 01:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir (Post 22205798)
The cash register guy told me they'd had two-hour waits for pizza on Saturday night; we had to wait an hour before it was ready for pickup last night, but when I got there there were only two other customers waiting.

Pizza seems to be a particularly popular takeout choice during this thing. There's a local pizzeria that's been FBing that they've been running out of dough by mid-afternoon every day for the past week.

The local brewpub has looked like they're doing pretty brisk business too.

Kovitlac 03-23-2020 03:19 PM

I started cooking more for myself at home as I lost weight, and increased my at-home cooking when I started a new job that actually let me be home over the typical dinner hour (I used to work until 7pm, and worked in food service to boot, so I'd just make something to take home). I'm not changing that up now, as A) I don't really want to spend the money on lots of eating out, and B ) I don't want to slip back into overeating mode. I do generally let myself pick something up Fridays after work though, so I'm continuing to do that. I have shifted a little bit to visiting (or getting delivery) from places that were formerly sit-down only, to try and help them make it through this quarantine. I figure your regular fast food locations are doing pretty decently, still.

Editing to add that my family and I gave Chilli's a try on Saturday evening and it was pretty neat. My dad used Doordash and everything arrived even earlier than we were told. I do want to support these business - I just can't let myself slip back into really bad habits that led to me being obese as a young adult (well, I'm 31, but when I was a YOUNGER adult).

mbh 03-23-2020 03:51 PM

In my town, restaurants are forbidden to serve in the dining room, so I'm doing more take-out than usual.

Voyager 03-23-2020 04:16 PM

We almost never ate dinner out, and ate lunch out maybe every two weeks combined with other things. Since we don't go out anymore, that is gone also.

We both cook, and we both cook stuff better than most restaurant meals, so no need to go out. Since I retired I've been cooking at least half the dinners. We had a full freezer at the start of this, and I just got chicken and eggs at the grocery.

So, pretty much no difference.

ftg 03-23-2020 04:25 PM

Ate at home before, eat at home now.

susan 03-23-2020 04:44 PM

Entirely at home. Normally we'd go out once a week or so.

Eva Luna 03-23-2020 04:57 PM

We usually cook at home and pack leftovers for lunch at work the next day, so not much has changed. We haven't done takeout since we got home from vacation a week ago yesterday.

We may do it at some point, but with both of us home all day and plenty of groceries, there really isn't a reason to. I enjoy cooking and am not working right now, so I have plenty of time to play with new recipes. Today I made 2 kinds of chickpea and greens stew (chard for me and kale for Tom Scud, who isn't supposed to eat chard). Then I made a batch of Ethiopian spiced butter, and a batch of doro wot is in progress. Then there will be a batch of Ethiopian cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. There may be a batch of bread dough later to do its second rise in the fridge overnight and bake tomorrow.

Procrustus 03-23-2020 05:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Voyager (Post 22206134)

We both cook, and we both cook stuff better than most restaurant meals, so no need to go out. Since I retired I've been cooking at least half the dinners.

I'm not arguing, but I think it's worth pointing out that the reason for eating at restaurants is more than "better food." There's the fact that someone does all the work cooking, serving and cleaning up after the meal.


My wife is a very good cook, but she puts a lot of time and effort into each meal. While I enjoy the end product, I like to take her out so she doesn't have to do it every day. (and yes, I do help with the chopping, etc., and the cleaning. I like to avoid that too).


Plus, we can't easily recreate Thai, Indian, or sushi dishes.

Hari Seldon 03-23-2020 06:36 PM

We almost always cook our own meals. Mostly my wife, but not entirely. We get veggies delivered from a local rooftop greenhouse company that delivers once a week. They also carry a few staples like milk and eggs. That, along with what is in our freezer could keep us a good long time. But there are a few things we're running low on.

Although I clicked on no change in habits, we would normally have celebrated our anniversary (pi day) by going to a restaurant, this time we omitted it.

dalej42 03-23-2020 06:59 PM

More delivery, I’m trying to keep local places alive. Winter is brutal on Chicago restaurants and post St Patrick’s Day is when Chicagoans emerge from hibernation. I expect at least half of the restaurants in walking distance to close permanently.

Musicat 03-23-2020 07:55 PM

I'm cooking at home more. I'm gaining weight. I must be a good cook, right?

romansperson 03-23-2020 08:51 PM

I make most of our meals at home. I am planning on going to the store less often (once a week or less instead of every few days), using our local produce delivery company more often (every week instead of once or twice a month) and getting takeout or delivery from our local dining establishments who can't be open for dine-in business right now (probably a couple times a month - wish it could be more but for a lot of reasons it can't). I've also started to go freezer diving and we'll see what's in there that I've forgotten about!

Bayaker 03-23-2020 08:57 PM

Our habits have not changed at all.

But except for me buying breakfast at a McDonald's drive-through a couple times a year, we almost never eat out. Our last time in a sit-down restaurant was last August, and before that it was November 2018.

Mahaloth 03-23-2020 09:21 PM

We want to support some local restaurants, especially some Asian ones, so we have ordered some pickup foods more than normal. We also got Taco Bell the other day.

Burger King is giving away free kids meals with any purchase this week, so we're doing that as well.

Definitely more restaurant food than normal.

Voyager 03-23-2020 10:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Procrustus (Post 22206223)
I'm not arguing, but I think it's worth pointing out that the reason for eating at restaurants is more than "better food." There's the fact that someone does all the work cooking, serving and cleaning up after the meal.


My wife is a very good cook, but she puts a lot of time and effort into each meal. While I enjoy the end product, I like to take her out so she doesn't have to do it every day. (and yes, I do help with the chopping, etc., and the cleaning. I like to avoid that too).


Plus, we can't easily recreate Thai, Indian, or sushi dishes.

Yeah, some foreign dishes and those which require obscure ingredients or hours of prep time are good for restaurants.
But I like doing dishes. And there are lots of simple and good things to cook. The thing I made today, from the Times, required boiling some pasta, cooking some cut up bacon in olive oil and butter, throwing in a cup of frozen peas, then some heavy cream, then the pasta, some lemon juice from our lemons and Parmesan cheese from Costco. Couldn't be easier.
I must say being retired gives you more freedom, since you don't have to work around the schedule of kids or cook when you get home and you're tired.

CairoCarol 03-24-2020 05:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eva Luna (Post 22206214)
Then I made a batch of Ethiopian spiced butter, and a batch of doro wot is in progress. Then there will be a batch of Ethiopian cabbage, carrots, and potatoes.

Tell me how you do this!

I love Ethiopian food, but it's a cuisine I've never mastered. When I lived in Egypt I was able to get berbere that tasted right, so I could manage a few stews (but no teff available there, so no proper injera) but otherwise I've never been able to replicate the spice flavors. I stopped trying years ago and kind of forgot I'd ever tried. But with the easy availability of almost any exotic spice these days, I should probably try again.

So I demand your recipes, along with your sources of any particularly esoteric ingredients.

...Oops, forgot my manners: Please.

Weedy 03-24-2020 07:06 AM

Other - eating less. I hate cooking, and my partner can't cook, so we had breakfast cereal for dinner last night.

Left Hand of Dorkness 03-24-2020 07:24 AM

Slightly more eating at home. We generally go out to eat 3-4 times a month, but we're also stress-cooks and stress-bakers, spending time in the kitchen to soothe our anxiety.

This weekend I made bread, and roast chicken and potatoes and sweet potatoes and broccoli and salad and hummus and a seafood pasta. My fifth-grader made a chocolate buttercake with orange Italian buttercream and an ombre sunset design. My wife's gotten the short end of the stick, not getting to do much cooking, so she's reserved some time for baking later in the week.

DCnDC 03-24-2020 07:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CairoCarol (Post 22207114)
Tell me how you do this!

I love Ethiopian food, but it's a cuisine I've never mastered. When I lived in Egypt I was able to get berbere that tasted right, so I could manage a few stews (but no teff available there, so no proper injera) but otherwise I've never been able to replicate the spice flavors. I stopped trying years ago and kind of forgot I'd ever tried. But with the easy availability of almost any exotic spice these days, I should probably try again.

So I demand your recipes, along with your sources of any particularly esoteric ingredients.

My wife is going to attempt to make injera at some point this week. Frankly I don't see it going well, but I guess I'll find out. I'll report back.

JKellyMap 03-24-2020 07:38 AM

“Something else.” Before, we cooked about 65% of dinners, take-out (eat at home) 30%, and eat in restaurants 5%.

Now, the numbers are more like 80%, 20%, and of course 0%.

The biggest change is my school-age child’s lunches, which are now all home-made, whereas before they were half “home-made, but eaten in a restaurant-like setting,” and half “equivalent to eating out in a restaurant.”

FairyChatMom 03-24-2020 07:41 AM

My husband and I would always have at least one breakfast out on weekends, and anywhere from 2-5 other meals out during the week, depending on what was going on in our lives. But except for ordering pizza last Saturday, I've been doing all our meals at home. On one hand, it's been fun trying new recipes. On the other, lots of dishwashing!

JKellyMap 03-24-2020 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness (Post 22207215)
My fifth-grader made a chocolate buttercake with orange Italian buttercream and an ombre sunset design.

That’s awesome! This past Christmas I gave my third-grader a book on baking for kids, and we’ll try out something from it soon.

FairyChatMom, we noticed the same thing — the dishwasher runs more often than before.

peedin 03-24-2020 08:51 AM

I'm single and don't dine out because I think it a single diner looks pathetic. I do eat a lot of prepared meals from the local grocery store because by the time I get home from work, the barn or the gym, I'm too tired to cook. Now that the gym and the barn are closed I'm cooking more. I forgot how good freshly prepared food is, and that I like cooking.

TRC4941 03-24-2020 09:42 AM

We're not on lockdown here....yet. We're both still working. We usually (pre-virus time) get fast food or pizza takeout on Friday nights and sometimes Saturday or Sunday. Last Friday I attempted to pick up dinner from Culvers. The drive-thru line wrapped around the outer perimeter of the parking lot. There were at least 20 cars in line. I can't imagine how long that wait would have been. In good times, Culvers is the slowest of the fast-food. So I decided it wasn't worth it. We ate what was left of the chicken tortilla soup that I had made earlier in the week. The grandkids were over on Sunday and requested McDonald's. The line wasn't bad there. Maybe 4 cars ahead of me.

So I'm guessing we'll cut down on our takeout. Maybe do pizza delivery once in a while instead. Good for my waistline and my wallet!

kayaker 03-24-2020 09:44 AM

In before-times we ate out 4-5 nights a week and boy do I miss it already. Our freezer and pantry were pretty full, we have a farm market nearby, and have visited Aldis once recently.

We are cooking at home a lot now. My gf is working from home, so she eats lunches at home.

I've been doing a shit-ton of dishes. About 5 years ago my gf mentioned how she enjoyed working outdoors on our yard, but she hated doing dishes. I don't mind doing dishes. So the dishes became my job. We have a dishwasher, but I'd rather do them by hand. Maybe quarantine will change my mind yet.

Eva Luna 03-24-2020 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CairoCarol (Post 22207114)
Tell me how you do this!

I love Ethiopian food, but it's a cuisine I've never mastered. When I lived in Egypt I was able to get berbere that tasted right, so I could manage a few stews (but no teff available there, so no proper injera) but otherwise I've never been able to replicate the spice flavors. I stopped trying years ago and kind of forgot I'd ever tried. But with the easy availability of almost any exotic spice these days, I should probably try again.

So I demand your recipes, along with your sources of any particularly esoteric ingredients.

...Oops, forgot my manners: Please.

:)

I have a tub of berbere in the pantry from when we visited Tom Scud's sister in the Twin Cities - there are tons of Ethiopian immigrants there, and I love to check out interesting ethnic grocery stores. There are tons of berbere recipes online, but I can't vouch for any of them.

Here's the spiced butter recipe I used. (I didn't measure the spices super-carefully, though.)

Here's the doro wat recipe I used. I used the spiced butter and added more of the spices, and marinated the chicken in the lemon juice for ~ 1 hour instead of adding the lemon juice at the end.

Here's the cabbage/potato/carrot recipe I used.

We have a ton of dried beans and lentils and rice in the house, as we always do, so I think there's a lot of veggie Indian food in our near futures.

Eva Luna 03-24-2020 10:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DCnDC (Post 22207222)
My wife is going to attempt to make injera at some point this week. Frankly I don't see it going well, but I guess I'll find out. I'll report back.

I made injera once and it was a giant PITA. We ate ours over rice. There's an Ethiopian grocery a couple of miles from us - I might check it out on one of our future grocery runs. If anyone has a suggestion for a flatbread that works well with Ethiopian food that isn't a giant PITA, please post!

DCnDC 03-24-2020 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eva Luna (Post 22207618)
I made injera once and it was a giant PITA. We ate ours over rice. There's an Ethiopian grocery a couple of miles from us - I might check it out on one of our future grocery runs. If anyone has a suggestion for a flatbread that works well with Ethiopian food that isn't a giant PITA, please post!

I suspect it's one of those things that's relatively easy if you both have all of the necessary equipment already set up and have made it before, but extremely difficult if you haven't. Given the extensive trial-and-error it took to master just simple corn tortillas, injera will probably be a weeks- to months-long learning process. Luckily we're looking at probably a lot of free time in the house presently. :)

D_Odds 03-24-2020 10:59 AM

Still cooking 3-5 times a week, a night or 2 of leftovers, and "dining out" (ordering in) once or twice a week.

This week cooking-in:
Monday: Mussels in white wine sauce with linguine
Tuesday (today): Chicken tortilla soup
Wednesday: Teriyaki Salmon with Asparagus
Thursday: Sous-vide Buffalo Chicken Wings
Friday: Hazelnut-crusted mahi-mahi w/ lemon cream sauce

Pretty good menu for the mini-pocalypse. I'd invite youz guyz over for dinner, but ya know, social distancing and all that. :p

Chicken Fingers 03-24-2020 11:59 AM

We used to get takeout once a week, mainly because the teens requested it. Now it's all frugal homecooking because jobs have been cut. I'm just glad I can cook. Hopefully, the teens will begin to realize it's important to have certain old-timey basic life skills at times like this.

WildaBeast 03-24-2020 12:30 PM

I haven't really changed much. I usually cook during the weekend, purposely cooking extra servings so I have leftovers to eat for most of the week. Friday evening I go get takeout as a special treat. Usually the In-N-Out Burger drive-thru, but sometimes I mix it up. I rarely eat inside the restaurant anyway.

I did order food from an Indian restaurant last Saturday through DoorDash, mostly just because I was tired after tilling and planting my garden and didn't feel like cooking, not really anything to do with the stay at home order.

One thing that has changed is that I would usually go out to lunch once a week -- the business park where my office is hosts a food truck day every Thursday, so I would try to go to that. Since I'm working from home I'm obviously not doing that.

One thing about working from home is that since I don't have a commute anymore, I now actually have time to cook after work. I'll probably start doing that once the leftovers run out.

madmonk28 03-24-2020 12:33 PM

I'm cooking at home more. There are a couple of restaurants that I want to support by ordering take away, but I haven't ordered out yet. Coincidentally, just before this story hit, we did one of our twice yearly trip to Costco and I bought a bunch of meat from a farmer friend for our freezer. The only thing we've run out of is bread and fresh veggies. There's a farmer's market near us that let's you order online then they tell you when to come. They load it in the car without any contact, but because of the time of year, they don't have much variety in their produce yet.

Sam Stone 03-24-2020 12:44 PM

We're staying in and cooking all our meals at home. The only difference is that I'm learning how to cook C.H.U.D. so that we'll be prepared for the post-apocalyptic hellscape to come. And if that doesn't materialize, well, there is always the neighbors.

Eva Luna 03-24-2020 02:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DCnDC (Post 22207630)
I suspect it's one of those things that's relatively easy if you both have all of the necessary equipment already set up and have made it before, but extremely difficult if you haven't. Given the extensive trial-and-error it took to master just simple corn tortillas, injera will probably be a weeks- to months-long learning process. Luckily we're looking at probably a lot of free time in the house presently. :)

I think I am going to try this "instant" injera recipe tonight with the rest of last night's Ethiopian food. We still have some teff in the house from my previous experiment. Normally you can order from Bob's Red Mill, but holy cow, are they out of a lot of things right now.

CairoCarol 03-25-2020 02:26 AM

Eva Luna, thank you!

Eva Luna 03-25-2020 07:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CairoCarol (Post 22209302)
Eva Luna, thank you!

You're quite welcome. BTW, the "instant" injera was OK - not quite like regular, but it scratched the itch. I used about 1/3 teff flour, 1/3 barley flour, and 1/3 sourdough starter. If I do it again, I'd probably let it ferment much longer than the recommended hour.


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