Recession forces people to get intimately acquainted with their stoves

1950s woman cooking

"Oh why hello there, Mr. Oven, I'm just hanging out here saving money and looking all domestically hot and stuff"

Readers of this blog already know that more Americans are carrying flasks around than they are embarrassing themselves at expensive bars. You may have also noticed this little thingamajig called Groupon, LivingSocial, or any of its less famous stepsisters that never make you want to leave the house unless it’s for 50% off the nearest restaurant. Combine these two social phenomena and sooner or later you have a trend piece about more people cooking in than dining out. Let’s break down the SHOCKING reasons why.

1) People are becoming caveman again and finding pleasure in foraging for food.

Forced to eat more meals at home when money was tight, people learned new habits. Some discovered they enjoy cooking and dining in. As the economy improves and families have more spending money, they’re still saving restaurants for special occasions.

2) This way, almost all human interaction can be avoided.

“People are becoming not only accustomed to eating at home, they’re enjoying it,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of restaurant consulting firm Technomic Inc. “They can sit in front of their 50-inch flat-screens and not have to tip a waiter.”

3) You magically shed pounds without starving yourself.

President of her own marketing agency in Raleigh, N.C., Beverly Murray, 46, never thought she’d have time to cook. But in 2008, her business tanked. Suddenly dropping $10 or $20 on every meal was not an option. So she got to know her stove. […] Having lost 30 pounds as a pleasant consequence of cooking at home, she is sticking to the new routine, even as business picks up.

4) Poor is the new cool.

Meanwhile, cooking has become hip, says Rick Smilow, president of the Institute for Culinary Education, where registration for recreational courses was up 10 percent last year.

Of course, while this is great for those of us who don’t have to resort to eating pasta every night, this totally sucks for the restaurant industry.

Restaurants traditionally have led other types of businesses out of a recession. This time, they’re at least a year and a half behind retailers. Sales of clothing grew 5 percent last year and autos rose 11 percent, as Americans started feeling better about their finances. […] Discounting is not sustainable in an industry with 3 percent profit margins. If the costs of food and utilities rise, that could kill restaurants that are just hanging on, says Deborah Dowdell, president of the New Jersey Restaurant Association.

Happy foraging!


3 thoughts on “Recession forces people to get intimately acquainted with their stoves

  1. I am in complete agreement that something needs to be done to stimulate education AND provide relief to those former students restricted from progress by the golden handcuffs of school loan debt. For many, the cost of higher education is not worth the price. I am of the mindset that the “Educated Stimulus” plan could provide relief while simultaneously stimulating the economy (without significantly adding to the debt). It is not nearly as exciting or desirable as full student loan forgiveness, but it is a reasonable plan that the Parties may actually agree on. Find the details and contribute to the discussion at The website is an attempt to promote simple ideas to preserve our future. I only hope those who daily sculpt our generation’s future will daily seek our generation’s input.

  2. This morning I got an email from a woman who runs a tutoring company. I had sent her my resume about two weeks ago in hopes I could pick up a few hours tutoring kids in math and science. I got a response back from her asking me to delete one of my [many] blog posts because it didn’t fit the image her clientele. I’m lucky that I don’t need a job right now and that I am just looking for work to fill my long, boring days. But it got me thinking about other people. How many people feel ashamed of themselves these days? How many people are out there breaking their backs to conform to some entitled view paying $20/hour with no healthcare? Even in this time of jobs hard to find, never, ever, ever let someone take away your dignity.

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