Saturday, February 25, 2006

Carryout dinners increase; home cooking decreases

photo by JOHN MANIACI - State Journal
Server Bevan Robert brings a carryout dinner to Richard Robinson of Fitchburg curbside at Outback Steakhouse on East Towne Boulevard.

This was front page news in my hometown paper today - nobody cooks. I didn't cook much this week, but I wasn't home much, either. There were even a couple of paragraphs in the article about one of my younger son's friend's family, about how the mom buys take out chicken teriyaki & rice, woks it up with some extra ingredients at home, and wa lah, the family is sitting down to a "home-cooked" meal in 20 minutes for less than $10. The article also makes it clear that both parents are busy professionals.

Well, last night we had hot dogs & baked beans, but the baked beans were homemade and the dogs were all beef Kosher dogs. Tonight I went to a make-your-own pizza potluck at some friends - I brought a lettuce salad kind of like one of Nigel's with lemon & walnut oil dressing, and Unky Dave's potato salad (that I had made for a potato discussion organized by the WI chapter of Slow Food held at lunch time at the co-op this afternoon), and pizza toppings: spicey sausage, mushrooms, peppers, goat cheese, cubes of squash that I had roasted with olive oil & shallots, fresh rosemary. So we had sausage, mushroom & pepper pizza, and squash, goat cheese & rosemary pizza. Steve made a good whole wheat crust.

And for fun, last night I had made chocolate pudding, regular Betty Crocker: 2 TBLS cornstarch, 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup sugar into a pot, mix in 2 cups of milk, starting slowly, so you get a paste, to keep the cocoa from clotting up and floating on the top, dash of salt; cook till it's hot and starts to thicken, then pour most of it into 2 egg yolks, stirring; dump it all back in the pot and cook till it's starting to boil. Remove form the heat and add vanilla and almond extracts. I used soy milk and for the potluck, I layered the pudding with coolwhip in a glass dish, making it an all-soy dessert, and quite tasty.

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