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For many, cooking at home is a cheaper alternative to eating out at a restaurant. When tightening one’s belt, the thought to eat more meals in the comfort of one’s own home usually comes to mind.
For me, however, eating a meal at home is an extravagant, overblown process which consumes far more time, energy, and money, then a simple dinner out generally would.
First, there’s the grocery shopping. This is an ordeal which lasts at least an hour, and very well may require trips to multiple stores.
If I’m providing a cheese course (as every meal should, in my opinion) I must make a visit to Murray’s Cheese. This will set me back at least half an hour–spent browsing and tasting cheeses–and probably $25 worth of cheese. Because, let’s face it, you can never have too much cheese.
Protein-wise, I usually visit my neighborhood butcher, which for me is Hudson & Charles: a sustainable, whole animal butcher. The price is a bit steep, but the product is well worth it. Let’s just say I drop at least $20 there.
Generally, I’ll go to Mrs. Greens for all of my produce needs. The green market provides an extensive array of local, fresh, and exciting ingredients. Usually, I get really excited about some specialty vegetable that I’ve spotted, be it fiddle-heads, sunchokes, or morell mushrooms–$30 on the plastic please.
Then, there’s booze, wonderful, wonderful booze. Lately, I’ve been opting for good old beer at my corner bodega, $14.99 for a six-pack. Manhattan, man.
After all that, it’s finally time to cook. Depending what I’m making, that will probably take a couple hours as well. I like to have meals with multiple components, perfectly executed to work together to create a symphony of flavors, textures, and aromas.
When it’s all said and done, I’m usually exhausted and broke. But I have a darn good dinner sitting before me.