"Celebrate cooking, wherever it happens!"
National Cooking Day was earlier this week. The "holiday" doesn't seem to be widely recognized, but the University of California Press posted an interesting short essay by Amy Trubek, author of Making Modern Meals: How Americans Cook Today. Using the above graph from the USDA, she explained that people now spend as much dining outside the home as inside. She wrote:
"We now spend over 50% of our annual food purchases on food made outside the home. Americans cook at home, sometimes, but to find today’s everyday cooks, we might also need to look elsewhere. In restaurants, commissary kitchens, bakeries, school cafeterias, and other locations across the continent, hundreds of thousands of people wake up each morning, go to work, and make our meals (and snacks and side dishes and bread and cakes) every day, rain or shine."A few moments thought tells me that quite a lot more meals must continue to be eaten in than out: after all, it's more expensive to eat out, so the 50% spent preparing meals at home buys more food. I haven't found any hard data for this; in fact a Business Insider article suggests that there's no hard data available, and that the data on actual cooking and meal prep is hidden in the way expenditures are accounted for: "Americans' three largest food spending categories, roughly 60% of their annual food budget, involve little to no actual cooking." (source)
However, the number of meals eaten outside the home is not that huge: "According to a Boston Consulting Group report, the largest generation in American history [millennials] eats out 3.4 times a week, compared with 2.8 times a week for non-millennials — and they’re more likely to get it to go than to eat at the restaurant." (source)
So as the barred owl says: "Who cooks for you?" I just like the fact that the call of the barred owl is generally interpreted this way. To hear the barred owl, check this video from Youtube--