I was listening to sports talk radio (a slightly inexplicable guilty pleasure of mine. It used to be wacko right wing Republican talk radio) and the one guy was feeling guilty about eating out 3 meals in one day. His basic tone was horrified at himself, but was quickly bolstered by oodles of callers discussing how often they eat out, why, and how much they spend. Someone did the math that $35 a day meant a $13,000 annual food bill.
When I was growing up, eating out was a rare event. Not because we couldn't afford it, or because our family was unruly, but because it just wasn't what you did. Mom cooked. She cooked very well. We had no real reason to go out.
I do remember going to DeDad's, which has long been torn down and turned into a Burger King. I recall a few visits to Rax at the Mall, right next to what is now Pier One. ChiChi's was a big one, too, and my dad would grumble about all the food coming out of the same three 55gallon drums in the back. When I had the day off of school, my mom would take me to the Peking Restaurant for lunch, which was on Peach Street near El Canelo but on the other side of the street, but I can't recall just where. It was just a mommy/daughter thing. I'd get the chicken with oyster sauce, usually. Mom was friendly with the owner and she'd teach us a word here and there of Chinese. I think they (or, possibly, their children) opened up Golden Wok on Pittsburgh and 22nd (ish) Street, which is awesome, by the way. But at the Peking, they had a little gift shop and there was a tiny carved pagoda and dragon made out of cork and encased in a small globe, like a snow globe without the water and sparkles. I coveted it. I would visit it. I dreamed about it. One day I got it. It was everything I could've wanted.
Darling Husband and I eat out more than I did growing up, and now that we have Baby Girl, that's more turned to take out. She's best at Eat & Park for brunch, and good at a bunch of other places, but our eating has gotten a bit strange since she was born. And, now, mobile.
But 3 times in a day? That's like when you're on vacation and you can't wait to go home and have fresh vegetables cooked right.
The guy made a good point, which was that he's divorced and doesn't have the inclination to cook. I started thinking about people who say they don't cook. In a lot of ways, I don't believe them because I think, well, but how do you eat? Although between frozen pizzas, skillet meals, rotisserie chicken, ready made sides, take out from Applebee's and Max and Erma's and TGIFriday's and Olive Garden and a ton of other places, I guess it's pretty easy not to cook.
If you make yourself PB&J, is that cooking? If you heat up soup?
When it comes down to it, I feel each person (or family) needs to do what's right for them. As for the price? Eh, if you have it, what do I care? You might spend that much at the grocery store, I guess. Frankly, I still like to eat out. I'm unlikely to do it 3 times in a day, though. I like cooking too much.