Not Ready to Make Rice Yet: Q&A with an avid not-home cooker

posted in: Profiles | 11

Gosh, this blog can be so one-sided. How sick are you of hearing nonstop touting of the institution of cooking and eating in? Sometimes even I am. Which is why I decided to have a chat on the topic with my good friend Jordan, who once confessed to me a few months after moving into her Brooklyn apartment that she had never “even heated anything up” in it.

Since I’ve surrounded myself with so many incredible foodies and home chefs these past few months, I seem to have fallen out of touch with why cooking doesn’t work for everyone. I know very well some of Jordan’s reasons for not not eating out, like her wickedly busy schedule. But what else is it that separates the one persuasion from the other? I thought it high time to let the opposition speak.

Q&A with Avid Not-home Cooker Jordan R.

Age: 24
Occupation: Copy Editor
Borough: Brooklyn
Married/Kids?: No/No

Main 3 reasons for why you don’t find yourself cooking very often?

Can I give more than three?
1. I’m impatient — by the time I get home from work, I just want to eat, not spend time making dinner.
2. I suck at cooking, which kind of relates to no. 1; For example, my impatience leads me to take pasta out of the water too early, before it’s fully cooked.
3. I really don’t like my kitchen. No matter how hard I clean it, it never seems clean enough to make me want to make food in it.
4. I have a weird phobia of leftovers.
5. Because I don’t like to eat day-old (or older) food, it doesn’t seem cost-effective to make full meals just for me.
Okay, so feel free to attack my weird logic. 🙂

(Okay then — if it weren’t for the notion of using leftovers we might never have invented foods like the meatloaf, fried rice, even soups! — Ed.)

What’s one thing that you wish you could cook but can’t?

Rice, fish, chicken, Pad Thai. Oh, and soups!

(Here’s a friendly Pad Thai tip — Ed.)

What kind of things can you credit yourself with knowing how to make at home?

Sandwiches and spaghetti.

If you had to choose between your favorite mom-cooked meal and your favorite restaurant meal, which would you pick (and what are they)?

My favorite meal would probably be Pad Thai, but everything my mom makes is delicious. (Same goes for my dad.)

Do you find that people with eating restrictions can be pretty annoying when you’re trying to just have a nice meal with them (such as “I’m allergic to wheat”/ “I’m a vegan” / and yes, even “I can’t eat out.”)?

I was vegetarian/vegan for about 7 years, so I totally understand it when others have eating restrictions. It doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is when people go on about vegetarianism or veganism. To me it’s one of the most boring topics of conversation. (Yes, I was probably guilty of it when I first took up veganism.)

(I guess same must be true for people who go on about not eating out. — Ed.)

What is your worst disaster with cooking, if any?

I tried to bake tear-shaped cookies with blue sprinkles for a coworker’s last day, but I forgot/didn’t realize that, uh, cookie dough expands. So my carefully cut out tears turned into weird, misshapen blobs. I guess that’s not really a disaster, but it was disappointing.

Best part about eating out in NYC?

There’s so much delicious food to be had!


11 Responses

  1. Angeline

    I too eat out when I’m too tired/lazy/impatient to cook, but I wonder, is it faster to go home and cook, or to wait in line, order your food, pick it up, pay, and go home? Someone should test this out.

  2. Nancy

    The concept of ordering in pretty much answers your question, Angeline. That and if you’re lucky and score a fast delivery guy, there’s no question. It’s faster to order than to cook, especially if heating up leftovers isn’t your thing.

  3. cathy

    I think it’s difficult to level all the variables involved in figuring which is quicker: ordering out or cooking in. But when I cook in, I often take out leftovers and either do something different with them or reheat them; or I might boil a bowl of soup noodles (which I always have on hand) and toss in an egg and whatever veggies I have with it. So I would argue that it takes me, personally, quicker to cook in. And what about spaghetti? That’s got to be quicker, too…

  4. Laura Wehrman

    As busy people in NYC/Brooklyn most of our jobs involve doing doing doing for everyone else all day. For me sometimes it is nice to have someone cook for me. It is like a treat. I have to say that I love the taste of my own food so sometimes that equals a treat for me, too.

  5. Deanna

    I just found your blog and am loving it! Thanks for writing! Even though I am not in your area (I’m in Colorado) we are busy too and I used to be a confirmed “eating out/dialing for dinner” expert. I am converted to eating at home when work allows; but my old arguments were: being single, even when you cook for a friend it is hard to buy only the amount of ingredients you need and a lot goes to waste sometimes in the form of leftovers and/or just having to buy a large bag of whatever to get enough for a recipe….and the cleaning up factor. Feel like I don’t even get to sit down to take a breath until 8:30 or 9 if I make dinner and clean up. (or get the dog walked). Or, I end up eating the leftovers until I am so sick of that particular meal I never want to make it again. I can get an awesome meal-sized salad from a restaurant by my office for $9 with no leftovers, no waste and no science projects in the refrigerator. It seems I rarely get out of the grocery store with less than $15.

  6. Deborah Dowd

    This is what made RR a rich woman! My advice, start simple, get comfortable with a few easy classics and then explore by changing things up. Not everything takes a lot of prep (Pad Thai is actually very easy- I love it too)

  7. Carrie

    And when cooking for one (or two) I found it helpful to freeze half of the recipe, like spaghetti sauce or taco meat etc…, and then you don’t have to feel guilty about throwing out the leftovers. Next time you come home in the mood for whatever, it’s that much closer to being prepared. FYI don’t freeze the actual noodles, those are worth the 8 minute wait to have fresh.

  8. Francis

    Cooking In is really healthy because you know what ingredients/oils you are using to cook your foods. Rather then if you went out for take out they use weird oils/substitues that are bad for you but make the food taste good. Even though I know this I still eat out I guess it’s because of the convenience of NY being able to choose whether you want italian, mexican, chinese, french, spanish and etc…. Whenever you want.

  9. Yvo

    I guess I’m a flip-flopper/straddler… I like to find a balance. I go out, I order out occasionally (more now that I’ve moved from Queens to Manhattan, actually), and I cook in most frequently honestly. There are reasons pro for all of them, but my biggest reason for cooking is my wallet, then my waist.

  10. Cristie Scarber

    Somebody dropped a link to your blog on Twitter and that is where I first found your blog. I actually fancy the stuff I have read on your blog and plan to keep reading when I get more time. Do you have a Twitter account?

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