Saturday, August 27, 2016

Mid-America Road Trip - A Photo Essay by Jack A. Atkinson + The Pros and Cons of Cooking at Home vs Eating-Out

"A Mid-America
Road Trip"
Photo Essay 
by Jack A. Atkinson

As summer comes to an end, most Americans have done some sort of recreation, taken some time off from work, or gone on a vacation, to recharge their batteries and to attach a memory to the 2016 summer season. ARTSnFOOD's editor / publisher Jack A. Atkinson shows some of his snaps from the mid-American road trip, he and his wife took last month.
(Presented here as "Untitled" Art Photography, without captions.)

(Source: All photos were taken by ARTnFOOD's editor/publisher Jack A. Atkinson © 2016, all rights reserved, ask pemission before use.) 

The Pros and Cons 
of Eating-Out or 
Pre-Packaged Meals 
Cooking Meals at Home!?!

With the price of eating-out being so high, including taxes and gratuity, one would think all of us would be cooking at home for every meal, but that's not the case in today’s modern world. 

Here are the Pros and Cons of a home-cook meal vs eating-out or settling for a pre-packaged, microwavable meal. There will not be a verdict here, except for consideration regarding how this impacts the quality of our lives. ARTSnFOOD thinks this subject is worth discussing, since cooking at home is often our last option!

PROS of Eating-Out and Pre-Packaged Meals!

# 1) It's faster! The world moves quickly, we all seem to be constantly going and doing. By taking advantage of eating-out and pre-packaged meals, our time is spent only on eating, not on food preparation or clean-up. This is the #1 reason most people are eating-out or buying microwaveable meals at the store.

# 2) Cost! Fast-food restaurants can be an inexpensive choice and we always have an idea of what we are going to order, before we even walk through the fast-food door. The biggest changes in diets around the world and in the USA have come as a result of fast-food chains. Each diner knows what is available on the menu for each chain and their offerings are consistent almost everywhere! We humans have a bias toward consistency, especially with our food. Few people enjoy experimentation when they just want something to eat.

# 3) Life is easier! Eating-out is all about service - none of the hassles, just the eating. We can decide at a moments notice "I want to eat!" and you can! Either go to the drive-through window, or take a seat inside, then let someone else do all of the work, including the wait-service in more formal restaurants. 

# 4) Microwaveable Food is Fast & Easy! Pre-packaged foods offer a similar convenience as fast food restaurants, except we go to our freezer to pull out a meal. Simply remove the packaging, punch a hole in the plastic film and a few minutes later we have a meal in its own disposable dish.

CONS of Eating-Out and Pre-Packaged Meals!

# 1) EATING OUT AND PRE-PACKAGED FOODS CAN BE EXPENSIVE! When we go out to eat, we realize we are paying others to do much of the work for us. But think of how expensive eating-out is, vs eating at home. The difference is like comparing buying items for wholesale prices vs buying them at retail, plus in sit down restaurants we must pay for table service (gratuity), in addition to the cost of the food.

# 2 through #100) WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL: The nutritional value of the food and the calorie count, fat, carbs, sugars, salt, and flavor are left-up to someone else, usually it’s left-up to corporate executives with a PROFIT MOTIVE as their only purpose for offering us the food.

This business emphasis based on convincing us to spend our money on their food, in that moment, and their desire to have us come back for more food another day, means they use hooks like "fat", "salt", "sugar" and "rich calorie counts" to make us love their food. This does not take into account their choice of drinks (sweet or with alcohol) offered. All of these tools generally contribute to a poor diet.

# 101 through #1000) Microwaveable Pre-Packaged Foods: Let's be honest, these meals taste horrible! 

PROS of Cooking Our Meals at Home!

#1) WE ARE IN CONTROL: At home we are in control of every aspect of what we put into our bodies: the fat, salt, sugar, calories and the nutritional content of our meals.

#2) INEXPENSIVE! The price of a meal at a restaurant can be expensive, especially if you add in drinks, tax and tip. Think about a meal where you fed your family at a sit-down restaurant, for that same price you could have eaten three meals a day for several days. Eating at home is eating at wholesale prices!

#3) HEALTH COMES FIRST! Since our motive is to make the best life possible for ourselves and our family, we are focused on the proper aspects of eating: flavor, nutrition, cost and health concerns are taken into consideration. We decide what is best for us, vs the restaurant's profit motive figuring into the meal we are eating, even if the food is unhealthy.

CONS of Cooking Our Meals at Home!

#1) - Time and Effort are the Concerns: There are many steps involved in creating a nutritious and tasty meal at home and those steps take time, work and planning.

Working-out creates a healthier body, working at a job provides for our needs and working to create good, nutritional and tasty meals all have a consistent element: WORK! Like everything worthwhile, it takes work and time for a good result. 

All of this work is often over-looked by those who are gathered just long enough to eat a meal. Please “THANK” whom-ever is preparing the food!



#1) Planning the meal. All food starts as a thought process - first as to what we want to eat, then as a list of what we need to buy. Sometimes these are formal decisions, but often they are made in the grocery store as we shop.

#2) Shopping for the food. All cooking at home starts with buying the food at the store or delivered to your door, via online shopping.

#3) Putting away the food for healthy storage until we are ready to cook.

#4) Gathering the knowledge: Knowing how to prepare a certain meal, from experience, a cook book or other instruction.

#5) PREPARATION: Preparing the food before you cook it. Organizing the ingredients, chopping, slicing, marinating, rinsing/cleaning the food, pulling out the cooking utensils needed to prepare and cook the meal. 

#6) COOKING THE MEAL. Often it takes planning if three or four elements need to be ready at the same moment when preparing a balanced meal. Cooking can take 10 minutes or several hours depending on what is to be served.

#7) DINING AT HOME! This is the fun part of the eating experience and dining at home has many benefits that have been proven over the centuries. It provides time for conversation and being together, often the evening meal is the only time a couple or family are gathered together. THIS COULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON TO COOK AT HOME.

#8) CLEANING UP THE DISHES! The dishes and silverware must be cleaned. Even if you have a dishwasher, rinsing off food, loading and unloading and putting in the soap, plus the proper adjustment of the dishwasher is the least appreciated work we do, when cooking at home. 

#9) CLEANING-UP THE COOKING AREAS AND THE TABLE. Everywhere there was preparation and cooking, some clean-up can take quite a bit of work.

#10) PUTTING EVERYTHING AWAY FOR THE NEXT COOKED MEAL. The final stage of a meal is putting away all of the dishes, pots, pans and utensils, so we will be ready for the next meal, again this takes real time and effort.

THE BEST THING WE CAN DO FOR OUR HEALTH IS TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE NUTRITION WE PUT INTO OUR BODIES! Cooking at home allows us to know exactly what we are eating (how much fat, salt, sugar and calories) and it allows us to control the flavors we crave and enjoy!

A good trainer will always tell us: “Nobody can out-train a poor diet!” So if we want “The Good Life”, we must cook at home! It takes extra effort, but the benefits can improve your health, improve your wealth and improve your relationships! 


Remember, appreciation is in order and everyone in a family benefits from good home cooked meals.

(Source: Orginal text by ARTSnFOOD.)

Until later,
ARTS&FOOD is an online magazine dedicated to providing artists and collectors around the world with highlights of current art exhibitions, and to encourage all readers to invest in and participate in “The Joy of Art” and Culture. All Rights Reserved. All concepts, original art, text & photography, which are not otherwise credited, are copyright 2016 © Jack A. Atkinson, under all international, intellectual property and copyright laws. All gallery events', museum exhibitions', art fairs' or art festivals' photographs were taken with permission or provided by the event or gallery. All physical artworks are the intellectual property of the individual artists and © (copyright) individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees. 
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