Week 9: You can’t wear a Teddy to a Steak House.

Birthday dinner for two.

This week was our first big celebration dinner for the year. It was my lovely wife’s birthday. We usually celebrate birthdays with our children but between school and work they were not available this week. This left just us and she decided she wanted a great steak with a spiced relish I make of sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers, a shrimp cocktail and a wedge salad. Nothing more. This made cooking for just the two of us easy. I wanted to contrast cooking for her to what it would have been like if we had gone out for a steak.

First, she was specific about what she wanted. Just a steak, shrimp and a salad. By eating in she was able to come with me and pick the exact steak I cooked for her. Not just the cut of meat but she chose the actual steak from the butcher. I know this is possible at a few steak houses but that is not the norm.

Second, she knew exactly what she wanted, nothing more. No potato, sides or add ons. By eating in we didn’t need to deal with all the other things on the menu she could have ordered or might have pushed other by a waiter trying to up-sell the meal. I know that comes with the job but sometimes it can be annoying. Especially when you already know what you want. By eating in she got only what she wanted.

Third, time. This was a wash between eating in and eating out. The time it took to go shopping, cook the meal and clean up was about the same as if we had dressed up, gone out, waited to be served, eaten and driven home.

Fourth, cost. This was the biggest win for eating in. The total cost of the evening was about one third of the cost had we gone out to one of my favorite steak houses. The trade off of course is that I had to do all of the work instead of being served by others. Not a big deal but occasionally being treated well by a professional staff is wonderful.

Fifth, dressing up. If we had gone out I would have worn black slacks and my best black Polo shirt. Instead I wore black jeans and an old black Polo shirt. Yeah, I know my fashion choices are dull and repetitive. My wife would have worn a nice dress with stiletto heals with perfect makeup and hair. Instead she was able to wear a black silk teddy, still with the stilettos. Win for us. She just can’t do that in public without undue attention. Not saying she wouldn’t if given the chance.

Eating in is not always going be a suitable replacement for a celebratory meal out but eating in doesn’t need to be a second rate substitute for dinner out. If you celebrate by eating in, do it right. Plan your menu well, buy great ingredients and cook with passion.

This weeks menu highlights were the steak and shrimp, stir fried veggies and rice with a ginger sauce, home made pizza, soup (canned) and home made cheese bread, egg sandwiches, and two days of tamales (local made, frozen).

See you next week. John

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