For some reason, there was NO Top Chef on last night. Boo! I guess we'll have to wait in suspense another week. Blargh.
A few mornings ago, while sleepily having coffee and oatmeal in front of CNN and trying to wake up enough to get myself on the bus to work, I caught a factoid that interested me (and also didn't surprise me). CNN had taken some poll where they asked Americans how they were faring with the rotten economy. Over half of the respondents had said that the one luxury they didn't want to give up on was going out to eat.
Like I mentioned, I find this interesting and also not surprising, because I feel the same way. I haven't felt the economic meltdown quite so badly, and I'm still getting by, but I do feel the pressure to remain careful about my finances (though this has been ingrained in me since I was a tot by my frugal parents). I'm trying not to make frivolous purchases: I haven't bought loads of new clothes with the changing of the seasons, I've kept personal product purchases (a weakness of mine) at a minimum, and instead of buying books, I go to the library (well, except for cookbooks). But the one thing I haven't really cut back on is food, both in terms of groceries and restaurants.
What is it about eating out and eating well that is so hard for people to give up? Is it the luxury of having one's food prepared? Trying new things? Is it laziness? Or is it the social aspect? Something leads me to believe that this last one might have a lot to do with it. Eating is such a social experience. Getting together with others to share a meal is one of life's finest pleasures, at least that's how it seems to me. I'd gladly give up going to the movies, getting new books and clothes, and taking luxurious trips if it meant being able to have that many more meals out with friends. I'm sure that many more people are now cooking at home too, because of the economy, but I think the fact that people continue going out to eat regularly proves that it's too important of a social experience for us to give up on entirely. Perhaps it stems from the fact that eating is one activity all people must do and that almost all people enjoy, so it's the one thing that each of us has in common with all of our friends.