Dining in or out?


Making a choice between hygiene and taste has always been a tough task especially for those who have some coppers in their pockets and are too busy – or too lethargic – to cook food at home. The lesser rich masses, existing beyond the expanse of a limited but influential bourgeoisie, too have a similar problem – too little time, too much hunger and a tasty food required to whet their appetite.
With the rise in general price level, cooking at home has become expensive too. So, eating out is the choice they make, giving little respect to the doctor’s warning, “Outside food brings health issues.” Traditional homemade food was considered valuable in the past. The traditions are fading away as the fast food culture has taken over. There are various reasons behind it. Eating at home requires more planning, personal effort and its time consuming as well, while the people these days do not have time.
Most people prefer dining out at a fast food outlet, a roadside food stall or a restaurant (depending upon one’s pocket). It is this rising demand for outside food and a consequent rise in the local food industry that has caused Lahore’s food to gain popularity all over the world. People do not realize the extent to which they are exposing themselves to high cholesterol, heart diseases and obesity by regularly dining out.
Hotels, cafes and restaurants are opening round the city from the Gulberg, Defense and Wahadat Road to Lakshmi Chowk and Anarkali, selling foodstuffs to please their customers’ taste buds, without caring much about their health. Bilal Farooque, an accountant in multi-national company, told Pakistan Today, “Our society has been divided into different segments. The bourgeoisies are the trendsetters while the proletariats are the adopters. Bourgeoisies have more income and they do not know how to spend their money. This class adopted fast food, the proletariats followed them and eating out became the new trend.”
Javeria, a housewife, said, “It depends how many people you are cooking for? The more people share one dish, the more cost effective cooking gets. And what about leftovers? At home you can always use leftovers to make a hassle-free-instant lunch the next day, while in a restaurant, you have to weigh the relative utility of finishing a dish or taking it home. For me eating in is cheaper.”
Sheikhoos Café’s owner said, “Eating out is a source of entertainment. People dine out at night for enjoyment as well. Working women too dine out, while people have more eating options dining out than dining in.” Shumaila, a beautician, while dining at Pizza Hut said, “I love eating out. In fact, it’s an addiction. But when the school year started, we began cooking at home and dined out only once on the weekend.” Rehan Hamid, dining at Dera restaurant, said, “Eating in is definitely cheaper than eating out, but one came dine out once in a while.”
Shamsa, a housewife, said, “Last year I calculated that I was spending about Rs 7,000 on dining out. One week I decided to go to a fancy grocery store and buy Rs 7,000 foodstuffs, which I can cook at home, to last me a week. I discovered that I could fill my cart with more food than I would ever eat in a week and still have 1,500 to spare. I bought expensive foodstuff, the most exciting ingredients and kitchen staples such as oils, spices and fancy olives, and still had some money left.”
Saif Ullah Khan, a psychologist, said, “Eating at home is one of the best ways to beautify your relationship with your family. Life is busy and people do not have much time to share their feelings. Sitting at a table with your entire family and slurping the soup that your mother made, while having a chat with your siblings is always a pleasure. It leaves a memory which you can always cherish when you are far from home. Cooking at home, for many, is a family tradition as well, such as in my family, we always cook when we feel warm and happy.”
Fiaz Ahmed, a physician, said, “These days majority of the people like to dine out because restaurant food tastes good. However, they do not know about the quality of the meal they are having, and if it is good or bad for their health. One should always be careful.”


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