I’ll take my dinner to go, thanks

Donna P. Crilly

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I rarely cook. To me, the action is just another four-letter word.

Once, I used vanilla soy milk in my macaroni and cheese because I didn’t have regular. It was a soupy-sweet macaroni stew.

Another time, I tried making cookies from scratch. The result: one giant cookie meld of burnt nastiness. It took nearly an hour to scrape the pan clean.

Now, I might have a home-cooked meal once every two weeks. Dining usually consists of bean and cheese burritos, pizza, or a scone, and that’s only if I can get them quick. If not, a cigarette stands in as my afternoon snack.

Average dollar spent per week on greasy grab and go meals plus cigarettes: $40. That’s $160 per month, evaporated into cancerous air (and that doesn’t include weekend fun).

For a gal who makes a less-than impressive hourly wage, I’d say I’m spending somewhat frivolously.

It’s easy to say “I’m going to eat in more,” or “I need to save money,” but how many of us actually do? For those of you with enough patience and time to cook every night, I am envious. And honestly, patience is more of the issue than time. Taking an extra twenty minutes out of my day to cook food that could last me two or three more days will ultimately be worth it.

I realize that I’m a victim of “gimme-now-itis.” The symptoms: impatience, laziness, spoiled nature, elevated anxiety when something isn’t readily available when I’m used to it being there when I want it and honking at other cars for little reason.

The cause: convenience, malls, cellular phones, the Internet, Alberto’s or anything else that can be offered cheap and easily. We live in a fast-paced society where technology functions as a crutch.

Remember leaving hand-written notes if you were going out? You wouldn’t have to worry about answering a text message or an incoming call on a nature hike. My mother gets angry when I don’t call or text her back immediately. Now, I see people Facebooking on their Blackberries. It’s a weird to watch folks chat via cellular phone when they could just as easily call.
My aunt orders groceries from her Blackberry while she’s at work so she can conveniently pick them up on the way home. As strange as that is, at least she still cooks.

A cousin of mine moved to Washington, D.C. about a year ago. She got one of those GPS navigation systems for her car so she wouldn’t get lost. She’s completely dependent on it and complains that she still wouldn’t be able to find her way to work if she didn’t have her GPS.

We have all these objects doing things for us, that we can no longer do them for ourselves. I agree that advancements in technology have helped us in so many ways; but I’m also worried about using these convenient outlets in excess so that I forget how to do basic tasks, like cooking.
With the economy in the shape that it is, I think I should try living a bit more simply than I have.

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