January, 2005 Contest: Do you prefer eating out at restaurants or having a home-cooked meal and why?

Congratulations to our contest winner!
Nancy Hendrick of London, ON

I’ll admit it – we eat out often and enjoy it. It can be a stress reliever at the end of a long week or an unplanned treat in the middle. But what I really prefer is to prepare a delicious but simple home-cooked meal and enjoy it with good wine and great friends. My husband always says that I “cook with love” and that’s why things taste so delicious. That could be – don’t we often refer to certain foods as “comfort foods” and what’s more comforting than someone cooking something for you out of love? I really like to cook which is a bonus but I’ve found that I like to cook even more when my kitchen is organized, tidy and my pantry has a good stock of those necessary items that help make cooking much easier and more enjoyable.
Preparing a great meal is almost like decorating a room. It can be the “accessories” that make the difference. We don’t have to own expensive antiques to have a beautiful room and we don’t have to make terrines and flambees to be a “good cook.” What beats the delicious smell of a roast in the oven seasoned simply with garlic and herbs? Or the comforting scent of cinnamon in a bubbling apple crisp? Home-cooked meals, no matter how basic, are an expression of our talents and our love for family and friends. We have such strong associations with certain foods and what they meant to us as we were growing up, that it seems to me that no restaurant-prepared food could ever hope to capture that feeling.