If nothing else, I guarantee that this issue will do one thing: make you hungry.
Trust me. As the person whose job it was to walk the the Burger Wars submissions from the lobby of The Repository, across the whole building to our panel of tasters (with alas, no samples along the way), all in the pursuit of preserving the impartiality of the precedings, I can assure you that things are about to get mouthwatering when you check out Burger Wars.
And so the idea of restaurants and their chefs competing for burgermeister bragging rights got me thinking about the actual business of serving food to hungry Stark Countians. I often hear people joke about how we have the most restaurants per capita. Turns out it’s Providence, Rhode Island, that holds the distinction (and with a staggering 21 restaurants per 10,000 residents thanks to the nearby cooking school). So Stark County may not actually be the highest, but it certainly feels like we have more than our share. And that’s just fine with me, because—gasp!—dining out is so much better than dining at home.
Don’t believe me? Here’s 10 reasons why, off the top of my head:
1. You can pick when you eat, even reserve a time to do it, and literally lift nary a finger in the process. All of the people in the restaurant are (paid to be) nice to you, even if they have had a crappy day or are tired or don’t particularly want to make you food, they will!
2. There are no dishes to wash when you eat at a restaurant. In fact, there is no clean up of any kind. You eat and then some very thoughtful people come and take it all away.
3. Unless you are a chef or a good home cook, chances are that even your mediocre, run-of-the-mill dining out experience will meet or surpass whatever you’ve got cooking at home. The finer the restaurant, the finer the dining, of course, but even your casual eateries have skillful professionals sauteeing around back there in the kitchen.
4. Cooking isn’t as glamorous as on TV. Prep work, chopping, the need for obscure ingredients. It’s drudgery. TV makes it look easy. Even those packaged meal subscriptions can be a nightmare.
5. Whether you’re meeting friends, your significant other, business associates or even dining alone, there’s a social electricity to dining out that your dining room table just can’t beat.
6. Everyone can have their own individual meal. Do you suddenly hate pork chops, but your companion has a craving? You can just order the salmon! Did you just have pork chops last night and now somehow want more pork chops? Order away!
7. You can try new things that have weird ingredients that you wouldn’t buy at the grocery store because what does one do with an excess of szechuan buttons and turmeric?
8. Sure, I can hear some of you now … yes, yes, it’s more expensive to dine out rather than cooking at home (though I secretly believe it probably shakes out about the same), partly because you’re paying for all of those automagical services I described previously, partly because you’re likelier to add-on things such as drinks, appetizers and desserts that may not be available at home. But the flip side is that there are drinks, appetizers and desserts when you dine out!
9. Home cooking yields leftovers of stuff that was only just okay when you made it the day before, but restaurants yield doggie bags, which are generally great the next day.
10. Big holiday family meals: People cook all day, sometimes for several days. Then the food is gone in 10 minutes. You have to deal with your passive agressive family, so you just leave that food work to the professionals.
Long story short? I like good food, but cooking is work. Do you know what else is work? Working all day. Until Uber Eats arrives here in Canton and all our favorite restaurants are only an app away, be like me and seek out the heavenly oasis that is dining out. Your mouth will thank you. Your waistline? Maybe not so much.