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Old 08-20-2013, 08:19 AM
Location: Upstate NY 🇺🇸
36,765 posts, read 11,933,813 times
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Interesting topic!

When we were young, going out was a special occasion. I'm calling BS on the "people don't have time anymore" reason, too. IMO, it's simply the convenience/laziness factor for too many people. They'd rather eat out or "order in" than cook. Plenty of unemployed people are eating out these days, too.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:48 AM
Location: Back in the gym...Yo Adrian!
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A big part of it is the two income family, which leaves less time or energy for cooking--which also involved shopping and cleaning afterwards. With both spouses working full time it is easier to eat out. Rather than learn how to cook different ethnic meals it's often easier and more practical to go to a restuarant. The problem with that is that most restaurants use too much salt and sugar in their cooking and portions in many of the chain restaurants are huge. That's one reason we have an obesity problem in this country along with high blood pressure and diabetes.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:48 AM
Location: Florida and New England
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Born in the 1960s, grew up in the 1970s in Kansas City: eating out was initially for a special occasion or if we were on a family vacation. This started to change in the late 1970s, as many mothers started to work -- eating out became more frequent and also more casual, although nothing like now.

I remember how formal eating out used to be also -- white tablecloths, multiple waiters "attending to" the table. Food was fairly bland but rich and often theatrical (flambe or some other tableside presentation). Live music sometimes.

Adults drank cocktails, not wine, when eating out. Everyone smoked everywhere and all the time -- except on elevators. Every man wore a coat and tie, and women were in dresses (not only when eating out, but also during everyday activities). There was a much higher premium on looking like a million bucks.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:53 AM
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Oh we ate at home growing up in the 1960s and 70s. Most of the time momma cooked,but if she didn't feel like cooking, some times we ate the Swanson tv dinners in the old aluminum plates.
Eating out was reserved for Sunday after church, or maybe a birthday.Though once in a while ,we would get fried chicken from Youngblood's on Broadway in San Antonio. But again it was mainly momma or daddy who did the cooking. Daddy learned how from his mother,plus he could diaper a kid, iron, and clean.Momma did all that too, but maybe she wasn't as frazzeled as some stay at home moms were,because he did help out.
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Old 08-20-2013, 11:09 AM
Location: Jamestown, NY
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Originally Posted by germaine2626 View Post
I was born in 1952, I had a glass of chocolate with my mother at a Woolworths Counter when I was about 10 and when I was 12 I went out to eat with a friend at a Chinese restaurant (with her family for her birthday). That was the total of my "eating out" until I was a junior in high school in 1968/69. I did have meals at weddings but never at a place where you would order and pay for food (except for those two times).

Hmmm, eating out only two times in your first 17 years on Earth? I wouldn't be surprised if some/many Amish and Mennonite teenagers, today, have eaten in restaurants/fast food places/diners more often than that.
I'm another 50's-60s child. My memories of eating out before I went to college were very limited.
  • My aunt took me to downtown Buffalo a few times to eat at a cafeteria in Neisner's (I think). I always had mac n cheese and jello. I think I was maybe 5-6, maybe a little older but not much because I was greatly impressed with the cafeteria style (after we moved to the country when I was 7, I ate in the school cafeteria every day, so it wouldn't have been a big deal!)
  • Sometimes in the summer my dad would drive us down to Burt's Drive-in, a hot dog stand in the Zoar Valley, and we'd swim in the creek before having hot dogs and cokes.
  • Very rarely we'd stop at the Tasty-T Freeze for soft ice cream or Farner and Parkers (a combo dairy bar/informal restaurant in town) where we'd get hard ice cream.
  • There was the diner on the square but it was a "greasy spoon" back then (much better now) that I never actually saw the inside of until I was an adult.
  • I can't actually think of any steak houses or other "nice" restaurants in our little town. Most taverns had backrooms for dining (and a "ladies' entrance") and there were clubs that offered dinners, mostly on Friday or Saturday nights: the Slovenian Club, the Moose, the Am Legion. My mom didn't approve of taking kids to bars even to the back room and my father didn't join the American Legion until the mid 1970s or so.
  • Mostly our "eating out" was at family affairs: christenings, communions, graduations, weddings, family picnics, holidays.
Originally Posted by jeneric13 View Post
Lol, happily? If they were so happy doing it, they would still be doing it... hahaha
I think the poster you're questioning was being sarcastic.

Originally Posted by Frihed89 View Post
In my New England home, White's Corner Restaurant was a popular place for the middle and working-class of our community to eat out on the weekends in the early 50s. But the boom accelerated when Carbone's Pizza opened up, or at least became popular, later in the decade. Chinese eateries were also popular in the '50s.

On a more general level, i believe that immigrant groups - Italians, Asians, and Eastern Europeans started this as a working class phenomenon at least as early as the 1950s, probably earlier. Anyone here from South Philly can verify the Italian part.
In working class Buffalo, Friday night fish frys (fried fish, french fries, coleslaw, and macaroni salad) at a local bar and grill, at least for adults, was a tradition that dated back at least to the late 1940s and 1950s. I have pics of my mom and aunts before they married in those backrooms. On Saturday nights, it was either roast beef on weck (roll dusted with sea salt and caraway seed) at the same or another nearby bar or Italian at a restaurant on the West Side. By the 1960s, these traditions had spread throughout WNY, and you can still get wonderful fish fry or weck from the backroom of many taverns around the area.
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:43 PM
Location: New York City
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I have a middle-class friend from the north of England. She wasn’t from a wealthy family, but they weren’t poor. When she moved to the US for grad school in the early 90s she had never been to a restaurant. She would have fish and chips and other takeout, but there was no restaurant culture where she lived. Restaurants were formal, white tablecloth places that were very expensive and only for special occasions, like a wedding anniversary. Parents would never think of taking their kids out to dinner. She found it unusual—and rather decadent—that college kids in the US would go out to dinner all the time.
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Old 08-21-2013, 04:37 PM
Location: Home, Home on the Front Range
24,025 posts, read 17,543,140 times
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I was born in 1956. Lived in NYC well into adult-hood.

When I was a kid we went to all sorts of places - pizza in the neighborhood, Chock Full of Nuts, the Automats (anyone else remember those?), Nathan's at Coney Island, Zum Zums, neighborhood burger places, Chinatown - as well as some nice restaurants around Greenwich Village.

Once I was in junior high, we all went out to eat at lunchtime everyday. It's just what we did.
Never thought much about it.

I eat out much less now than I did then.
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:34 AM
Location: Atlanta
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Perhaps its dependent on your locale. I grew up in the 1960s/1970s in a very rural town with little to no places to eat out at so we never went out to eat unless we were out of town. My mom and dad still live in that rural town which has grown a tad and now has a few places to eat at as we often do when we visit.

I also believe that the slow migration from 2 parents working vs just 1 parent working has had much to do with the shift. Both myself and my wife work and although we eat at home at least 4 times a week, we eat out almost every weekend night and at least once a weekday. The convenience of eating out has made the urge simply too much to resist and the kids, don't get me started on the kids. When I was growing up I never remember asking my parents if we could go out to eat.... it simply was not an option but my kids ask almost daily. Either that or can we order Pizza...
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