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Old 08-16-2013, 06:09 AM
 
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A visit to the town I grew up in, but left 45 years ago, last week made me think about the history of eating out and restaurants. One of the things that hit me about my home town of so many years ago was the incredible number of places to eat that are available now days. And the incredible number of ethnic food available even in a relatively homogeneous mid sized town in the American Midwest.

When I was a kid there in the 1950s and 1960s no one went out to eat except for special events. There were no fast casual restaurants, ethnic food, and fast food only came in in the very late 1960s. Even pizza, Chinese and Mexican food was really uncommon.

The big shopping mall that was built in the 1960s had no food except for a snack bar. There was no food court!

What is your memory of going out to eat in the 1950s and 1960s, if you are old enough to remember?
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:48 AM
 
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It was rare back then for a good reason: Most households had one wage earner. So there was sufficient time for the other parent, almost without exception the mom, to do the shopping and the cooking. No slam on the modern stay-at-home parent. From the time the kids are babies until they go to school, it's a demanding job. But once the kids are in school, it turns into one of the easier gigs on the planet. And I say that as someone who walked the walk.

I work out of the home. Once my kids were off to school at 7:30, it took me all of an hour to get the housework done before I began dealing with my paying work. Then there was this vast expanse of time between 8:30-3:15. After that, I sat their happy butts down to the table to do homework while I thought about dinner or dealt with clients.

Today, with two-income families so prevalent, having the daily meal around the dinner table is a challenge. Add to that the curse of youth athletics (My son's sixth-grade rec league baseball team had five practices or games a week, all astride the dinner hour), school activities, and a host of other intrusions in the life of the family, it often becomes easier for the parents to say, "To hell with it!" and just head down to Applebees or, worse, McDonalds.

Mind you, we are pretty insistent on the nightly dinner with our kids. I work out of the house, so I do the cooking. We might eat at 7:30 or so, but dinner is on the table. But, I have to tell you, with soccer, lacrosse, violin, orchestra, marching band, boy scouts, volleyball, school plays, concerts, football games, and school projects, it is a lot like threading the needle. And we're a two-income family with some pretty good flexibility. I have no idea how a single parent of more than one child manages to keep it all juggled.
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:59 AM
 
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We rarely ate out and never ordered food...there was no place to order from!!!

Going out was generally limited to chinese or pizza. Occasionally a nicer restaurant and that was usually on a weekend in summer when we went for the Sunday "ride".

But as other posters pointed out, there were limited options even if you want to go out. No fast food. No casual dining places. It was chinese or pizza or the cheap diner.
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Old 08-16-2013, 10:17 AM
 
Location: On The Road Full Time RVing
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.

People are eating out more and more because men and women
can not cook or won't, and every generation is learning less
when it comes to cooking or even making a sandwich.

Which causes them to have less money.
.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:04 AM
 
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Never. We ate at home, together, at the supper table, which reminds me... the emphasis on the supper table isn't anywhere near what it used to be, either. In the 60's, our neighbourhood quietened around suppertime, because everyone (kids and parents) were sitting down eating together.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:04 AM
 
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We went out about twice a month. Mostly for Sunday dinner.

I think it came with women working more outside the home, and people who did not grow up in the Depression. My Great Grandparents, would go hungry before eating out.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by bumpus7
People are eating out more and more because men and women
can not cook or won't, and every generation is learning less
when it comes to cooking or even making a sandwich.
Dead-on with that!
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:10 AM
 
Location: On The Road Full Time RVing
2,342 posts, read 3,071,644 times
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.
They go out more because they got tired of eating TV junky dinners.
.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Downtown Raleigh
1,664 posts, read 3,124,334 times
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I happen to be home in time to unwind from work and then cook dinner. But that is not the case in many families. When pressed for time and when the money is there, families will often choose the less stressful option in order to maximize time together. We all pay people to do certain things for us that our ancestors mostly did not: grow food, make clothes, cut hair, etc. Those things have become affordable, and incomes have gone up. It makes sense that the trend will continue.
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:09 PM
 
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I wonder if the rise in food prices made it seem like it wasn't a luxury anymore. Not too long ago I figured out that it was almost the same money to stop off at the grocery store or McDonalds after practice with the kids for dinner.
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