What is in this article?:
- Restaurant ban: Could you eat in for two years?
- The benefits of eating in
Natural Vitality Living sat down with the New York-based author of The Art of Eating In to discuss the benefits of preparing food at home.
The benefits of eating in
Dining out is a strong social tool. In the summer we gather at neighborhood restaurants and cafés, sipping cool drinks alfresco and let someone else heat up the kitchen to prepare food. In the winter, ducking into a familiar café for shared sustenance with family and friends can be a welcome respite from the cold.
Erway, though—young, and single through part of her adventure—found eating in didn’t limit her social outings and interactions but expanded them. “Through holding potlucks, picnics, and all sorts of communal cooking events, I formed more bonds with people than ever. Through cooking, you get to express yourself and see more sides of people, and I think it’s a very natural way to show generosity too. It inspires other people to reciprocate—hence the contagion of dinner party hosting.”
When the book first came out, on her website Erway held a challenge for people to eat in for a week and write about their experience. “I loved reading about the different ways people adjusted to it, and what discoveries they found. Everyone fashions their own routines in wildly different ways. I remember one writer had a business lunch meeting during the week, but invited that person to her office for lunch instead; it made for a warm and convivial meeting.”
When her two-year commitment was up, Erway did what most of us would; she went on a restaurant binge, calling it Opposite Week. “At times it was fun, exciting, weird and normal; but altogether by the end of the week I thought that I had felt physically better before,” she says.
With famed journalist Michael Pollan’s book, Cooked (Penguin, 2013), about the importance of cooking our own food, just hitting store shelves, Erway was clearly ahead of her time and is delighted to see home cooking heating up. “I have not yet read Cooked,but I have read the rest of Pollan’s books and I’ve been following with great appreciation his growing emphasis on cooking in his work. Cooking is, at the very least, compulsory to eating well and with greater awareness, and at the most, essential to our being a civilized and social human being.”
Erway’s two years in the kitchen did nothing to quell her joy of cooking and sharing food. She continues to eat most meals in, and eating out is usually reserved for a special occasion or exploration, like dim sum on Chinese New Year. Currently she is working on a cookbook. Find out more at www.noteatingoutinnewyork.com. Click here to check out some of her recipes.