the economy is in the dumps, so people are cooking more

September 20, 2008 |  Category:   life


I read this article on CNN which saids that cookbook and culinary magazine sales have increased ever since the economy has started going south. Cooking at home is an obvious way to save money, but I never considered how it impacted cookbook sales, which I found interesting.

When we first started this blog, more than a few people emailed asking if we really did eat every meal at home. The answer is yes. Mark and I ate out quite a bit before we had kids and often to very spendy places, but in an effort to save money for the baby while I was pregnant with M, we cut that down a lot. It’s true that we hardly ever go out now and I would estimate that we order in or eat out only once a month, though there are months when we do neither. It cuts our monthly food costs down to a lean number and we don’t waste any food since we go to the store with a shopping list and only buy what we need (sucks though when you have the munchies and you don’t have a stockpile of snacks to munch on). I think we’ve been disciplined about keeping food costs down for so long that it doesn’t bother us at all even though I’ll readily admit if we had more money, we’d eat out more. It’s getting harder, however, to be out with the kids and always say no when they see an ice cream truck or a cupcake in a bakery window, and now that it’s really feeling like Fall, we’ve been craving a glass of wine every evening (we have a small budget for that too).

But still, how fortunate do we feel these days since we have everything we need? It’s pretty scary out there and I have to say that I sort of feel lucky these days because we don’t live with the fear of the axe falling since neither of us have jobs – we’ve already experienced a layoff this year. Both our line of work is affected by what’s happening to the economy of course, like anybody else even if it’s not direct, and even though I haven’t seen the recession hit the particular industry I work in yet, I anticipate that it will trickle down at some point next year. And so we’re bracing ourselves like so many out there and hunkering down and hoping to come out the other side (whenever that is) relatively unscathed. I hope everyone out there is doing okay too.

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  • joni September 20, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    this post was really interesting.

    how do you guys manage? do you keep records of what you buy and go over them? plus, do you have a mortgage that’s hanging over your head??

    lastly, have you thought about branching out into something more recession-proof? not just desserts, but anything that may be more reliable, like catering?

  • Jenna September 20, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Joni, we do have a mortgage – a NYC mortgage, ha! We’re very budget-conscious and make it work somehow. I feel extremely fortunate that we’ve been fine this year, considering. I don’t think anything is recession proof except for maybe alcohol sales. Catering is certainly not more reliable – mark’s worked in most aspects of the food industry, including catering, and as companies tighten belts, catering is affected too like many services.

  • Karin September 20, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    got any recommendations for a single woman who was laid-off from her graphic design position about a month ago? a direct result of the poor economy. now i’m stuck trying to figure out what i really want to do…a blessing and a curse. i’m trying to keep a positive attitude about the future…but it’s a bit hard.

  • Nina September 21, 2008 at 12:40 am

    I’ve heard that that the sweets industry is relatively recession-proof — an affordable luxury — and I think that’ll be true to an extent, but it was really eerie this last Thursday, at the Farmers Market in a business plaza that I sell at — it was the quietest I’ve ever seen it… But then again, what are most of the businesses around this plaza? Banks… I’m curious to see how my other — residential — market will be tomorrow….

  • Jenna September 21, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Karin, I am so sorry to hear your recent news. I assume you filed for unemployment and got your cobra squared away -that’s the first step. And yes, it can be both a blessing and a curse. Are you looking for another job? Are you in print or web? If I see any freelance design work I can send it your way -it’s been very busy. But in the meantime, yes! Take advantage of this time to pursue something you are interested in, if only for fun and to take your mind away. This is also one reason we started this business – a distraction so that we wouldn’t get depressed about our situation. It was very helpful. Good luck.

  • Jenna September 21, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Nina, that’s interesting about the market and well, it was so fresh from the nosedive the stock market took this week. I’ll be curious to hear about your other market. It’s Fall though, and sales seem to be increasing steadily for us. It’s cookie and chocolate weather again.

  • City Girl September 23, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Nina is SO right on sweets being an affordable luxury. Decadent sweets is something my husband and I consistently allow ourselves despite having cut back in many other areas in the last year (including eating out except for things we don’t make at home, ie Ethiopian food or sushi) — there’s something about topping off a simple homemade meal with a couple of lovely cookies or truffles that takes care of all cravings for expensive going out meals.

  • City Girl September 23, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Oh – and Jenna, I posted on another post that the gift box we picked up Sunday before last for a gift was a big success 🙂 So thank you 🙂