What’s the deal – we don’t blog restaurants, right? Yes, we’re about home cooking – not restaurants – but we do love recipes from good restaurants and inspiration from the ideas of great chefs. However, this article from Forbes gave us inspiration of another sort.

As we read through the descriptions of America’s ten most expensive restaurants – Alinea, French Laundry, Masa – the large amounts of money spent on meals there were not what caught our eye. No, it was this number: 50%. One out of every two food dollars spent in the United States is spent in restaurants, as opposed to the past 50 years, when only 25% of Americans’ food budget was spent on meals outside the home.

While some are shocked by the high prices at these restaurants and others like them (and while we must admit we think wistfully of the sort of dinner party we could throw for a dozen friends on one average diner’s budget at Masa – $446), we don’t altogether disapprove of high-priced, special-occasion meals like these. Here, you are consciously paying high prices for the best of the best.

No, what gets us is the idea of Americans spending half of their food budget on meals eaten outside their own kitchens. This inspires us to be more creative, more practical, and even more energetic in finding ways to cook at home and to encourage others to do also. We would prefer a once-yearly trip to The French Laundry than the twice-weekly convenience of takeout from a mediocre restaurant.

But that’s us – what do you think?

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