Tuesday, February 8, 2011

To cheat, or not to cheat...

When I cook, I get a huge sense of achievement, and I've definitely noticed the same sense of pride developing with every Feed Lot dinner we have.  This is particularly noticeable with our male members... who at first were quite happy to simply attend and eat whatever the girls had prepared.  Now, the boys are rising to the challenge, contributing to the monthly Feed Lot dishes and bursting with pride as we all enjoy 'their' dish.  The Feed Lot has become just as much about the food as it is the friendships.  I think given the chance, we would all choose to make our meals over "cheating" with store-bought, pre-made or straight-from-the-freezer options.  Which brings me to the 'cheating' bit...  

I have just been reading a post by Mia Freedman at Mamamia, discussing a Daily Mail report stating 'four in ten people cheat when preparing for a dinner party'.  I didn't find this overly surprising... as I've come to discover not everyone feels at home in the kitchen, in fact, cooking for guests can give some people the same angst as speaking in public or sober karaoke.  What I did find surprising, was the Daily Mail's Top Ten 'Cheat' List...

  1. Using ready-made pastry - 50%
  2. Using shop-bought stock - 35%
  3. Using sauce from a jar or packet - 33%
  4. Using frozen vegetables - 19%
  5. Ordering a takeaway - 12%
  6. Getting your mother to prepare a dinner party for you - 10%
  7. Hiring a catering company - 10%
  8. Serving supermarket microwave meals - 9%
  9. Serving tinned soup - 8%
  10. Having a friend cook a meal and drop it round - 5%
Using shop-bought stock!  Oh my... maybe we've been cheating all along!  How far do you have to go before dinner party bragging rights are awarded?  Is it still cheating if you wholeheartedly admit to the shortcuts you've taken?  Just where do we draw the line?

Despite this (alarming) list of 'dinner party cheats', I still don't consider our Feed Lot group to be 'cheaters', and couldn't bear to tell our proud-as-punch new male chefs they're efforts were wasted because they didn't make their own pasty when really, the end result was an achievement regardless. 

So maybe, when it comes to dinner parties, it is less about the food, and more about the effort... for "one man's cheat, is another man's hard work."

Thanks for this Mamamia... you've given us much food for thought!


  1. Can't wait for Chinese tonight - I'm about to prepare a Honey Soy Chicken Dish and fried rice, so Ems can have the night off.

  2. I would have assumed using shop bought stock and pastry was a given in this day and age :) I'm a definite cheater according to the list above. Have been directed here by Maree Rose who suggested I stop by for some inspiration for the Cooking Club I am starting up with a group of friends.

  3. Hi Amanda
    Welcome! Don't worry, I'm a cheater according to the list above also :)
    Good luck with your cooking club, I would love for you do do a guest post on my blog once you have it up and running...