|I did not make this myself.
You can make that yourself, so much cheaper.
I've heard this so often and from so many people, one might think everyone in Canada was crafting everything by hand. Which would not explain the crowds buying cheap merchandise in Canadian Tire.
Similarly, in certain Canadian circles, there is disdain for hiring someone for any personal or home labour. Snow shoveling, house cleaning, dogwalking, lawn care. Oo-hoo, look at you, throwing money away instead of picking up a shovel! It seems I am finally old enough for people to give me a pass on this one. The hidden joys of aging!
I find this "you can make it cheaper yourself" mentality annoying on so many levels. One, it's my money. I can spend it however I want, and I'd rather do so without your judgement. Two, isn't your time worth anything? My time is more valuable than money. Money can be earned, but time is a nonrenewable resource. (Yes, I know this is a privilege.) Three, mind your own business!
Perhaps this is not a Canadian thing at all. I don't know if people dole out this "advice" throughout the rest of the US. But I can tell you no one does in New York City!
Long before the pandemic forced everyone inside, New Yorkers had everything delivered to their apartments. Since everyone walks or takes public transportation everywhere, deliveries are a way of life. So is paying for convenience. New Yorkers eat at restaurants or takeout almost every night of the week. They drop off their laundry. They hire dogwalkers. They rent car shares. And most of all, they have everything delivered. It's not an easy city to live in. Everyone who can afford to buys every convenience possible. And nobody ever tells you how you could make things more cheaply yourself.
Like Elaine Benes, I love a "big salad". In fact, one of my favourite meals are salads with lots of different ingredients. I love chopped-salad restaurants, and happily spend $16 or $18 to choose 10 different ingredients tossed in freshly-made, creative dressing. I am not often in an area with these restaurants, but when I am, I enjoy this very much.
Big salads are something I will never make for myself. I cook a lot, and I do quite a lot of other food prep. We do sometimes have a protein salad for dinner, but it's much more simple: lettuce, tomato, mini cucumber, chicken, cheese. I'm the only big salad fan in the house, plus, it's just too much effort.
In our previous suburban home, there were no restaurants that offered big salads. The closest we came was when Whole Foods opened a Mississauga location, but a salad bar is not the same. And of course there is nothing like this in my tiny little town now.
But now big salads have come to supermarkets! This has been a great development for me. I take a packaged salad kit, add a hardboiled egg and some grated cheese, and I have the perfect dinner. If I have some leftover grilled chicken or salmon on hand, I throw that in instead of the egg.
This is one of my favourite meals and it helps me eat more vegetables -- more raw vegetables, which is even better. The only downside is there is a lot of plastic waste. This disturbs me... but not enough to stop buying the salads.
But salad kits are expensive!
In my experience, if you mention salad kits -- or if a busybody sees you buying a few in the supermarket -- or if you look for information online about a salad kit... You can make that cheaper yourself!
Is this even true -- can you make the salad more cheaply yourself? I don't know. I haven't tested this claim, because I don't care. But some years ago, I wondered if Whole Foods' delicious, expensive tuna salad would be less expensive to make at home, and discovered it was only slightly more expensive to buy than to create. Sometime after that post, the store's prices went up, and later I started using less expensive tuna (for environmental reasons), so the balance would have changed. But the assumption that the prepared tuna salad was vastly more expensive than homemade was incorrect.
The salad kit I ate for dinner last night contained: white cabbage, red cabbage, kale, romaine lettuce, shredded carrots, cilantro, crispy noodle strips, and slivered almonds, and dressing. I added an egg and a bit of grated cheese.
- If I had made this myself, how much cheaper would it be? It's not a $6.00 salad versus a free dinner. After I'm done buying all those ingredients, what have I spent?
- Unless I used two entire heads of cabbage, an entire head of lettuce, and an entire bunch of kale within the upcoming week -- which I won't be able to do -- some of the vegetables will go bad. I would be wasting money and wasting food.
- I can buy all different flavour combinations of salad kits, and eat different ones whenever I like. Having variety helps me maintain a healthy diet.
- And finally -- but most importantly -- making this salad myself is too much effort for the end result. Everyone has (or should have) a personal time vs money formula. I would much rather spend $6 than make this complicated salad myself, and if I had to make it myself, I wouldn't eat it.
In short, it's a no-brainer: healthy, convenient food that I enjoy is worth the price of the kit.
I don't care if I could make it cheaper myself!