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S5 E7 – Is food delivery bad for society?

In the age of Just Eat, Deliveroo and Uber Eats, ordering food to be delivered to your door has become easier than ever. In this episode the guys discuss how much impact this has had on their health, lifestyle, and ability to cook. How often do you order a takeaway and do you reckon it’s changed your lifestyle?

Best soundbite: “My drawers are just bulging!” – Ben Ebbrell

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  1. raptorwrecks

    I’ve only very recently been able to get delivery, as I spent a good 26 years of my life living rural. Take-out was also very rare, because why go to the bother of driving an hour just to take it away from the restaurant? We’d just eat out. When we did do take-out, it was almost always eaten in the car. In between school and games as kids, or between work and school in college, or work and home as an adult. Rural life means lots of driving and there were always plenty of local sandwich shops to cater to that. So take-out still has this air of food that you’re eating because you need to get a meal in you, not for the actual food. It still makes me a little gun-shy about delivery as well. Though lemme tell you the first time I was able to order a pizza and it came right to my door? I’m sure the delivery guy thought I was insane with how delighted I was by the whole process. (It’s still magic because PIZZA just COMES TO YOUR DOOR.)

  2. Annie1962

    In Orrztrayliah it’s on the rise – take away food has been around for ages and it’s now a bit of a novelty to have food actually delivered to your door. As an oldie 0f 56 . I find this real convenience kind of strange. The only delivery food I knew of was pizza and they were rubbish ones (sorry Domino’s and Pizza Hut but it’s true) – there’d be Chinese too but it’s not that wonderful authentic cuisine – it’s that stodgy, starchy meats and vegies rubbish passed off as Chinese – should be renamed Cau-nese food.

    Nowadays we’re getting a lot more variety. Thai, Indian and Malaysian are some of the newer delivery food . but also and seriously, Red Rooster and KFC????? are being delivered now, to cash in on that convenience kick.

    Due to my employment status now, I cook at home all the time and eating out is now only on special occasions. I don’t mind it as I love cookingthanks boys as I have followed a few of your recipes and printed out a shit load’s worth) – at least I know the ingredients in my food and more importantly – the Hygiene – I know how clean my kitchen is .

    I did comment recently on instagram where Benneth was writing on the wonderful food he had abroad and he was able to photograph the kitchen – it was filthy. Would our intrepid gastrotraveler have ordered that food if he had espied the kitchen beforehand?

    A great topic for you if you haven’t already discussed (I’m a new member so still getting through and enjoying the podcasts) – “hygiene in kitchens” – have you ever eaten in a questionably hygienic establishment? Ever had food from a place which afterwards to your dismay was shut down by the Health Dept? Ever had bad food poisoning? How? (no need to name the place where you got the food poisoning from)
    Great podcast boys x

  3. LTJD

    Growing up I think my mom and I stopped eating any meal together except for breakfast when I was around 10 and started to get really into soccer. It just never panned out, I ate in school (proper Swedish lunch), I ate when I came home (before my mom finished work) and then again after soccer practice and by then my mom had already eaten. So I don’t really come from a family were sharing a meal was that common. But even though I had that upbringing I have never been big on takeout. Most likely cuz delivery is pretty much non-existent in my hometown, it might possibly be one place that delivers crappy pizza but that is it. A fun fact though is the year I lived in England and did my master I ate more take-out than during the other 5 years of uni studies. Maybe something about the culture??

  4. alm477

    If there was money for it, Fridays were restaurant/take-away/delivery day when I was a kid (and frankly are usually like that now). Where I live, delivery wait times tend to be 40-70 min (unless you get chain pizza delivery) so often it’s just easier/faster for us to pick up food and bring it home. Which can be really nice if you want food from a restaurant that has a long wait. There’s a restaurant/bar we like to get (rather decadent) sandwiches from where on a Friday night it might be a 45-90 min wait to be seated, but if we order over the phone and pick it up we get our food much quicker! This restaurant also is licensed as a bar and you aren’t allowed in unless you are over 21. I once went there with 2 coworkers and one of them was 2 weeks shy of her 21st birthday, so while they wouldn’t let us eat in there they didn’t mind us getting food for take out. So it can be a nice work-around!

    I’ve been tempted by those box services because “what’s for dinner?” can be a paralyzing question, but I am a picky eater and I don’t want to pay all that money to get recipes where I hate half of the ingredients.

    One thing that you touched on is that cooking (like any other task) is perceived differently by different people. For some of us, it’s Work. For others (Ben) it’s Fun, it’s Relaxation, it’s Comfort. And whether a task is Work or Fun plays a big part in how much of it you do and how much effort you put into it.

  5. Foolofatook919

    Am I the only one here who isn’t bothered by Ben’s bulging drawers? 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • alm477

      Not the only one! 😀 Actually kind of curious to see if he has any recommendations for quick things (pre-made sauce/dressing/etc) from those drawers to add to savory dishes to give them more flavor. I have comically low spice (heat) tolerance, but some of the food I have is intensely bland and boring and I would love some easy things to add to give it more flavor…

  6. hannahecooke91

    Maybe it’s ingrained in me from somewhere but now and again I just love a takeaway in front of the telly. Is that bad? Who knows! Definitely a counter to my usually active lifestyle. Suppose all guilty pleasure’s are fine if moderated.

    But I’ve never lived somewhere where takeaway isn’t accessible. So interesting to hear about people who it’s genuinely not even an option for and they’re reaction to the concept/ if they think they’d love it or not.

    And cooking kits and recipe boxes? All for them. They get people cooking in a creative way and teach skills like meal planning and how to use unusual ingredients out of comfort zones.

  7. theanita1

    for me, take away food means splurging and getting a baguette sandwich from the most amazing Boulangerie down the road from work (in Luxembourg) – and as someone who travels a bit for work these sandwiches are a life-saver when you’ve gotten in late from the airport the night before and haven’t got anything left in your freezer (other than lime wedges for your G&Ts) – they often have veggie options so you feel like you’ve eaten something halfway decent then a “traditional french taco” (google it)

    As a kid, fridays were take-away night where we’d have fish and chips (and a dim-sim) and even to this day I consider Fridays as “junk food day” where when I’m not travelling I’ll bring my lunch on all the other days but buy my lunch on Firdays

    Cookbook idea (and for Ben to empty his drawers) – a spice cookbook (could call it “spice up your life”?), so for each spice explain what it is and have a recipe that goes with it… Covers both sweet and savoury, and brings in a huge multicultural aspect as different spices are from different regions etc. Personally I want to know wtf to use sumac and zatar for other than as a sprinkle on my salad and hummus.

  8. Dimi

    Growing up we never ate out at restaurants and the most take away thing we had was every Friday when my parents did the weekly shopping they would grab a roast chicken from the supermarket (to this day I have a fondness for Woolies chicken I can’t explain to most people) and then mum would also home cook some fried rice or other side dish and make a salad to go with it. Some weeks if we were lucky, we’d get fish and chips instead. My mum was also never a great cook, and had only a few recipes in her repertoire for home cooked meals during the week. I had a very narrow idea of what take away was, and what was out there in terms of food and cuisines. I knew about fast food places, though I rarely to never ate at any growing up, and pizza and that’s about it.
    It wasn’t until I was old enough to start going out that my food knowledge expanded. At the same time my brothers best friend started training to be a chef, and also lived with us for a little while, so I would eat out at restaurants with my friends on the weekends and our chef in training would bring us food from his work during the week sometimes and it’s kind of how we became a little foodie group of siblings.

    I also started travelling quite a bit at 22 so my food knowledge was expanding rapidly and by the time I moved out of home and had to “fend for myself” food wise, I loved cooking and was excited to cook different things every night and play and explore. But I also moved to a suburb much closer to town with A LOT of places to eat right near by and I was also transitioning from student to a full time job and stress and life etc etc.

    I think what you failed to touch on at all was people with disabilities, of all kinds, and how food delivery has effected their lives. I can only speak for myself in this space but as someone with a lot of anxiety and who is prone to bouts of depression, before food delivery was such a big “thing” (God that makes me sound OLD) there were points in my life where I would eat absolute rubbish, or nothing at all for days because the idea of cooking was just way too much. Having things like Uber Eats/Deliveroo meant that I could have something relatively good at my door without having to do anything.

    These days we probably order food in about once a week on average, mostly when we’re working late or the fridge seems under stocked. This seems to be about what most people in my peer group tend to do, though I also know people that do it 4-5 times a week.
    Is it bad for you? Bad is such a broad term, I think it’s made some people lazier, but also, it’s helped a lot of people. I definitely felt less healthy in the phases in my life where I was ordering lots of food, even if what I was ordering was considered relatively “healthy”. I think like most things in life, as an idea, it’t not bad, it’s all about how you use it.

    And to quickly touch on food box style things, I have always been curious, but every time I’ve looked into it I’ve never been able to justify the cost versus what you get in them compared to what you can just go and buy yourself. I think that’s what I really liked about the Club Cook trial, it was kind of a combination of that kind of idea of getting someone else to come up with the recipes and idea’s, but then giving me the shopping list so I can shop for ingredients I want and shop the way I like (if that makes sense?)

    • Dimi

      PS- I have a bulging spice drawer I think Ben would be proud of!

      • theanita1

        I agree with your take on the cook club – I liked being told what to cook, because as mentioned in the podcast, it’s more about the inspiration and if left to think on my own I end up cooking the same recipes

    • VixReviews

      I’m glad you touched on disability, because that was most of what I wanted to add too. I grew up eating home cooked meals, and my mum was a pretty great cook (except her curries), so me and my sisters grew up being able to cook pretty well. When I left home I kept it up and hardly ever got takeaway, other than 3am chips. Then I started to get ill, and while it was a pretty slow downward trend, I now only do a homecooked meal maybe once a fortnight. And what does that leave to eat? Ready meals (disgusting), things you don’t have to cook, like nuts or cheese, or delivery. Yes, it’s more expensive, particularly as I also have celiacs so most of the cheap takeaways aren’t an option, but if I want a hot meal it’s that or a ready meal. Yes, that has lead to me being overweight and hasn’t improved my health any, but there aren’t really other options.

      So I suppose my comment is more about how food delivery fills in the shortfall where social care use to help, before the assholes in government put up a million road-blocks to getting any help. Though I suppose it’s not exactly a recent issue, we disabled folk used to just die more quietly when there was no internet to shout about the issue on. So yeah, for me delivery food makes me healthier in that I have not yet starved to death while a couple of hundred meters from a supermarket.

  9. Lynzilla

    Another interesting topic, chaps! I myself was a former fast-food addict, and have completely cut it out of my diet. I do believe that meal delivery services and ingredient boxes are encouraging trends that help steer people to making healthier choices for themselves and their families. Perhaps the next book could focus on meal planning for families? Healthier cooking options, gut health, balanced nutrition? I am sure you could put it together in a way that would be fun rather than preachy.

    Also, I must confess, I was making a batch of Sorted granola whilst listening, got distracted by Ben’s bulging drawers, and left the hob on. I feel your pain, Barry.

  10. badinflspeaks

    [trying to politely ignore Ben’s bulging drawers]

    I think location plays a strong as part as culture does with takeaway/delivery. I grew up and live outside the city limits of a small city (well, probably large town at this point). We’re considered rural. It’s only been in the last 2 years that places have delivered to my subdivision so it’s never something I think of doing. I occasionally grab takeaway on my way home but I work 45 minutes away so it has to be something that will reheat easily. Generally it’ll be BBQ or pizza from places we don’t have where I live.

    My sister spent 15+ years just outside the DC area and got takeaway or delivery once or twice a week. Now that she’s down closer to me (but in a large city still) she’ll suggest UberEats or GrubHub when it would never have occurred to me.

    Then you get into eating at a restaurant. My mom and sister love it and want to eat out multiple times a week. I’m, at best, a once a week person. Part of it is having gone gf which presents it’s own fun challenges in finding safe places to eat. Part of it is I have a hour and a half round trip commute if there isn’t traffic. Adding that on top of an eight hour work day and getting up at 4:30am, and I just don’t have the energy to deal with travel time to the restaurant, an hour plus to eat, and driving home.

  11. VixReviews

    I’ll have to watch it again before commenting, literally the only thing I remember is Ben’s bulging drawers!

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