This week, I ate in a restaurant twice.  Which is seriously astounding.  We never go out to eat, and this is why.

On our anniversary dinner, my husband and I ordered an omelet dish and two slices of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.  We had a gift card (Thanks Valerie), but without it the total was about $30.  What baffled me was that I could have made the same for less than one third that price. The entree had eggs, potatoes, chicken sausage, toast, avocado, onions… more deliciousness that I can’t remember.  (But for a single serving, those spices cost almost nothing.  I usually say that all the spices in a recipe (for a family) costs $.05.)  I estimated that the ingredients for that recipe cost $1.50.  Cheesecake Factor charged us about $12.

“But the cheesecake!” you say.  “Those ingredients are expensive, and really hard to make!”  Okay.  Each slice was about $8.  And they each are what, one twelfth of a cheesecake?  I’m assuming you divide each quarter of the cheesecake into three slices.  For twelve slices total.  $8 x 12 slices=$96.  That sounds a little ridiculous.  Let’s pretend it was only $6 dollars a slice, and you only get 10 slices out of the cheesecake.  $6 x 10 slices = $60.

This is the very cheesecake that we got (one of them.)

Graham cracker crust (I don’t think you really need to buy graham crackers and then crumble them.  I bet there is a recipe out there for graham crackers that you can just skip the cooking and crumbling step. Yep.: $.30

5 tablespoons of butter: $.20

1 cup sugar: 10 pounds for $15, 1 pound is 2 1/2 cups,… $.12

Cream cheese: $4.00 (I don’t know about this one, but this is my estimate.)

1 cup canned pumpkin: $.50

3 eggs: 12 for $2.00: $.50

Spices: $.05

Whipped Cream: half gallon for $4.00.  I wouldn’t put more than half of it on the pie, so $2.00.

I estimate that the ingredients for an entire cheesecake–the very cheesecake at Cheesecake Factory–costs $7.67.  I paid that much at the restaurant for a single slice.

Let’s divide $7.67 by 12 slices, just to give us a laugh. $.77.

Seventy seven cents. 

If my husband and I had stayed home and made cheesecake together as our anniversary date, we could have made an entire pie for the same amount of money that we spent on a single slice.

sure, it takes about two hours to cook a cheesecake, 40 minutes of which are hands-on time.  Let’s pretend it is 2 hours of hands-on time.  The very conservative estimate of how much a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake costs (paying by the slice) is $60.

If you were to make a cheesecake, you should consider that you are getting paid $30 an hour.  If you made it while your small children were home, you should also pay yourself for childcare, and I have three children… $20 per hour? $40 for cheesecake making time.  If your laundry machine was running, add two hours of minimum wage work… $16.

If you choose to work outside the home so you can afford to go out to eat at places like the Cheesecake Factory, please tell me that you make at least $50 per hour.