How much does it cost us to cook? An analysis of the expenses

How much does it cost us to cook? An analysis of the expenses

Cooking is an expensive activity that requires tools, raw materials, gas and energy: we have analyzed all the items that fall into the expense.

Chefs and accountants know it well: calculating the cost of a dish is not easy. In a professional kitchen, in addition to the cost of the necessary ingredients, it is necessary to take into account the costs for personnel, for rent, for cleaning, for all that is needed for a commercial activity. But even when preparing lunch and dinner at home, the cost of a dish is never the same as that of the ingredients purchased for the occasion alone. Cooking is a more expensive activity than it seems : expenses can be contained, but the first step to do it is to know what they are.


  1. The first cost item is obviously the ingredients purchased for the preparation. They can be inexpensive, such as flour, milk, seasonal vegetables; or very expensive, if they come from afar (like avocados), if they are in vogue (like avocados), if good quality ones are hard to find (like avocados).
  2. Then there are the basic raw materials , which are not bought for the single dish but which cannot be missing in the kitchen: olive oil, salt, sugar, spices. It is unlikely that a jar of turmeric will be used for a single preparation: its cost should be divided among all the dishes that require even just a pinch.
  3. Scraps increase the cost of ingredients. A recipe that requires only egg yolks or celery hearts will lead to a large amount of waste: to amortize costs, it is therefore essential to learn how to use all parts of the raw materials, even in different recipes or subsequent meals.
  4. Utilities are one of the least thought-about costs, yet they are fundamental. Without drinking water, electricity and gas, cooking would be almost impossible. You can do without gas, if you use the electric plate, the induction hob, the microwave oven and the electric one to cook: but in these cases, it is often necessary to resort to a more expensive electricity supply contract , which covers the high energy peaks required for example by induction plates.
  5. Pots, pans, saucepans, and utensils are other necessary and costly tools. You can limit yourself to the bare minimum, such as a pot, a pan, a ladle, a knife and a cutting board: but reducing the number and quality of tools invariably increases the time and work required to prepare a dish – because you have to wash the pot before using it a second time, because you have to whip the egg whites by hand, because you have to learn to do without the non-stick coating …
  6. Knives are perhaps the oldest and most important tool. Those of good quality cost a lot, both for purchase and maintenance, such as the necessary periodic sharpening: but they allow you to save time and obtain better results, also reducing waste.
  7. Full refrigeratorLarge and small appliances are another costly necessity. Unless you want to cook over the embers of a bonfire, the bare minimum is the stove (and the hood, mandatory by law if you cook indoors). Then there are the refrigerator, the gas or electric oven, the microwave, the blender, the blender, the kettle, the electric whisk, the toaster, the juicer and many other small appliances … none of them are really essential, but they all allow save time and try your hand at preparing a greater variety of dishes.
  8. We must not forget that after cooking it is always necessary to clean: the cost of cleaning must therefore be considered among the essential ones. At a minimum you need running water, detergent, sponge; but even in a domestic kitchen there are often specific products for cleaning the different worktops and a dishwasher.
  9. Once cooked, the dish will also be served at the table: serving dishes become necessary , such as plates, cutlery, bowls, glasses. It would also be good to set the table, to simplify the subsequent cleaning operations and avoid damaging the table (buying a new one would have a considerable cost!)
  10. The major cost of a dish, however, is often the time needed to prepare it : a precious and limited resource, too often underestimated. Everyone’s time has a high value, which can be easily calculated: if we spent an hour working instead of cooking, we would receive a salary. This salary could be higher than the price of a dish ordered at a restaurant or delivered to your home: cooking is not always an economically viable activity. But luckily human beings are not completely rational animals: even when it is not convenient, we like cooking because it relaxes us, allows us to be creative and take care of the people we love.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected by eFoodChef Team Thanks