To me, there is nothing better than the satisfaction you get from cooking and eating your own dinner. Cavemen did the same thing thousands of years ago, and it still rings true to modern man.
One of the big reasons home cooked food is better than restaurant food is that when you make food yourself, you know exactly what ingredients are going into it. The biggest difference between home cooked food and restaurant merchandise is the quality of the cooking fat. The quality of the cooking fat can make or break the healthiness of a meal.
In restaurants, they use cheap fats and vegetable oils in order to maximize profit margins. You can practically smell the soybean oil when you walk into a typical Chinese restaurant. And who knows what they use in a diner or fast food joint. Really, capitalism ruins everyone’s day.
The best cooking fats to use at home include ghee or butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and there are other lesser known oils that go rancid very quickly. Refined vegetable oil is crap and a big influence in many diseases.
The reason we like fatty foods is because fat is sweet and contains the most amount of calories per gram. A successful hunter or shepard naturally wanted the food with the most nutritional and caloric density, because in olden times food was scarce and people weren’t confused about what to get at the grocery store.
But back to home cooked food. Not only can you use a higher quality cooking fat when you prepare your own food, but you can use higher quality ingredients, or even give or take layers of preparation. Frozen vegetables and canned beans are a big time saver.
In the end, cooking quality food may be no cheaper than buying shoddy restaurant food, but the non fiscal advantages are a distinct improvement. When you cook and eat better, you get the satisfaction of preparing your own food. Also, you eat healthier food, which when repeated over and over again, will save your health and save you money on medical bills as you get older. Another example is that you set a good example for your offspring, who will take on the eating habits of their parents which they’ve learned in youth.
The disadvantages are that it takes time and effort to cook, but really, is anything worthwhile easy? Once you empower yourself with knowledge of nutrition and cooking, and you have the right tools of the trade, I see no reason why not to prepare your own food. That restaurant/diner/deli/fast food stuff is poison and it’s only benefit is that buying ready made food is convenient.
So ultimately, you can choose between health, satisfaction, and doing the right thing, or convenience and cost.