Read an Excerpt
This cookbook is a compilation of the most beloved restaurant dishes in America based on research and consumer surveys. These recipes generate billions of dollars for the restaurant industry every year. But while everyone enjoys eating out, there's nothing like a home-cooked meal made from scratch. Why not have the best of both worlds? With these "secret recipes," you can enjoy your favorite restaurant dishes at home and save money in the process!
To give you a little background, I grew up in a family of people with southern roots who loved to cook. As a kid, I used to be my grand-mother's "personal assistant," helping her at the grocery store and in the kitchen as we prepared dinner for the family. The best feeling came from the smiles on their faces and the quiet in the room as they enjoyed the meal.
It is no wonder that I'm a foodie today. But it wasn't until my wife challenged me to make KFC's famous fried chicken for her that I became hooked on the idea of recreating restaurant recipes that tasted just like the originals. The first place I went to research recipes was the Internet, which was a frustrating experience at the time. I found lots of recipes that were either incomplete or not even close to the originals. But I also discovered that there were thousands of people who were into "recipe cloning" and were searching the Internet every day for new secret recipes to try at home. Having been in ecommerce at the time, I thought it would be a great idea to set up a community Web site where these people could share their results and work together to create accurate clone recipes. The Secret Recipe Forum was launched and became the research hub and "virtual think tank" that inspired this cookbook. Today, RecipeSecrets.net has more than 70,000 recipe cloners and over 179,000 newsletter subscribers.
Each week, I would try to clone a new restaurant recipe and share the results with my members. Needless to say, I became a regular at many of the restaurants and was on a first-name basis with a lot of the servers.
Members of the Web site would also try the recipes and add their feedback and recommendations. As the Web site grew, it became more than just a hobby. Cooking experts and even professional chefs began getting involved with our recipe-cloning movement.
For many people, recreating restaurant recipes at home was not just a fun way to impress their family and dinner guests, it was also a great way to save money.
How Much Money Can You Save?
Studies show that nearly half of all U.S. adults are eating out each day. According to Nielsen Consumer Research:
The restaurant industry in the U.S. is projected to top $558 billion in food and drink sales in 2008, an average of over $1.5 billion a day. Approximately 133 million Americans are food-service patrons on any given day, making the average check size nearly $12 per person. This level of spending is a 13-fold increase in sales since 1970 and today accounts for about 4% of total U.S. GDP. There are nearly 950 thousand places to eat in the U.S., employing over 13 million people. Nearly one in five persons (18%) visits quick-serve restaurants ten or more times per month, and 19% visit sit-down restaurants six or more times per month.
Eating out is typically more expensive than preparing a home-cooked meal because restaurants have to price their food to pay high overhead expenses such as salaries to chefs, managers, and servers, and rent and advertising. By making these dishes at home, you can cut out all the excess costs and prepare each meal to your liking.
The table shows the potential savings per serving for a sampling of ten restaurant dishes featured in this cookbook.
Let's consider the following example of how much you can save over time (assuming an average restaurant bill of $25 and an average athome cost of $10) if you prepare these dishes at home instead of eating out three times per week:
Approximate savings per week = $45
Approximate savings per month = $180
Approximate savings per year = $2,160
Of course, preparing these dishes at home isn't a substitute for the restaurant dining experience, but for those looking to save a few bucks, it's well worth it.
A Healthier Alternative
If you need another reason for making these dishes at home, consider the fact that the foods many people eat when dining out are much higher in calories than foods prepared at home. And children in particular consume substantially more calories when eating a restaurant meal than when eating a meal at home.
The higher caloric density of restaurant food was much less of a factor for obesity when Americans ate out less. Today, though, with nearly half of all persons eating out each day, high-calorie restaurant meals are making much more of an impact.
A University of Minnesota study found that children who never eat at quick-serve restaurants during the week average 1,952 calories per day, while those who average one or two visits per week average 2,192. Children who frequent quick-serve restaurants three or more times per week average 2,752 calories per day, over 40 percent more than those who never eat there. This level of consumption, combined with falling levels of physical activity among children, has helped to drive the doubling obesity rate seen for children in the past twenty years. And teens have seen a tripling of the rate over the same period.
With this cookbook, you can replicate your favorite restaurant recipes at home, and you have complete control over the serving sizes and the ingredients you use.
About America's Most Wanted Recipes
Each recipe in America's Most Wanted Recipes has been tested and tweaked to taste just like the original. Although I can claim to offer only "clones" of these famous dishes, I am confident that if you follow the instructions, you won't be able to tell the difference.
There are tips throughout the book in which I share my personal experience and suggestions for making these dishes as well as tips for saving money, saving time, and preparing healthier alternatives.
I encourage you to put the book to good use and make these famous dishes yourself. Once you've tried the recipes, you'll see what makes them so special and why I have so many satisfied customers.
I hope this cookbook brings enjoyment to you and your family and friends for years to come.
Copyright © 2009 by Verity Associates LLC