"What would you like to eat tonight?" the wife asks her husband.
"What can we have delivered?" he replies.
Sound familiar? It should. Conversations like this are rapidly replacing the familiar "What's for dinner, honey?" of the Ozzie-and-Harriet era.
For the last couple of years, people in the restaurant industry have been talking about the takeout revolution. They point to a Gallup poll which revealed that in 1977 a third of all American adults bought food to take out at least once a month; by 1986, that number had increased to one-half. And experts predict that within the decade, one out of every four meals eaten at home will be cooked somewhere else.
But when I heard the particular couple quoted above, I understood how profound that revolution really was. For it took place between one of the hottest young chefs in the country, Robert Del Grande of Houston, and his wife, Mimi. "I could spend four hours making some wonderful meal," says Robert, "but then we sit down and Mimi says, 'This is great. But we could have had a pizza here in 12 minutes.' " He grins ruefully and adds, "When you're really tired, you begin to wonder if culinary diversity is really worth it. When we eat at home, most nights we eat pizza or fried chicken."