Sparkpeople, a publisher of health, fitness and food information, created the graphic shown above to demonstrate that eating healthy food need not be more expensive than eating junk food. Sparkpeople blogger Stepfanie Romine recently wrote that she hears the excuses every day — “I can’t afford to buy healthy food,” “fruits and vegetables are too expensive,” “it’s cheaper to eat fast food.” But she doesn’t buy it. “We think you’ll be shocked at how far you can stretch a buck at the supermarket when you buy healthy foods!”
Stepfanie sparked — or perhaps I should use the word “triggered” — a reaction from Jef Rouner in the Houston Press. While he didn’t dispute the idea that healthy food can cost less than junk food, he didn’t like the moralizing tone. The headline of his piece says it all: “Please Stop Telling Poor People to ‘Just Cook’ to Save Money.”
People need pots, pans, knives, cutting boards, aluminum foil, cooking spray, and an assortment of spices, Rouner reasons. Then there is the issue of time.
You know why people go through KFC? Because, in terms of total resources it is the most efficient family meal you can provide in a 20-minute timespan. I have three fried chicken recipes. Most of them require at least an hour or more including store and prep time. Time is, well, not money, exactly, but it is something that is precious and in short supply when you’re coming home at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday.
Rouner’s piece in turn inspired a retort from the Monster Hunter Nation blog:
Apparently, to cut a tomato in half requires a knife forged by a samurai blade smith, using ore taken from a meteor.
In reality, as a guy who likes to cook, who is married to a woman who actually made her living as a cook, 95% of the time we use the same eight inch knife that we’ve had for the last twenty years. We got it cheap.
Apparently Jef’s hypothetical really stupid poor people have no friends or relatives. My wife is still using a cooking pan that she got from her grandma. It was made in the 70s, and it’s still her favorite pan.
Jef’s hypothetical poor people also live in the only poor neighborhood in America that doesn’t have a thrift store.
If you enjoy biting sarcasm, the response is worth reading.
Given the abundance of food stamps, food pantries, school lunches, and the like, how is it possible that there is hunger and malnutrition in Virginia? To what extent are poor people responsible for their own condition? If you’re eight years old and your mom is an addict who swaps her food stamps for meth, no fair-minded person is going to hold you accountable for going hungry. But, to pick up on a talk show topic I heard recently, what about using food stamps to buy food for your dog? Or what about using food stamps to buy sugary sodas and potato chips? You can’t use food stamps to buy a Big Mac — you pay cash for that. But how many people on food stamps also dine out at McDonalds? How much money are they wasting?
I don’t know any poor people well enough to comment upon their eating habits. I suspect the same is true of those in the do-gooder camp. Both sides rely on stereotypes. I saw someone using food stamps to buy filet and lobster! I know of a family that ran out of food-stamp money halfway through the month and subsisted on Kibbles n Bits! One thing we do know, based on studies tracking actual grocery-store purchases, is that food stamp recipients do spend a big chunk of their monthly allowance on junk food. I side with Stepfanie on this issue. Society must stop making excuses for people who make poor choices.There are currently no comments highlighted.