Aug
27

Let them eat Cheetos




Posted at 19:23 by Brad

Via Jesse, here’s one of Megan McArdle’s readers explaining the real reason poor people are overweight: because they lack the ambition of their betters:

I wanted to comment on your Bloggingheads event with David Frum and his total non-responsiveness to your theory about why people overeat. As someone who works in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles–land of the perfect body–I totally agree that government pressure will do nothing to make people lose weight. People will only give up one pleasure in exchange for a more intense pleasure. And if you’re poor and miserable, and eating is the high point of your life, you’ll always reach for the cheetos.

I suspect the only way people will change their behavior is a sudden desire to move up the social ladder. Being thin and attractive gives you a competitive edge, especially if you live in a city with lots of talented people.

Actually, no.

There are lots of reasons why people overeat. One reason is a lack of education. That’s not to say that people are stupid, but more that our food industry likes to pack lots of salt, sugar and fat into meals and marketing them to people as “healthy.” Take, for example, Vitamin Water. It’s billed as a great way to add nutrients to your diet without eating actual fruits and vegetables. Except then you learn that it has as much sugar as a can of Coke. See also the allegedly “healthy” salads that are loaded up with cheese, bacon and fatty dressings and that have nearly as many calories as Big Macs.

And then there’s the fact that fast food chains have been really upping their game in recent years by slopping ever-larger portions of fat, salt and sugar onto plates and selling them for $4.99 each. By a happy coincidence, I’ve just published an AlterNet article on some of the very nastiest examples, including Hardee’s 1,400-calorie Monster Thickburger:

Simply put, the Monster Thickburger is a fat, sloppy middle finger aimed at nutritionists everywhere. Clocking in at an artery-blowing 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat, the Thickburger premiered in 2004, when McDonald’s and Burger King were starting to sell out and offer their customers salads. In defending his decision to sell such a gaping monstrosity, Hardee’s CEO Andrew Puzder played George W. Bush to McDonald’s and Burger King’s John Kerry, essentially calling them out as wimps who didn’t have the balls to dramatically shorten their customers’ life expectancy with just one meal. Specifically, he said the Thickburger was “not a burger for tree-huggers” but rather “for guys who want a really big, delicious, juicy decadent burger.” Yes, gents, nothing will show the ladies how manly you are quite like a belly made entirely of butter.

Now, I’m not somebody who thinks that you should sue corporations who sell you shitty food and make you obese. But by the same token, more people need to realize that the companies selling them food aren’t interested in making them healthy and that if they eat a bunch of processed crap they’re going to gain weight. “Don’t buy any food you’ve ever seen advertised” is this generation’s equivalent of “Don’t trust anyone over 40 30 ,” methinks.


UPDATE: Dan Someone wins the thread:

As a guy with a wife who finds and cooks nutritious and fresh foods on a generally reasonable budget, I can honestly say that I’m still fat. Also, as much as I would like to move up the social ladder, I’m too fucking fat to climb it. Next solution!

291 Comments »

  1. CapMidnight said,

    August 27, 2009 at 19:34

    I once had a lovely, relaxed vacation by trading in my POO CANOE and rafting down the mighty AuSable atop two Monster Thickburgers lashed together by bacon.

  2. Aaron said,

    August 27, 2009 at 19:37

    People will only give up one pleasure in exchange for a more intense pleasure.

    Spoken like a true hedonist. This surely explains all the people who struggle to beat addictions to various Special Treats: fighting the monkey on your back is simply more fun than getting high.

    What a buffoon.

  3. fish said,

    August 27, 2009 at 19:42

    Then there is the KFC Double Down that gets rid of whimpy things like bread.

  4. qwerty said,

    August 27, 2009 at 19:43

    Wasn’t it “Don’t trust anyone over thirty”?

    (Or did that get old?)

  5. Marion in Savannah said,

    August 27, 2009 at 19:44

    You have to admit that the name “Pudzer” is beyond spectacularly appropriate for this guy…

  6. Deontologist said,

    August 27, 2009 at 19:52

    Are you suggesting that the new Double Down sandwich from KFC, that uses two pieces of fried chicken for a bun instead of bread, is somehow unhealthy? Someone should smack you for questioning the Colonel!

  7. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 19:52

    Nutritional information is pretty complex, especially since the specifics vary from individual to individual. And while teh corporate “just add high fructose corn syrup” side may be a bunch of shitweasels that are misleading people, they aren’t the only ones.

    Tofu, for example. I have high triglycerides (probably from eating too much shit like the Monster Thickburger, which IPU help me, still sounds mighty tempting). Is Tofu good for me?

    % calories from fat:
    Tofu ~50%
    Cheetos 56%

    % of fat saturated:
    Tofu 20%
    Cheetos 15%

    IOW, tofu is a fucking pile of heart clogging killer shit for me, just like Cheetos are.

    Note that Cheetos dipped in Hollandaise sauce or Tofu served on a plate of butter both come out as healthier than the Monster Thickburger. I’m quibbling about stuff that’s on an entirely different scale.

  8. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 19:54

    More to the point, people eat out of convenience, more than anything else. McDonald’s et al have conditioned people, particularly poor people who have to buy dinner with the few pennies left over at the end of a long day, to think of their food as tasty, nutritious, and cheap.

    This same meme was used by Fox News, by the way, but I digress.

    So people see a Mickie D’s on the corner by the bus stop and pick up a sack, rather than step three more feet to the grocer who sells a meager selection of overripe bananas.

    There’s why poor people are fat: Mickie D’s has them trained.

  9. Pere Ubu said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:01

    I suspect the only way people will change their behavior is a sudden desire to move up the social ladder.

    Ah. So Megan’s great idea for curing obesity: cutting even more from programs designed to aid the poor, so as to force them to “move up the social ladder”.

    What a gLibertarian fucknozzle.

  10. Marion in Savannah said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:03

    Also contributing to media indoctrination is the fact that in way too many poor neighborhoods there simply aren’t any grocery stores. Convenience stores are all over the place, but grocery stores or produce markets are scarcer than hen’s teeth. I’ve lived in places where I had to walk a mile to the closest grocery store.

  11. Personal Failure said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:05

    It’s not just that actor212: it’s cheap, it’s filling and it’s tasty.

    Think about it: I have $10 and 4 people to feed. I can go to McD’s, get 2 items off the dollar menu for each person, and still have money left over, or I can go the my local Walmart and just 1lb of ground beef will be almost $4. and that’s just the beef. no way i’m feeding 4 people for under $10.

  12. El Cid said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:06

    Two things:

    Neither Megan McAddled nor any other of the lazy, glibertarian shitbags who are the products of families paid for via government jobs care why poor people do or do not eat this or that way, because doing so might require actual research rather than pulling self-perpetuating, ego-pushing stereotypes fully formed out of their asses.

    Two, recent studies of customer behavior in restaurants indicates radical, measurable behavior (ordering) behavior by customers when calorie and fat information are printed / displayed directly on the menu (as opposed to a tiny printed chart hanging between the kitchen and that tiny restroom hallway).

  13. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:07

    BTW, had I known that you were going to link McArdle, I’d have vomited up my passionate defense of Hogtown here, instead of a couple threads down.

  14. Pere Ubu said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:07

    it’s cheap, it’s filling and it’s tasty

    “Filling” I will accept; “cheap” not so much anymore and “tasty”< yeah, right.

  15. Duros62 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:10

    Being thin and attractive gives you a competitive edge, especially if you live in a city with lots of talented people.

    That wasn’t Spencer Pratt, was it?

  16. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:13

    Pere, I want to clarify this bit:

    McDonald’s et al have conditioned people…

  17. tigrismus said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:15

    Yes, gents, nothing will show the ladies how manly you are quite like a belly made entirely of butter.

    I predict those ladies instantly become vegans.

  18. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:15

    …no way i’m feeding 4 people for under $10.

    Dunno about that. The dollar-menu items at McDonalds are pretty craptastic. The McDouble is around 3oz. of beef, so 8 of them is a pound and a half or around six bucks in your scenario.

  19. todd said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:16

    Here is the thing – eating healthy can often seem much more expensive than not. If you actually purchase the amount of fruits and vegetables that provide a healthy diet, it would be a real hardship for many people with lower incomes. Subsidizing food purchases for people with lower income could help this a lot, but this would go against the last 30 years of ideological bullshit.

  20. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:17

    The McDouble is around 3oz. of beef sawdust, so 8 of them is a pound and a half or around six bucks in your scenario.

    Fixed fer accuracy

  21. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:19

    Here is the thing – eating healthy can often seem much more expensive than not. If you actually purchase the amount of fruits and vegetables that provide a healthy diet, it would be a real hardship for many people with lower incomes.

    I thought this was what food stamps was supposed to fix?

    I concur, Todd. It’s much harder in lower class neighborhoods to shop for healthy, or even less deadly, foods than it is to buy McD’s

  22. Xecky Gilchrist said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:24

    Yes, gents, nothing will show the ladies how manly you are quite like a belly made entirely of butter.

    I thing August Pollak had the definitive post on this back in ’06.

  23. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:25

    …no way i’m feeding 4 people for under $10.

    I can do it. I can do it with a nutritious and truly tasty meal. I can do it seven days a week.

    I don’t know where to put the cause and where the effect here but a huge part of the problem is that people don’t know how to fucking cook any more. Even those who do make meals at home mostly go with prepared, processed, frozen and so on. Prepared foods always cost more $ per nutritive amount.

    If we could teach people to cook for their families (and make real foodstuffs available, as someone mentioned above), well, what a difference that could make.

  24. purvis ames said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:25

    No one is named Andrew Puzder.

  25. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:28

    PeeJ,

    It’s hard for a working parent to cook anymore. There’s not enough time.

  26. kg said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:30

    XG, interesting but have you seen Padma Lakshmi eat a burger?

  27. Corey said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:30

    There’s another side to this that people haven’t mentioned yet.

    Eating healthy and well takes time.

    Pound for pound, fresh ingredients are far cheaper than processed food (e.g., Kraft Mac & Cheese). Why? It’s simple. Processing is a “value-added” manufacturing step. Fresh produce doesn’t have that value-added factor.

    So why do people, especially the poor, tend to eat more processed food? It’s simple. It’s already processed; they’re paying for the convenience of not having to do the prep work themselves. It’s quite likely they have far less time than those with more money.

    Quite frankly, I’m definitely in the upper middle class and find myself eat a lot of processed food because I work and have a family that demands my time (not to mention the travel required to get to and from the job…it eats 2 hours of time everyday).

    So…McArdle as ever is full of shit.

  28. Pere Ubu said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:31

    The McDouble is around 3oz. of plastic

    Re-ftzed for accuracy and great justice.

  29. another jim said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:32

    “Don’t buy any food you’ve ever seen advertised” is a great rule of thumb.

    I might also add, don’t drink any beer you’ve ever seen advertised. Not because more obscure beers are healthier – altho I expect they barely are. Just because they are much less likely to suck.

  30. Marion in Savannah said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:32

    Please. I was raised by a single mother who cooked. I do believe there were the same number of hours in the day. Of course, we didn’t spend all of them on the computer (no such thing then) or in front of the TV (she wouldn’t have one in the house).

  31. kg said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:33

    Agreed about the convenience factor. Wifey and me love to cook but goddammit after being gone from the house for 12+ hours the last thing we want to do is cook a meal and clean all that shit up. Throw in kids, etc. and you’re fucked for sure.

    Salt and fat tastes good. In addition.

  32. noen said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:34

    Being an actual poor person I can tell you the reason some of us are over weight is simple. Protein is expensive, starch is cheap. When I go to the food shelf I get lots of pasta, lots of rice and potatoes and not so much steak, shrimp and free rang chickens. To manage your diet takes money and education. Many at the margins lack one or both of those.

  33. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:34

    Yeah, feeding 4 for under $10 can be done and when McDonald’s claim 100% BEEF burgers they mean “Bio-Engineered Equivalent of Food” – my comparison was just to show that $10 can get you ingredients enough to make a non-over-processed version of 8 dollar menu items.

  34. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:35

    Marion, it’s not that simple anymore. Poor people tend to live in the outskirts of urban areas now, where the commutes are much longer. It used to be, poor people lived in the heart of the city and could get home a half hour earlier.

  35. Dan Someone said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:35

    As a guy with a wife who finds and cooks nutritious and fresh foods on a generally reasonable budget, I can honestly say that I’m still fat. Also, as much as I would like to move up the social ladder, I’m too fucking fat to climb it. Next solution!

  36. N__B said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:35

    XG, interesting but have you seen Padma Lakshmi eat a burger?

    We’re talking about food here, not sex.

    And on that topic, I’m making one of my favorite dinners tonight. Not great cuisine – I’m no cook – but comfort food in the sense that I like the way it tastes and have been making and eating it since about 1975.

    A plate of chopped raw veggies (heavier on the onion that Mrs. __B would like, lighter than I would like) covered with brown rice.

    I leave fancy dishes to people who know how to cook them.

  37. Trilateral Chairman said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:38

    Is Tofu good for me?

    % calories from fat:
    Tofu ~50% Cheetos 56%

    % of fat saturated:
    Tofu 20% Cheetos 15%

    IOW, tofu is a fucking pile of heart clogging killer shit for me, just like Cheetos are.

    Uh…percentages are sometimes misleading. This is one of those times, because you’re comparing percentages of different things (the total number of calories in tofu vs. the total number of calories in Cheetos). Let’s look at the raw numbers:

    One serving tofu:
    66 calories
    3 grams (31 calories) of fat (5% DV)
    0 grams of saturated fat (2% DV…presumably because there’s really <1g of sat fat)

    One serving Cheetos:
    160 calories
    10 grams fat (15% DV)
    1.5 grams saturated fat (8% DV)

  38. Pere Ubu said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:39

    To manage your diet takes money and education. Many at the margins lack one or both of those.

    AND it’s probably even more difficult to get food stamps now than when I was on them about 15 years ago, and back then it was hard – you bascially had to prove absolute broke-ness and re-document it every so often. It’s likely a parent who’s working poor wouldn’t even qualify.

  39. Xecky Gilchrist said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:40

    We’re talking about food here, not sex.

    Indeed – I apologize for OTing a bit, but I always like to push that blog post of August’s. I will also argue that the “social ladder” angle that McMegan’s reader blarts about has everything to do with dumb outdated gender roles, especially because it’s Hollywood s/he’s talking about.

    People will only give up one pleasure in exchange for a more intense pleasure.

    …God, I loathe this kind of stimulus-response behavior theory. If it didn’t describe (and serve) wingnuts so well, I’m sure it’d die out.

  40. noen said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:41

    “eating healthy can often seem much more expensive than not. If you actually purchase the amount of fruits and vegetables that provide a healthy diet, it would be a real hardship for many people with lower incomes.”

    Here’s the problem with that. For me, being single, purchasing fresh foods and veggies is a problem. I can afford to do it and I do but then there are all kinds of other problems that rise up. Fresh veggies don’t keep and being single I can’t eat them all anyway. So that means more frequent trips, by bus, I don’t own a car. But that’s another expense. And there is always some waste when I buy veggies. I just can’t always use them up fast enough. Prepared foods and starches keep better.

  41. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:43

    Oh I expected someone or other to come up with that old “it’s too time consuming to cook” bullshit. I say bullshit because it’s bullshit. One can feed a family of four on $10 a day (dinner, that is) AND at a cost of only 30 – 45 minutes a day. What’s more, if the kids can be enlisted to help (as a kid I had to set the table, help with the dishes, help out in the kitchen as needed so I assume it’s not impossible to have kids do that today) that 45 minutes can be the time budget for three meals. What’s even more, that’s quality time, time that builds charater and sense of responsibility and helping out and all the rest of that “family values” stuff.

    Nope, I just don’t buy the argument that it’s too expensive, too time consuming, too hard, any of that shit. That’s all cop out. All it takes is some tutoring. Give a man a fish and all that, you know?

  42. Marion in Savannah said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:43

    You’ve got a very valid point there, actor212.

  43. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:46

    TC,

    Sure. Serving sizes make a huge difference. But for me, there’s no fucking way I’m getting through an entire bag of Cheetos. Also not mentioned is that tofu is essentially carb free, making it good in terms of glycemic index and spiking my triglyceride levels. But on the other hand, no one’s going to eat a hunk of plain tofu, so the numbers don’t count the rest of the hot and sour soup that’s sitting around the tofu.

    Anyways, what I was trying to say was that tofu the wonder food, well it ain’t all that healthy. Sure it’s a great source of protein, but it’s also a source for fats including saturated ones, and phyto-estrogens. And this is all central to my point about the difficulty in understanding nutritional information.

  44. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:47

    When I was a kid, both my parents were working full time, and money was still short.

    So how did we get fed properly then? Short answer.. I did it.

    I knew nothing about cooking at the age of 12. But let me assure you, there is a lot of motivation to learn fast when you have to live off the results. I am a pretty good cook now.

    Teaching teenagers to cook is probably one of the best ways to stop the obesity problem. It is a skill which will stand them in good stead for all of their lives.

  45. N__B said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:49

    Anyways, what I was trying to say was that tofu the wonder food, well it ain’t all that healthy.

    To some extent I’m talking out of my ass here and to some extent I’m asking, because I simply don’t know: isn’t this why we’re supposed to eat a bunch of different unprocessed foods (the pyramid of my youth has evolved into some other mnemonic, I believe) rather than counting on any small group of foods to be enough?

  46. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:49

    Let’s also note – if someone hasn’t already, and I’m too lazy to look – that neighborhoods where poor people live often have few, if any, decent supermarkets that sell fresh raw ingredients, and what they do have is often priced high, because they are lower volume, independent stores.

    It’s also not easy to be a successful cook if you can’t afford decent cookware – both price and convenient availability can make that pretty tough for someone who’s poor.

    In the last 10 years or so this has been mitigated by socially responsible chains, and by the (publicly subsidized) presence of Farmers Markets, but you’re talking generations of cultural indoctrination.

    If you’re a kid whose mom doesn’t cook, then how are you going to learn to cook without the help of some pretty effective outreach programs and access to resources?

  47. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:49

    Erm, I realize I sound a bit harsh but cooking, as many of you know, is a passion for me and when you fold in my sense of social justice and general liberal bleedingheartosity, well it gets me going. The final straw, though, is that the general consensus is just plain wrong AND I FUCKING HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS!

    Please excuse my tirade.

  48. N__B said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:49

    Also, I’d rather eat snot than tofu but I realize that’s nothing but personal taste.

  49. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:50

    One can feed a family of four on $10 a day (dinner, that is) AND at a cost of only 30 – 45 minutes a day.

    OK, give me five recipes that don’t include processed flour, sugar, or starch that you can do that in, PeeJ and that cover all four major food groups.

  50. Marion in Savannah said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:51

    Now, N__B, if you’re talking about eating snot okra is what you’re looking for. That shit is snot from the ground.

  51. noen said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:53

    “it’s probably even more difficult to get food stamps now than when I was on them about 15 years ago”

    Here is the page for Minnesota Food Support.

    ========
    Households applying for or receiving Food Support have an asset limit of $7,000 as long as you receive the Domestic Violence Information Brochure and your household’s income is at or below the Food Support program limits. The value of a vehicle is not used when determining eligibility for Food Support.

    The amount of benefits depends on your income, expenses and the number of people in your household. In federal fiscal year 2007, the average benefit per household was $186 per month.

    The Food Support program is a supplemental program; your household is expected to spend about 30 percent of your resources on food.
    =========

    Most people on Food Support also go to food selves because it isn’t enough by itself.

    And don’t even get me started on healthcare. May Pawlenty rot forever in the lowest rungs of hell. He is trowing about 30,000 in Minn OFF of Minnesota Care because he plans on running in 2010 and it make him looks good to the fucking Sociopath Party.

  52. N__B said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:55

    if you’re talking about eating snot okra is what you’re looking for. That shit is snot from the ground

    Uh…I’m a third-generation NYer with about 2/3 Russian genes and 1/3 polar bear. I don’t do okra. I’ll eat raw fish, raw yak (seriously, think bison but less bland), testicles (beef, usually), heart…but I draw the line at that southern shit.

  53. mark f said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:56

    I can go the my local Walmart and just 1lb of ground beef will be almost $4. and that’s just the beef. no way i’m feeding 4 people for under $10.

    A pound of ground turkey: $4
    A pound of whole wheat pasta: $2
    Large Ragu: $2
    Vidalia onion: $1.50

    American chop suey for four, with leftovers: $9.50

  54. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:56

    Anything with pasta ($2-3/pound at most), a few bits of porky flavor (pancetta, salami, bacon, you name it – $2-3 for a couple ounces) and some quality canned tomatoes ($1.50), along with some chopped onions/garlic ($.50) some chopped herbs ($.50) and a bit of grated cheese $.50)

    And that’s without going to dollar store for the spaghetti and canned tomatoes.

    Do the same with a little ground turkey, some cheaper American cheese, some mushrooms, you’re still under $10.

  55. Djur said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:56

    Trilateral Chairman: You also have to consider the whole nutritional package. Cheetos contribute nothing but calories. Tofu has nutritional value. In addition, tofu is an ingredient while Cheetos are a snack (intended to be eaten alone).

    Percentage of calories from (saturated) fat is a mostly worthless measure, as you’ve indicated. Olives, avocado, cheese, nuts, etc. are all extremely high in fat; whether they’re healthy or not is a matter of how they’re used in the diet.

    Cheetos can be part of a healthy diet as well, but they don’t contribute to it in any way. It’s like dessert — at best, it’s an acceptable deviation. There’s nothing wrong with that, but…

  56. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 20:58

    A pound of whole wheat pasta: $3

    American chop suey for four, with leftovers: $10.50

    Fixed

  57. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:00

    Might I also say – A head of lettuce, some veggies, shredded mozzarella, a can of chick peas and some crumbled bacon or some chopped ham – probably under $8.

  58. noen said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:00

    Now I’m hungry. I think I’ll go to KFC, have a heart attack and charge it to Megan. Just because.

  59. Mr. Bunched Undies said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:01

    Anyone truly interested in nutrition (and by that I don’t mean a lot of the stuff pushed by bullshit self-described “nutritionists” but real scientists) should subscribe to Nutrition Action which is published by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest. It is a slim, inexpensive, and highly informative publication. CSPI also actively goes after bad food producers via lawsuits and such. Here is their web page: http://www.cspinet.org

    They don’t have any advertising so they can and do really nail bad foods, fads, etc. to the wall, as well as praise good foods. Most issues have a short article on a specific food (bread, butter, vitamins, etc.) along with a table showing the various market offerings and how they stack up. Incredibly too-the-point and practical.

    It’s sad, but they seem almost like an anachronism, a throwback from the days where an organization could actually have a heart and give a shit about someone or something. And they are an oasis in the charlatan riddled, FUD-filled field of nutrition.

  60. Pere Ubu said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:01

    The Food Support program is a supplemental program; your household is expected to spend about 30 percent of your resources on food.

    *SNERK* and you’re also “supposed” to spend less than half your paycheck on rent, which is difficult at best if you’re on the bottom of the economic food chain.

    So you’re talking 80% of your income allocated already, and the 20% left over has to go for everything else – AND that’s without emergencies.

  61. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:03

    A pound of whole wheat pasta: $3

    Well, that’s where you get into shopping wisely, checking the unit prices and buying in quantity when it’s most cost effective – something my PhD. spouse is incapable of doing, I might add.

  62. Trilateral Chairman said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:03

    Sure. Serving sizes make a huge difference. But for me, there’s no fucking way I’m getting through an entire bag of Cheetos.

    Fair enough, though I suspect that most people are more likely to eat 10 servings of Cheetos in a sitting than 10 servings of tofu.

    But on the other hand, no one’s going to eat a hunk of plain tofu, so the numbers don’t count the rest of the hot and sour soup that’s sitting around the tofu.

    True, and a lot of places seem to deep-fry it, presumably because almost *anything* tastes good that way. ‘Course, deep-frying it turns it into pseudo-health food, not unlike those side salads that are loaded with cheese, fried croutons, and some kind of cream dressing….

  63. D.N. Nation said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:04

    C’mon. At least with the Monster Thickburger, Hardee’s isn’t giving off a hint of a presumption of health. Where you could get twerped at the biz is:

    - Remnants of Atkins-inspired nonsense as substitutes for good health, e.g., Hardee’s Low-Carb Thickburger, the idea of fried chicken as good because there ain’t no bread (breading doesn’t count, I guess), etc.
    - Overboasting the lack of trans-fats as a substitute for good health, e.g., cookies, chips, fried things as not-so-bad for you because there’s no trans-fats. Back when I was in the newspaper industry- summer ’05 specifically- the AP would pump out a story a week on how people were scarfing down double stuf this that and the other and were feeling OK because, hey, no trans-fats.
    - The disaster that is fast casual. Fast food is fast food; you’re ultimately hopeless if you think anything found there is good for you on a regular basis. Fast casual, though, gives off the aura of something nice you’d cook for yourself at home…only in ginormous portions, pumped to high heaven with all sorts of dipolycomposinowhatevers, and combined with nine refills of Coke (that stuff has calories, folks) and the server wanting to know if you’d like the double chocolate explosion of frosting cake because, let’s face it, you were good for just getting the Oriental Chicken Salad even though it has 1,200 calories of stuff in it.

    Anyway. Biggest problems have already been mentioned. Processed garbage that is terrible for you is ultimately cheap. We as a society have lost the will to seek out fresh things and take the time to cook them. I’m lucky enough to live in the middle of a city but still have the ability to buy fresh fruits and veggies, and I’m lucky enough to have spent my formative adult years teaching myself how to cook a homemade meal without opening a box.

  64. donnah said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:04

    Education.

    My grandparents were poor and lived in coal country in rural West Virginia. They never ate fast food. My grandma cooked every meal they ate. Both of my grandparents died largely because their eating habits contributed to their diabetes and heart disease. They didn’t know about eating “healthy” food. They fried everything. My grampa ate toasted white bread with sugar and milk on it every day. They ate bacon and sausage and fried eggs every morning. Even their vegetables were cooked in grease, killing every potential vitamin.

    Teach nutrition. Make healthy foods affordable. Give people a chance to develop a working understanding of smart food choices.

  65. Brandi said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:05

    Also, I’d rather eat snot than tofu but I realize that’s nothing but personal taste.

    Tofu is all right in its native environment: miso soup. After that I can take or leave it, and I usually leave it.

  66. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:06

    You mean I have to grind the flour and all that? Umm, that’s not what I’m saying, bud.

    Since I make everything up as I go along anyway, let me start with ONE example.

    The local Fred Meyer (Kroger) has chicken thighs for 99 cents a pound, every day. Two pounds of bone-in thighs provides a perfectly adequate protein portion for four people. Long grain rice is well under a buck a pound – that’s a bit over two cups which yields four cups cooked rice. Red and yellow bell peppers are 58 cents each. Heck, an onion would be nice and they keep well and medium yellow onions come roughly two or three to the pound at 69 cents per so the onion is going to addd a whopping two bits. Heck, the way I’m going now, I’ll buy a can of low sodium chicken broth for 79 cents.

    So I’m up to what, maybe six bucks here? Add some green beans.

    Some flour and a bit of milk and sugar are all it takes to make crepes. Add an egg and you can make popovers. Brush the crepes/popovers with melted jam and you’ve got dessert.

    All for under 10 bux, and one can easily throw that together in less than 45 minutes.

    I’m going out for a smaoke now but when I come back I’ll think up and write up another.

    phtphpthpthptt

  67. D.N. Nation said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:09

    Also. Don’t drink full-calorie sodas. I switched to Diet Everything after college and lost 30 pounds in a half-year without really trying.

  68. N__B said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:10

    Tofu is all right in its native environment: miso soup

    Is that what those lumps are? They’re the main reason I don’t usually eat miso soup.

  69. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:10

    I see others have already done the work for me.

    Also, tofu doesn’t really taste like anything, not to me. That’s the great part about it – it just pickes up whatever flavors you cook it with.

  70. N__B said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:11

    Don’t drink full-calorie sodas.

    I’ve recently switched from Coke – which I still love – to seltzer. It seems that the buzz I was getting was from the carbonation and not the sugar and caffeine.

  71. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:13

    The local Fred Meyer (Kroger) has chicken thighs for 99 cents a pound, every day. Two pounds of bone-in thighs provides a perfectly adequate protein portion for four people. Long grain rice is well under a buck a pound – that’s a bit over two cups which yields four cups cooked rice. Red and yellow bell peppers are 58 cents each. Heck, an onion would be nice and they keep well and medium yellow onions come roughly two or three to the pound at 69 cents per so the onion is going to addd a whopping two bits. Heck, the way I’m going now, I’ll buy a can of low sodium chicken broth for 79 cents.

    So I’m up to what, maybe six bucks here? Add some green beans.

    Some flour and a bit of milk and sugar are all it takes to make crepes. Add an egg and you can make popovers. Brush the crepes/popovers with melted jam and you’ve got dessert.

    All for under 10 bux, and one can easily throw that together in less than 45 minutes.

    One down, four to go!

    Oops. Processed flour…try again.

  72. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:15

    PeeJ,

    When I say “processed” I mean white flour, cane sugar, you know the crap that goes into fast food…

  73. Tommmcatt said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:16

    I agree with Aerosmith. We should be eating the rich.

  74. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:17

    N__B brings up another good one.

    I much prefer club soda to seltzer, because it’s got that carbonic acid tang. Whatevs. I buy it at the cheap groceery (the used food store, as my niece once called the place) for about 20 cents per can. Mix it with some orange juice (Arranciata! Orangina!) or whatever 100% fruit juice (non HFCS) I bought on sale that week. Fuck the Coke and that other expensive, HFCS shit – my sparkling beverages are tasty, healthful and cheap.

  75. Substance McGravitas said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:18

    Try burritos. Stores often have tortillas made out of not-shit flour, and even generic cans of refried beans are often fairly pure ingredients-wise. Adding stuff – anything really – to that base can be fun, cheap, and quick.

  76. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:19

    Um actor? Flour and rice and such are staples. They are not considered, by any reasonable person, “processed foods.” That they are also ingredients in processed foods is irrelevant.

    Let’s use the term minimally processed, k?

  77. mark f said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:19

    A pound of whole wheat pasta: $3

    American chop suey for four, with leftovers: $10.50

    Cut the pasta and make turkey meatloaf for $7.50 instead. Probably no leftovers, unless the kids are young enough to eat partial servings.

  78. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:20

    Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. You mean I make some fresh yeast-raised hand-kneaded bread from scratch, with a little white unbleached flour mixed in with the whole wheat and you’re gonna disqualify it?

    No fair.

  79. N__B said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:21

    You eat staples? You must have a cast-iron stomach.

  80. TM said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:21

    A sack of potatoes and a head of cabbage will go a long way toward providing good nutrition. Add a can of beans or peas, and you’re good to go.

    I don’t just say this, but live it currently, being unemployed. Sure, I fart a lot, but I’m healthy and have lots of energy, at about $2-3 per day.

  81. Substance McGravitas said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:22

    I agree with Aerosmith. We should be eating the rich.

    Ahem.

  82. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:23

    FYWP.

    Anyways
    OK, give me five recipes that don’t include processed flour, sugar, or starch that you can do that in, PeeJ and that cover all four major food groups.

    Okay.
    1 pound striploin $6
    4 cobs corn – a bit less than a dollar
    4 baking potatoes – a bit less than a dollar
    1 cup sour cream – a bit more than a dollar
    Fresh chives – grow this in a pot in the kitchen, price negligible

    I miss out on the 45 minute mark since the potatoes have to bake for at least an hour, but of actual prep-time, it’s less than 15 minutes plus less than 10 more to grill the steak.

  83. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:24

    Flour and rice and such are staples

    I’m not arguing that. I’m arguing that processed flour is the stuff of fast food, so why not just lety your kids eat at McDonald’s.

    I thought your suggestion of long grain rice was a pretty good one, altho I’m not sure that you can get long grain rice that hasn’t become empty calories on a $10 a day budget.

  84. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:26

    You mean I make some fresh yeast-raised hand-kneaded bread from scratch, with a little white unbleached flour mixed in with the whole wheat and you’re gonna disqualify it?

    Depends on the proportion. Personally, I can’t abide pure whole wheat bread so I mix some white in for texture. YMMV.

  85. TM said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:27

    For meat, nothing beats canned sardines for cheap nutrition. It’s, uh, an acquired taste, but will give you lots of protein, B12, and omega 3 fats for very little money. A few tins a month will make up for any lack in the potato and cabbage diet.

    Yeah, I know, gross, but I’m talking austerity here.

  86. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:29

    Yeah, I know, gross, but I’m talking austerity here.

    My mom used to make a twenty pound ham on Sundays, and that would last us until Saturday for lunch and dinner, what with soup and ham salad sandwiches and such.

    When you’re poor, you do what you have to.

  87. Marion in Savannah said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:31

    “I’m not sure that you can get long grain rice that hasn’t become empty calories on a $10 a day budget.”

    I don’t know about NYC, but down here long grain brown rice costs about the same as long grain white rice. Or get dried peas, beans or lentils. All cheap and delicious.

  88. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:33

    1 pound rice noodles $1
    1 pound evil tofu with lots of saturated fat $3
    half a bell pepper, half an onion, a carrot, a small handful of bean sprouts, garlic, some peanuts. Call it $3
    2 eggs $0.5
    fish sauce, spices, etc. amortized over multiple meals, call it $0.5

    Pad Thai. Two bucks left for a beer to make up for there being no dairy.

  89. D.N. Nation said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:33

    1/2 cup grits
    2 1/4 cups milk
    Bag of spinach
    Two ribeye steaks
    Dale’s steak seasoning
    Salt
    Pepper
    Garlic powder
    Red pepper flakes
    Shredded cheddar cheese
    Olive oil

    Combine grits and milk in a pot, heat to boil, stir, then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 12 or so minutes, stirring occasionally. During this time, put steaks and a healthy dose of Dale’s in a ziploc bag. Rub meat (heh, heh), then put in fridge. Also, preheat oven to 350 degrees. When grits are mostly cooked, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cheddar cheese to taste. Put in a greased casserole dish, put into the oven, set timer to 25 minutes. Take steaks out of the fridge. Heat grill to hot. I live in the city, so I just use Mr. Foreman’s grill…works fine. Wait until there’s 8 minutes left on the oven timer, then put steaks on the grill. When timer goes off, take steaks off the grill, take grits out of the oven. While those cool, heat some olive oil in a pan, add spinach a handful at a time to pan. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder to taste. When ready, serve everything stacked: steak on spinach on grits. Pour a couple of hoppy beers (IPA kicks ass with this).

  90. D.N. Nation said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:34

    Oh, I wasn’t participating in the challenge (mine’s cost-prohibitive). I just like this recipe.

  91. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:36

    Education and the right ingredients make a big diff, too.

    I work with a woman who read in a magazine about caprese salad, and went to her usual store and bought a ball of cheap American Mozzarella and some plum tomatoes from the produce section. She made her salad, sprinkled it with dried basil, some Italian bottled dressing and she was all, “Meh, what’s the big deal?”

    And it was true, she had rubbery cheese ($1.99), tasteless tomatoes, ($.99/lb) dressed in chemicals ($3).

    Fresh Mozzarella wasn’t available at her store, nor were good tomatoes or fresh basil. And she had never eaten a salad without dressing from a bottle – so that’s what she bought.

    A good caprese salad with GOOD ingredients is still not very expensive, but if you don’t have good ingredients, you’re going to be disappointed.

    My point is not to condescend to my friend, but to show that she TRIED to have a good experience with fresh food from scratch, and was totally disappointed, because of the choices that were available to her.

    for her it was like – why bother? Why not just pick up the Chef Boy-Ar-Dee next time?

  92. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:37

    What is wrong with casseroles? All you really need is a big pot, and an oven. It is quick to prepare, and although they take at least 2 hours to cook, you can prepare it in the morning and stick the oven on a timer.

    Fry up a large white onion, and a pound of mutton, just enough to seal the meat. Chuck it in a big pot with a swede, a couple of potatoes, some carrots, turnip, whatever root vegetables you have got, just washed and chopped up. No need to peel anything, that just detracts from the flavour. Add a couple of cans of cheap bitter, chuck it in the oven for 2 hours. Serves 6 easily.

    You can save a shitload of money by not eating meat every day. Usually the meat costs more than the rest of the ingredients put together. Organ meats are a good option too. Kidneys are cheap, and better for you than most kinds of meat.

    Oh, and try cous cous as a staple food. If you can find it sold plain in a big bag, it is quite cheap. And of course, it cooks in 5 mins, and all you need is a bowl and a kettle.

    Here is another good casserole.

    Buy a packet of kidneys, chop em in half, and fry them to seal them. Put them in your big pot with sliced potatoes, and a can or packet (with the neccesary water) of Oxtail soup. Chuck some mushrooms in too maybe. Cook that for a couple of hours, and weigh out 12oz of self raising flower with 3oz of margarine. Mix that into a firm dough, adding milk as needed. Then mix in a pinch or two of sage. Roll it out into a shape like the surface of your pot. Take your casserole out, gently lay the dough on top, and put it back in the oven without a lid on, for 15-20 mins more. The result is half scone, half dumpling, but fucking tasty.

  93. Substance McGravitas said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:39

    Incidentally I’m grateful for the recipes’n'such in the thread. Long may it continue.

  94. Mona said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:40

    The Hardee’s Monster Burger almost lured me into a bulimic episode. Seriously. I had my two grandsons for the day to enjoy the apt. complex pool, and we all got hungry. I had Hardee’s coupons, so off we went. Now, I almost never eat that junk, but the boys regard it as a treat. (But I do do the Taco Bell taco salad, with no beans or sour cream.)

    Within ten minutes I felt so queasy, and just “wrong,” that I seriously considered sticking my finger down my throat. It boggles my mind that anyone could eat those on anything like a regular basis.

    I’m lucky in that I like tofu, sushi, salads, and almost any kind of seafood or fish, preferably NOT fried. However, as someone else posted above, it is hard to buy fresh produce because I live alone, and cannot consume it fast enough before it all goes bad — and I feel guilty throwing food away.

    And, on occasion, I get a fierce craving for that “plastic” fat known as the Kraft Deluxe mac and cheese. But I am fully aware when I give in that I’m eating garbage.

  95. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:41

    I see that there’ve been quite a few 10 buck meals so i don’t have to beat that dog.

    Pretty much anything one buys at a grocery store is, in some sense, processed. No longer living in the country -no garden and all that – the closest I come to unprocessed anymore is the herbbs I grow on my window ledge.

    I’m arguing that processed flour is the stuff of fast food, so why not just lety your kids eat at McDonald’s.

    Now actor, do you really want to get taken to the woodshed? Are you channeling Jonah or something here? That’s the most unintentionally ridiculous statement you’ve ever made here.

    On a side note, I actually do grind my own flour. Very rarely. I spent a few years acquiring every type of KitchenAid mixer attachment they make. So naturally I have the grist mill attachment. I have used it maybe three or four times in as many years. I should feel bad about that but somehow I don’t.

    All this talk has got me thinking…. I shall explore volunteering with the food banks or other assistance places. I would like to to teach people how to shop wisely and how to prepare simple, delicious, healthful, cheap meals. I need something to do with my time, having had no work for months and none on the horizon.

    PS – saute the chicken, cook the rice in water + broth. Saute the sliced peppers and onions. Voila, chicken piperade with savory rice.

  96. Galactic Dustbin said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:42

    See it’s not an eating disorder, it’s a career path!

  97. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:42

    One thing I’ve learned to do as I get older is how to cook cheap cuts of meat.

    Steak? Expensive. Chuck roast? cheap. And it turns out pot roast is super easy, too.

    As a younger person, it was way too scarey to think of cutting up a chicken – so I’d get boneless chicken breasts at $6 a pound.

    Well, my store sells whole fryers at $.99 per pound, and a roast chicken is one of the easiest thing in the world to cook.

    And another submission to your challenge, Actor – A 4.5 pound chicken, roasted, $4.50, a couple of potatoes, cut in wedges and roasted alongside, $1.00 with a chopped onion $.50, and your choice of steamed vegetables – $2.

  98. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:43

    And, on occasion, I get a fierce craving for that “plastic” fat known as the Kraft Deluxe mac and cheese.

    Oh, lawdy, yes!

  99. Pere Ubu said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:44

    Chuck it in a big pot with a swede

    All I have in the cupboard is a Norweigan, and he smells suspicously of lutefisk.

  100. Marion in Savannah said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:44

    ” I would like to to teach people how to shop wisely and how to prepare simple, delicious, healthful, cheap meals.”

    That would be performing a mitzvah. I look on grocery shopping as a full contact sport, involving specials, coupons, magnifying glass and calculator for nutrition labels, etc., etc…

  101. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:44

    Yes! Casseroles! Brilliant!

  102. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:46

    One thing I’m pretty proud of is that my kid is a good cook.

  103. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:48

    Now actor, do you really want to get taken to the woodshed? Are you channeling Jonah or something here? That’s the most unintentionally ridiculous statement you’ve ever made here.

    Considering some of my spews… ;-)

    Actually, I’m semi-serious. As for channeling, I was channeling one of my granola-chewing friends who would blanche even at your recipe.

    PeeJ, I don’t disagree that you have a point (and have backed it up, mostly)

    But here’s the thing: we can talk about the matrix of education, and cooking classes (which used to be Home Ec…does anyone take that anymore?), and cost and time, but the bottom line is, there are so many factors like advertising, like basic laziness, like eating at 6:30 instead of 7:30, that go into dinner decisions.

    Hell, I’m surprised no one mentioned a bowl of Cheerios (or some healthy cereal) as a dinner! That was my meal of choice when I got home and was pressed for time.

    There’s a lot of obstacles to overcome in changing eating habits, and it starts with getting junk food out of the “grab-n-go” category. Mayor Bloomberg was onto something when he proposed (since picked up by Obama’s HHS) a “fat tax” on fast foods.

  104. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:49

    A 4.5 pound chicken, roasted, $4.50

    That’s going to take a lot longer than 30-45 minutes, tho.

    Unless you like salmonella. Take it from one who’s had it, it is NOT fun.

  105. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:49

    4 bone-in chicken thighs $3
    Basmati rice for four $1
    Cumin, coriander, tumeric, garlic, garam masala, etc. $1.50
    2 mangos $1 or substitute a different fruit if mangos are out of season
    3 pints plain yogurt $3.50

    Chicken briyani and mango lassis.

  106. Sweeney Todd said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:50

    Organ meats are a good option too. Kidneys are cheap, and better for you than most kinds of meat.

    Especially in pies…

  107. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:51

    That’s going to take a lot longer than 30-45 minutes, tho.

    Are we talking prep time or cooking time? With 45 minutes of prep-time and a slow cooker/crock pot this challenge begins to approach trivial.

  108. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:52

    That sounds like….furrin food, D-K W…you trying to fuck with my precious bodily fluids here?

  109. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:52

    Are we talking prep time or cooking time?

    We’re talking time from getting the ingredients together to fork-in-food edible.

  110. Pere Ubu said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:53

    Organ meats are a good option too.

    Careful with those, though, if you suffer from gout – as well as dark green veggies and nuts.

  111. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:55

    The recipe my family uses when we’re at the end of the pay-period is “Clean Out the Fridge Pizza.”

    3 cups flour (all white unbleached, or 1/2 & 1/2 with whole wheat or semolina), 1 tbsp yeast, 2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp olive oil – process with 1 cup (or so) of hot water, knead and let rise.

    Go through the bottom of the meat & deli drawer for the ends of any and all kinds of cheese, salami, bacon, ham, etc.

    Find the jars of olives with only a couple remaining.

    Clean out the veggie drawer of half onions, peppers, leftover mushrooms, limp spinach leaves.

    Chop whatever you can salvage, and use it as pizza garnishes.

    f you want tomato sauce, take a plain can of tomatoes, whirr it in the blender with a garlic clove, and then put in in a saucepan on low while the dough rises.

    You may have to buy some cheese, but here’s where the cheap rubbery stuff works fine.

    If you don’t have enough fresh veggies, or if your fresh veggies have turned to mush, you can use canned artichoke hearts, canned pimiento, dried mushrooms – I always buy these things in when I see them on sale, and you can get them really cheap at the dollar store or in the case of mushrooms, in Asian markets. You can even make a pretty good pizza with just tomatoes, onions and oregano.

  112. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:55

    G- Good call mentioning whole chickens. A whole chicken takes time to serve up though. A good compromise between that and the expensive stuff, is a big packet of drumsticks. They are cheap, cook in the oven pretty quick, and kids like em too because it is an excuse to use their fingers. Drumsticks are easy to separate out for freezing if you buy too many in one go as well.

    Oh, and here is my chilli recipe. Fry up some onions, mushrooms, and pork sausage. I get some sausages which are like a Lincolnshire sausage, but with chucks of Chorizo inside. Then add about 2 tablespoons full of drinking chocolate. Add some kind of beans, a crapload of red peppers, and a few of the chillis I grow myself. Serve with white rice.

    Yeah, I know it is a million miles from any kind of “authentic” chilli, but I still call it that.

  113. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:56

    That’s going to take a lot longer than 30-45 minutes, tho.

    Nope. Not the Barbara Kafka roasting recipe. 55 minutes, tops. at 500 degrees F.

  114. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:57

    Steak? Expensive. Chuck roast? cheap. And it turns out pot roast is super easy, too.

    Two words: pressure cooker. 30 minute pot roast. Fabulous. The Safeway occasionally has boneless chuck for $1.59. I buy several big chunks. Grind a few pounds (KitchenAid again!) and vacufreeze. Cut some cubes and also vacufreeze. Can you say chili? Large chink for the pot roast.

    As a younger person, it was way too scarey to think of cutting up a chicken – so I’d get boneless chicken breasts at $6 a pound.

    It only takes a little practice to learn to cut up a chicken in under one minute. Some store or other usually has fryers for 69 cents a pound. Cut it up – it really is easy once you know how. A four dollar fryer gives us two pigs two big meals. The backbone and trimmings go into a ziploc bag and into the freezer. Once or twice a month I have enough to make chicken stock. Fabulous, no-salt homemade stock. Have you ever had brown (roasted) chicken stock? Most incredible.

    For bonus points, trim the fat from the legs and cavity. Render it in a small saucepan over low heat. Schmaltz! Use in place of butter or oil to save even more money and add great flavor. And next time you make skinless chicken something, cook that skin in the schmaltz for cracklings. OM NOM NOM NOM

  115. Corey said,

    August 27, 2009 at 21:57

    To those making notes that it doesn’t take that much time, I submit to you that we actually have less and less free time on our hands.

    Source: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ctpp/jtw/executive.htm

    [Begin Quote]
    The percent of workers with short commutes has declined and the percent of workers with long commutes has increased.
    The average commute increased by 2.1 minutes2 between 1990 and 2000. This is much higher increase than the 40-second increase from 1980 to 1990. By examining the ravel time distributions, we see a continued shift toward longer commutes.

    2 Census reports will show an increase of 3.1 minutes between 1990 and 2000, however, changes in coding procedures between 1990 and 2000 have created confounding problems in direct comparisons. In 1990, travel time of 100 minutes or more was coded as 99 minutes, whereas in 2000 the top-code was 200 minutes. This coding change results in more accurate results in 2000. The value of 2.1 was obtained by recalculating Census 2000 data using the same topcoding as 1990.

    In 2000, 14 percent of workers traveled more than 45 minutes compared to 12 percent in 1990, and 29 percent commute less than 15 minutes, compared to 31 percent in 1990. Forty percent of the commuters in large metro areas travel over 30 minutes to work, oneway, on an average day.

    The pressure of time is a major factor in the travel choices people make. In 2000, more workers are driving alone, more families are living and working in the suburbs and traveling on the highway system for part of their commute, and more workers are commuting over one hour to and from their jobs on an average day.

    Changes in family structure, workforce characteristics, and vehicle availability have affected mode choice throughout the 70s and 80s. Over the years as automobiles became affordable and convenient as a means of transportation, more and more people became drivers. Commuters may have shifted to POV and then drove alone to save travel time as jobs and homes became more dispersed.

    The 2000 Census shows large increases in travel time in all metropolitan areas, which suggests that workers may consider other modes if trave l time can be shortened, may shift their work times (leading to peak-spreading), or may try or increase telecommuting.
    [End Quote]

    Here is a link to specific travel times: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ctpp/sr0103.htm

    The average travel time nation wide was around 24.5 minutes (counting only the real increase). If the statisticians used the correct measure of average for time (i.e., the median), that means that 50% of the nation (on the average) had a commute in excess of the ~25 minutes, and this was in 2000. Most likely, the average commute has increased.

    And this isn’t even considering that people may work two jobs or more to make ends meet.

    Remember, we’re not talking about you and me; we’re talking about those below the poverty line.

  116. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:00

    If you don’t want a chink for the pot roast, you could use a dothead.

    oops

  117. catclub said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:03

    See MFK Fisher “How to cook a wolf”
    for ideas on eating cheap and healthy food.

    Great food writer.

  118. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:03

    Remember, we’re not talking about you and me; we’re talking about those below the poverty line.

    Yes, you’re right, of course.

    For me – getting in my car, stopping at a nice well-stocked supermarket on the way home, loading in my car and preparing it in my well-equipped kitchen – sometimes even that is a pain.

    For someone poor – waiting for the bus, changing buses, getting off the bus stop and walking a couple blocks (if you’re lucky) to the supermarket, then walking back, carrying bulky groceries like whole chickens and onions and potatoes and 5 pound bags of beans, and getting back on the bus; then walking from the bus-stop to your place, and THEN trying to cook some affordable meal, with cheap thin saucepans and crappy knives….no wonder a Big Mac is more appealing.

  119. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:04

    See MFK Fisher “How to cook a wolf”
    for ideas on eating cheap and healthy food.

    Have you ever tried “sludge”?

  120. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:04

    You can even make a pretty good pizza with just tomatoes, onions and oregano.

    I wonder what they would call this in Italy? Probably name it after some woman….something exotic, like, Pizza Margherita or something…

  121. Xecky Gilchrist said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:07

    Probably name it after some woman….something exotic, like, Pizza Margherita or something…

    Lose the onions and add basil, and you’re getting there.

  122. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:09

    Pizza Margherita or something…

    Not without mozzarella or some other cheese. Good luck finding cheese in an asian grocery store.

  123. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:09

    Yeah, I know it is a million miles from any kind of “authentic” chilli, but I still call it that.

    Progresso has these canned tomatoes that were fire roasted before canning.

    Damn, but that makes some good chili…

    I usually brown up some ground turkey (altho leftovers from Thanksgiving shredded is a nice alternative), couple of them big ol’ cans of tomatoes, some brown and black beans that I cooked and let soak overnight, a small jalapeno into the pot, diced onions (if I’m lazy, Progresso has me covered there, too: tomatoes with diced onions), a little tabasco, some adobo powder, a touch of salt and the eensiest bit of dry barbecue rub, and I’m good to go.

    Kicks the ever-loving crap out of my taste buds, but boy, it keeps you warm on a cold night.

  124. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:10

    For pizza, you can cheat. Any supermarket sells pizza bases. Sometimes you find tomato and cheese pizzas sold for hardly any money. Throw your own toppings on, and you get something that would cost 3 times as much, with just 5 mins work.

    My favourite: Tomato and mozzarella, with chicken, sweetcorn, and pineapple. A lovely combination on a thin crust pizza.

  125. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:11

    D-K, there’s a pizza wagon…yes, a rolling pizza parlor…near my office that only serves pizza marinara.

    I always saw long lines for it, and figured, “Hm, great concept. Pizza to really go,” not comprehending consciously the word “marinara”.

    Ordered two slices.

    No cheese.

    Damn fine pizza.

    The Asian grocers by me stock some cheeses, the crumbled crap that Polly-O puts in a sack, but I live in a European neighborhood.

  126. Trilateral Chairman said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:11

    …But here’s the thing: we can talk about the matrix of education, and cooking classes (which used to be Home Ec…does anyone take that anymore?), and cost and time, but the bottom line is, there are so many factors like advertising, like basic laziness, like eating at 6:30 instead of 7:30, that go into dinner decisions.

    Well, yes, but there are reasons for those decisions. If you’re one of two working parents in our hypothetical family of four, then you have to come home after a long day at work and put something together that the kids will actually *eat*. I can think of any number of meals that can feed a family of four for less than ten dollars, but not so many that a kid will tolerate (largely because they mostly consist of stews or soups or curries of various sorts).

    As a side note, a 6:30 dinner makes sense because (1) the kids haven’t eaten since lunch or snacktime and are howling with hunger, and (2) you have to get them fed, cleaned up, and through the post-dinner energy burst before their 9:30 bedtime (since they have to get up at 6:30 the next day to catch the school bus).

  127. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:11

    The clean out the fridge pizza reminds me of clean out the fridge instant soup. Um, noen was it? Pay attention here.

    Grate (or dice if you have time to let it cook longer) an onion into a pot with a splash of olive oyl. Cook gently until fragrant and soft. Add some of that home made chicken stock if you have it, low sodium store bought otherwise. Raid the crisper drawers for anything and everything that’s long in the tooth. Root veg, leaf veg, whatever you’ve got, all into the pot. By the way, that last bit of spinach or lettuce couldn’t hope for a better use. Got an aging spud? Dice it and toss it in. You basically can’t go wrong. Let it boil gently for 15 minutes or so toi bring the flavors out. If you like, toss in some rice or pasta. I like to put a bit of diced swiss cheese in the bottom of the bowl.

    Perhaps due to my Scottish heritage, or growing up in a German town where they knew what everything but the oink means, or just my pissy attitude, I have a dictum: Nothing has to go to waste.

  128. it's the economics, stupid said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:12

    Consider, my friends, that McAddled is the business editor at the blog of a supposedly serious high brow current events magazine.

    Nutritionists have been studying the phenomenon of the rise of obesity, not only in the US, but in much poorer countries for a long time. The rate of obesity has been rising in many areas around the world, places with high and low incomes.

    Here is the deal. First, you subsidize the production of fat and various refined sugars, thereby dramatically lowering their relative prices. Second, you offer these subsidized foods with lower relative prices to people under severe budget pressures. Voila, more fat people -many of whom are malnurished despite their obesity.

    But, we get our analysis from likes of McAddled.

    And we have Bartilomo, a supposed business reporter who spouts fantasy opinions about how ALL drug research and development is now done in the US, and US private industry is responsible for ALL drug innovations. This nonsense can be disproved within ten minutes on the internet or at a good library. And we have anchors like the wingnut Canadian VJ and known corrupt flunkies like Fluffyhead.

    But no matter, if one is a corporate lackey and hack, whose only skill is brown nosing one’s way up the corporate media ladder, I guess it is all good, as long as you get the pay check and celebrity..

    I watched a clip of the Nixon-Kennedy policy fights over health care policy in the 1970s. The contrast to today was frightening. Grown men and women anchors and reporters knew the facts, could do logic and high school math. They went through rather through analysis of real numbers put up on the screen.

  129. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:15

    a splash of olive oyl

    I loves me some cartoon porn…

  130. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:15

    That sounds like….furrin food

    Ah yup.

    Spinach paneer would be even cheaper than chicken briyani. The 45 minute barrier prevents some of the other really good stuff, Tandoori chicken for example requires lots of marinating time (as does satay).

    If you don’t mind cheap imitation versions, you can put satay sauce on non-marinaded meat.

    You can mix your own satay sauce out of hot peppers, peanut butter and coconut milk. I’d add lemon juice to make-up for the lack of marinade. If you can get tamarind and lemongrass, don’t be shy and throw ‘em in to see if you like it.

    Grill yourself some chicken or shrimps, serve on rice with some vegetables. I do believe I’m at four recipes now.

  131. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:19

    Oh jeebus fooking keerist. Hate to throw this into a fun thread but my stomach just churned and I can’t think abou food now. Unadorned linky below: pastor of Obama town hall gun-toter prayed for Obama to die. How very Christian of him. I’d suggest cooking him but I’m sure the meat has gone bad, and would make for a sour, vile experience.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/08/pastor_of_gun-toter_at_obama_event_day_before_even.php?ref=fpa

  132. Pere Ubu said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:20

    You know, now that I think about it, I think the arguement over price is ignoring the real problem – time and energy.

    I mean, sure, you CAN pick up all those ingredients and cook a decent meal – but after eight to ten hours of minimum wage work, fast food or processed food is SO much more convenient. And there’s always the problem of lunch, when sometimes you’re not even given somewhere to store food you brought (or when your lovely co-workers decide to help themselves to your meal, which I saw far too often at Wal-Mart).

    I mean, it’s like educating yourself outside of school – with public libraries and Teh InterWebs, there’s lots of opportunity… but it’s easier to come home and flip on “Wheel of Fortune”.

    Calling all this “laziness” is demeaning. It’s something much deeper and more inherent to our culture.

  133. Trilateral Chairman said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:23

    Perhaps due to my Scottish heritage, or growing up in a German town where they knew what everything but the oink means, or just my pissy attitude, I have a dictum: Nothing has to go to waste.

    True, at least when it comes to vegetables (I can’t, er, stomach that when it comes to meat, but that’s just me). For us, older veggies go in soup, or if they’re too far gone, they go into the compost or worm bin and help us grow more veggies.

    I was going to add the caveat that this wouldn’t be feasible for everyone, particularly a family with both parents working, but then I realized that my maternal grandparents were able to make this happen even though they both worked. Veggies came from the garden and were eaten, canned, or composted. Meals were based around what was available and cheap. Dinner *had* to be home-cooked; there weren’t even TV dinners in those days. Something got lost somewhere, and I don’t know what it is.

  134. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:23

    Corned beef, sauerkraut, provolone, marble rye bread, dressing, kosher dill pickle, kettle cooked potato chips and beer.

    I’m over ten bucks on that one, but I’m a sucker for teh Reuben.

  135. stogoe said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:25

    Good for all youse, but you’re all single with no kids and one job. Nobody’s getting that when you have to work two jobs to afford the rent and the only grocery’s an hour’s drive away, you ain’t got time for this shit. At all. You can’t put together a casserole when you work from 3am – 11pm, with a half hour between shifts to pick the kids up from daycare.

    The Pandagon people get this so much better than you do.

  136. stogoe said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:26

    You don’t even have the time to get to the (crappy) grocery.

  137. El Cid said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:28

    My local grocery stores roast whole chickens for between $6 and $8, and usually if you go in right before closing you can get then for $3, and though a bit dried out they’re still grear for sandwiches, fajitas, tacos, etc.

    Also, as mentioned above, if you can cook some larger dishes and either freeze leftovers or don’t mind evening repeat dinners, you can get a lower per meal cost. Pot roasts, pasta dishes, casseroles, Indian foods, soups, stews.

  138. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:29

    Calling all this “laziness” is demeaning. It’s something much deeper and more inherent to our culture.

    In fairness, “Lazy” was way down on the list, and was really meant as a filler for those times when you want to go to the market or bodega the next block over, but there’s Ronald Mac smiling at you.

  139. it's the economics, stupid said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:30

    Trilateral Chairman said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:23

    – time and energy.

    Could be those too. Time use and energy budget studies are not done much in the US, as opposed to the socialist hellholes of Yurrp and the commlielands down south of Australia and New Zealand. So, I do not think anyone really knows how much time pressure of 2 jobs per person households, and household and neighborhood economics contributes to it.

    I guess the market fanatic US economics establishment had decided it is all optimal and goodest possible, whatever happens, and it is considered sissy, useless commie research.

  140. Interrobang said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:30

    Another factor that nobody talks about in terms of obesity (and sure puts a huge effing wrench in McArdle’s “argument” such as it is) is that there’s a fairly high correlation between sleep deprivation and weight gain. Want to gain a shitload of flab at lightspeed? Try going without enough sleep for a few weeks at a time. People who study this sort of thing figured this out by paying attention to sleep apnea: The conventional wisdom used to be that sleep apnea was caused by obesity. Turns out that it’s the other way around. Treat the sleep apnea, the weight falls off.

    North Americans, but USians in particular, work too much, vacation too little, and, in certain demographics, make it a point of pride to sleep as little as they possibly can. Buddy and Missis with the five jobs between them just to make ends meet would probably be a lot slimmer and trimmer if they got paid a living wage from one job, and got decent vacation time, even if they kept stuffing their faces with Mickey D’s and Toxic Hell and nothing else about their circumstances changed.

    Granted, solve the lack of sleep problem and you’re also likely to have people whose judgement isn’t permanently impaired because they’re not walking around punch-drunk from sleep deprivation all the time, meaning they can make better choices about feeding themselves and living their lives in the first place. Obesity goes down, occupational accidents go down, car accidents go down, health and life expectancy rates go up, everybody wins.

  141. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:32

    You can’t cook curry too fast. The spices need time to infuse. That is why curry leftovers eaten cold, straight out of the tupperware box are SO fucking delicious.

    Bombay potatoes are cheap. Jalfrezi is cheap and easy too, and it goes with ANY kind of meat. Even pork.

    Here is another recipe: tuna fish casserole (though it isnt really a casserole, that is what my family has always called it) The best bit, is you can do it all with canned and dried goods, and it is still pretty healthy stuff.

    First cook some rice. I do half white, half brown, to get a texture halfway between the two. It is easy enough, you put the brown on to boil first, then throw the white rice in the pot later.

    Drain your rice, then add a can of tuna fish (drained) can of sweetcorn, can of mushroom soup, and a handful of grated cheddar. Stick that in the oven or back on the hob (stirring a lot if you use the hob) until it is all hot and the cheese has melted, then serve. To jazz it up a bit, a can of white wine sauce (which my supermarket sells cheap) is a good substitute for the mushroom soup. Canilenni beans also work, as do chunks of celery to give it a bit of crunch. Leftover chicken works as a substitute for the tuna. There are a lot of potential variations.

    It is hardly gourmet stuff, but it is cheap, quick, healthy, doesn’t require anything that goes off easily, and can feed a lot of people. All you really need to cook it is one pot, a can opener, and a spoon.

  142. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:37

    stogoe,

    You need a slow-cooker. You gotta go to be a bit earlier so that you can wake up a bit earlier, but slow cooker cooking really is “throw everything in and turn it on”.

    A stew made with some cheap cut of beef, a couple potatoes and some other root vegetables. 5 minutes to brown the beef, 5 minutes to prep vegetables and $10 might get you dinner for eight, depending on prices when you live. Or if all that’s available is a big hunk of gristly beef, you can slow cooker-pot roast that baby too.

    Chili in the slow cooker is easy. Fish stew. A million different hearty soups. Sweet IPU, you could do cottage roll.

    You may also find that eating well helps with how frazzled and frantic your life seems. Living should be about enjoying the stuff that you can.

  143. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:39

    “go to be” = “go to bed”

    I’m not getting enough sun and am deficient in vitamin d.

  144. cur said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:39

    So crock pots are great for making great food with little prep time. Jesus invented them so you can have roast beef and potatoes with carrots on Sundays.

  145. cur said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:41

    Damn, I got Wangchucked.

  146. D.N. Nation said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:44

    Good for all youse, but you’re all single with no kids and one job.

    I’m married. But you’re right about the no kids. I consider this to be a sound solution for both my brain and my wallet. It’s open to anyone and everyone.

  147. Substance McGravitas said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:46

    Good for all youse, but you’re all single with no kids and one job.

    Single, one very scheduled kid w/therapy needs. I appreciate the advice here.

  148. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:47

    The thing is, we all know the sources of the problem.

    Poverty. Now what causes that? Corporations. bad government policies. Stingy welfare state.
    Bad food. What causes that? Corporations gone wild.

    The solution? Move the US to a rather more socialist political system. It is the only sure, permanent way to fix things.

    If people are too tired to cook a meal, no wonder they are too tired to realise they are being fucked over.

  149. Rosebuddear said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:51

    Two words. Crock Pot. You can pick them up cheap at the Dollar Store.

    Plus, brown rice, beans, cabbage, a bit of meat (whatever’s on sale at Cub), Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix, canned tomatoes that go on sale 10 for 10 bucks.

    Just saying – it IS possible to cook nutritious food cheaply. When one of our reps here took the challenge of trying to make nutritious meals on the 21 dollars a week or whatever it was that food stamps allows, he did manage to do it – I can do it too, but I have to say, that would be BORING. You have to really like rice and beans and cabbage. I do like all those things, but it WOULD get old after awhile.

    A Crock Pot is your greatest friend for cheap meals. I recommend it to everybody.

  150. actor212 said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:51

    If people are too tired to cook a meal, no wonder they are too tired to realise they are being fucked over.

    Which is why TV is a morass of mindlessness, and sound bites trump reasoned analysis

  151. D.N. Nation said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:52

    Bad food. What causes that?

    Rachael Ray, amirite.

  152. cur said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:53

    “Being thin and attractive gives you a competitive edge, especially if you live in a city with lots of talented people.”

    Maybe if you want to be the CEO of yoga instructors, They don’t have ugly obese bosses in NYC?

  153. Rosebuddear said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:53

    BTW, none of what I just said there is meant to diss the people that are saying that it’s hard for the poor to get nutritious food. I know it is. They work their butts off at low paying jobs, spend a zillion hours riding the bus, I don’t blame anybody for being too damn tired to cook. Some days that’s just too much.

  154. cur said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:59

    Rosebuddear,

    It helps if you like to cook. I live only a couple of blocks from 2 supermarkets. I can pop in daily, see what is on sale and cook it up. I enjoy this. Many people hate this; the shopping the cooking thinking ahead of what they are going to make for the next week. So it helps if you enjoy the process, enjoy the creativity of it and can readily get to where the food is and look for sales.

  155. Rosebuddear said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:04

    I agree Cur – I enjoy cooking, so it’s not that hard for me. But I can see where it would be.

    Thanks for the reply. I live about two miles from a big Cub, and enjoy shopping there and finding bargains. But *I* have a car. For people that have to carry their grocery bags home on the bus, (I did that in my younger days) well I feel for them. I can sort of understand why they’d resort to McDonalds plastic food (which I loathe).

    I have to say I resorted to it myself, a bit. I just moved (successfully sold my house – yay – and bought a mobile home. McDonald’s just up the rode. I ate more of it than I wanted to during the move. I’m glad I’m all moved in and can resume cooking. God that stuff is tasteless crap.

  156. Rosebuddear said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:06

    I just realized I misspelled
    “road”. Sheesh. Grammar and math skills really go when you get on the web and start typing a lot of free-association stuff.

  157. No-Visible-Means said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:14

    PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 22:19 I’d suggest cooking him but I’m sure the meat has gone bad, and would make for a sour, vile experience.

    Soylent Green Pizza

    And there are plenty of them running around on the hoof.

  158. Bitter Scribe said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:20

    Check out the Food Porn Newsletter of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This month features those absurd Domino’s “pasta bowls” made of bread. Death by carbs, anyone?

  159. GeneJockey said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:33

    Don’t get me wrong – I love to cook, too.

    In fact at my wife’s insistence I am the primary cook for the family, and I DO ensure that every night, there is either a freshly-made, tasty, (reasonably) healthy meal available for the family (of 4, as it happens).

    BUT, there are LOTS of people who don’t LIKE to cook, who don’t know HOW to cook, and whose cooking actually DOES taste worse than your average fast food. Fast food chains spend lots of money on research to make their food appealing, at least to what I will snobbishly refer to as ‘less refined palates’.

    Add to that the fact that most recipes using the cheaper cuts of meat take hours of cooking. They are also some of the best foods in the world, but you can’t throw them on the table as soon as you get home, dog-tired and wanting not to COOK, but just to EAT and relax.

    OTOH, if you stop for fast food, or pizza, or nuke something premade, the food is ready, RIGHT THEN, and often requires little or no cleanup beyond tossing the boxes and bags in the trash.

  160. GeneJockey said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:35

    ‘there is either a freshly-made, tasty, (reasonably) healthy meal available for the family (of 4, as it happens)’

    OR the leftovers of a freshly-made, taste, reasonably healthy meal.

    What, no edit function?

  161. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:40

    Yes, time is tight. It’s much harder for some people than others. But I’m willing to bet that there’s at least 30 minutes of TV somehow worked into that ultratight day.

    The point here is not to say that it’s easy for anyone. The point is that buying crap that costs a lot and isn’t good for you is a learned behavior. Behaviors can be unlearned, changed, modified. Alas, it means that someone has to pay attention to, devote some time to those who most need it. We all know how generous we are, right?

    Also, goddamn you D.N. This thread was getting along quite happily with ZERO mention of she who Tony Bourdain has quite rightly ripped to shreds already.

  162. Xecky Gilchrist said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:43

    But you’re right about the no kids. I consider this to be a sound solution for both my brain and my wallet.

    It’s a lifestyle everyone should consider, if it isn’t too late. Ignore everybody who says you’re being selfish by not reproducing, or letting your race (incl. human) die out, or what-the-fuck-ever.

    I’m pretty sure having no kids is what keeps me in what little sanity and financial security I have.

  163. g said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:44

    Well, after all this discussion, I just came back from lunch where I ended up, by various misadventures, including long lines, unexpected closures, and crappy service, – having a $15.00 tuna fish sandwich.

  164. GeneJockey said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:47

    I guess the point is not that it’s hard for the poor to get nutritious food for cheap.

    The point is that it’s EASIER for the poor (and everyone else) to get high-calorie/low nutrition food for cheap. Calories are cheaper and easier to obtain than nutrition.

  165. Jennifer said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:47

    And this is all central to my point about the difficulty in understanding nutritional information.

    Well, according to Pollan, that right there is a big part of the problem with most American’s diets. It’s less about “nutrition” than it is about “nutritionism”. Once upon a time, people ate food because it was tasty and, more crucially, available. These days there’s a new nutrition fad every few months or so. “High in omega-3″ is one of the current ones. Pollan’s advice is to eat food, not too much, mostly plants. He makes the further point that most of what most people eat these days isn’t “food” so much as a “food-like product” – it has properties similar to food, such as being edible and tasty (depending on your definition of “tasty”) and at that point, the similarity to real food – the type of thing you could pick out of a garden or field – ends.

    As for the difficulties in eating a healthy diet, or the expense, it ain’t that hard. I spend something like $40 – $50 per week on groceries and cook to one degree or another every night. Most of what I make is fairly simple, since it doesn’t make sense to get too elaborate when cooking for one. Also I don’t eat meat every day, more due to the time to prepare it than anything else – instead I cook up several pounds of chicken breasts on the grill at the same time, then freeze them individually and re-heat them later in the oven when I’m ready to eat one for dinner (though typically I only eat half of one at a time). Pretty much every other day I’ll have some type of meatless pasta or rice dish – whole wheat pasta, brown rice – with various toppings or additions. My biggest obstacle is the need for at least 2 weekly trips to the store for the fresh veggies – when you’re single, you can’t buy too much at any one time or it goes bad. While $40 – $50 per week for food isn’t all that much, I am single…I can imagine what a stretch it would be for a poor person with 2 or 3 kids to eat the way I do.

    Bottom line, there are several reasons why so many people eat bad food – poverty, lack of education/information, etc – but most of it comes down to habit, I think. I’ve gotten to where I can’t even stand the smell of fast food – it smells like an industrial product (which it is) rather than something you should ingest. But that’s because I’m not in the habit of eating it. I made a real effort even back in my college days to eat good food; I had a neighbor who used to drop in on me at lunch for what she laughingly called “the blue plate special”, which would be usually a turkey sandwich on wheat with some cottage cheese and raw carrots on the side, and usually a few (10 or so) potato chips. I always made that effort to include a little of every type of food “group” and when including the stuff that wasn’t real food (such as chips), to limit the amount of them I eat.

  166. PeeJ said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:48

    BUT, there are LOTS of people who don’t LIKE to cook, who don’t know HOW to cook, and whose cooking actually DOES taste worse than your average fast food.

    I don’t like to do laundry. I can’t afford to pay someone else to do it so I force myself. I’m not that fond of brughing my teeth either. There are lots of things I don’t like to do but which I do because it’s in my best interest.

    The folks you cite are welcome to bust their budgets along with their belts and arteries doing what they do now. Many people, even when faced with all the help and tools they need will do just that. People can, however, learn. Having been something of a mentor to more than a couple bad cooks, who also hated to cook, I can say that people who thik they don’t like to do it and think they can’t do it are quite surprised to find out that HOLY SHIT! it’s easy and kinda fun. That it’/s much cheaper and healthful, and opens up the door to more dining variety, is the icing on the cake.

  167. El Cid said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:48

    We can all mouthe off with our little advice tips, but that all said, wouldn’t it be a lot nicer and easier if the vast maority of us didn’t have to spend all our fucking time and money trying to individually fight against damaging corporate created trends?

  168. Smut Clyde said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:49

    And there are plenty of them running around on the hoof.

    Add to that the fact that most recipes using the cheaper cuts of meat take hours of cooking.

    It’s amazing what you can do with a cheap piece of meat if you know how to treat it. .

  169. Xecky Gilchrist said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:51

    wouldn’t it be a lot nicer and easier if the vast maority of us didn’t have to spend all our fucking time and money trying to individually fight against damaging corporate created trends?

    Amen to that.

  170. Djur said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:59

    PeeJ, if the choice comes down to having some free time to relax and watch teevee (or read a book, or dick around online, or play video games…) and having cheap, nutritious, homemade food, I think a lot of people will choose the former.

    My argument is this: people should not have to choose between sleep, leisure time, and productive labor. The 8-hour workday was sold as part of an “8-8-8″ program: 8 hours of work, 8 hours of sleep, and 8 hours of leisure (where leisure is identified as everything from vegging out in your undies watching Star Trek to writing the next great American novel). I don’t think it helps anyone to say the fairly brief amount of time they get to spend in genuine leisure without immediate responsibilities (and, again, having children changes the whole game — I’m childfree for a reason, but I’m not willing to support an argument that parents have forfeited their right to leisure).

    One’s grandparents may have been able to cook three nutritious meals a day (and that’s certainly not true of the entire generation — there’s a long tradition of artery-clogging Midwestern hotdish for a reason). I would agree that there’s been a cultural shift, but as others have mentioned above, transportation is more of a problem today. In addition, there’s the vicious cycle of malnutrition — shitty food makes you tired, and being tired encourages you to eat shitty food. There’s the issue of sleep — noise pollution is the first thing that comes to mind.

    And, finally, I think the nature of modern life is mentally exhausting — both at work and outside it. Anyone who’s worked in physical labor or production can attest that while it’s more physically demanding, it tends to leave the mind healthier and happier than a desk job or a service job. And a lot more Americans today are working service jobs and desk jobs as opposed to production and labor than they were in the 1940s.

    I think it’s important to be pluralistic here. Both/and thinking. There’s absolutely education and evangelism to be made to individuals to improve their eating choices, and there’s social problems which can also be addressed to make that easier.

  171. Pere Ubu said,

    August 27, 2009 at 23:59

    wouldn’t it be a lot nicer and easier if the vast maority of us didn’t have to spend all our fucking time and money trying to individually fight against damaging corporate created trends?

    but but but SOCIALISM!!!11 corporates are holy and blameless and I love our corporate masters for without them I would not know what I want!!

    I STILL think concentrating on “cheap” is missing the point. Really, fast food ISN’T that much cheaper than, oh, say picking up something at a local Chinese takeout place. But once again – it’s time; waiting 5 minutes for shit at Mickey D’s as opposed to fifteen-twenty at the restaurant.

  172. No-Visible-Means said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:05

    Slightly OT but, the most advanced nutritional analysis laboratory facilities in the world are operated by —- Ralston Purina. (I start drooling reading about the equipment those lads get to play with.) And we are not just talking pet foods here. If it clucks, moos, or even swims, they feed it. And it is an enormous business. Gotta love it when the invisible hand puts more emphasis on keeping critters well fed than it does humans.

  173. Fred E. Ceancis said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:06

    Best. Thread. Evar.

    “Don’t buy any food you’ve ever seen advertised” is this generation’s equivalent of “Don’t trust anyone over 40 30 ,” methinks.

    True! I don’t know if this is the experience of other people in my age cohort (18-21, I guess), but among my peers this whole “slow food” thing has caught on in a big way. Knowing how to find healthy ingredients and actually cook them is the new knowing how to play guitar.

    Also- rice noodles are your friend. Dirt cheap, full of protein, and they go with pretty much anything, especially sauteed vegetables. Easier to cook than pasta, too.

  174. Tata said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:08

    At my brokity-broke-brokest, I lived in a room with a hotplate and no refrigeration and ate one meal of mashed potatoes every day. It’s hard to imagine, if you’ve never lived like this. You search for ways to feed yourself with every bit of attention you can muster. Having lived through that, I can’t function without a stocked pantry, a crockpot, a full freezer.

    Sweet potatoes are versatile and cheap. Root vegetables are. Don’t underestimate their importance on a shopping list.

  175. Djur said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:14

    rice noodles are your friend. Dirt cheap, full of protein

    Really? What I’m looking at here says: 2 oz. serving, ~200kcal, 3g protein. That’s half the protein of egg noodles for about the same calories.

  176. PeeJ said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:15

    My argument is this: people should not have to choose between sleep, leisure time, and productive labor.

    I agree. Heartily.

    That’s what I’m talking about though. I’m pretty sure that teaching people how to shop and cook – with tight budgets on both dollars and time, say 60% to 70% of the area under the curve – can do much better than fast food – is one small way to fight back against the corporatist social engineering that’s led us to this place.

    Fuck the corporations. Eat the rich. Also.

  177. Fred E. Ceancis said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:16

    Really? What I’m looking at here says: 2 oz. serving, ~200kcal, 3g protein. That’s half the protein of egg noodles for about the same calories.

    Compared to wheat noodles, that is.

  178. Djur said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:24

    PeeJ: OK. It’s just that these conversations often tend to come off as judgmental and fairly callous. “Oh, those dumbass poor people, all they have to do is go to three different places and spend hours shopping and cooking every week and buy food in bulk (which they’ll take home in their car) and store it properly (in their apartment or house which has room and facilities to store food, as well as a good-sized fridge and freezer) and use these spices (which their children will just luv, and which might be expensive now but wait until you’ve made 100 meals with them, it all evens out) and use a blender and four different utensils and…”

    Oh, and I forgot the other big difference between the Good Old Days and today: bigger families mean economies of scale. You can generally feed a 10-person family for less per head than a single person can alone, or a couple, or a family with two or three children. It’s just another symptom of the dissolution of our society into a bunch of tiny alienated family groups. Stuff like shared meals in apartment complexes would be great, but I think we’re too far gone for that anymore. I’ve heard tell of meal co-ops in some crunchy granola parts, which is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard. But I really don’t think people trust each other enough for that most of the time.

  179. Djur said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:26

    Also, I’m thinking I’m going to cook some fucking sweet potatoes in a slow cooker, I tell you what. That sounds amazing right now.

  180. John T said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:28

    Dumpstered bagels (not bad, when toasted) are free and margarine is dirt cheap, especially when you buy the dented box from the discount store. An incomeless friend of mine — a literally starving artist — got scurvy after subsisting too long on nothing but that. Moral of the story: beg your local hippie co-op for the wilted “ugly” vegetables that were too ugly to sell at half-price, stir fry in a bit of cheap olive oil, serve over brown rice, wash it down with shoplifted fruit juice.

    The last time I had to do something like this, however, was more than ten years ago. I spent $13 on lunch today and it was fucking delicious.

  181. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:32

    Looks like I missed a lot of Sturm und Dreck while actually trying to do some work.

    iAll I have in the cupboard is a Norweigan, and he smells suspicously of lutefisk.

    As opposed to what? He smells deliciously of lutefisk? He smells erogenously of lutefisk?

  182. GeneJockey said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:33

    Another thing not to underestimate is the extent to which fast food provides what our evolutionary history tells us we should eat as much as we can of, whenever we can get out hands on it – starch, sugar, and fat.

    Curse you, Charles Darwin!!!

  183. Nimrod Gently said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:35

    Patton Oswalt was right. “Cheeseburger Fries”? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE

  184. PeeJ said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:42

    Your daily totally SFW PENIS.

  185. Nom de Plume said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:43

    People have already hit on the main points, but here is a summary–food that is both inexpensive and easily accessible in our culture tends to be fattening junk. It is also the most heavily advertised by far, resulting in many people (not just the poor) becoming addicted to high-sugar, high-fat crap in early childhood, when they’re most susceptible to advertising.

    There is also the question of time. If you’re working two jobs, or have been pounding the pavement all day looking for one, maybe you don’t feel like cooking, and I don’t blame you. So you spend a few bucks on some cheap frozen dinners or you run the kids to McDonald’s for some Happy Meals. Makes sense if you’re poor and working 60 hours a week.

    But the “America is the only country with fat poor people!1!” trope is not going to die easily.

  186. Sockpuppet #47 said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:44

    If direct action is going to work, the way to do it is concentrate on children.

    When you are a kid, your metabolism is just getting set up. Malnutrition and/or obesity at a young age dooms you to a lifetime of health problems. Fat kids have a hell of a difficult time getting the weight off in later life.

    Also, children are in school. 1 meal a day is provided by the school. 2 meals if the school decides to offer breakfast too. Teaching adults can be hard. At least with kids, you have already got them sat down in a classroom.

    One part of the trouble is that peoples understanding of healthy foods comes mostly from a dieting perspective. Very few people know about foods which are high calorie, but good for you as well.

    Teaching proper cooking in schools could also help motivate students. So many kids stop caring because trigonometry doesnt seem relevant to their lives. It is the same way with home ec. They only get to cook something once every couple of months, are not taught anything about basic techniques, and most of it is about baking and side dishes, which is nice, but not as important or relevant as learning how to make a main meal.

  187. kingubu said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:48

    I’ll be the 347th person in this thread to sing the praises of the Mighty Crock Pot. Cheap beef or pork roast + veggies (stew with the leftovers), corned beef and cabbage, beans and hocks, chili– lots of tasty meals that are way cheaper and healthier than fast food and require little prep time. Load it up and switch it on in the morning, go to work, come home and “hey look! dinner!” I wouldn’t know how to live without one.

  188. Brandi said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:51

    N__B: yeah, the white cubic bits in miso are tofu. They end up tasting like the miso, pleasantly salty, but if you don’t like the texture just ignore them (my husband does).

    Rosebuddear: I have never, EVER seen a crock pot at Dollar Tree. Sure you didn’t mean thrift stores?

  189. Tata said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:52

    In The Man Who Ate Everything, Jeffrey Steingarten wrote a truly supercilious essay about trying to live on a food stamps budget. Usually, he’s a hoot, even when he’s objectionable. This essay’s just objectionable.

    My Handsome Prince is a chef. Recently, I issued exactly this challenge to him. We’ve been working on menus. A good number of them start with a grain-legume combination, a vegetable that’s on sale or a pie shell. Quiche can be cheap. A good soup can be really cheap. It’s a game for us now but it wouldn’t be if, say, the economy were tanking and times were wicked uncertain. Um…

  190. gocart mozart said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:53

    OT but,

    Afterbirthers Demand To See Obama’s Placenta

    WASHINGTON–In the continuing controversy surrounding the president’s U.S. citizenship, a new fringe group informally known as “Afterbirthers” demanded Monday the authentication of Barack Obama’s placenta from his time inside his mother’s womb. “All we are asking is that the president produce a sample of his fetal membranes and vessels—preferably along with a photo of the crowning and delivery—and this will all be over,” said former presidential candidate and Afterbirthers spokesman Alan Keyes, later adding that his organization would be willing to settle for a half-liter of maternal cord plasma. “To this day, the American people have not seen a cervical mucus plug, let alone one that has been signed and notarized by a state-certified Hawaiian health official. If the president was indeed born in the manner in which he claims, then where is his gestation sac?” Keyes said that if Obama did not soon produce at least a bloody bedsheet from his conception, Afterbirthers would push forward with efforts to exhume the president’s deceased mother and inspect the corpse’s pelvic bone and birth canal.

  191. Brandi said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:53

    correction to previous post: “in miso soup“. Miso by itself is a tub of paste.

  192. GeneJockey said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:59

    “Miso by itself is a tub of paste.”

    Indeed. My wife sent her Mother some, hoping the old gal would try that instead of her daily Sanka.

    Her Mom accused her of sending her bags of dogs**t.

  193. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    August 28, 2009 at 0:59

    So people see a Mickie D’s on the corner by the bus stop and pick up a sack, rather than step three more feet to the grocer who sells a meager selection of overripe bananas.

    I have worked de vez en cuando in Hunts Point (stop snickering!!!) for years, and stepping three more feet to the grocer is not an option. There’s a C-Town on Southern Blvd near Longwood Ave, but it’s a hike for most people. On Westchester Ave at 163rd St, there’s a Kennedy Fried Chicken (best fast food name AY-VAR- most are owned by post-Reagan Afghan refugees) and a White Castle. Sure, the huge terminal market, the breadbasket of NYC, is half a mile away, but it’s very difficult to get to without a motor vehicle.

    Rats, I can’t find it using the Gazoogle, but there was a hilarious blog entry by a guy from Manhattan who had to go to Fordham Rd to handle some bureaucratic business, and he was driven by curiosity to Kennedy Fried Chicken, where he ordered a chicken sandwich which he described as looking like a “fried Pokemon”.

  194. PeeJ said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:01

    Huh. I just saw, for the first time, a Sadly,No! link at reddit.

    Conservatives fear that Obama is in the middle of a sinister plot to turn 9/11 from a “Day of Fear” into a day of national unity and service. The wing-nuts are actually admitting that they want you to stay scared. (sadlyno.com)

    [Reddit is ok, yes? It's not like 4chan or anything...]

  195. kingubu said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:10

    a tub of paste.

    Veiled Jeff Goldstein reference.

  196. Padre Mickey said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:10

    I am a U.S. citizen living in Panamá. My wife and I were in California on a sabbatical. We were amazed that almost every restaurant outside of the S.F. Bay Area served salads with meat and cheese, and it was a fight to get something without those items. My wife is a raw food vegetarian, and she has better luck finding something she can eat in a restaurant in Panamá than she did in most of California! And it used to be the crazy, nutty-food state!!
    Dang Gringos!

  197. Mrs Tilton said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:15

    PeeJ,

    I much prefer club soda to seltzer

    ???

    There’s a difference? Seriously, I had always thought them exactly the same thing (carbonated water).

  198. ahem said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:20

    She doesn’t even try to live down her reputation as the Antoinette of the internets.

  199. James K. Polk, Esq. said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:22

    I loves me some raw tofu. My parents are hippie Buddhist vegetarians, though. It’s not especially cheap per calorie, though.

    A rice cooker is cheap (I see them for $10-$15 at 99 Ranch Market, or try amazon), beans/legumes are cheap and easy in the slow cooker.

    All you need is a little know how and some good recipes.

  200. Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:39

    This thread has made me want to get slow-cooking again – I used to do that a fair amount, but got out of the habit.

    One interesting variation on crock-potting – cheap or even free but has other limitations – is solar cooking. I’ve managed to make dinner using a panel-style cooker made of cardboard, tinfoil, and an oven bag, though it was kind of a pain in the ass. A box-style cooker would be a bit more effort to build but more fun to use.

  201. PeeJ said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:42

    PeeJ,

    I much prefer club soda to seltzer

    ???

    There’s a difference? Seriously, I had always thought them exactly the same thing (carbonated water).

    Yeppers! When you aerate water with CO2 you get some carbonic acid. In my experience, the stuff labeled Seltzer is just carbonated water. It doesn’t have any tang or nip to it. Club soda, otoh, is dosed with salt, sodium citrate*, or potassium bicarbonate* (or something else) which gives it a slightly sharp character, as though it had more carbonic acid. The natually effervescent waters tend to have the same character.

    * It’s been a long long time since I did my minor in chem. so please feel free to correct me but I believe those also qualify as salts.

  202. Substance McGravitas said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:46

    I’m with PeeJ on the Club Soda. And sometimes the carbonation in it is just furious in comparison to the sugared drinks. Fun.

  203. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:47

    Seltzer bottle. Right up there with the pressure cooker for pure awesomeness.

  204. PeeJ said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:51

    This thread has made me want to get slow-cooking again

    Rub a picnic ham (fresh pork shoulder/butt) with some good stuff and toss it in a 225F oven for 24 hours.

    Also, look into sous vide. I’ve been experimenting and ….WOW! But beware: one must be very careful indeed to avoid botulinum. Also, to do it right you need some fairly expenisive gear.

  205. Brandi said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:52

    Indeed. My wife sent her Mother some, hoping the old gal would try that instead of her daily Sanka.

    I like miso soup a lot, but I wouldn’t pretend that it could stand in for coffee. That’s just *silly.*

  206. PeeJ said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:52

    Umm, that was a totally innocent PENIS! A typo, I swear!

  207. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 1:58

    You know, after the “rubbing stuff on butts” talk I didn’t even notice.

  208. Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:04

    But beware: one must be very careful indeed to avoid botulinum. Also, to do it right you need some fairly expenisive gear.

    Um, yikes. I’ll wait until I’ve gotten some skillz and money before I attempt that kind of work. Looks interesting, though.

  209. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:08

    The clean out the fridge pizza reminds me of clean out the fridge instant soup. Um, noen was it? Pay attention here.

    We used to call it “suicide stew”. It was invariably awesome.

    I am a big fan of cabbage- about as cheap as air, goes with anything. Take your day off and process it julienne it then throw it in stir-fries, soups, mash it with potatoes (colcannon!), dress it with rice vinegar and a splash of soy sauce, stuff it with rice. Money’s been tight lately (new contacts, new phone, car insurance), so cabbage and onion frittata and all the apples and pears I could scrump have been the staple this week. This weekend, I’ll cook cabbage with a bit of kielbasa, some country spareribs, some prepared sauerkraut, sliced onions, and diced apples to make bigos.

    Take your fresh vegetables and cook them when you have time to do so, they will keep a lot longer (the lettuce will just have to be consumed quickly). Take your onions, tomatoes, garlic, and what-have-you, and make a soffritto, freeze some, and use it as a base for just about anything. Canned beans (rinsed to cut the sodium) with dark greens (kale, collards, escarole) with plenty of fresh garlic are a nutritious staple.

    As far as canned sardines go, they are delicious mashed up with a touch of tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, and eaten with veggies and pita.

    PeeJ, old chum, you totally have to start teaching Home Economics.

  210. D.N. Nation said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:16

    Also, goddamn you D.N. This thread was getting along quite happily with ZERO mention of she who Tony Bourdain has quite rightly ripped to shreds already.

    Why did Bourdain waste his mental lasers on Ray? Even UrbanDictionary does her in. Low-hanging fruit.

  211. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:17

    Seltzer bottle. Right up there with the pressure cooker for pure awesomeness.

    Difference is that you can’t chase people around the house spraying them with the pressure cooker. Well, you can, but there are complications.

  212. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:19

    I suspect the only way people will change their behavior is a sudden desire to move up the social ladder. Being thin and attractive gives you a competitive edge

    Social pressure and competition in the job market will make me attractive? Hasn’t worked so far.

  213. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:28

    Difference is that you can’t chase people around the house spraying them with the pressure cooker.

    Don’t get me started on microwave / refrigerator duels in the master bedroom.

  214. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:30

    Don’t get me started on microwave / refrigerator duels in the master bedroom.

    That’s a really strange form of foreplay.

    OT, Christwire is the awesomest!

  215. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:34

    That’s a really strange form of foreplay.

    We run hot and cold.

  216. Big Bad Bald Bastard said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:35

    We run hot and cold.

    *golf clap*

  217. Looch who has way too much time on his hands these days said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:42

    You guys write all your own routines?

  218. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:44

    You guys write all your own routines?

    I’m an insomniac. I think of this shit at 3 AM and store it up. Mrs. __B refers to it as my mental jukebox.

  219. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:47

    Don’t get me started on microwave / refrigerator duels in the master bedroom.

    A can of Sterno and an icebucket were good enough for your mom and dad, bourgie boy.

  220. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:49

    .A can of Sterno and an icebucket were good enough for your mom and dad

    Drinks for everybody!

    bourgie boy.

    Que fuck?

  221. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:56

    You’ve never heard “bourgie”? Short for bourgeois. All that just because I wanted to say “Sterno.”

  222. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:58

    You’ve never heard “bourgie”? Short for bourgeois.

    Now, yes. When I was a spud, prole.

    All that just because I wanted to say “Sterno.”

    It’s a useful word. “Nurse Ratched, why so sterno?”

  223. Mr. Wonderful said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:59

    Much too late in the thread to do any good, but PeeJ nails it:

    “I don’t know where to put the cause and where the effect here but a huge part of the problem is that people don’t know how to fucking cook any more. Even those who do make meals at home mostly go with prepared, processed, frozen and so on. Prepared foods always cost more $ per nutritive amount.”

    The thing is, you need a certain basic start-up kit: oils, spices, a basic armory of rice and canned things, and cooking gear. Once that’s in place, you can indeed feed 4 for less than $10/meal. I cook every night and only buy meats under $5/lb, and usually at $3. Sure, I spend more than a poor person would, but I’m able to. And if I had to cook dinner for four for ten bucks a night, I easily could.

    It takes attention and a desire to do it–like anything else–but it’s not inherently esoteric. By definition.

    Cooking is, in a way, the opposite of knowledge. With knowledge, the more you have, the more you realize you lack. With cooking, the more you do it, the more you realize you can do it–nicely, pleasingly–with very little.

  224. Fencedude said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:03

    I know this thread is really long, and I’m responding to some early stuff, but…you guys are aware that some people don’t like to cook, right?

  225. Vinnie Vega said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:09

    P’j makes a good point about learned behaviors. Sort of how I know working out is good and all but would rather sit on my ass all night. Once you’ve “forced” yourself to do something enuf times, tho, it becomes another habit . YAAQ!

  226. Looch who has way too much time on his hands these days said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:11

    Cooking is, in a way, the opposite of knowledge. With knowledge, the more you have, the more you realize you lack. With cooking, the more you do it, the more you realize you can do it–nicely, pleasingly–with very little.

    YES!

    Once you learn a recipe you can begin to play with it, kind of like tweeking an engine (or software/hardware).

    Cookbooks? I am sure some of the old standbys would get lots of votes but I love “The New Best Recipe” cookbook from Cook’s Illustrated. Lots of recipes, sure, but also lots of explanations and information that makes you relax and have fun with it.

    One of my favorites learned from this book is brining poultry and pork. Keeps it moist on a grill (or when smoking) and can impart a ton a flavor without lots of goopy sauces. Brine and then dry rub? Ooooh.

  227. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:12

    …you guys are aware that some people don’t like to cook, right?

    No.

  228. Mr. Wonderful said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:13

    “some people don’t like to cook, right?”

    Alas, yes. But we’re addressing the brute cost, in dollars, of eating well instead of eating crap. And everyone–well, almost–likes to eat.

    I don’t blame children, teenagers, or kids their 20s, of any class, for being too impatient and distracted (or otherwise engaged) for cooking. But the general point here is, at a low price point, you can default to crap, or put in an hour a night, have a sense of accomplishment, and eat great.

    The biggest impediment to this is, as others have said, the lack of decent markets in poor neighborhoods. This is what’s called “the wisdom of the marketplace.” I could probably make a decent meal out what there is in a 7-11, but I’ve been cooking for 40 years. (And boy, are my arms tired.)

  229. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:13

    A can of Sterno and an icebucket were good enough for your mom and dad

    I don’t care how cold it is, I can’t drink that stuff without a mixer.

  230. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:18

    I bet you use a GLASS, too, even though it already comes in a CAN just like the good Lord intended.

  231. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:20

    I bet you use a GLASS, too, even though it already comes in a CAN just like the good Lord intended.

    Veiled sterno?

  232. PeeJ said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:24

    Thanx for all the lurvs folks! I now on iphon so cnt say much. For cookbooks Julia. The way to cook. That is all.

  233. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:25

    I may be punchy because of the 1.5 hrs sleep I got last night, but you are all absolutely killing me today.

  234. maryc said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:29

    Great article, Brad. And in honor of it, May I present: Patton Oswalt and KFC “Sadness Bowls:–

    http://tinyurl.com/sadnessbowls

  235. Vinnie Vega said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:29

    sorry for the improper link but this relates to the discussion, esp. correlations between obesity rates and neighborhood makeup.

    http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v15/n8/full/oby2007251a.html

  236. Nev Dull said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:29

    I know it’s been written countless times throughout the Annals that are the Internet(s), but Megan McArdle really is a talentless piece of shit.

  237. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:30

    I was about to make an ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS joke about sternocleidomastoid muscles, but I’ve withdrawn it in deference to tigrismus’ delicate sensibilities.

  238. wiley said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:30

    If someone wants to cook, has children, little time, and a limited budget; the best way to get where they want to go is to PLAN. Make a menu based on in-season produce and sales. Have a template for your menus, like two white meat, two red meat, two bean dishes, one leftover jamboree. Take inventory of your freezer and fridge before making your menu, so that you can make a menu with what you have. Shop for your menu, and keep impulse buying to a minimum.

    Do as much prep-work as you can when you have a block of time, then store the food properly and appropriately considering how much time before cooking. This way, you can process a lot of the food, wash the dishes and preparation surfaces in one fell swoop, so that when it’s time to prepare the meal and you’re hurried and tired, you have less work to do.

    You can make your own frozen food to throw in the microwave at the end of the week.

    Most kitchens for working renters are small and appear to exist to support the microwave. Making a nice prep area on the dining room table, or patio, or anywhere that feels more roomy can make prep work more pleasant.

    My guess is that the biggest obstacle for most poorly educated Americans would be the budget. A shocking percentage of Americans can’t calculate the better value when comparing two cans of beans of different volumes, with different prices. Spending more on one shopping trip, can save money, when you don’t waste any of the food.

    Deli containers with crudettes cost nine bucks or so, but they last a long time, and there is no waste. I can feed off one, with a half pint of spinach dip for about ten days.

  239. Mr. Wonderful said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:30

    D.N. Nation sneers:

    Bad food. What causes that?

    “Rachael Ray, amirite.”

    Oh, D.N., leave Rachel alone! Her recipes are okay. She uses canned stuff in the way that we all do. If you don’t like perky, don’t watch. (Now that my daughter is off in college, and not at my divorced-dad apartment, I don’t watch her either. But she didn’t offend me.)

  240. a different brad said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:38

    Pfffft, yer still talking about this?
    I hate to break it to you, but Megan done some way worse shit since then.
    Like today, when she conflated Iraq war protesters with the people bringing guns to townhalls.
    I’d link, but if you really want know, you can click my name.

  241. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:38

    Smut has veiled his sternocleidomastoid reference.

  242. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:40

    Smut has veiled his sternocleidomastoid reference.

    With leather chaps.

  243. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:40

    Afterbirthers Demand To See cook Obama’s Placenta

    Fecked for increased appropriation.

  244. chimpevil said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:46

    Man, let me tell you, what a delicious thread! Thanks for the common-sense suggestions and lively discussion–SN sure as hell attracts some smart people (present company excepted!) Let me throw in my two cents. My lover’s a graduate assistant and I’m a freelance writer, so we ain’t exactly rolling in it, but we manage to eat healthy on not a lot of money, mostly by cutting out take-out food almost completely. You’d be surprised how much you save, not to mention how much better you can eat, by not indulging in so-called “cheap” fast food. Also we cook–usually on Sundays–dishes that can stretch over several meals–soups, stews, whatever. This solves a lot of the time problem that people mentioned, and we’re always looking up new recipes, so you can get really creative with it and control your ingredients. We do tend to eat a lot of chicken, but rarely fried, and roast chicken really is one of the great “stretch” foods of all time. You can get a nice size one for $10-12 and for all of two hours cooking time, you get meat for a few meals, and leftovers are great for soup, salads, etc.

  245. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:48

    I hate to break it to you, but Megan done some way worse shit since then.

    Indeed, in her post immediately following the one in question, she dares slag on Toronto’s architecture. Stop me if I’ve mentioned this already. LEAFS SUCK!

  246. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:48

    Sounds like those chaps should have worn sunscreen.

  247. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:49

    Sounds like those chaps should have worn sunscreen.

    Which raises the question: can I prevent wind-burn by wearing a windscreen?

  248. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 3:55

    Yes, but just you TRY walking around the mall wearing it.

  249. Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:00

    can I prevent wind-burn by wearing a windscreen?

    I have heartburn, but nobody around here sells heartscreen.

  250. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:01

    If you think of cooking as a chemistry experiment, perhaps you could get over the hump, Fencedude.
    ~

  251. James Coburn said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:02

    Hey! Put away that coscreen.

  252. Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:04

    If you think of cooking as a chemistry experiment…

    I recommend this approach. Document everything, but keep that sense you had as a kid-chemist (I assume) where the point was to Mix Everything Together and See What Happens!

    The key to what success I’ve had is to keep tasting stuff until you get it right (or realize it’s hopeless, but it’s surprising how seldom that happens unless you go totally nuts).

  253. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:07

    The key to what success I’ve had is to keep tasting stuff until you get it right
    Today’s edition of “Sex Tips from Xecky Gilchrist”.

  254. Honus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:12

    When my son was a baby, about a year or so old, we got a two for one pepperoni pizza deal delivered from Dominos. My wife, our 1 year old and I ate both pizzas, which caused me to think “hmmm, there can’t be that much food in there” Started making our own pizza from then on, usually one or two nights a week. got a Kitchen Aid mixer after a year or so, and when I’d make dough, i’d make six or eight and freeze them, so if we wanted pizza for dinner, we’d set a dough out in the morning to thaw and rise through the day. The boys (we had another a few months later) started helping as toddlers, they loved to add the cheese and onions and pepperoni, and as they got older they really helped, slicing onions, tomatoes, chopping spinach for toppings to where now, at the ages of 18 and 19 they can even toss the dough. Gave up making the dough, when local bakeries began selling dough balls for a dollar or two, so now you toss the dough, chop your toppings, and you have a nice pie in about a half hour. i usually have a beer or two and talk to the boys while we make the pizza. haven’t bought a pizza in 18 years. even with the 2 dollar dough, it’s under $10 for two pizzas even with spinach, artichoke hearts pine nuts and feta and some olive oil and chopped garlic, and that feeds the four of us and one or two of the kids’ friends. Add a two dollar head of lettuce and a bell pepper and you have a salad.

  255. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:20

    kid chemist

    making dinner on Boy Scout camping trips

    same thing

  256. Djur said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:22

    After all this talk about food, I ended up putting cottage cheese on a hot dog bun and ate it with broccoli. That’s some classy eatin’ there.

  257. Xecklothxayyquou Gilchrist said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:22

    Today’s edition of “Sex Tips from Xecky Gilchrist”.

    (furious blush)

    the first and last! I wouldn’t presume.

  258. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:26

    After all this talk about food, I ended up putting cottage cheese on a hot dog bun and ate it with broccoli. That’s some classy eatin’ there.

    I had four ginger capsules, two pieces of toast, and the last of the Pepto. I felt so much better after all that I had an ice cream sandwich.

    the first and last! I wouldn’t presume.

    Well shoot, now who’s going to tell us where to get rugscreen?

  259. Shell Goddamnit said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:26

    I’m thinking that there’s just better fast food than McD’s or KFC or Hardees. The Thai place near my (former) house used to turn out a Pad Thai in much LESS time than it would take to extract a burger meal from the crowded chains. Here in Austin there’s a taco truck about every other block, and that can be really great food, with fresh avocado and pico…

    A friend told me about living in China and the noodle lady who would set up every day at the apartment house entrance and sell noodles/veggies/broth for dinner to basically everyone in the building. There was some rumor about a dumpling lady… if there was a good dumpling available outside my apt building I would never cook a weekday dinner again, and I *like* to cook.

    In short, we eat shit because shit is available, and because we’ve been trained to eat it.

    Also. We need to fix health care, because then I could be the noodle lady. It would be a lot easier to feed each other if we didn’t have to work for big orgs for the health care.

  260. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:28

    CILANTRO
    BRUSSELS SPROUTS
    Today’s edition of “Sex Tips from Smut Clyde”.

  261. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:30

    Well shoot, now who’s going to tell us where to get rugscreen?
    Despite what you might think from the name, covering the floor with shagreen does NOT HELP.

  262. N__B said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:35

    I have to clean my bugscreens.

  263. Realist said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:38

    Hardee’s 1,400-calorie Monster Thickburger:

    I’m a sucker for a good cheeseburger, cholesterol or not, but those things are foul. I wouldn’t feed them to a dog.

    Here in KC, Hardee’s Thickburgers regularly wind up on those Internet “Best Burgers in Town” lists because they hand out coupons for free burgers with the voting URL prominently displayed. It’s particularly galling considering we have great burger places that serve the real thing.

    Like I said, I love cheeseburgers, but I can’t think of a single fast food chain that serves a decent burger. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Hardee’s, Jack-in-the-Box, they all suck. I don’t know what the fucking mystery meat they serve is, but I know what it’s not – hamburger.

  264. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:39

    A Swinscreene will spare you the ravages of Pre-Raphaelite poetry.

  265. Candy said,

    August 28, 2009 at 4:49

    Vegetables and pineapple on a pizza? FFS, you know children who would eat that? My kid would cheerfully have starved to death before he would have eaten that.

    I never let my son have candy, but then he went to day care, and of course was introduced to candy and a host of other nasty things. One thing I haven’t heard anyone mention: If you’re on your way home dead tired from a ten hour day in corporate hell, and your kid starts begging for McDonald’s, and you say, no, we’re eating leftover food from Sunday, and that kid starts screaming and kicking his feet, you buy the Mickey D’s. And if you don’t have kids don’t say you wouldn’t. I said that before I had a kid, too.

    Aargh. This shit pisses me off. The big ugly Elf MM can kiss my ass. With relish. And mayo. And maybe some double cheese. Also. I’m just going to go to bed. I’m so poor now I’m living on peanut butter and jelly. I got no time for McArdle. Fuck it.

  266. CaptBackslap said,

    August 28, 2009 at 5:01

    This thread has been amazing, both for the recipes and the discussion. I grew up in the “not poor but sure as hell not rich” category, which I’m guessing is the sweet spot for an appreciation of cooking; going out to eat at a nice place wasn’t a common thing, but Mom had time and money to cook good meals when we didn’t.

    If you do have the needed “cooking startup kit” (and how great would it be if one of those was included in the first week of public food assistance?), a good Keema Mater recipe made with ground turkey is a terrific way to feed four in style for under $10, by the way.

  267. jim said,

    August 28, 2009 at 5:04

    I see a quote that needs some fixage.

    I suspect the only way people will change their behavior is a sudden desire to move up the social ladder not die thirty years early from a myocardial infarction, or spend many years brain-damaged & paralyzed by a stroke.

    Ahh. Much better.

    ZOMGWTFBBQ – so few trollz, yet so many recipes … obviously you people are not aware of all Internet traditions!

    American fatitude (which is rapidly becoming global as the world adopts the American lifestyle & diet) has some very obvious causes – & replacing water with pop & over-sweetened fruit-juices as basic daily beverages is a biggy. That stuff’s loaded with fructose, which tricks your brain into thinking you still need MOAR MOAR MOAR despite having loaded you up on calories – in addition to buggering up your arteries & your pancreas. The healthiest drink on the market costs $0.00 & comes out of your tap.

    Driving everywhere is another biggy … remaining perpetually torpid & scarfing fatty foods is a deadly one-two punch to the lifespan. If your destination is ten blocks or less away you should consider getting there via the cheap (as in free) & reliable Shank’s Mare Express. Do it regularly & you’ll enjoy the change in both mood & physical condition that you get as a bonus. I’m in my mid-40s & I can still suck my gut in past my ribcage. I walk about 20km per week to & from work.

    Have some respect for your tripes: eat meat in the AM & cereals in the PM – the Wheaties-for-breakfast, burgers-for-supper meal schedule is gastric dyslexia, & it will put the hurts on both your tummy & your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

    Do you do physical labour? No? Then you don’t need three full meals a day unless you’re harboring a tapeworm. I skip lunch at work & it has yet to kill me. You enjoy the noms far more if you let yourself get a mild case of teh growlies before you sink your fangs into your repast.

    The Yankee peasant-demographic is suffering from a lethal combination of bad education, bad diet & lack of healthy alternatives. Take care of the first problem & a good portion of the other two will go by the wayside in short order.

    America depserately needs to sex up education – because this late in the game, it truly is a matter of life & death.

  268. jim said,

    August 28, 2009 at 5:06

    … & I depserately need to stop seeing where I made the typo 0.05 seconds AFTER I hit “Submit Comment” … sigh.

  269. Substance McGravitas said,

    August 28, 2009 at 5:09

    Huhomemorableness Elliptical-Reviewed’s Hot Bryndza Cheese Salad

    Ingredients:
    4 cans ladybird
    2 tablespoons Darwinian Bryndza cheese
    1 Camembert
    5 pints gorilla heart, forebodingly herbed
    1 pinch fat
    2 jars sage

    Sacrifice a nearby capybara or a creature of similar size. Discard remains respectfully. Separate ladybird thorax from stomach. Inflate stomach. Stir the Bryndza cheese with the Camembert over medium heat in a pot. Stuff the resulting goo into the ladybird. Grate – very disorganizedly – the gorilla heart, fat, and the sage. Pound everything together hopingly. Roast for 103 hours. Serves 8 ill individuals with childish stomachs.

  270. Smut Clyde said,

    August 28, 2009 at 5:11

    Possibly the most uncomfortable penis sheath EVAH, but may help prevent Canadian guitar players.

  271. Lesley said,

    August 28, 2009 at 5:51

    Plenty of educated middle class people are obese and plenty of poor people are skinny. So the assumption dipshit makes that obesity is a condition exclusive to the poorest citizens is bullshit.

    As for

    As someone who works in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles–land of the perfect body–…I suspect the only way people will change their behavior is a sudden desire to move up the social ladder. Being thin and attractive gives you a competitive edge, especially if you live in a city with lots of talented people.

    Hollyweird women (and increasingly, their male counterparts) with horsey faces, from too much plastic surgery, and anorexia aren’t what I’d call role models for change.

  272. Brandi said,

    August 28, 2009 at 5:52

    And for those who crave a snack at an unwise hours, this appetite killer:

    Limbaugh: You’ll pry my foreskin from my cold, dead hands

  273. Alexander Cockburn said,

    August 28, 2009 at 6:04

    Keep that screen away from me.

  274. Lesley said,

    August 28, 2009 at 6:10

    Brad doesn’t mention how ADDICTIVE and not-hunger satiating sugary lard laden foods are, if the junk one stuffs down one’s pie hole – only to find after an hour or so they’re craving more even though they’ve just consumed in one burger, 75% of their daily recommended calories – can be called food. Junk food is crack for the taste buds. You literally go through withdrawls when you stop eating it. At least I did.

  275. Doug Watts said,

    August 28, 2009 at 6:10

    Think about it: I have $10 and 4 people to feed. I can go to McD’s, get 2 items off the dollar menu for each person, and still have money left over, or I can go the my local Walmart and just 1lb of ground beef will be almost $4. and that’s just the beef. no way i’m feeding 4 people for under $10.

    You must be one of those dumb poor people.

    At the supermarket across the street you can get packs of 8 hot dogs for 99 cents. That’s 80 hot dogs for $8. Buns are $1 for 8 buns. That’s 13 cents per bun. So if everyone wants 3 hot dogs that’s 26 cents per hot dog and 26 cents per bun x 3 = 78 cents per person = $3.12 to feed four people.

  276. M. Bouffant said,

    August 28, 2009 at 6:40

    All this talk of food has ruined my appetite.

  277. Dan Someone said,

    August 28, 2009 at 7:28

    Apparently I won the thread when I wasn’t looking. Really, it’s an honor just to be nominated.

    But this:
    Treat the sleep apnea, the weight falls off.

    Ah, if only ’twere so. I’ve been on CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) for several years now — and doesn’t that take traveling to a whole new level of fun? — and I’m still unable to shed the weight I want to. (Of course, it may have something to do with my habit of staying up until the wee hours and getting up at 7:30 am to go to work. And the fact that I just like food, and eating it.)

  278. Larkspur said,

    August 28, 2009 at 7:59

    Djur: “…Stuff like shared meals in apartment complexes would be great, but I think we’re too far gone for that anymore. I’ve heard tell of meal co-ops in some crunchy granola parts, which is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard. But I really don’t think people trust each other enough for that most of the time….”

    And this is a damn shame. There are people who need to be at home for whatever reason, and some of those people might want to cook. With enough money and a certain amount of other types of help (shopping, clean-up, etc.) several house-holds could eat a nice communal dinner several times a week. Maybe we are too far gone for that, but damn, at some point we have to figure out how to fight back.

  279. Mrs Tilton said,

    August 28, 2009 at 10:08

    OK, next question for Prof. Dr. PeeJ, Food Chemist:

    Last Xmas I bought a foie gras d’oie to make one of the courses. (No, not a ten buck meal, but as I live in Old Europe, nor was it all that exorbitant.) I only used half the liver, so I put up the other half mi-cuit (sterilised sealable glass jar; put goose liver inside with a bit of salt and pepper; put lots of chunks of goose fat on top; sealed jar; boiled for 20 minutes or however long the instructions told me to boil it; let cool till fat resolidified; stuck in the back of the fridge). And that’s where it’s been to this day.

    Now, do you (or any of the other manifest foodies in the thread) have any idea how long a foie gras mi-cuit, sealed and refrigerated, will keep? As the evenings grow colder, I start to think about how nice it would be to use the liver, not to mention that yummy yummy fat, to cook things. But not if that means allowing the goose to avenge itself on me from beyond the grave.

  280. kg said,

    August 28, 2009 at 14:04

    With enough money and a certain amount of other types of help (shopping, clean-up, etc.) several house-holds could eat a nice communal dinner several times a week. Maybe we are too far gone for that, but damn, at some point we have to figure out how to fight back.

    goddamit i knew youse were a bunch of commies.

  281. actor212 said,

    August 28, 2009 at 14:17

    I am a big fan of cabbage- about as cheap as air, goes with anything. Take your day off and process it julienne it then throw it in stir-fries, soups, mash it with potatoes (colcannon!), dress it with rice vinegar and a splash of soy sauce, stuff it with rice.

    I see a future Slap Chop commercial here…

  282. actor212 said,

    August 28, 2009 at 14:21

    Kennedy Fried Chicken

    Which if I’m not mistaken has now renamed itself, yet again, Indiana Fried Chicken…

    I’ve never tried. They scare me. I have a hard enough time dealing with Popeye’s.

  283. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 14:46

    you don’t need three full meals a day unless you’re harboring a tapeworm

    Whatever works, but I think this is pretty individualized: I find I eat less, far less, if I eat more smaller meals rather than let myself get so hungry I would gnaw my arm off. I’m also less likely to get headaches.

  284. tigrismus said,

    August 28, 2009 at 14:50

    Shagreen = ultimate misnomer: also not environmentally sound!

    “Ravages” of Pre-Raphaelite poetry? And you call my sensibilities delicate? My sensibilities will kick your sensibilities’ ASS. -es.

  285. PeeJ said,

    August 28, 2009 at 22:23

    Mrs. Tilton:

    Sorry for the late response, the martinis overcame me. Covering under fat is an ages old preservation method. Even without refrigeration, that foie (gawd, just saying foie makes me happy) will keep for months. Go for it! And damn you, now I feel the need to swing by City Markup this afternoon to pick up some…foie…foie…foie. Ahhhh.

  286. MzNicky said,

    August 28, 2009 at 22:29

    Peanut butter, people! Peanut butter! Cheap non-perishable protein that every kid in the United States of America loves. Spread it on bread with a sliced banana and a little honey. Serve with carrot sticks and a glass of milk. Ta-da, cheap nutritious supper in a minute and a half.

    Also, scrambled eggs and cheese melted on English muffin halves. Cut up an apple. There, another dinner for a rushed broke family of four.

    And have you guys never heard of freezers? It’s where you put the tuna casseroles and lasagna that you make on the weekends. Then you put them in the fridge in the morning to thaw, then shove into the microwave when you get home. Grab a bag of salad greens and a loaf of French bread at the grocery to round things out on your fancy-schmancy dinner nights in between the pb sammich and the scrambled egg nights. Sheesh!

  287. ron said,

    August 29, 2009 at 3:03

    shitty food like mcdonalds is heavily subsidized via corn. good food like fruits and vegetables is not. shitty food is cheaper than good.

    eating less meat is also cheaper and healthier and better for the planet and youre not supporting a completely vile industry that brutalizes animals and exploits its workers.

  288. Mrs Tilton said,

    August 29, 2009 at 8:59

    Thanks, PeeJ! As thanks, here’s something you can do with the leftover goose meat next xmastide:

    Boil some potatoes (the mealier sort). Peel them and mash in a bowl, or put them through a ricer. Add flour and mix well.

    Chop a shallot or two very fine. Chop up the leftover goose. Beat up an egg (or two, depending on how much of this stuff you’re making). Add all that stuff to the potatoes together with salt, pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg. Mix well.

    Roll the mixture out into little sausages about the size of a breakfast sausage. Fry in goose fat until well golden brown. (You saved the fat from the goose, of course.)

    Bon appetit.

    Zombies would put their quest for brains on temporary hold to eat these. Pleather-belt-wearing vegan ETA activists will not only eat them, they’ll personally abduct the goose for you. Even children will eat them.

    BTW (to stick with the theme of the <$10 meal), this could also be done with leftover chicken and chicken fat rendered in the roasting. Wouldn't be as glorious as the goose version, but it would be quite good. Since you'd already have the meat and fat, the marginal cost of the second meal would be way under $10, and the average cost-per-meal over the two days driven down nicely.

  289. PeeJ said,

    August 29, 2009 at 18:54

    Mrs Tilton, that sounds AWESOME!. I do (as in, cook, I mean) a goose three or four times a year so I won’t have to wait until the solstice. How can even ask if I saved the goose fat? It’s a kitchen treasure! Those quadrennial goosies are prepared as much to restock my goose fat supply as for the goose itself.

    I would probably use chopped scallions – white and green parts – in addition to or instead of shallot. Just because I love scallion and that’s what I put in my roesti or when I have fry up leftover mashie.

  290. Larkspur said,

    August 30, 2009 at 1:51

    MzNicky, I have heard of teh Freezer. It’s just that I live in an older apartment, with older appliances supplied by the landlord, and the freezer is the small kind within the refrigerator itself (just a separate inside freezer door), and I know sensible commies would defrost their not-frost-free proletariat food preservation devices on a weekly basis, in between educational seminars, but even when the freezer compartment is shiny and frost-free, it’s still small. And I can’t keep ice cream in it…well, I can, but I don’t because I only buy small containers and I eat it all right the hell now…but if I did, I would have ice cream soup.

    So even if I had room for the tuna casseroles, I doubt they’d get frozen enough to be trustworthy for later eatage. But I just wanted you know I have thought about freezers.

    Still, I know that on balance, my life is more comfy than what 90% of the rest of the world must endure.

  291. dg said,

    August 31, 2009 at 12:23

    Cheap tasty healthy softdrink and beer substitute:

    Soda water
    juice of 1/2 lime
    tsp sugar if you are a kid

    Nice carbonic and citric acid bite, very refreshing, especially w/o the sugar, and a bit of vitamin C. Less than 50 cents unless you use imported mineral water.

    -dg

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