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The Therapy Sessions
Monday, March 29, 2004
 

Blaming the victim


Hunger in the U.S.:
Households without money to buy enough food often have to rely on cheaper, high calorie foods to cope with limited money for food and stave off hunger. Families try to maximize caloric intake for each dollar spent, which can lead to over consumption of calories and a less healthful diet.

This is how liberals explain away one of the most stunning paradoxes in the US. The paradox, simply stated, is this:
If so many Americans suffer from "hunger," why is OBESITY the biggest health problem afflicting the poorest Americans?

As usual, the left has half of it right: the poor eat too much junk food. But poor people don't eat bad food because they are trying to "maximize caloric intake."

That's bullshit.

They do it because they don't understand basic home economics, the most important lesson of which is this: if you want to save money, DO THE WORK YOURSELF.

If you learn to cook, you can feed a family of four an astonishingly small amount of money.

I love to cook, and I bet I can feed four people for a week on less than $10/day.

Here's how I would do it:

My Grocery List (prices in suburban Philly, March 2004)

Potatoes (5 lb)......................................................$1.99
Celery (1 bunch)....................................................$1.39
Cabbage(1 head)..................................................$0.98
Onions (3 lb).........................................................$1.69
Vegetable oil(24 oz).............................................$1.19
Sugar (1 lb)...........................................................$0.43
Flour (5 lb)............................................................$1.92
Eggs (1 doz).........................................................$1.99
Rice (2 lb).............................................................$1.39
Spaghetti(2 lb).....................................................$1.75
Tomato sauce(28 oz)........................$0.79 X 2 = $1.58
Whole chickens (2-3 lbs)...... $3.00 X 3 (birds) = $9.00
Ground beef (2 lb)................................................$4.58
Milk (1 gallon, 1% milkfat)..................$2.44 X 2 =$4.88
Cheese (Monteray Jack, 10 oz)............................$3.50
White bread (1 loaf)............................................$1.99
Sliced ham (3/4 lb)..............................................$2.25
Hot Dogs (pkg of 8).............................................$1.29
Frozen vegetables (10 oz pkg).......$0.85 X 7 = $5.95
Lettuce (1 head ).................................................$0.69
Tomatoes (1 lb)...................................................$0.69
Butter (2 sticks)...................................................$2.19
Orange Juice, frozen conc. (can).......$1.38 X 2 = $2.76
Macaroni (16 oz, dry)...........................................$1.02
Kidney Beans (32 oz, dried).................................$1.43
Cereal (Puffed Rice, large box).............................$3.25
Oatmeal................................................................$1.36
______________________________________________
Total ..................................................................$63.13


Just the basics. No processed food.

That is an average of $9.01 a day to feed a family of four, less than it would cost to take for the whole family to eat dinner at McDonald's. Granted, nobody is going to get fat on the menu (and that is part of the point), but they aren't going to have "hunger" or malnutrition either.

Here is what I would do with this for a week:

Sunday
Breakfast: Cheese omelette, oatmeal and OJ
Lunch: Macaroni and Cheese
Dinner: Meatloaf (with tomato sauce glaze), mashed potatoes and peas (milk for the kids)

Monday
Breakfast: Cereal, oatmeal and OJ
Lunch: Chicken noodle soup, home-made bread
Dinner: Panfried breaded chicken breasts stuffed with cheese and spinach, served under tomato sauce and over rice (milk for the kids)

Tuesday
Breakfast: Pancakes, OJ
Lunch: Potato soup and biscuits
Dinner: Salisbury Steak, panfried potatoes, green beans

Wednesday:
Breakfast: French Toast, orange juice
Lunch: Ham sandwiches with lettuce and tomato, macaroni salad, leftover soup
Dinner: Hot Dogs, cooked cabbage on the side, salad

Thursday:
Breakfast: Biscuits, cereal and orange juice
Lunch: Chile con carne with cheese, over rice.
Dinner: Spaghetti with meatballs, green beans

Friday:
Breakfast: Cereal, OJ
Lunch: Cabbage rolls stuffed with rice and beef, in tomato sauce
Dinner: Fried Chicken (wings and drumsticks), beans and corn

Saturday:
Breakfast: Cereal, OJ
Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwiches, salads
Dinner: Chicken thighs in tomato sauce, over spaghetti, spinach

Yes, things are tight, and the meals won't be huge. But nobody's gonna be starving either.

And in reality, poor children qualify for the lunch and breakfast programs at their schools, so making the lunch and breakfast on workdays is probably unrealistic.

The kitchen, of course, should be stocked with extras like mayonaise, vinegar, ketchup, pepper, salt, jam, baking powder, yeast and syrup. But in a typical house, the usage of these things is unlikely to exceed a dollar or two a week.

The menu is lacking in fish, and perhaps I should have made tuna casserole using canned tuna.

If you are willing to cut out cheese, milk and meats, you can live a lot cheaper (with children, though, this would be unacceptable). If you are prepared to live on a real Third World diet (mostly cabbage, rice or potatoes) , you could do it for $20/week.This is how Chinese graduate students live on paltry stipends (about $10,000 a year) in the US and still send most of their money home to their families at the end of the month.

I believe that any person who wishes to apply for food stamps or any other government assistance program must first be required to take a basic home economics and a cooking course.

Our grandmothers - who knew this stuff instinctively - would be laughing at how spoiled and clueless we are.


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