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Cheap is as Cheap Does February 23, 2011

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Cooking Challenge, Food.

We were watching the news the other night, and one of the “fluff” stories was about how introducing solid foods too early causes childhood obesity.


Feeding a 2-month old infant a bowl of rice cereal will make him (or her) fat when he gets to school?  Back when the Boy was an infant, introducing foods too early just caused allergies.

And, to be honest, I suspect that the recent rash of gluten and other food intolerances – in both adults and children – may be connected, though that’s nothing more than a suspicion on my part.  I could be totally wrong.

I will say, however, that I followed my pediatrician’s guidelines for introducing solid foods to my little boy, and then I continued to feed him a healthy diet, yet still, he was a pudgy kid.  I was a pudgy kid.  Just as, I suspect, both my parents probably were.

And then he grew a couple feet, and now he’s well over six feet tall and no longer a overweight.  Funny how that happens, huh?

But this isn’t about being fat.

This is about the other, hand-in-hand issue that goes with “childhood obesity” – poor people can’t afford to eat well.

No, really.


Okay, I’m sorry, but I think that’s a load of crap.

We live in the richest nation in the world – even our “poor” are better off than most of the rest of the world.

(And the last thing anyone needs is more “help” from the government.)

The fact is, if we in this country don’t eat, if not well, at least healthily, it’s not because we can’t afford it; it’s because we’re either too lazy or too stupid uneducated.

Peeps and I have what seems to us, to be a fairly generous grocery budget, though compared to others, we may be considered frugal beyond belief.  We frequently under-spend, and not just because we have a stocked freezer, but because we know how to cook – and how to shop – on a budget.

And we eat well, believe you me!

You don’t need to give up healthy, delicious food when you’re on a budget – you just need to be a little smarter and a little more creative.

I think there’s a real need out there for education – people need to learn how to take the long view – in stocking a pantry, in shopping and cooking in bulk – and in season.

Spending 59 cents for a fast food burger may be cheap – but it’s neither healthy nor satisfying.  Spending $5 for a dozen (or more) servings of bean soup, or $10 for a giant pot of jambalaya, is not only more soul-satisfying, but you know what you’re feeding your family that way.

Mere parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy. -Edmund Burke, statesman and writer (1729-1797)




1. anne - February 23, 2011

Does it count as cooking if you warm the Twinkies in the toaster oven? 😛 Seriously, I agree. At one point last year, I was figuring out meals that would feed the two of us for $3 or less, total. Of course, being veggie helps. We neither starved nor lost weight. It got to be a challenge!

As long as the filling gets hot, it counts. 😉

I don’t know – does it really make that big a difference doing vegetarian? I mean . . . produce can get pricey, and there’s some mighty cheap meat available, especially eaten in moderation. A $10 pork shoulder would feed us for a week’s worth of meals, easily. (Just not all in the same week. . . ) Of course, $10 worth of beans probably would too, wouldn’t it?

That said, I enjoy the challenge of eating “on the cheap” – we have a grocery budget, and now, whatever’s left at the end of the pay period gets set aside, part of it for wine shopping.

Now THERE is a win-win, don’t you think? 😆

2. sjbraun - February 24, 2011

Lots of good stuff here (no pun intended…) 🙂
It does seem that the more educated a person is, the better they eat (as in home cooking vs. fast food, etc). And yes, it’s not very expensive at all to eat well, with rice, etc. My husband would be happy living on beans and rice, although I know he’s not typical.
I have a great time trying to eat healthy on a budget. And I have to say, I’m trying to cut down on processed foods, partly due to health and partly due to YOU! Thank you for being inspiring to me!

Aw, I’m sure you give me too much credit! (But thank you – and, of course, you’re quite welcome.)

You know what’s funny? When I was just starting out, I never really picked up the habit of eating, well, junk, mainly because it was too expensive!

I think it was a huge mistake when Home Ec started leaving high schools – especially today, when there are fewer and fewer parents around who can actually teach their kids how to do manage a home.

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