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Bureaucrats try food stamp diet


fresco
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While I am at it, I should say that my budget posted above contains paper goods, dog, cat, fish, and coon food (the coons are just occasional guests on my back porch, but they really like cat food) and cleaning supplies as they are inseperable in Quicken (even for the bean counter I sleep next to). So not all of that is for food.

Then again, I don't clean much :shock::laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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What, you give handouts to those shiftless animals? They'll never be able to stand up on their own four feet, err, in the case of the fish, swim on its own. You're just encouraging generations of dependency.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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I guess my point was that $300-400 per month is not just barely scraping by, but that you can eat very WELL at such a price. Sure, it might involve shopping with a natural foods co-op and buying in bulk. And you might make what is in season and on sale instead of what sounds the best based on a whim. Our family eats better than most. I think that our varied, largely vegetarian diet is the envy of our friends and family.

I don't understand these cries of "we wouldn't be happy" if your food budget was cut in half.

I understand all about sacrificing so your children can have the extras. Some sacrifice by having a high-powered career so their children can have the extras of lessons, new toys etc.

I sacrifice by not earning money and being a stay-at-home mom. We drive one car, do not have a TV (!), buy our clothes second hand. I feel that we are quite affluent and are lucky that our children receive high quality care. As a former nanny to the rich, I can say with confidence that our children are getting the best care money can buy (although paying myself is starting to get old.... :raz: )

Maybe we need a foodblog of a scrimper who cooks well so you can all see that cooking on a budget doesn't have to feel miserly.

Some typical dinners:

curried veggies over peanut-millet

roast squash pupusas with black beans

sweet potato-parsnip latkes

refried bean tacos with pineapple upside-down cake for dessert

beef enchiladas with ancho mole sauce

lentil soup with homemade bread

crepes with creamed vegetables

vegetarian spring rolls

shepherd's pie with salad

felafel with whole-wheat pita and baba ghanoush on the side (i can never spell that)

all-beef bolognese over pasta, or better yet- mixed with pasta and then baked with a layer of bechamel on top- wonderful creamy casserole kids love!

garlicky fried polenta served on a bed of kale

potato bar- baked potatoes with toppings (VERY economical, and popular with kiddos)

homemade pizza

spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and fried capers

mussels when they're on sale

Nothing above is fancy, but it's from-scratch and kid-friendly.

Ground beef for 3.49! Yikes! If you live in a metropolitan area, why aren't you shopping at ethnic markets? Cheap and better. I love Wholier-than-thou Foods, but sheesh! when I shopped there it was very expensive!

BTW, I'm all for supporting local growers, high-quality artisanal products, union grocery stores etc etc. It's one thing to say that since you value high quality and exotic food you're okay with blowing $50 on black truffles even though it means you don't have savings in the bank. As long as you're not in debt, spending your money and prioritizing food as your top expense is your perogative. I don't understand, however, spending twice what you need to just to shop at a grocery store with "ambiance." (I'm not saying anyone here does that, but I know many who do)

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What, you give handouts to those shiftless animals? They'll never be able to stand up on their own four feet, err, in the case of the fish, swim on its own. You're just encouraging generations of dependency.

it's true too. *lol*

that's why you're not supposed to feed the wild animals.

Edited by tryska (log)
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The ground beef wasn't at Whole Foods, it was at Giant Food (local chain).

I do shop at ethnic markets, but not for meat. Supermarket meat may not be the greatest, but at least I get the feeling that they clean the premises once in a while. :blink:

The problem with a vegetarian diet for us is food allergies. My daughter is mildly allergic to milk, egg whites, mushrooms, tomatoes, and corn, so I try to limit her consumption of those items. We eat some meatless meals, but I have no interest in going vegan.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I do shop at ethnic markets, but not for meat.  Supermarket meat may not be the greatest, but at least I get the feeling that they clean the premises once in a while. 

I know you didn't mean that the way it came out.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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I do shop at ethnic markets, but not for meat.  Supermarket meat may not be the greatest, but at least I get the feeling that they clean the premises once in a while.  

I know you didn't mean that the way it came out.

You haven't seen my local market, Art. I am not implying that all ethnic markets are dirty, but this one is.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I guess my point was that $300-400 per month is not just barely scraping by, but that you can eat very WELL at such a price.  Sure, it might involve shopping with a natural foods co-op and buying in bulk.  And you might make what is in season and on sale instead of what sounds the best based on a whim.  Our family eats better than most.  I think that our varied, largely vegetarian diet is the envy of our friends and family. 

I don't understand these cries of "we wouldn't be happy" if your food budget was cut in half.

Maybe we need a foodblog of a scrimper who cooks well so you can all see that cooking on a budget doesn't have to feel miserly.

Some typical dinners:

curried veggies over peanut-millet

roast squash pupusas with black beans

sweet potato-parsnip latkes

refried bean tacos with pineapple upside-down cake for dessert

beef enchiladas with ancho mole sauce

lentil soup with homemade bread

crepes with creamed vegetables

vegetarian spring rolls

shepherd's pie with salad

felafel with whole-wheat pita and baba ghanoush on the side (i can never spell that)

all-beef bolognese over pasta, or better yet- mixed with pasta and then baked with a layer of bechamel on top- wonderful creamy casserole kids love!

garlicky fried polenta served on a bed of kale

potato bar- baked potatoes with toppings (VERY economical, and popular with kiddos)

homemade pizza

spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and fried capers

mussels when they're on sale

Nothing above is fancy, but it's from-scratch and kid-friendly.

Ground beef for 3.49!  Yikes!  If you live in a metropolitan area, why aren't you shopping at ethnic markets?  Cheap and better.  I love Wholier-than-thou Foods, but sheesh!  when I shopped there it was very expensive! 

BTW, I'm all for supporting local growers, high-quality artisanal products, union grocery stores etc etc. It's one thing to say that since you value high quality and exotic food you're okay with blowing $50 on black truffles even though it means you don't have savings in the bank.  As long as you're not in debt, spending your money and prioritizing food as your top expense is your perogative.  I don't understand, however, spending twice what you need to just to shop at a grocery store with "ambiance."  (I'm not saying anyone here does that, but I know many who do)

Part of this is convenience too. I live in New York City, specifically east Midtown, blocks away from the United Nations (and coincidentally right across the street from Amma :biggrin: ), within walking distance of several grocery stores -- some mediocre and some not. I could go and shop for food in Queens, for produce at the Union Square Greenmarket (and on occasion I do), for Asian pantry necessities in the East Village and Chinatown (ditto), but as far as general food/non-specialty food items are concerned, why should I when there are stores that cater to my immediate needs that are literally around the corner? Most "ethnic" food markets exist far from my neighborhood (i.e, Chinatown, the Lower East Side, upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs). Why should I routinely schlep somewhere just to get ground beef when I can get it two blocks from my apartment?

Full disclosure: I am a 32 year old single gay male with no dependents -- my food budget runs anywhere from $100 to $200 a week depending on whether or not I'm entertaining friends, eating out, or working mondo overtime in the office. New York prices being what they are, you should take the figures I quote in my posts with a grain of salt. Also, a lot of this budget vs. utility debate depends a lot on your personal set of values and priorities. Like Mr. Mayhaw says, I could easily eat for less than $100 per week, but then again I wouldn't be very happy doing it. I'm not a vegetarian, have no interest in becoming a vegetarian, and apart from my boneless, skinless chicken breasts, manage to eat well for the amount of money I routinely blow on comic books and out-of-print Dragon magazines.

Soba

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hmm..allergic like anaphylactic allergic, heather?

Itchy rash all over her body, trouble breathing requiring a nebulizer, or sometimes hives.

Rough stuff. It's systemic, at least. My nephew seems to be allergic to a lot of things too. Dairy in general, corn, peanuts, and so on.

Is it just me or are more kids getting sicker with allergies these days? That does complicate shopping for food, when you can't just buy the milk on sale, because one requires lactose free or soy milk. And you don't get any extra help for that.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I don't understand these cries of "we wouldn't be happy" if your food budget was cut in half.

I understand all about sacrificing so your children can have the extras. Some sacrifice by having a high-powered career so their children can have the extras of lessons, new toys etc.

I sacrifice by not earning money and being a stay-at-home mom. (I'm not saying anyone here does that, but I know many who do)

I don't think they are meant to be "cries" - just statement of fact. If my food budget was cut in half, sure I could get by and prepare good and nutritious meals, but I would not like it.

I am acutely aware every time I go into a grocery store that I am lucky to live in a place and have the ability to purchase whatever I wish (within reason)!.

I also have no desire to go Vegetarian ( my family would revolt) - but do have occasional meatless meals - southern style.

If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

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Oh, gee- you don't have to be a vegetarian- I certainly wasn't trying to convert anyone! Just pointing out that it is possible to eat well for less money- not that anyone here in particular needs or ought to. Spend your money the way you wish; I am a spendthrift myself when it comes to beautiful wooden toys. But it's wrong and silly to think that a $300-400 budget means only rice and beans. We're not vegetarians either- but meat every single night is expensive- we choose a largely vegetarian diet mostly because we like it better.

Either way, I think boneless skinless breasts don't taste as good as skin-on, bone-in, but I guess that's just my personal preference. :smile:

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But it's wrong and silly to think that a $300-400 budget means only rice and beans. We're not vegetarians either- but meat every single night is expensive- we choose a largely vegetarian diet mostly because we like it better.

None of us have said that either (at least I haven't).

A $300 to $400 budget is certainly doable (adjust the figures based on your own personal household, spending habits, cost-of-living expenses and location), but a lot of this depends on your (the generic "your", not you therdogg) set of values and priorities.

In the end, what matters is that one lives his or her life within whatever means that he or she can afford to, keeping in mind that one set of personal circumstances does not necessarily apply to another's.

Soba

PS. The bit about "boneless, skinless chicken breasts" is my personal badge of honor on eGullet. :biggrin:

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hmm..allergic like anaphylactic allergic, heather?

Itchy rash all over her body, trouble breathing requiring a nebulizer, or sometimes hives.

yeah like fistfull said that's definitely systemic, with anaphylactic symptoms.

wonder if the mushrooms and corn is a mold allergy at the root?

and yeah fistfull - it does seem kids have more allergies today - i think due to the highly chemical dependent way we live now.

Edited by tryska (log)
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hmm..allergic like anaphylactic allergic, heather?

Itchy rash all over her body, trouble breathing requiring a nebulizer, or sometimes hives.

yeah like fistfull said that's definitely systemic, with anaphylactic symptoms.

wonder if the mushrooms and corn is a mold allergy at the root?

and yeah fistfull - it does seem kids have more allergies today - i think due to the highly chemical dependent way we live now.

She is allergic to mold too, so all of this may tie in together. No idea how that cat allergy fits in though.

Ironically, it's believed now that the rise of allergies is due to kids not being exposed to enough germs.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Yes- they know that kids raised on farms or with pets have fewer allergies, in part because of exposure to dander etc. Being raised in too "sterile" an environment may cause your immune system (which isn't busy fighting off the badies of childhood that existed pre-vaccinations) to go into overdrive, treating innocuous substances as intruders.

Also, the best thing a mother can do toward allergy prevention is exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life (no solids/formula) and continuing nursing through the first birthday. This strategy cannot be overemphasized since allergies are dramatically less prevalent (as well as other illnesses) in bf babies, and in babies who don't have solids too early.

Edited by therdogg (log)
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Yeah, but when the kid is big enough to walk up and ask for it - Literally ask for it - it's time to introduce the lil tyke to a spoon. I've seen this. The kid was four, and the mom was complaining because no daycare would take a 4 year old who was still breastfeeding. --shudder--

Up next on Jerry Springer...

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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That being said, therdogg, nothing is guaranteed. Emma was nursed for 18 months (she self-weaned), no solids before 6 months, etc.

To get this back on topic, most low-income mothers would find nursing exclusively virtually impossible. Yet another advantage that middle and upper class children have.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Yes- they know that kids raised on farms or with pets have fewer allergies, in part because of exposure to dander etc.  Being raised in too "sterile" an environment may cause your immune system (which isn't busy fighting off the badies of childhood that existed pre-vaccinations) to go into overdrive, treating innocuous substances as intruders.

Also, the best thing a mother can do toward allergy prevention is exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life (no solids/formula) and continuing nursing through the first birthday.  This strategy cannot be overemphasized since allergies are dramatically less prevalent (as well as other illnesses) in bf babies, and in babies who don't have solids too early.

One of the more interesting studies compared children in east and west Germany. The researcher hypothesized that the incidence of allergies and asthma would be much higher in poorer, dirtier "less healthful" east Germany than in the "hygienic" west.

The results showed exactly the reverse to be the case:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/10/4/l_104_07.html

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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Of course nursing isn't an absolute preventive- just like thin people who exercise can have diabetes. Still, it would be irresponsible for doctors to ignore the possible effects of obesity and refrain from warning their patients about the risks to their health that being overweight carries. Many pediatricians, however, do not warn mothers who use artificial baby milk about the risks that they are taking on. And the risks are dramatic (lower IQ, higher incidence of childhood cancer, waaaay more ear infections, allergies, asthma, diabetes, obesity, Chron's disease, infections, malnutrition, failure to thrive, sudden infant death syndrome, etc, etc, you get the idea).

Hee hee, when my house is messy I just tell myself it's part of my allergy prevention program-- we're trying to approximate a pig sty as much as possible :raz:

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except if they are on welfare, and can't work because they will lose their benefits.

There are work requirements now, aren't there?

Plus, I would bet that in most low-income communities most of the women weren't nursed as babies, and have no one to show them how to do it, plus a culture that doesn't value it. It's not easy, it takes time and resources, and plenty of food. But if WIC benefits include formula, then it's much easier to start feeding that way, especially if you are being pressured to start working.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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