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Seriously lets talk about food the way it is - Page 2

post #31 of 45

College typical week's worth of meals:


1 whole chicken

1 big bag of rice



bag of frozen vegetables







Cut off breasts, make stir-fry--2 days (at least, I don't eat a lot)

arroz con pollo w/legs/thighs--3 days

rice w/butter and tomatoes--lunch

make stock with the bones, pick off leftover meat--make soup/pot pie/chicken ala king, whatever.


Of course, I had a lot of spices/herbs and staples on hand, but those last a long time.

post #32 of 45

Personally I think anyone who thinks fast food is tastier than restaurant food is eating at really bad restaurants.



Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #33 of 45
Originally Posted by ChicagoTerry View Post

I'm always a little baffled when people say that it's cheaper to eat unhealthy, processed foods than it is to eat more nutritious foods.


I've been unemployed and seriously broke more than once in my life. I had to get by on food stamps for a time.  Right now I'm working at two jobs and still making half of what I made in the mid-90s. I'm not exactly poor but my budget is tight. Yes, you can probably buy more "calories" per dollar if you are buying processed foods but it is definitely not cheaper to buy a bag of chips or a frozen pizza than it is to buy a pound of carrots or squash or sweet potatoes or a bag of lentils or beans or a dozen eggs, etc. If you don't have time to cook a pot of beans, then by all means buy a can or two of them. It's still a bargain protein. Even inexpensive cuts of meat or chicken are not out of reach if you think about them as a flavoring component of a dish rather than a main course serving. A big box of oatmeal costs a fraction of what a box of prepared cereal costs and lasts a hell of a lot longer.


No, when you are broke you can't really think about buying organic vegetables or free range chickens but you can definitely buy nutritious foods for less than what it costs to buy crap.


What it does take is a re-thinking of what "should" go on a plate to make a meal, some cooking skills--and sometimes the willingness to eat from the same pot of stew or soup or chili over the course of a few days--or freezer space for leftovers. It helps to have access to a fruit market or ethnic market where fruits and vegetables in season cost less than they do at the typical supermarket.


One project I find very interesting is Leanne Brown's PDF cookbook "Good and Cheap" which has been written with the $4.00 a day average US food stamp/SNAP benefit allowance in mind. It's available as a free download. She has also done a print run which she sells on a non-profit basis and at a deep discount to organizations which assist low-income individuals.



Chicago Terry, I don't see your argument as to the cost of eating better.

No one suggests that free range and organic is the way to eat healthy.


A bag of chips, with no nutrition DOES cost less than a bag of apples.

Now take that bag of apples home and let it sit on the counter and rot because you can't eat them all within the time it takes them to break down.


I too have been out of work during my career. I ate chicken livers, and oatmeal because they were cheap to buy.

I would go to the "seconds" produce shelf where all the older stuff was because it was discounted. I would take it home and cut away the bad, eat the rest and it was good.


No I do not agree with you that eating healthy is cheaper than eating pre-packaged, just add water and microwave, zip open the box and enjoy. NO!


I agree with you on the concept of planning a weeks worth of menus, even if it means eating that same pot of stew for 4 days in a row.  

post #34 of 45

No. I agree that organic and free-range poultry is beyond the most basic idea of eating nutritiously for less money than it costs to eat processed, prepared foods. I just do not buy the idea that prepared, processed foods are cheaper in any context.


Several varieties of apples right now at my local supermarket are selling for .99 a lb. At the fruit market across the street from the big supermarket there are several varieties selling for $.69 a lb. Sweet potatoes are either .29 cents a lb or .49 cents a lb, depending on which store you choose. I've never paid more than .99 cents a lb for either. Carrots ar around .69/lb. and squash is well under a dollar a lb. Kale has been well under a dollar a lb for at least two years now. I don't think a 1 lb bag of  beans or lentils costs more than a dollar anywhere in my area and a lb of lentils or beans goes a long, long way.  Whole chickens can be purchased often for $99-$1.29 a lb. Thighs, legs, bone-in breasts go for less than $1.49/lb. If you want to be more selective, Amish, free range whole chickens go for $1.99 lb in my area. Supermarket pork shoulder is often on sale for $1.99 lb. A 3 lb chicken or shoulder roast for under $7.00, combined with vegetables can make a lot of meals. I also live in one of the more expensive urban areas of the US. Not as bad as DC, NYC, LA or San Francisco, but food is more expensive here in this part of the US than it is in other areas. And,  relative to other developed nations, food in the US is remarkably inexpensive.


According to the Walmart website, an 8.5 oz bag of Ruffles potato chips goes for $2.98 in my city. That's $3.00 for half a pound of calories made up of fat and salt. I'd rather buy 3 lbs of apples or carrots or squash or sweet potatoes. A 32 oz frozen pizza goes for $5.97. That's what? Two servings. maybe? Kraft macaroni and cheese is $2.50 a box in Chicago, and I suppose one box could be stretched to make two servings. But a dozen eggs in my city is $1.69 and that's a lot more food per dollar. Cans of Campbell's or Progresso soups sell for $1.50-$1.98 apiece and despite the "two servings per can" labeling, really only make a single meal, I don't find that cheap. I'd rather spend .89 cents on a bag of lentils, a few more cents on an onion, some garlic & lemons and eat it for a few days for about the same dollars spent.


OK. Ramen noodle packets are dirt cheap but I don't even consider that food. When I did buy them in desperation at one point from one of the Asian groceries in my neighborhood, I bulked them up with tofu, Asian greens. mushrooms, carrots and scallions--and it was still cheap and a lot more nutritious. When I was feeling really flush, I'd spring for a can of coconut milk and a lime or two to stretch that ramen package to make soup that lasted a couple of days and it still only cost me a couple of dollars.

post #35 of 45

Ok, the starter of this thread is obviously opinionated and has no factual info to support their claim, or they are just on some good drugs and perhaps should share where they obtained such stuff for the benefit of mankind!


As far as fast food goes I do want to throw something out there. There are places like In-N-Out, Fatburger, Whataburger (bad example but this is for people outside the west coast), 5 Guys, and so on whose food is argued to be on a higher level. Even beyond that there are places who are privately owned charbroil grills or small privately owned fast food joints who actually cost no more than the big name places. Their food, honestly, is rather good and some of them promote that they do not freeze their food, that it is natural and fresh, and if you're going to eat a grease-ball burger these are pretty good conditions to do it under. There are wonderful health foods that taste pretty good and yes, there are principles where you can boast that fast food places have more potent tasting food, but I don't think, on average, they are that tasteful. If I do eat fast food I tend to find myself eating at private establishments that are, by definition, fast food because for near the same price I get a better meal under the right conditions. The problem is that these places are not commonplace because places like McFailure, Jack in the Crack, Burger Bling, and Kentucky Fried Crap are so easy to find and plentiful anywhere in the US and in some cases the world.


Anywho, it is mostly cheaper to eat unhealthy and easier to go about doing it. 60 bags of ramen for 21 bucks you say which is about 35 cents a bag. People live of that stuff to the point of B12 deficiency and of course this is an extreme, as man cannot live on carbohydrates alone. But the chip argument I will tackle for sure. I don't give two craps how much Ruffles sell for when I can get Kroger brand, family size, for 1.49 when they are on sale (2 for 3 bucks). When I can buy sleeves of cola (NAME BRAND TOO) at 2.50 a sleeve and a gallon of milk is 3.49 to 3.99 and oj not always better. Even when milk and oj are on sale they are not always cheaper. When Jacktards tell me they spend so much money on food I always ask where they shop: Walmart, Target, Vons/Safeway/Pavilions, Ralphs/Kroger, Giant, Costco, Sam's Club. Sometimes these places are not cheaper AT ALL! You can get similar products else where like the 99 cents store or The Dollar Tree (one box of Kraft Mac n' Cheese is like .50 cents there and you pay a buck to get them in a two set). You can even buy bacon at these dollar stores and family size bags of chips. The first time I saw a 3 liter bottle of soda was at a 99 cents store. Yeah, it was some shit brand called Stars and Stripes, but you know what, people buy that crap and drink it as if it were water, which ironically bottled water would be more expensive.


ADD: I get wusses that cry to me "But BEEF, I don't have the tools to cook at home." Outside of pots, pans, and such, I drag their poor asses to these dollar stores and get them a majority of their kitchen tools for under 40 bucks (Yeah, a lot of those items are not the best quality, but when you are poor you take what you can get cheap and most of these tools will do the job just fine with some elbow grease. I also help them find a good chefs knife as cheap as possible or a knife set that is reasonably priced). You can even get full dining sets for a buck a plate, a buck for 2 glasses, a buck for a salad bowl.


Also, it really depends on where you shop. The local grocery stores with the big names charge like 4.99 lb for asparagus. But the Korean grocery store around the corner from my house I can get the same thing for 99 cents a lb. Jumbo Yellow Onions are always 39 cents for three, they don't even charge you for it by weight. The same store sells 1 lb of strawberries for 3.99 as well as broccoli for I think 39 cents a lb where my main stream grocer sells broccoli for 99 cents a lb and 49 cents when it's on sale. Must be the reason the big stores around me are mostly empty in their produce isle but when I go to the Korean grocer that place is filled to capacity almost (and it is strange being the only white guy in there, but it is funny when I speak their language and people ask me questions about Italian cooking or something more Americanized because their kids do not always like the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc food that their parents make). So you can make the argument that healthier food is cheaper than unhealthy, but MORE people have access to unhealthy food that is equally cheap. I live in a major city and most people I know would not ever step foot in a Korean market or shop at a farmers market. Don't ask me why, I still am perplexed that people do not take a single second to read where the best deals in town are or are unwilling to go in a shop because "A lot of Asians shop there and it smells like fish".


I have family in Alvin Texas and Tracey's Landing Maryland, both of these places within 30 miles of a large city (which is a bit of a drive for food), so they are a bit more limited than someone from, say, Chicago or Los Angeles. I have helped family find the best places in town to buy cheap produce, but they have lived in those places their whole lives and never knew of these places or refused to visit them because of some sort of goofy taboo like it has a strong smell of Fish or it is a place that specializes in Indian food, or just bloody ethnic fear because more people of another ethnicity shop there than I am comfortable being around. An example is this Halal meat market that is connected to a liquor store in a shadier side of town in Los Angeles County. I can get herbs there cheap and their saffron (from Spain) is 4.99 for the same amount I would get an the grocery store or Penzey's that wanted like 20 bucks. Yeah, I wouldn't normally use 5 buck Saffron, but I am just making a point.


So yeah, you can (at times) find healthier food cheaper, but you have to be willing to explore your city (or nearby ones) for the best deals. I will tell you outright MOST people do nothing of the sort and are set in bad purchasing habits.


This message is brought to you by, TheBEEF!

Edited by TheBeef - 11/28/14 at 3:01am
post #36 of 45

When does it become cost effective to drive all around town, (or in my case having to drive 120 miles round trip to grocery store)

to purchase cheap food while using up gas, insurance and time to do so?

post #37 of 45

That is a poor argument and no offense, no one asked you to do that and that is a general stupid practice to partake in. But if you only shop at the same two, three stores and don't even bother looking anywhere else than that is your fault and you have locked yourself into a spiral of poor choices. You find the places you like to go to the most for the best cost effective food upon moving in that area, and it is not something you can easily do in one week. It is a cop out to claim that you have to go to 10 different stores for the best deals and if you only go to a small handful of stores and refuse to check out other small markets, that is a personal problem. You can, on your way to shop for example, go to a store you have never been in and spend 10 minutes looking at the standard price and sale price of items to see if it is worth you time, pick up an ad or ask someone at the store if they have a weekly ad. Do it once a month and in probably a year you will have a damn good system figured out because you can check promising places every once in a while and see if things improve. If they are not major supermarkets and they do have things in your price range then you plan your trips to them if they are not in the same general area. So what if one place charges 25 cents more on an item when the rest of what you get there is 80% cheaper, in turn you go to the place with the majority of cheaper stuff on average, but how do you know if you don't check them weekly. I even rotate stores I go to based on their sales ads but I make an effort to go to the stores that are in the general direction of the one with the most things I want to get. Doing this keeps the food in my home constantly changing. Some people only like one brand of something, or one particular style and that is a personal problem. I'm just saying, in most decent sized cities you have options and you do not have to drive 120 miles. If you are complaining that you have to I have to say you're doing something VERY wrong in your shopping habits.


Some places actually have these neat little things called ads that come in the paper, albeit some don't, but you can subscribe to them (for free) and get them delivered weekly (for example two local grocers who are not big name places have ads, but they are not in the standard paper. I was able to get them by visiting the store, getting a paper, and giving them my address via email and boom, ads.) I go through my weekly ads and figure out what I need to get, how long it will last me, and make it so they are all on my way and convenient.


How long does it take me to get food for 4 weeks, about 2 to 3 hours MAX and that includes driving time (not in one go, but I might visit two stores one week and another store another week based on sales). I don't look about or check every single isle. I know what I want and I know who has it cheap most of the time in many cases because I know their "Every Day" price. So if it's not on sale I don't bother. Unless you live in the rural parts of whatever country you live in there is really no excuse. No offense, but poor purchasing and shopping habits do contribute to the problems that people in this thread speak of and perhaps some other habits need to start. Like I said, in two hours I can get to two to three stores, withing 3 miles of where I live and I work my way from the furthest one out and make my way back. Now, is this something everyone can do, of course not because it depends on where you live. But I stand by what I said above, most place (even places like Visalia and Tracey's Landing) have more than enough places to look and choose from and somewhere like Strathmore, CA (A place I have had to help a friend of my figure out shopping), which is not really THAT close to any large city has at least 3 large grocery stores, 10 markets, several fast food joints, and so on and their population is less than 3000 people.


+For me I have a Korean market a block from where I live for almost all my produce needs.

+I have a meat market two blocks from there and there is a Vons grocery store in the same shopping center and if my meat market has no deals I can get meat deals at Vons if they have one (its not my preferred store to buy meat for sure, but I am not anal about my where I buy food. Sometimes you go to the place you can afford to go to at the time based on their sales).

+There is an Albertsons on the other side of the city I live in (4 miles), but surprisingly my kids music teacher is there. I take them to their lesson and go hit up Albertsons if they have any hot deals since the lessons are only an hour and I can walk to there from the music school.

+Behind the Vons there is a Sam's Club and a Costco. I know what their prices usually are because they really don't have saleson most of their food. I don't buy from these places too often unless things like milk, heavy whipping cream, and certain things like cereal, rice, dried herbs, or oatmeal are not cheap anywhere else.

+ Walmart, Ralphs, and Target are all within a few blocks of each other on the other far side of town. But Walmart has never really had too many good deals so I really never venture there. I usually check their ads to see if it is worth the time to head in that direction, which is where the local mall is, restaurants, office supply stores, etc. So I know I head that direction at least once a month and if there is something worth a darn in that direction I go that way.


Do I do this in one day. No, that would be ridiculous. But I buy smart and in good enough bulk when I need to, and surprisingly I do hit up a grocery store or two every other week. But it is coming back or on the way to something I would normally do. I do not just set aside a single shopping day a month and go balls deep, that is just silly and most stores are open till at least midnight, some ever 24 hours.


Now, perhaps your situation is different. But you have no information staking your situation and really you're just making an unfounded excuse. Do you live in a rural area? Do you not get ads in the mail or online? Do you have a poor selection of stores? Do you work far away or in the most non-direct way to get to some of these stores? ANSWER ME!!!!!! ~head explodes~ XD


Again, all jokes aside. Any fool can complain about something they have no interest in figuring out. It is easy to gripe, but hard to grow a pair, get out there, and do some exploratory searching for food! OH GLORIOUS FOOD! I have lived in large cities mostly, but friends and family have moved to rural places and small towns/cities and still are able to figure it out without proclaiming your extreme.

post #38 of 45

OK, time to get off your soap box.

post #39 of 45
Sooooo many words haha.
These are the days of our lives?

This is in response to what @TheBeef,the OP troll on food the way it is?

Do you just write all that in one sitting or is it copy and paste from a manifesto you have written in notepad on your lunch break?
post #40 of 45

No. 1 I like my soap box, it has soap made from real pigs fat and I use it to assault the neighbors cat when it craps in my yard. TAKE THAT EVIL CAT! Wish my own cat would protect my sacred lawn from the fecal feline intruders more often. Too bad my dog is useless in this field. XD


No. 2 I type it in one sitting :D. I typed really fast and I am obnoxiously thorough when it comes to explaining something when someone tries to make an excuse or needs some sort of improvement in how to go about something because they are complaining about it. I mean, wouldn't you complain if you stated your situation and some jackass posted "You're a moron, you have no idea how to shop" and that was it? At least I am saying "You're a moron, here is why, and here is what you can try to do to better yourself. Not good enough, here is an example." Beats what most people do. XD To me, giving suggestions is a pretty thorough thing, that way there is no second guessing or misunderstanding of what was said. Could I do it in less words, maybe a paragraph or so less if I sat around thinking about it for an hour (which I won't ever do), yes I could, but if people really give a crap they read the whole thing. b^^ And really, 120 dollars in gas to go shopping is a big deal. Imagine how much scotch that person could buy me if they found a way to save! :D

post #41 of 45
I think they @Chefrossmean they have far to drive in to town to go to the store. Like down a highway because they live in the boonies. To even get to the nearest store, let alone drive all around said far away town looking to memorize " normal prices".

Thanks for the thought out reply, but who are you calling a Mormon?

Sooooo, want to hear how I do my grocery shopping? I was at Costco today, during black Friday. haha.

Didn't think so.

post #42 of 45

@chefboyOG I did mention in the post that if you live in the "sticks" you have a very different situation. But sometimes you can get it figured out from there if you, in turn, explain what makes it hard. Did I type Mormon?! LIES!!! And yes, I want to hear about your black Friday shop trip. It would be like reading the transcript to a pro-wrestling match and I didn't have to get it from Pay-Per-View. No really, all I did was sit at home and load everything I want into a cart online, wait till midnight hit, bought everything cheap and dumped the doubles (made by other brands) and items that didn't go on sale. Everyone shopped for in a simple go. XD

post #43 of 45
Ha! Moron!
Okok. I was JK.

Well, I had some chocolate mint bark, nacho with guac and salsa, a " swiss chocolate, a chocolate " truffle" and some almonds. Love their tasting stations!

There were a lot of people. Don't think I bought anything. I pushed the
300km round trip. We stayed the night. Cant wait till next year to look at the same junk all over again.
post #44 of 45

Please tell me you ran like a madman around the store, hitting people with your cart whilst keeping score, and smacking people with a long loaf of french bread! Perhaps you found another amazing individual and tried jousting them! PLEASE!!!! IT WOULD BE EXTRAORDINARY!!!!

post #45 of 45

I predominately eat at home because I can fix healthier, more creative, and interesting cuisine and do it cheaper than the vast majority of commercial offerings out there, whether it be fast, slow, or in between.


I actually love to eat out. It is one of my favorite things to do, but too often I have to compromise on my parameters to do so. So I don't eat out very often. Less and less as time goes by.


I hate paying for a blasé mediocre experience. I may be cheap. I may be hard to please. I might be both. I don't care. That is my story and I'm sticking to it. :)

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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