June 15, 2009
the price of food
i grew up in LA.
we were not the farmers market shopping, canvas bag toting, family biking type of family. it surprises me when i think back on it...
my mom was from germany and gravitated towards those things.
she always stopped at the roadside stands on the coast for strawberries & green beans wrapped neatly in white butcher paper.
she bought pasta and cheese at the italian grocer who flirted with my shy, soft-spoken, red-headed mother who always had at least 2 kids in tow.
i care an awful lot about what i eat.
although i am not the chef of the house,
we are always trying to buy (& grow) all organic, local produce.
my partner and i had a long discussion about a blog that he read
which has received a lot of press called $5 dinners.
we couldn't get over how much praise she was getting for making cheap dinners with little regard (nutrition is mentioned) to the quality of food that she was feeding her children.
i totally understand that many families need to cut costs during these tough economic times, some have fewer choices than others,
but there is a cost/benefit depending on where you decide to cut.
i couldn't find on $5 dinners where she usually buys her food, but if she is buying most things on sale or with a coupon at prices, such as chicken breasts, sliced ($1.66), i think it's fair to make the assumption these are mass-produced items.
is this really the meat you want to feed your kid?
certainly you pay a price for buying cheap.
how can feeding the cheapest quality food to kids (or yourself) be the best way to cut cost? yet americans will cut food costs before they cut cable (also here).
my point is not to criticize this woman for trying to keep costs down
but rather to question why cost is the most important consideration.
i also want to emphasize that it is always important to recognize the place (and priviledge) from which our perspectives evolve.
not everyone has access to the same foods or the same choices.
i speak directly about those who DO have those choices.
if you are on the internet, blogging about food and what your family eats, then i think you have a certain responsibility to your readers.
i would argue for taking local vacations, cutting cable, your second car, or unlimited texting on your mobile but not sacrificing the quality of food.
as my partner put it,
the sacrifice that $5dinners talks about is only temporary... real sacrifice is sustainable...it has to be or we (or our children) will wind up here again.
we'd love to hear your thoughts.
note: this was cross-posted here.