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(NPR)   Fresh fruits and veggies sell out in former fast-food-choked neighborhoods. Just kidding, people skip the salad and keep on gobbling Big Macs   (npr.org ) divider line
    More: Obvious, Big Macs, food deserts, Boyle Heights, fruits, salads, Tropical Medicine  
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6042 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Feb 2014 at 12:17 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-11 08:13:45 AM  

elysive: So do enlighten me based on these new assumptions. How will fixing food deserts like Newark by providing more supermarkets help poor people when they dont have time to cook?


I disagree with your thesis that people don't have time to cook.  It takes 10 minutes to fill a crock-pot with good eats. If you let it run all day you have 8 wonderful meals waiting for you when you come home.  The cost of filling a crock-pot is less than $10.

You can buy a 20 pound bag of rice at Costco for about $25.  A serving of rice costs about 50 cents.  Rice takes about 45 minutes to cook about only requires about 2 minutes of your attention since the rest of the time is spent waiting for it to steep.

You can make hundreds of wonderfully delicious, healthy and inexpensive meals with a crock pot.  It take less time out of your day to prepare than it does to pack up the family and drive to a fast food restaurant.
 
2014-02-11 08:16:24 AM  

brimed03: doglover: Notabunny: I will bet a spinach and zucchini frittata breakfast, a lentil soup with a walnut and cranberry salad lunch, and a dinner of pasta with asparagus and prosciutto and some toasted focaccia with olive oil and pesto for dinner. All cheap. All easily prepared in a school cafeteria.

Who is this for? And why a school cafeteria? And do I even have to ask why it's vegetarian? Chicken is a wonderful source of everything and cheaper than focaccciaccaia-whatever that is.

LOL focaccia is a type of cheese. And as much as I'm teasing Notabunny about vegetarianism, if the point is to teach the kids about eating fruits and veggies instead of McChicken McNuggets, why not focus on fruits and vegetables.


I would be willing to start with meat prepared in a halfway decent fashion, with some veggies and fruit thrown in.  Baby steps, folks.  There is an awful lot of inertia here.  The terrible food habits didn't develop overnight, and they aren't going to vanish overnight.
 
2014-02-11 08:26:12 AM  

blindpreacher: Proof that poor people are poor by choice. If they aren't even motivated enough to practice proper nutrition then they really are to blame for their own circumstances.


http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/hasty-generalization.html
 
2014-02-11 08:26:21 AM  

fireclown: brimed03: doglover: Notabunny: I will bet a spinach and zucchini frittata breakfast, a lentil soup with a walnut and cranberry salad lunch, and a dinner of pasta with asparagus and prosciutto and some toasted focaccia with olive oil and pesto for dinner. All cheap. All easily prepared in a school cafeteria.

Who is this for? And why a school cafeteria? And do I even have to ask why it's vegetarian? Chicken is a wonderful source of everything and cheaper than focaccciaccaia-whatever that is.

LOL focaccia is a type of cheese. And as much as I'm teasing Notabunny about vegetarianism, if the point is to teach the kids about eating fruits and veggies instead of McChicken McNuggets, why not focus on fruits and vegetables.

I would be willing to start with meat prepared in a halfway decent fashion, with some veggies and fruit thrown in.  Baby steps, folks.  There is an awful lot of inertia here.  The terrible food habits didn't develop overnight, and they aren't going to vanish overnight.


Skip the meat; it's expensive and unhealthy anyway.
 
2014-02-11 08:27:25 AM  

Oldiron_79: TwowheelinTim: Oldiron_79: Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom: So, the "food desert" is the progressives' version of the knockout game, right?

Pretty much

So you're saying progressives created food deserts to hurt people for fun and games? This analogy seems a bit awkward to me. Would you mind explaining?

Saying its about 99.99999999999999% made up bullshiat to make the"other side" look like monsters.


This
 
2014-02-11 08:38:26 AM  

Muta: I do think it comes down to education. I say that because I don't buy the 'not enough time' or 'it's too expensive' arguments for cooking healthy at home. With a crock pot you can take 10 minutes in the morning putting together a lentil soup and you've got a great start to a meal that will last all week. A whole chicken usually costs about $1.30/pound and again, to you can cook it all day in the crock pot. Kale is nutrient rich, delicious and dirt cheap. It really does take no time to make a salad. Oatmeal (the stuff out of a cardboard tube, not an instant envelope) costs close to nothing and, since most of its preparation time is waiting for it to steep, takes no time to prepare.


Salads aren't a good option if youare broke.

While crockpot and oatmeal are cheap, the prep takes planning. Something that is tougher to do when you are poor and stressed.

brimed03: Until very recently, and extending back for years, there was ONE food supermarket in the entire city of Newark, NJ.

ONE.

I should know, I shopped there semi-regularly. Thankfully, I had a car, because there were no train lines nearby. No car? You carried what you could on the bus. Assuming you had the time to take a bus from across the city.

I bet you smirked at your own cleverness when you wrote "those poor Americans living in food deserts in Japan."

You truly know nothing


elysive would have loved that. he could have ran to the grocery store to get in his workout, between his three jobs and cooking all meals from scratch.
 
2014-02-11 08:41:31 AM  
Over 50 years later and people still can't figure out why fast food works.
 
2014-02-11 09:00:31 AM  
I got a salad at McDonalds when they first came out.  It was stale.  How can a salad be stale?  I'm not sure, but it was.  It was kind of dried out and semi crisp at the same time.  I don't use salad dressing, so it wasn't like I could wash it down on a tide of ranch dressing.  Never again.

About once every few months, I'll get a single cheeseburger with no onions.  It's my guilty pleasure, like a little bundle of meaty cheesy salt.
 
2014-02-11 09:00:53 AM  

MemeSlave: fireclown: brimed03: doglover: Notabunny: I will bet a spinach and zucchini frittata breakfast, a lentil soup with a walnut and cranberry salad lunch, and a dinner of pasta with asparagus and prosciutto and some toasted focaccia with olive oil and pesto for dinner. All cheap. All easily prepared in a school cafeteria.

Who is this for? And why a school cafeteria? And do I even have to ask why it's vegetarian? Chicken is a wonderful source of everything and cheaper than focaccciaccaia-whatever that is.

LOL focaccia is a type of cheese. And as much as I'm teasing Notabunny about vegetarianism, if the point is to teach the kids about eating fruits and veggies instead of McChicken McNuggets, why not focus on fruits and vegetables.

I would be willing to start with meat prepared in a halfway decent fashion, with some veggies and fruit thrown in.  Baby steps, folks.  There is an awful lot of inertia here.  The terrible food habits didn't develop overnight, and they aren't going to vanish overnight.

Skip the meat; it's expensive and unhealthy anyway.


I'm not arguing that point, particularly.  But there is a scale of how bad meat can be for you, and the McNugget (delicious as they are) is just about the far end.   If we can get people to just grilled chicken, or some turkey kabobs or something, it's progress.
 
2014-02-11 09:16:51 AM  

Notabunny: ReapTheChaos: I've been seeing these "lets end food deserts" ads on TV quite a bit and I've been wondering where exactly are the grocery store that don't sell vegetables? I've been to stores in some pretty poor neighborhoods and I've never seen one that didn't. Even if their selection of fresh produce was limited, they always have frozen, which for most vegetables is just as healthy as fresh.

The problem isn't access to healthy food, it's getting people to change their habits. If you didn't grow up eating vegetables and healthy food then your not likely to do it as an adult.

I know anecdotal evidence is flimsy, but I work in downtown Stockton, CA. and I'm willing to make a bet. Let's stand on the steps of City Hall, and I'll give you an hour to walk to a store and buy lettuce, carrots, potatoes, bananas, apples, a gallon of milk, and then walk back. I know that within 20 minutes you can get a payday loan and buy a fifth of Jack, but that's a different bet.


Everybody biatches to high hell about "food deserts" until someone tries to build a Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Wal-Mart, etc.... Then we have to hear even more biatching about "the gentrification of our neighborhoods" or other such bullshiat.
 
2014-02-11 09:25:34 AM  

doglover: Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom: Fast food places aren't in the business of making people healthy.

I can't smoke stogies in the maternity ward, even if one of the kids is allegedly mine, and you're tellin' me we can't pass a law where you have to provide apples to keep your vendor's license in city limits?


More laws are not the answer.

All you would get is:

a) Apples would because a heavily regulated item, and cost $8-$12 at a grocery store.  "Free" at McDonalds.

b) College students, dopers and old hippies would start protests that they have a "right" to apples.

c)  Chuck Schumer would introduce legislation to heavily tax all other fruit.

d) Metric shiat-tons of apples would be thrown away.

e)  More legislation would be hastily written to regulate disposal of apples.
        e-1) A bunch of other shiat would be thrown in the legislation that would fark some other aspect of our lives up to an incredible degree.

Seriously... Stop with the regulation already.  How about, "If people want to buy apples, they should just BUY FARKING APPLES".
 
2014-02-11 09:33:41 AM  

liam76: While crockpot and oatmeal are cheap, the prep takes planning. Something that is tougher to do when you are poor and stressed.


100% true which is why I feel the lack of education is the root cause of the nutrition problem in cities.  There is a lack of understanding that a little time investment when making something in a crock-pot saves both time and money through out the week.
 
2014-02-11 09:34:25 AM  

LordJiro: blindpreacher: Proof that poor people are poor by choice. If they aren't even motivated enough to practice proper nutrition then they really are to blame for their own circumstances.

Thanks to our corporatist government and greedy, corner-cutting corporations, fast food prices are artificially low, while fresh food prices have risen. And since poor peoples' wages are so low (and many have to work multiple jobs just to keep a roof over their head), they simply can't afford the money OR time it takes to eat healthy.

But thanks for proving my "Idiots use obesity as a reason to justify their hatred for poor people" point.


What complete and utter bullshiat excuse making....

10lbs bag of chicken leg quarters --$6.00
1lb bag of rice --$1.99
2lb bag of frozen veg--$2.99

Cook time less than 30 mins....

the above would feed a family of four at least two meals.  But I understand $11.00 for eight meals and an hour of time is such a burden.
 
2014-02-11 09:38:19 AM  
Food gets way cheaper once you have a car.  Car = choice, feet = they got you.

When I lived in the city, the healthiest food was the hardest to get to:

Fast food.Main drag had everything right up the block.
The bodega: Two-minute walk. Beer, ice cream, lottery tickets, sad onions.
C Town: 20-minute walk.  Don't buy meat, bread, or anything not in a factory-sealed container.  That place is disgusting. Prices higher than Whole Foods.  Closes right when you get home from work.
Flatbush PathMark: A 45-minute walk.  You can get anything for a going price, but you can only take with you what you can carry. It will take you half a day on foot, round trip, pulling one of those old lady carts.  Multiple families will pull up in a single taxi to make a trip worthwhile.
Prospect Park Green Market:An even longer haul, and not really practical for more than the occasional foodie treat.

Out here in the suburbs, the food is so cheap, it's basically free.  Last week, I got two weeks worth of veg for $20.  I paid $20-something for an entire pork loin that became a roast, 10 center-cut chops, stir fry, and breakfast sausage.  The cost of a complete meal falls down to the area of $3 a serving.
 
2014-02-11 10:18:45 AM  

White_Scarf_Syndrome: WhoGAS: It's not money, it's education.

I try to provide my kids with fresh foods but when I'm out of money, I can only provide what I can.

HOWEVER, that is not McDonald's.  I keep rice and dried vegetables for emergencies (yeah, it's not delicious but it's survivable) and I never cook with a microwave.  There are foods we can get inexpensively and retrieve the benefits.

The dried veggie packs from those noodle bowls go great with rice, ground turkey and some frozen peas and carrots in a rice cooker.

Noodles without the flavor packs go great with the $5.00 breaded chicken breasts and frozen peas and carrots.

So many poor recipes I can share.  (Two kids, single dad, paying alimony but get no child support...)

Yeah, it's not fresh, but at least it's not McDonald's.

I'll be honest, I was about to call you an asshole for not cooking with the microwave bit.  I'm a single dad too but nowhere near your level of suck.  shiat man... We should share recipes.  I'm guilty of the microwave chicken nuggets but man the boy went nuts for the rice and chicken vindaloo I made.  Frozen veggies go a long way, get some spinach and some spices and some of that rice paper stuff and make some southwest eggrolls.  Luckily the boy loves green beans straight outta the can.


I know this thread has passed its prime, but I'd like to give a nod to single dads who cook for their kids.

I salute you with my oven-gloved hand, gentlemen!

fwiw - google recipes written for kids - they are simple, fairly healthy, and your little ones learn the basics (former latch-key kid, single parent raised, can make a meal out of pantry empty enough to echo)
 
2014-02-11 10:20:46 AM  
I don't know if where i live in a larger (for Kansas, 13,000 population) town would be considered a "food desert" just due to the fact that there is a Walmart here, but the lack of healthy food choices is very evident. We have the only Walmart within a 40 minute drive and frequently have people coming from 3 or 4 counties away to shop there. The vegetables are rarely fresh and never local despite being surrounded by farms.


The restaurant choices in my town are Fast Food place x8, BBQ place x4, Pizza place x4, Greasy Italian place x2, greasy Chinese buffet x2, greasy Mexican place x2, greasy "Southern" food x3, and one Applebee's. Even at the Applebee's, the only vinaigrette (e.g. not high fat mayo based) salad dressing would be the "Bacon" vinaigrette. There is a farmers market during the summer and fall seasons for a few hours on Saturday, but i rarely see much variety there. It usually is just a couple stands with some vegetables and the rest would be honey, jam, or sausage and jerky made from various game animals.


I usually have to drive about an hour and a half to get to the nearest Whole Foods to pay out the ass to get any decent produce. I am lucky enough to have a job where i can afford to do such a thing on a fairly regular basis.
 
2014-02-11 10:31:20 AM  

fusillade762: But more than that, he says, many people, particularly in low-income food deserts, just aren't used to buying or preparing healthy meals

I think only in America will you find poor people who don't know how to cook.


This.

liam76: While crockpot and oatmeal are cheap, the prep takes planning. Something that is tougher to do when you are poor and stressed.


And this.

zenmhunter: the above would feed a family of four at least two meals. But I understand $11.00 for eight meals and an hour of time is such a burden.


Sometimes it actually is, especially when you're flipping exhausted.  You forgot to add in a) grocery shopping time, b) prep time, c) cleanup time too.

I'm lucky that I have an awesome group of international groceries/restaurants right next to my house.  At least when I am utterly exhausted (and I *don't* have kids to worry about, and I *do* have  car) I can pick up cheap but healthier food within a 3 minute stop.

But there's definitely a need for education without condescending.  There's a non-profit 'round here that helps lower income folks put in raised garden beds and also sends volunteers out to teach kids those kind of quick/healthy meals.  Maybe you should look into one where you are.
 
2014-02-11 10:34:49 AM  

Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom: So, the "food desert" is the progressives' version of the knockout game, right?


Yes - it is largely media manufactured:
http://www.npr.org/2010/12/15/132076786/the-root-the-myth-of-the-foo d- desert
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/health/research/pairing-of-food-de se rts-and-obesity-challenged-in-studies.html?_r=0

The issue is a lot more complex than "evil fast food".
 
2014-02-11 10:35:45 AM  
Eskaminagaga, wouldn't there be farm stands around where you are?  We get that around here and we're only an hour or so outside of NYC.

Not great for the winter, but that can be quite good during the other three seasons.  Further out, they pick up even more.  There's actually a poultry farm near us that has an attached butcher shop.  It's fantastic, but you'd totally miss it if you didn't know it was there.

One time I went in and there was an out-of-season deer hoofs-up on the table.  There was a completely ridiculous scramble to try to hide it.  Dude, I'm not the game warden . . . and I can still see the antlers.
 
2014-02-11 10:39:54 AM  

syberpud: The issue is a lot more complex than "evil fast food".


The problem is that we're wired to love that crap.  Veggie frittata stands just don't make the kind of money that McDonalds does.
 
2014-02-11 10:41:35 AM  

James Rieper: Eskaminagaga, wouldn't there be farm stands around where you are?  We get that around here and we're only an hour or so outside of NYC.


Nope, there is not near enough traffic through the area to make them viable. I sometimes see a mobile "Burrito"  or "Snow Cone" truck in the summer, but have not seen any actual stands other than the Farmers market ones. I used to live in upstate NY and saw the stands all the time there.
 
2014-02-11 10:48:12 AM  
fusillade762:

I think only in America will you find poor people who don't know how to cook.

Been in the kitchen of any restaurant lately?


In any case, it depends on the species of poors you are talking about. Your fresh imports, like you will find in NY, LA, and Miami, are some of the best cooks around. They know fresh food and cooking from scratch because thats what they are used to.

Now, old-stock poors, who have gone stale, those are the ones that don't know how to do anything unless it involves the microwave.
 
2014-02-11 10:50:54 AM  
Eskaminagaga: I don't know if where i live in a larger (for Kansas, 13,000 population) town would be considered a "food desert" just due to the fact that there is a Walmart here, but the lack of healthy food choices is very evident. We have the only Walmart within a 40 minute drive and frequently have people coming from 3 or 4 counties away to shop there. The vegetables are rarely fresh and never local despite being surrounded by farms.


My family went to a Diner one time in the middle of florida. we pull into the parking lot that is surrounded on three sides by orange groves. My dad asked for a glass of OJ and the waitress said "sorry, we're out". We all turned our heads out the window and then looked back at the waitress who just shrugged her shoulders.
 
2014-02-11 10:51:23 AM  

Muta: liam76: While crockpot and oatmeal are cheap, the prep takes planning. Something that is tougher to do when you are poor and stressed.

100% true which is why I feel the lack of education is the root cause of the nutrition problem in cities.  There is a lack of understanding that a little time investment when making something in a crock-pot saves both time and money through out the week.


It goes a bit beyond education. Even with that knowledge putting it in practice is going to be tough without a life style change, and that is very tough when peopel work 40hour weeks and can barely get by.
 
2014-02-11 10:54:16 AM  

CujoQuarrel: brimed03: This text is now purple: ongbok: I have a feeling your idea of a poor neighborhood is one were everybody has 10 year old cars. Because if you had ever been to the poor areas that they are calling food deserts you would know that there aren't any grocery stores in the area. The places where people in those areas buy food are either the corner liquor store that has a section or two that has some grocery items, usually past or nearing expiration, or fast food places. People in these areas are limited because they don't have transportation to get to a real grocery store besides public transportation, and that could take them a few hours to get to the store and back.


The oddest detail is that those same people will turn around a fight the installation of a grocery store.


Citation needed.


Seriously. I've lived by those areas and the residents were clamoring, crying for a supermarket.


/"those people?"
//teasing
///the all new iSlash


Citation -->  http://guardianlv.com/2014/02/trader-joes-denied-by-black-portland-co m munity/


As discovered in the thread about that here, the locals wanted it, a small advocacy group wanted TJ to pay for affordable housing.

Bathia_Mapes: meat0918: Notabunny: Here's a fun idea: Let's change the way the government subsidizes food so that a Big Mac costs $8 and 2,000 calories worth of salad costs $1.99

I'd be ok with fixing this.

[www.pcrm.org image 500x356]

Full disclosure, my wife is very involved in food policy, and by extension I am because I help her with research and she is getting real tired of the elitist attitude she runs into towards our poorer part of town.

The general attitude from a few of these people is, um, not exactly good towards the lower class.  They want a Market of Choice (think Whole Foods) or some local independent organic grocer, we'd be happy with something far more basic and cheap, because we're realists, and know that there we need incentives to get one there, and the incentives for a high end grocer will be greater than for a lower end grocer.  There already would be a grocery store in one of our food deserts if the demand was there, and but it would still not be a Whole Foods.

In all likelihood I suspect what will end up there is one of the Walmart Neighborhood Market.

the801: meat0918:
Also, get the kids at the school some ideas on fresh foods.  Hook 'em while they're young.


[wp-b.com image 350x300]  [cdn.niketalk.com image 350x263]


Here is some of what my kids' school district serves from their Facebook page, and the menus are standardized across the district.

[i.imgur.com image 720x538]
[i.imgur.com image 405x720]

When we moved to the Gateway area about a year ago it was considered a food desert. The closest place resembling a grocery store at the time was Target, but their selection of fresh food & produce is not only limited, but tends to be spendy, especially to those like me who try to budget their food dollars wisely. A Walmart Neighborhood Market opened back in mid-September and while its selection isn't as good as Winco, it keeps me from having to ride to & from the store on the bus. I still shop at Winco, but have shaved that down to a once a month ...


I used to live over there.  I panicked when my car broke down, and I honestly don't remember if we bummed a ride or used the bus to pick up essentials while it was in the shop.

I'll be honest, some small part of me wants one of those Walmart Neighborhood Markets to be placed there, just for the spite factor towards the people that want to treat this area like a a child that doesn't know what is good for it.  But I'll be happy if it's more than a Dari mart
 
2014-02-11 11:00:37 AM  

Nidiot: Clemkadidlefark: Might have something to do with taste. Veggies are mostly blech, while meat and cheese and a deep fryer are tasty, tasty.

You'd have to rewire brains to make broccoli and cabbage taste as good as a cheeseburger. With bacon.

[www.rawfoodlife.com image 360x262]

This is the ultimate issue, our brains were designed to crave what was, in the past, the rarest and most difficult to come by foods. Since we are clever we've now made foods that consist of fat, sugar or salt common and easy to come by, and we find them just as delicious as ever.

Even if the cheeseburger with bacon cost more, it would still be the preferred choice by most consumers, simply because it tastes better.

Also I don't care about the inevitable weirdos who like to proclaim how much they like things like broccoli, they are in the minority. There is a reason there are plenty of places you can buy a burger or a pizza, but not a place to buy cooked broccoli.

Ignore the taste factor and you will change nothing.


bada-bing
 
2014-02-11 11:16:32 AM  

meat0918: I'll be honest, some small part of me wants one of those Walmart Neighborhood Markets to be placed there, just for the spite factor towards the people that want to treat this area like a a child that doesn't know what is good for it. But I'll be happy if it's more than a Dari mart


To clairfy "there" is not Gateway, but 4 Corners.
 
2014-02-11 11:23:13 AM  

ReapTheChaos: I've been seeing these "lets end food deserts" ads on TV quite a bit and I've been wondering where exactly are the grocery store that don't sell vegetables? I've been to stores in some pretty poor neighborhoods and I've never seen one that didn't. Even if their selection of fresh produce was limited, they always have frozen, which for most vegetables is just as healthy as fresh.

The problem isn't access to healthy food, it's getting people to change their habits. If you didn't grow up eating vegetables and healthy food then your not likely to do it as an adult.


Ditto. My roommate refuses to eat veggies (other than potatoes and corn) because he's been fending for himself since he was a kid. He's basically Jake Peralta from Brooklyn 99.

Moreover, we're not considering the following factors:

Time - if you working 3 jobs you aren't going to have any prep time

Freezer space - No bulk purchasing if you don't have freezer and fridge space

Knowledge - making healthy food taste good is an art

Self-Medication/Decision Fatigue - being poor sucks, even the strongest among us are going to be depressed and stressed as all hell. So you either self-medicate the depression away and/or you run out of willpower at the end of the day and get a Big Mac because you're hungry and tired dammit.
 
2014-02-11 11:25:55 AM  

Muta: liam76: While crockpot and oatmeal are cheap, the prep takes planning. Something that is tougher to do when you are poor and stressed.

100% true which is why I feel the lack of education is the root cause of the nutrition problem in cities.  There is a lack of understanding that a little time investment when making something in a crock-pot saves both time and money through out the week.


And why is that anyone else's problem?
 
2014-02-11 11:34:01 AM  

DocTravesty: Never have I seen a more appropriate Fark handle.  You do understand that we're already spending money to make the corn, beef and wheat that went into the Big Mac cheaper?  He's suggesting shifting the existing subsidies to different, healthier foods.


He's suggesting making it more expensive for me to gorge myself on meats and cheeses.  Frankly he should be executed by firing squad.
 
2014-02-11 11:41:30 AM  

mamoru: Granted, this is anecdotal, but in most countries I've been in outside of the USA and especially 2 of the 3 I've lived in (Morocco and currently Thailand), the price of fast food franchise food is often more expensive than the local street food, and the street food is usually much more nutritious and tasty. And, especially here in Thailand, the "dirt poor" are extremely poor, but the local food is usually cheap enough for people to afford reasonable healthy meals.

In places like here in Thailand and in Japan (where I've also lived), eating at places like MacDonald's was often more about being trendy than convenient or cheap.


I can't address those areas but I'll add China to the list--McDonalds is more expensive than several places we have eaten at.  Admittedly those places are not where tourists usually go but it's not because they're no good, it's because there's a total lack of English.

baconbeard: I don't the the price of carrots in Tokyo are particularly relevant to this discussion. You can buy healthy food for reasonable prices in Tokyo supermarkets; perhaps not carrots (or melons), but seasonable vegetables, fish, etc.


Second this.  We spend a day in Tokyo on a stopover--and found it no more expensive than the US in terms of what we were doing.  (Admittedly we never got more than about a mile from the airport.)

OgreMagi: I've been poor to the point that I was eating only because a friend found out I was going days at a time without anything more than ramen. Yes, if you are fat you aren't farking poor. If you have a roof over your head and enough food to be fat, you are a damn sight better than most the the world's population. Hell, the people complaining about being poor also have a big screen tv and a car. That isn't poor.


Yeah, I've seen real poverty.  The worst example was in Kampala, Uganda.  We were traveling overland and staying in a campsite, not in a hotel.  This was not too long after the time of Idi Amin and security was an issue.  The government knew foreigners brought in hard currency and thus did what they could to address the security situation--the result being our campsite (there were many groups there, not just us) had military security after dark.  (While we were advised not to go out after dark we weren't actually confined.  The soldiers were there to keep trouble out, not us in.)  Despite that a woman slipped into our camp.  She was obviously trying to be as inoffensive as possible and we ended up concluding that her objective was simply the warmth of our fire.  It was understandable that she would want that--she had no clothes.

Also, India, even longer ago.  Cows, cows everywhere--but no cow dung.  That was because every cow was followed by a kid.  Cow flops were *QUICKLY* scooped up and taken "home" (these were always people living on the street), dried and used as fuel for cooking.
 
2014-02-11 11:51:58 AM  

proteus_b: You could hand out the vegetables free of charge to some people and they won't eat them.


This is, sadly, true. My wife and I used to live next to a food bank and would routinely find the sidewalk littered with entire heads of lettuce, bags of tomatoes and loaves of bread with the 'soft part' dug out, etc. This was FREE food, no ID required, just walk in and write down how many people in your household. It always made me sad and a little mystified at humanity...
 
2014-02-11 12:10:09 PM  

meat0918: Notabunny: meat0918: Notabunny: Here's a fun idea: Let's change the way the government subsidizes food so that a Big Mac costs $8 and 2,000 calories worth of salad costs $1.99

I'd be ok with fixing this.

Thanks for your post. What would you and your wife think of using schools as food distribution and cooking education sites? The infrastructure is in place. The expense would be minimal. The benefits would be enormous.

They already are using our two of the Title I schools as food distribution sites. :)

That's a good idea on cooking ed sites.  I wonder if it is in the works actually.


They're doing that in the Amphi school district here in Tucson.
One program sends a weekend's worth of nutritionally balanced food home with the poorest of the children every week. It helps, but it doesn't cover summers or the spring/fall/winter breaks. The thing is, more than a third of the kids live below the poverty line and are food insecure.

Another program is the community garden project that yields fresh produce for the school, teaches the kids and their parents how to garden and prepare the food, and provides seed, fertilizer, planters (since most of the poorest live in apartments), and garden tools. It's making a difference.

It isn't enough, but it's a start.

Streetlight, if memory serves, is involved in similar programs in Detroit, which has no lack of space for gardens.
To be honest, it disgusts me a bit when I see posts condemning the poor for being poor.
They're not just food deserts, they're job deserts and hope deserts.
It costs money to move.
It costs money and time to learn how to cook.
It costs even more money - and is a time-consuming, humiliating process - to limit aid only to people who "deserve" it.
It costs society even more - and a huge chunk of whatever true righteousness or morality we may claim - to keep people poor, to fail to invest in our children and their educations, to leave addicts untreated and warehoused in prisons, to deny entire communities help, jobs, and hope.
We used to take care of our own. We didn't question who "deserved" help: We used to just step in and help. And we didn't blame the victims, and we didn't make people suffer until some hateful, smug bastards of politicians decided to divide us so they could rob us all. And they have.

It's painfully obvious that there's need, and the problems are huge. But unless you're stepping in to help after offering your criticisms, how the fark  do   can  you look yourself in the eye in the morning?
 
2014-02-11 12:32:03 PM  
They are clearly being racist against Michelle Obama.
 
2014-02-11 12:58:50 PM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: meat0918: Notabunny: meat0918: Notabunny: Here's a fun idea: Let's change the way the government subsidizes food so that a Big Mac costs $8 and 2,000 calories worth of salad costs $1.99

I'd be ok with fixing this.

Thanks for your post. What would you and your wife think of using schools as food distribution and cooking education sites? The infrastructure is in place. The expense would be minimal. The benefits would be enormous.

They already are using our two of the Title I schools as food distribution sites. :)

That's a good idea on cooking ed sites.  I wonder if it is in the works actually.

They're doing that in the Amphi school district here in Tucson.
One program sends a weekend's worth of nutritionally balanced food home with the poorest of the children every week. It helps, but it doesn't cover summers or the spring/fall/winter breaks. The thing is, more than a third of the kids live below the poverty line and are food insecure.

Another program is the community garden project that yields fresh produce for the school, teaches the kids and their parents how to garden and prepare the food, and provides seed, fertilizer, planters (since most of the poorest live in apartments), and garden tools. It's making a difference.

It isn't enough, but it's a start.

Streetlight, if memory serves, is involved in similar programs in Detroit, which has no lack of space for gardens.
To be honest, it disgusts me a bit when I see posts condemning the poor for being poor.
They're not just food deserts, they're job deserts and hope deserts.
It costs money to move.
It costs money and time to learn how to cook.
It costs even more money - and is a time-consuming, humiliating process - to limit aid only to people who "deserve" it.
It costs society even more - and a huge chunk of whatever true righteousness or morality we may claim - to keep people poor, to fail to invest in our children and their educations, to leave addicts untreated and warehoused in prisons, to deny entire communities help, jobs, and hope.
We used to take care of our own. We didn't question who "deserved" help: We used to just step in and help. And we didn't blame the victims, and we didn't make people suffer until some hateful, smug bastards of politicians decided to divide us so they could rob us all. And they have.

It's painfully obvious that there's need, and the problems are huge. But unless you're stepping in to help after offering your criticisms, how the fark  do   can  you look yourself in the eye in the morning?


Well, I am stepping into help after offering criticisms, so I got that going for me.

Currently one of the groups is worried more about supporting GMO labeling than food or jobs.  As in, that was most of a meeting that was supposed to be about enticing food related jobs to the area (and not fast food, but packaging and processing, we've got a good base for that already).

These are good, thoughtful people, that are just trying to help, but keeping focus on this freaking massive huge complicated problem facing our society is goddamn difficult.  People can't even agree what the problem is, they just know there is a problem and it needs fixing.

I feel like we need a new national level WPA to jump start the country.  Massive infrastructure projects to fix crumbling roads and bridges and expanded passenger and freight rail lines, clean power generation, rural broadband access akin to rural electrification, and we needed it yesterday.

Get the jobs here, help people climb out of poverty, and do it with more than telling them grab their own bootstraps and handing them a bucket full of empty promises.
 
2014-02-11 01:03:28 PM  

TV's Vinnie: avanti: When I know I have $50 to sustain myself I will spend it on broccoli.

Good god, I'll never touch broccoli again! Had a bowl of some last month and I felt like I was going to die all that night. My body wanted to go to sleep so very badly, but it was trapped on the john, feeling every single one of those demonic little florets slowly and painfully rasping it's way throughout my intestinal tract.


a) Chew your food
b) That's actually an indication that your gut is pretty messed up from your diet to begin with... you need to be eating more vegetables and fiber if just a little bit of it causes those issues.
 
2014-02-11 01:05:03 PM  

parasol: White_Scarf_Syndrome: WhoGAS: It's not money, it's education.

I try to provide my kids with fresh foods but when I'm out of money, I can only provide what I can.

HOWEVER, that is not McDonald's.  I keep rice and dried vegetables for emergencies (yeah, it's not delicious but it's survivable) and I never cook with a microwave.  There are foods we can get inexpensively and retrieve the benefits.

The dried veggie packs from those noodle bowls go great with rice, ground turkey and some frozen peas and carrots in a rice cooker.

Noodles without the flavor packs go great with the $5.00 breaded chicken breasts and frozen peas and carrots.

So many poor recipes I can share.  (Two kids, single dad, paying alimony but get no child support...)

Yeah, it's not fresh, but at least it's not McDonald's.

I'll be honest, I was about to call you an asshole for not cooking with the microwave bit.  I'm a single dad too but nowhere near your level of suck.  shiat man... We should share recipes.  I'm guilty of the microwave chicken nuggets but man the boy went nuts for the rice and chicken vindaloo I made.  Frozen veggies go a long way, get some spinach and some spices and some of that rice paper stuff and make some southwest eggrolls.  Luckily the boy loves green beans straight outta the can.

I know this thread has passed its prime, but I'd like to give a nod to single dads who cook for their kids.

I salute you with my oven-gloved hand, gentlemen!

fwiw - google recipes written for kids - they are simple, fairly healthy, and your little ones learn the basics (former latch-key kid, single parent raised, can make a meal out of pantry empty enough to echo)


His Mom tells me we are a rare breed.  Being good Fathers and all.  Putting petty BS aside to go to the playground instead.

I still feel like I'm 17, but that's because of the Melvins thread and now I'm listening to music from 1997.  With a 2 year old.
 
2014-02-11 01:14:12 PM  

doglover: Nogale: Not of iron, sadly.

LOLWAT?

[3.bp.blogspot.com image 850x1086]

You're supposed to eat the liver.


I'll stick with the eel.
 
2014-02-11 01:17:55 PM  
I call absolute bullshiat on everyone that argues that fast food is more expensive than a healthy alternative.

I have a family of four.  If I took us to McDonalds for breakfast, lunch, and supper in one day, I would spend more than it costs to feed us for three days with groceries.

Seriously.
 
2014-02-11 01:27:14 PM  
Well, I see that I said that backwards.
 
2014-02-11 01:46:03 PM  

shortymac: ReapTheChaos: I've been seeing these "lets end food deserts" ads on TV quite a bit and I've been wondering where exactly are the grocery store that don't sell vegetables? I've been to stores in some pretty poor neighborhoods and I've never seen one that didn't. Even if their selection of fresh produce was limited, they always have frozen, which for most vegetables is just as healthy as fresh.

The problem isn't access to healthy food, it's getting people to change their habits. If you didn't grow up eating vegetables and healthy food then your not likely to do it as an adult.

Ditto. My roommate refuses to eat veggies (other than potatoes and corn) because he's been fending for himself since he was a kid. He's basically Jake Peralta from Brooklyn 99.

Moreover, we're not considering the following factors:

Time - if you working 3 jobs you aren't going to have any prep time

Freezer space - No bulk purchasing if you don't have freezer and fridge space

Knowledge - making healthy food taste good is an art

Self-Medication/Decision Fatigue - being poor sucks, even the strongest among us are going to be depressed and stressed as all hell. So you either self-medicate the depression away and/or you run out of willpower at the end of the day and get a Big Mac because you're hungry and tired dammit.


I'd have to disagree with both of those statements. I can cook a healthy meal in 10-15 minutes. For example, last night I made salmon fillets on my George Forman grill. Coat with a little oil, sprinkle with lemon pepper and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Pop some frozen asparagus in a rubbermaid container (poke a couple holes in the top to let the steam out) season to taste, 5 minutes and they're steamed to perfection. Made some instant mashed potatoes on the stove and tossed a piece of Pepperage Farms frozen garlic toast in frying pan over medium heat, 2-3 minutes per side gets it nicely toasted. For dessert I had a light yogurt. Start to finish about 12 minutes, about 580 calories and I was stuffed.

You can substitute any meat and vegetables and get the same results. As for taste, the spice section of any grocery store has premixed spices for just about any flavor you're looking for, steak seasoning, pork chop rub, fajita seasoning, you name it. It might not be gourmet dining but it certainly tastes better than fast food or some premade microwave dinner.
 
2014-02-11 01:50:18 PM  
www.uwec.edu

Gee, I wonder why?
 
2014-02-11 01:55:15 PM  

WhoGAS: It's not money, it's education.

I try to provide my kids with fresh foods but when I'm out of money, I can only provide what I can.

HOWEVER, that is not McDonald's.  I keep rice and dried vegetables for emergencies (yeah, it's not delicious but it's survivable) and I never cook with a microwave.  There are foods we can get inexpensively and retrieve the benefits.

The dried veggie packs from those noodle bowls go great with rice, ground turkey and some frozen peas and carrots in a rice cooker.

Noodles without the flavor packs go great with the $5.00 breaded chicken breasts and frozen peas and carrots.

So many poor recipes I can share.  (Two kids, single dad, paying alimony but get no child support...)

Yeah, it's not fresh, but at least it's not McDonald's.


You need a lawyer, or a children's advocate, via the child support program.
You shouldn't be paying alimony, if you have child placement and aren't getting child support.
Document the time that you spend with your kid and if you can prove you have them for over 50% of the year, through said documentation and bills, then you can take it to a adjudicator and have your custody arrangement reassessed.
After that is reassessed, you can go to your local child support agency, and have them review your support agreement with your ex.
They will review your income, and your ex's(including her alimony) and will either arrange so that you get a lawyer to not have to pay out alimony, or you get a lien established on your ex, so that any tax refunds or other income they earn has to contribute to said support.

Theoretically, any check you send to your ex could have the child support deducted from it.
 
2014-02-11 01:57:42 PM  

MemeSlave: Muta: liam76: While crockpot and oatmeal are cheap, the prep takes planning. Something that is tougher to do when you are poor and stressed.

100% true which is why I feel the lack of education is the root cause of the nutrition problem in cities.  There is a lack of understanding that a little time investment when making something in a crock-pot saves both time and money through out the week.

And why is that anyone else's problem?


Because most people aren't ok with a "fark the poor" mentality in the richest ountry in the world.

Even if you are fine with adults doing shiat liek this, you should have a sliver of compassion for the kids who should be taugth another way, but maybe not.
 
2014-02-11 02:02:56 PM  

Ontos: doglover: Dow Jones and the Temple of Doom: Fast food places aren't in the business of making people healthy.

I can't smoke stogies in the maternity ward, even if one of the kids is allegedly mine, and you're tellin' me we can't pass a law where you have to provide apples to keep your vendor's license in city limits?

More laws are not the answer.

All you would get is:

a) Apples would because a heavily regulated item, and cost $8-$12 at a grocery store.  "Free" at McDonalds.

b) College students, dopers and old hippies would start protests that they have a "right" to apples.

c)  Chuck Schumer would introduce legislation to heavily tax all other fruit.

d) Metric shiat-tons of apples would be thrown away.

e)  More legislation would be hastily written to regulate disposal of apples.
        e-1) A bunch of other shiat would be thrown in the legislation that would fark some other aspect of our lives up to an incredible degree.

Seriously... Stop with the regulation already.  How about, "If people want to buy apples, they should just BUY FARKING APPLES".


We tried that once. We ended up with the Dust Bowl and pretty massive starvation, because farmers only grew what was profitable at the time, instead of what was necessary, and the price of various things crashed and metric shiat-tons of food was thrown away because it wasn't worth the money to ship to market.
 
2014-02-11 03:14:54 PM  

WhoGAS: It's not money, it's education.

I try to provide my kids with fresh foods but when I'm out of money, I can only provide what I can.

HOWEVER, that is not McDonald's.  I keep rice and dried vegetables for emergencies (yeah, it's not delicious but it's survivable) and I never cook with a microwave.  There are foods we can get inexpensively and retrieve the benefits.

The dried veggie packs from those noodle bowls go great with rice, ground turkey and some frozen peas and carrots in a rice cooker.

Noodles without the flavor packs go great with the $5.00 breaded chicken breasts and frozen peas and carrots.

So many poor recipes I can share.  (Two kids, single dad, paying alimony but get no child support...)

Yeah, it's not fresh, but at least it's not McDonald's.


I'm not sure making it easier for you to waste more time a Fark is a good idea, but please enjoy this TotalFark sub.  You might want to consider writing a cookbook.  I bet many people would love to know how to cook on the cheap.

/Sorry for the late response
//Couldn't do it this morning on mobile
///Shirley Temple
 
2014-02-11 03:18:27 PM  

tlars699: You need a lawyer, or a children's advocate, via the child support program.
You shouldn't be paying alimony, if you have child placement and aren't getting child support.
Document the time that you spend with your kid and if you can prove you have them for over 50% of the year, through said documentation and bills, then you can take it to a adjudicator and have your custody arrangement reassessed.
After that is reassessed, you can go to your local child support agency, and have them review your support agreement with your ex.
They will review your income, and your ex's(including her alimony) and will either arrange so that you get a lawyer to not have to pay out alimony, or you get a lien established on your ex, so that any tax refunds or other income they earn has to contribute to said support.

Theoretically, any check you send to your ex could have the child support deducted from it.


Yes, I do.  When I was going through the divorce (took three years; her father's the head of pathology for a hospital and paid for it all) they made sure that I wouldn't be able to afford to fight.  Her father always thought she married beneath her so wanted to make sure I could never "get back at them".

I just don't have the time or energy right now to start another fight or have more drama (long stories) but I have plans to do something similar to what you suggested.

Thank you for your input; it's nice to see that you cared enough to assist how you could.
 
2014-02-11 03:20:31 PM  

MajorTubeSteak: I'm not sure making it easier for you to waste more time a Fark is a good idea, but please enjoy this TotalFark sub.  You might want to consider writing a cookbook.  I bet many people would love to know how to cook on the cheap.

/Sorry for the late response
//Couldn't do it this morning on mobile
///Shirley Temple


Well, thank you very much for that.

Cookbook?  I never really thought about it; I just figured I'm doing what everyone else with little money does.  Hmm.  I'll start jotting my recipes down.  At least it will be something my kids can use later.  Thanks!
 
2014-02-11 03:31:13 PM  
Food deserts are areas that are not served by grocery stores or healthy restaurants. Typically people eat fast food or get food from convenience stores.

They are caused by

1) poverty (people can't afford to buy good food and must eat cheap heavily-subsidized processed food; people can't afford the time or transportation to travel to suburban malls);

2) suburbs (some food deserts are suburbs, but the suburbs have sucked the commercial life out of towns and cities of all sizes). This is an unintended consequence of the automobile which destroyed downtown shopping and also the trollies that used to run from suburbs into towns. The automobile did serious damage to railroads and bus lines as well, leaving many poor people and neighborhoods without safe, affordable public transportation)

3) The growth of commercial chains. Until the 1930s, most stores were independantly owned and dealt directly farmers and other suppliers. The supermarket was invented in the 1930s and spread like a cancer in the 1940s and 1950s. This meant stores that were only accessible by car and thus stores that were mostly in the suburbs of small towns and cities. Since well before the Great Recession began in 2007-2008, even supermarkets have been falling prey to mega-stores which means fewer locations and more areas of food desert for those who do not own cars or have driver's licences. The mortar and brick stores, even the super-sized corporate stores, have also been suffering from virtualisation as people shop online. But many poor people can't afford to do this because it requires computers and credit cards and postal stations to which goods can be safely delivered. For example, I now keep a box at the nearby UPS store at a cost of over $120 a year because packages can not be safely delivered to my apartment. There is no guarantee that Amazon.com, etc. will ship things to the nearest postal station (one of two post offices in the back of stores).

4) Transportation policy that has favoured the automobile (and thus profits) over public transport (and social goods, whether private or public sector.

In short, it is not the fault of progressives or even conservatives that food deserts exist:  it is the fault of "progress". We all did this by not thinking things through to their consequences. Every time you put price over quality or convenience over responsibility. Every time you shop, you make decisions on imperfect information and with unintended consequences for the whole world.

I don't believe you can save the world by shopping (as so many conservatives and liberals, greens and capitalists seem to think). But your decisions and their consequences are evident everytime you choose a heavily advertised junk food item over something healthier for you, the community, the country, and life on Earth.
 
2014-02-11 03:46:08 PM  
My food choices are sub-optimal by far but I am lucky to be:

1) able to get lunch five days a week at a good food court;
2) able to eat "breakfast" at work and to eat my lunch or other snacks leisurely;
3) five minutes walk away from a pretty good grocery store;
4) less than 20 minutes walk from a farmer's market
5) able to keep my junk food restaurant meals down to a few a week.

Individuals and families are up against 1) advertising, 2) merchandising; 3) Big Agro-Industry; 4) Big Processed Foods; 5) Big Tobacco; 6) Big Booze; 7) government bureaucrats and politicians who are captured by well-funded interests and their well-oiled and very expensive propaganda machines.

Junk food is on sale everywhere. It is subsidized to the hilt and it is flaunted and flogged aggressively.

Conservatives tend to moralize this. Liberals tend to be middle-class or upper-middle class and to be able to provide for the education, training and health care that the poorer classes can't afford or obtain.

It is very hard to move the world because of the immense inertia and active resistance of everything from our own bodies and habits to the global supply chain. Too much is invested in the wrong decisions for the right decisions to triumph.

But all is not hopeless. Many of the world's supposed poor are eating better than the supposed rich. We are all suffering from a kind of affluenza, even many of the poor, who are getting sickly and obese just like the people in relatively rich social classes in relatively rich countries.

What needs to be done is to shift the subsidies for corporate farms to smaller family farms, from junk food ingredients such as corn and soybean byproduct to healthy foods like nuts, vegetables, fruit and whole, unprocessed food products; and to make the effort to eat well rather than without thought or effort. There are plenty of "progressives" experimenting with lifestyles and new foods, with slow eating and with thoughtful diet. Even many who consider themselves conservatives are actually adopting large parts of the organic-green-sustainable-local-health food specturm rather than eating like the proles.

But it takes thought and very hard work at all levels from the bottom to top of society to do this.

A home-cooked meal served to the whole family has become the exception rather than the rule, even for "conservatives". This is the first place it all went wrong. And it has been going wrong since the days of the bake house and "made dishes"--which means for several centuries now.
 
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