Friday, January 13, 2006

back to food

Fact: Kagan and I spend roughly ten percent of our take-home pay on food. (And our take-home pay doesn't count the 401k or mortgage or insurance or metrocheks.)

Fact: in 1900, the average family spent nearly half their income on food.


Also, we really do it up in the grocery stores. Luckily, my more frugal half gets most things on sale, but we still have grapefruits and Gruyere and organic milk and antibiotic-free chicken. What did that half include in 1900?

My point is: food is cheap.

This isn't a popular point these days, what with all the talk of low-income people being forced to consume the 25-cent donut sticks and honeybuns. It's true that while all food is cheap, bad food is even cheaper. Perhaps that's because it doesn't come from anything real, who knows, or that so many people buy it that they can produce with economies of scale. I don't know. But I digress.

Food is cheap.

And really, with more people in America and way, way, way fewer farmers, where does it all come from?


Anonymous said...

Funny how we're not going to war with the Sudan for all that fertile farm-land. No no, we don't worry about the fact that at the most, our nation has a 30 day supply of food. After 30 days the silos, grocery stores, warehouses and shipyards are empty, and everyone except for the Mormons and a few like-minded pack-rats are hungry.

Our oil reserves would last how long now?

But food doesn't turn the kind of profit that the old-rich-pasty-white men in charge of the country appreciate.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Minimum wage: 5.15
Cost of a _cheap_ fast food meal: @7.00
Three meals a day: @20.00
Eight hour day pay: 40.00

Anonymous said...

I spend about 40% of my income on food, and that's making more than minimum wage.

pretty sad.

Anonymous said...

i dispute the point that it costs $20 a day to eat bad food.

banana and granola bar for breakfast: $2
can of soup and sandwich for lunch: $3

and so on.

Anonymous said...

to the $20 per day food allowance:

That amounts to $140 per week, for one person.

Alexe and I shop at Costco, Whole-Foods, and three other grocery stores when Alexe has the patience to accompany me. We eat well, the two of us. And we spend roughly $100 per week, for the two of us.

And we love to eat. Alexe makes us buy organic, which slims the amount we take home for that money.

My parents raised 4 kids, big kids, with a food budget of $120 per week, and our house was full of food.

Now granted, if you take any effort on your part out of the equation, it might be more expensive to eat. That's not the cost of food, that's the cost of having someone else prepare and hand you your food.


Anonymous said...

First of all, I'd love to know what comment the "blog Administrator" removed.

And then----you all cook. Most families don't.Or they use conveniance foods.

IN 1900, what was the average wage?
How much of their disposable income went to service their credit card/student loan/home equity/mortgage debt???

And Kagan, your family had---has--a large garden. Also rare these days.
I guess because we don't value food.
And the only rich family farmers I've ever seen are either trust fund junkies or those who've just sold their land to a developer.
We value money. Not land. not food.