Deen responded, saying, “…not everybody can afford to pay $58 for prime rib or $650 for a bottle of wine…I cook for regular families who worry about feeding their kids and paying the bills…It wasn’t that long ago that I was struggling to feed my family, too.”
Two or three generations back, before the advent of cheap, highly processed foods (or at least when it was still only accessible/marketed to wealthy housewives) being exhausted, overworked and poor didn't keep anyone from cooking. There simply wasn't a choice. And families passed down the knowledge of how to skillfully prepare good food out of pennies.... So my question is, how do we revive home cooking and a willingness to budget time for it without being paternalistic?
These days anyone who can read and carefully follow directions can get out a recipe, turn an oven on to 350 degrees and bake a perfect cake.
If you don't 'shop to the recipe,' you really are using just the small amounts at a time, and you count the per-meal cost as only the amount of those things you used. If I buy four pounds of ground beef for 5.00 and only use two pounds in a recipe, I used $2.50 worth of ground beef, and I still have $2.50 worth of ground beef to be used in another meal.
This isn't some kind of dirty trick - this is a pretty standard way of food costing, useful in the food service industry and of course, necessary when you live on a budget. This is common on food blogs, government cooking-education sites, etc.
THE fact is that most people can afford real food. Even the nearly 50 million Americans who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) receive about $5 per person per day, which is far from ideal but enough to survive. So we have to assume that money alone doesn’t guide decisions about what to eat.
I also think you're missing the point that lentil-based recipes are very easy to vary; in India, tens of millions of people happily lived on it for thousands of years, and by happily I mean it wasn't considered a kind of food to look down on, to barely survive on when you're down and out in Delhi and Calcutta.
Before we have a chance of solving anything we need to have a clear idea of what the problems are. If you're arguing that healthy food is expensive, you're setting up a position that's trivial to shot down.
While the working week for men in full-time jobs in Europe is only marginally shorter than for US men, women in Europe work far fewer hours than their counterparts, and are more likely to hold part-time jobs. Both genders in the US work on average 41 hours a week, women a little less. In Europe, women work just over 30 hours, compared to around 38 for men.
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