how can she possibly buy apples with her limited food stamp budget?
August 5, 2014 12:51 PM   Subscribe

 
I think politicians who want to reduce food stamps should have to undertake a similar exercise.
posted by shoesietart at 1:05 PM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think politicians people who want to reduce food stamps should have to undertake a similar exercise.

We'd probably all have a bit more empathy and understanding for situations not our own.
posted by Fizz at 1:07 PM on August 5, 2014 [12 favorites]


I was on food stamps while in grad school and so I am hopefully going to always support their usage. That being said, I think there's a lot more we could do in shaping the money we send out to the farmers to subsidize one crop over the other (more local fruit, less corn and wheat!) that, while sadly not eliminating the need for food stamps, would still help those on food stamps a lot, and the rest of us, too.
posted by rebent at 1:09 PM on August 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Food and I, to put it nicely, have an enormously complicated relationship for a lot of reasons, but economics is part of it, and continues to be so. A few days ago I came home with a giant bag of cherries. I looked at it and I thought, I cannot possibly finish all of these, there's going to be waste, they're too expensive, but they are gorgeous and perfect in a way my life never is.

I finished off the last of the bag this morning. Every one of them was beautiful. And so this made me cry.
posted by Sequence at 1:13 PM on August 5, 2014 [47 favorites]


One thing that Washington State does is double the value of food stamps when used to buy fresh produce at farmers markets. Which is pretty awesome, but inadequate in at least two ways, as I see it:
  1. Farmers markets currently have Portlandia-ish white-rich-hipstery cultural associations, and feature a lot of stuff marketed to that demographic (8 dollar vegan lunches, etc.). This to some small extent makes them less welcoming/less useful to people who aren't in one or more of those categories.
  2. The matching funds are capped at ten dollars per cardholder per market per day, which is just too low for anyone who can't spend their weekends on the bus going from market to market to market.
Which is why I wish we could subsidize agriculture (and, oh yeah, incidentally make life less sucky for us poors) by extending this program to cover fresh produce at conventional grocery stores, and by raising the amount of money matched. The farmers market matching program makes it possible to get fresh produce for somewhat reasonable prices; extending it to grocery stores would make it not just possible, but also less of a chore. Presumably, though, it would be far too expensive for even the good people who live on the west coast to support.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:15 PM on August 5, 2014 [29 favorites]


How much does this family eat?! I think apples are about 88 cents per pound, around here. And yet the article says that an $11 bag is "two snacks".
posted by Tool of the Conspiracy at 1:21 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, those preschoolers are definitely eating their apples wrong.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:25 PM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


How much does this family eat?! I think apples are about 88 cents per pound, around here. And yet the article says that an $11 bag is "two snacks".

Where do you live? Apples here are $1.50/lb at the discount store I usually shop at, which is widely known for its dirt cheap produce section. $11 did seem high to me, but $.88? Nope. Not happening here.
posted by geegollygosh at 1:27 PM on August 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


Which is why I wish we could subsidize agriculture (and, oh yeah, incidentally make life less sucky for us poors) by extending this program to cover fresh produce at conventional grocery stores, and by raising the amount of money matched.

Does anyone know if there are CSA's out there that people can donate to that specifically deliver to people who are in need of fresh produce?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:28 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Fine. Maybe the bag of apples really constitutes three or four snacks. Does that really change the fundamental point here?
posted by zachlipton at 1:29 PM on August 5, 2014 [10 favorites]


You Can't Tip A Buick: the green market near me does something similar. EBT can be used to buy tokens which can be used to buy anything at the green market, and every $10 you get a coupon worth $5 if spent on produce. Our green market, while a little yuppie-ish, does have a good amount of fairly cheap produce, so it hopefully dodges the first issue.

One thing that I actually really like about the system is the fact that the same tokens can be purchased with credit cards and used at vendors that don't accept credit cards (which is most of them). It seems like a big step towards removing any stigma around EBT at the market - since tons of people use the tokens to buy almost everything, using them doesn't signal "I'm on food stamps" the way using an EBT card directly would.
posted by Itaxpica at 1:29 PM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


As a guaranteed basic income evangelist, I'd say we should destigmatize EBT by giving it to everybody. But yeah, the tokens thing is pretty smart, too.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:34 PM on August 5, 2014 [17 favorites]


THE HOMELESS ARE LYING ABOUT APPLES
posted by shakespeherian at 1:34 PM on August 5, 2014 [93 favorites]


For what it's worth, I looked at FreshDirect, which quotes $2.21/lb for Fuji apples and $1.99/lb for Granny Smith. So apple prices can be location dependent.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:37 PM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]



I think politicians who want to reduce food stamps should have to undertake a similar exercise.

If the "christian" framework you are working from dictates that Grandmothers who are forced to eat catfood deserve that because of life choices they made, and that Jesus is not merely OK with this, but actively advocates for that outcome, then no amount of having to live like a poor person will convince you that you should help them.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:42 PM on August 5, 2014 [16 favorites]


Also, the entire point of the exercise was that the money for this trip was supposed to be used for indulgences. The donor/author specifically told the mother that this $50 was to be unrestricted and used for whatever she wished:

I promised her there were no expectations. I just wanted her to have $50 without food-stamp restrictions. A spree without worry.

So maybe the mom in question bought a bag of super-fresh hyper-local extra-shiny organic apples, the likes of which she can't normally afford, instead of the gummy almost-bad ones she would usually get. Over-priced apples, the horror.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 1:43 PM on August 5, 2014 [32 favorites]


I like the idea of being able to use SNAP benefits at farmer's markets (you can do that here in RI too), but I agree that instituting a similar system of SNAP dollars being worth more when spent on fresh produce in grocery stores would reach a lot more people like the mother in the article. Why ask people to make a special trip to a farmer's market, especially if they are not typically in the habit of going to one already?

I have nothing against farmer's markets, I think they're a nice idea and I think they're fun, but if the goal is to get fresh local produce to everyone, I don't think they're where we should be putting our energy.

I mean, if we really wanted to get fresh local produce to poor people, we'd be buying local produce for food banks and working to get local produce into the (non-whole foods) grocery stores that people already go to and putting local produce into lunch programs at schools. This is happening to some extent, I know, but there needs to be more if the 'fresh local food movement' actually wants to reach people like the mother profiled in the article.
posted by geegollygosh at 1:44 PM on August 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


Fine. Maybe the bag of apples really constitutes three or four snacks. Does that really change the fundamental point here?

We'd have to compare the sizes of these apples to the sizes of those apples, which doesn't seem easy, its like comparing oh fuck it
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:52 PM on August 5, 2014 [26 favorites]


One bit of good news to add to some locales: gleaning programs are growing in popularity.

At our little grocery store you can get a 3-4 pound bag of "snack sized" apples for $5-$6. Larger sized apples are $2-$3 a pound.

At some larger stores there is a 1.5 pound bag for $3 but these are usually Disney-branded fruit (I'm not kidding) and they are higher quality than the ones in the 3-4 pound bag.

In the 3-4 pound bag you've got a certain amount of loss built in. Depending on the in-store handling you can guarantee two or three (out of ten or eleven) are too bruised to feel good about eating by the end of the week (I started trying to pull those out first and put them "on top" to be eaten first).

Bags of "small sized fruit" started becoming popular soon after my kids required the daily transportation of meals. It was perfect because a large apple was impossibly big, and "medium" sized apples (which seem to have disappeared) were also a bit much. They're big business.

Be that as it may, he kids got some damn apples and we got this conversation. How do you like them apples?
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 1:54 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


That was eye-opening. I hope the children get at least one good meal a day in school.
posted by Renoroc at 1:58 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


THE HOMELESS ARE LYING ABOUT APPLES

It's not them, man, it's the government. False apple stamps, man! You don't know! You just don't know!
posted by corb at 2:04 PM on August 5, 2014


We have got to get better at keeping people properly fed. Good food is the basis for good health. This is a huge problem that breeds bigger bills down the line for everyone.
posted by Michele in California at 2:05 PM on August 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


The focus on food is misleading and unhelpful. The problem with her situation is not the high cost of fresh produce, but her overall poverty and especially her housing situation. The article mentions her lack of access to refrigeration in passing, then talks about the high cost of produce. These are separate issues: even if her food stamps were doubled, she would still not have access to refrigeration, and she'd still be pressured into eating non-fresh items.

As a fraction of our income, Americans enjoy some of the cheapest food in the world. Cross the border to Canada, for example, and fresh produce is just as expensive, if not more—and Canada has a lower per capita income.

The current focus on "food justice" is, at its core, a commodity fetish. It is a desire to reconcile the social justice instincts of young liberals with their foodie culture, as if difficult economic issues could be addressed with a heartfelt NOMNOMNOM. Vitamin deficiency, even among the poor, is very rare in the US, and providing more vegetables alone, without other dietary and lifestyle modifications, is unlikely to have a significant effect on overall health outcomes. The poor have it rough because they lack money, not because of produce prices.

The poor do not need an occasional $50 handout, and what they do when given it does not represent more generally what they want or need. The $50 the author handed the woman in the article does *not* constitute "total freedom," because you can't do anything very transformative with $50. Let's ask a few poor families what they'd do with not just an extra $50, but and extra $5000—that is, an amount that can actually make a difference. I'm guessing the money would go overwhelmingly toward transportation, followed by some combination new clothes to look presentable, healthcare spending, childcare accessories, paying down various high-interest debts, and helping out friends and family. They might buy some cherries too—why not—but cherry deficit is hardly the main problem with being poor.

As far as obesity goes., it's a huge problem, especially among the poor, but that is more the fault of an excess of cheap crappy food than a lack of fresh produce. If you want to lose weight, you don't eat craploads of fresh produce, you stop eating high calorie foods, and in general, you just eat less. You should also exercise more. Even if we were to hand out free organic kale to every poor family, I doubt it would have much of an impact on obesity, when the corner store sells 38 different kinds of soda and candy bar, for the earnings of 12 minutes of after-tax minimum wage work. People who are in high stress situations also overeat more, especially when there is tasty high-calorie food around. This is amply confirmed in animal models, and is unsurprising to anyone who has fallen on crushing hard times. And when you have no job and your car is broken and your landlord is threatening you with eviction, the last thing you want to do is go for a brisk run. Again, the problem is poverty, not food prices.
posted by andrewpcone at 2:06 PM on August 5, 2014 [52 favorites]


Vitamin deficiency, even among the poor, is very rare in the US, and providing more vegetables alone, without other dietary and lifestyle modifications, is unlikely to have a significant effect on overall health outcomes

Except that isn't really what we're talking about here. Kids who go to school malnourished or hungry are less likely to get good grades, less likely to pay attention, less likely to do well in sports, etc. And THAT has a significant effect on your life outcome.

If you want to lose weight, you don't eat craploads of fresh produce, you stop eating high calorie foods, and in general, you just eat less.

As this article points out, it is hard to and more expensive to obtain fresh produce.

You should also exercise more.

Yeah, a lot of times, a single mother living in a shelter with two children who is looking for work does not have a lot of free time to go to the gym.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:12 PM on August 5, 2014 [20 favorites]


So apple prices can be location dependent.

It's also not apple season. We get cheap apples in season, but the ones they are selling now were probably cellared for 10 months.
posted by smackfu at 2:14 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


These are separate issues: even if her food stamps were doubled, she would still not have access to refrigeration, and she'd still be pressured into eating non-fresh items.

You are wrong. I happen to be homeless. When I first got food stamps, they backdated it to the day of the online application. So I had about 40 days worth of food stamps (about 10 days from May plus all of June) put in my EBT account to start with and then, a few days later, I got July's benefit credited to me. And right about the same time that happened, a creditor of mine locked up my bank account for a month. But I had two months worth of food stamps to feed myself and my two sons. We ate no hot food all month but we had cold deli meats, we had lactose reduced milk, we had watermelon. We ate well, in part because I and my oldest son both have a deadly medical condition so eating well makes way better sense than accepting the kinds of medical bills we are supposed to have (and the medical hell that goes with it) but also because I had two fucking months worth of food stamps that month.

So, yeah, doubling the food stamp benefit sure as hell would let even homeless people eat better. I happen to have experienced that exact scenario firsthand in a quite memorable fashion.
posted by Michele in California at 2:17 PM on August 5, 2014 [34 favorites]


The bag of apples was not two snacks. The bag of apples and the cherries were more than two snacks. The small quantity of blueberries and the green pepper were the "snack" kind of quantities, she spent much more on the apples and cherries. The apples were presumably of a quantity that would stretch for a bit. The cherries were just for being cherries.
posted by Sequence at 2:21 PM on August 5, 2014


I feel kind of sick thinking about this. What the hell is going to happen to people? The whole low end of the job market has been gutted in my lifetime (I'm 47). Gas prices are pretty stable now, but that's after a period of big increases. Food seems to keep getting more expensive. What is this going to be like in 10 or 20 years?

The political discourse of austerity and contempt for the poor seems to be hydra-headed. Obviously these are not original ideas, maybe you are sick of hearing them. The financialization of capitalism, and the passing of the era when business thought of itself as having a connection to labor and to society, a moral relationship, has led to a regime of extracting maximum profits above all else. Pensions and living wages are just lost profits now, to business. Didn't people used to see that they were bulwarks against Communism, or something?
posted by thelonius at 2:22 PM on August 5, 2014 [15 favorites]


Seriously, who cares how many snacks it was?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:23 PM on August 5, 2014 [16 favorites]


Except that isn't really what we're talking about here. Kids who go to school malnourished or hungry are less likely to get good grades, less likely to pay attention, less likely to do well in sports, etc. And THAT has a significant effect on your life outcome.

This is true, but from what I've read, malnutrition has negligible power to explain income, health, and educational disparities in the US.

It is simultaneously true that eating too much bad food will make you do worse in school/work/etc. This is especially true of very sugary foods. I suspect that excess consumption of unhealtyh food has greater power to explain health disparities than the failure to consume good food. That is, removing the unhealthy food would do a lot of good, independently of adding more healthy food.

My point is that it's not just a problem of Providing More Good Stuff.

As this article points out, it is hard to and more expensive to obtain fresh produce.


Yes, I'm not disagreeing with that. It is nonetheless true that failing to eat more junk food will make you less obese, regardless of access to fresh produce. I'm saying the problem is not just that good food is expensive and hard to get, it's that bad food is cheap and easy to get.

If we want to address the obesity and nutrition issues effectively, again, it's not just a matter of Providing More Good Stuff, and the More Good Stuff paradigm sometimes distracts from other important issues.

Yeah, a lot of times, a single mother living in a shelter with two children who is looking for work does not have a lot of free time to go to the gym.


I know, and if you read the rest of that paragraph, you'll see that I'm agreeing with you: poverty makes it hard to exercise. But that doesn't mean that a lack of exercise isn't part of the problem. I'm saying that we need to address poverty generally if we want people to have healthier behaviors. My point is that obsessing so heavily on food, as has become fashionable, distracts from other crippling (and I think more significant) effects of poverty.
posted by andrewpcone at 2:25 PM on August 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


Again, the problem is poverty, not food prices.

And again, the solution is not any of these social engineering programs, but helicopters full of cash shooting money over poor areas.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:25 PM on August 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


todo: assemble a crack team of bank robbers and helicopter hijackers.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:30 PM on August 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's insulting to equate wanting food solutions with foodie hipsters with bleeding hearts.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:32 PM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


@Michele:


So, yeah, doubling the food stamp benefit sure as hell would let even homeless people eat better. I happen to have experienced that exact scenario firsthand in a quite memorable fashion.


I am not disagreeing with you at all. I am absolutely not trying to say that SNAP is sufficient and shouldn't be increased. I was on food stamps for two years, and I routinely ran out around the 20th day of the month—and I don't have any kids to raise. For most of that time I was homeless in SF (Treasure Island), and there was only one crappy, overpriced store easily accessible to me.

All I'm saying in the paragraph that you are replying to is that if you don't have access to refrigeration, more food stamps will not give you a fridge, and that will still pressure you into eating non-perishable foods.

The conclusion I'm drawing is that there are many problems with poverty—including with food specifically—that would not be solved by increasing SNAP benefits. Refrigeration is one example that was mentioned in the article—there are many others.
posted by andrewpcone at 2:34 PM on August 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's insulting to equate wanting food solutions with foodie hipsters with bleeding hearts.

My intent was not to insult anyone, and I think it's a bit of a derail to talk about your reaction to my claim rather than the claim's merits. But as long as we're talking about specific personal experience and emotions, I'll say this.

Until recently, I was homeless and desperately poor, and when I was, I found it pretty absurd that the social justice apparatus seemed to think that may main problem was access to fresh produce. I'm not going to say I was "insulted"—more just boggled.

In my case, what I needed was money, and things got way, way better when, by the grace of God, I got a good job that I have been able to hold. Yes, I eat a lot better now, but that is a small component of why my life is better.
posted by andrewpcone at 2:41 PM on August 5, 2014 [16 favorites]


I think politicians who want to reduce food stamps should have to undertake a similar exercise.

I'd rather just hold them down and give them Snow Crash forehead tattoos from Matthew 25.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:44 PM on August 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


Sounds like we're all in agreement, andrewpcone. What those in poverty need is not people telling them what their problems are but more money. (Wasn't there a study about this linked on MeFi recently?) You thought it was absurd that people thought you needed fresh produce; I'm sure there are people who will look at your suggestion to ban junk food and find that a bit insulting as well.
posted by Quilford at 2:51 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


The FPP in question
posted by Quilford at 2:56 PM on August 5, 2014


@Quilford

I'm sure there are people who will look at your suggestion to ban junk food and find that a bit insulting as well.

Whoa, I never suggested banning anything, and to be clear, I don't support banning any food or otherwise telling people what to eat. I'm saying that there is a surplus of cheap crappy food. As the article points out, that is in large part the result of bad federal policies that distort the market in favor of those foods.

It is hard to know what to do about addictive behaviors like overeating. Banning foods seems draconian and insulting. Alcohol prohibition was clearly a bad idea, and marijuana prohibition probably is too. But anti-smoking policies have been really effective, and few people would support legalizing heroin.

So what to do about the junk food/obesity issue? I'm not sure: it's a genuinely hard problem. But I think it starts with acknowledging that overconsumption of certain foods is in fact harmful, and also acknowledging—as you have—that we should respect people's personal choices. Repealing certain subsidies in the Farm Bill would probably be a good idea, and we might do something about the aggressive marketing of addictive foods to children.
posted by andrewpcone at 2:58 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


andrewpcone,

In the interest of not adding to the problem here, let me just briefly note that your food math -- of just take away the bad stuff without adding in more good stuff -- is part of what people are reacting so negatively to. I suspect you don't mean it this way, but you are basically proposing starvation to solve the problems of the poor (because that is the result if you take away the bad stuff and don't replace it with good stuff). It works far better to get more good, healthy stuff into people in order to crowd out the bad food than to expect people to eschew junk food using self discipline or something. (This is exactly the approach I have taken to get healthy after being basically written off for dead and I have shrunk dramatically in the process.)

I am glad you are off the street. I hope people can just return to discussing the article and let go of this derail which is apparently rooted in poor communication.
posted by Michele in California at 3:04 PM on August 5, 2014 [10 favorites]


Does anyone know if there are CSA's out there that people can donate to that specifically deliver to people who are in need of fresh produce?

Not quite what you're asking for, but The Denver Botanic Garden's CSA does some good things in that area. It's one of the things that got us to choose them. There's even a special "supporting share" that the extra money (I think it's $300 or so) just goes towards helping fund those programs.
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:57 PM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Nitpicking the actions of other people functions in situations like this to absolve oneself of responsibility. If other people are making bad decisions, the story goes, then they deserve whatever they get. This is vital because it means I don't have to think about how I'm complicit in a system where on the one hand we have mind-boggling levels of material wealth, and on the other we have people without food, water, physical safety, clothing, shelter, bodily autonomy, education, health care, and the ability to make meaningful, uncoerced choices.

That's why you see nitpicking come up like clockwork in any conversation about oppressive power relationships.
posted by amery at 4:04 PM on August 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Why does every conversation about poverty and lack of access to food/money have to involve obesity? When I read articles about any other of level of income and food sources there are rarely comments about the obesity levels but throw a poor person into it and suddenly fatness and how it is an epidemic comes into it.

Get all people to the point where they can get through a month without worrying about starving and their kids starving and then maybe we can focus on how utterly fat they are and how it is destroying society.
posted by kanata at 4:07 PM on August 5, 2014 [16 favorites]


kanata,

I recall my son mentioning some study. Rats that had unlimited access to food any time they wanted it by just pushing a lever ate less than rats who could only get food at specified times, even if the amount of food provided was plenty adequate. Most likely, obesity among the poor is partly driven by the sense of food insecurity -- the sense that "I don't know where my next meal is coming from, so I better eat while I can, as much as I can, even if I know it is bad for me (because it is junk food or I have diabetes or whatever)."

So, yeah, it's a particularly ugly criticism. Most likely, helping poor people achieve food security would help many of them lose weight.
posted by Michele in California at 4:13 PM on August 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


Why does every conversation about poverty and lack of access to food/money have to involve obesity?

Seriously, this! I'm not fat, I'm actually underweight enough it concerns the doctors. Their suggestions - that I eat more. Well, I'd love to buy more food but the politicians and my fellow citizens won't allow for more benefits because I made all the wrong choices by not picking the right doctor (misprescribed Rx, leaving me disabled.)

Americans in general are getting fatter, this is not an issue with "the poors". Yet every time poverty is the topic, the conversation inevitably ends up about how the poor don't grocery shop correctly.
posted by _paegan_ at 4:18 PM on August 5, 2014 [11 favorites]


Seriously, who cares how many snacks it was?

Because somewhere there is a small child eating TOO MUCH APPLE!!! TOO MUCH APPLE?! Do you not understand how this is demolishing the fabric of western civilization?!?!?

Or that would be the answer if I were a jerk who would laser-focus on the price of some apples to give some children a snack.

Also, apples are huge these days. One apple is about a pound. I know this because I buy them individually and it sucks because you can't really save half an apple effectively for the next day. The little apples, which are indeed higher quality and more portion-size-friendly, are more expensive. In a more pricey area I can easily see two or three snacks of apple being $11.

This derail irritates me so much I'm tempted to drive to the store and do some comparison apple shopping. I mean I don't even particularly enjoy the company of small people but I don't begrudge them snacks.
posted by winna at 4:22 PM on August 5, 2014 [11 favorites]


THE HOMELESS ARE LYING ABOUT APPLES

Guess they should be drug-tested before they're allowed to buy fresh fruit.
posted by fuse theorem at 4:34 PM on August 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


@Paegan, @kanata

There is a very good reason why poverty and obesity get linked, namely that obesity in the US is disproportionately concentrated among poor people. The poorest quintile of the population has almost twice the obesity rate of the richest quintile (27.3% versus 14.8% in 2002-03). source

You seem to be suggesting that the poverty-obesity discourse comes from contempt for the poor, or at least a desire to criticize or blame them. Probably that does motivate some people, but at the point where more than a quarter of poor people were obese, and obesity correlates strongly with income, and obesity is a rapidly growing problem, it's irresponsible to derail talking about that because it feels mean to call poor people fat.
posted by andrewpcone at 5:37 PM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


When obesity shows up in these discussions (as long as it's not as "how can they be hungry? They're fat!") I've always read it as pre-emtping the argument that "lol ramen only costs $0.25 a packet how can they be so hungry on $60/mo" -- the point being that your average privileged not-poor person doesn't easily realize that "eating cheaply" and "eating healthily" are often mutually exclusive.
posted by olinerd at 5:38 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Where on earth did obesity come from in this conversation.

Are those apples everyone is so exercised about made of actual lard.

Also we don't use the @username convention here on metafilter, please.
posted by winna at 5:42 PM on August 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


[yes, please let's drop turning this into a discussion of obesity]
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:56 PM on August 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think apples are about 88 cents per pound, around here.

Wow, I'm not trying to exaggerate for some sort of point, but that really just seems like an exceptional price to me. When I (very rarely) see apples at under 2 bucks a pound, it feels like a bonanza. Really the only fresh fruit I find that's consistently, genuinely cheap is bananas.
posted by threeants at 6:15 PM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I (very rarely) see apples at under 2 bucks a pound, it feels like a bonanza. Really the only fresh fruit I find that's consistently, genuinely cheap is bananas.

That price for apples is bananas.1 I guess cheap produce is one of the good things about living in California that helps to compensate for all the totally fucking awful things.

1: b-a-n-a-n-a-s.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:15 PM on August 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Apples at like $1.89 a pound are a steal, at my local (non-fancy) grocery store. $11 for a larger bag of apples sounds about right.

Apples have been covered: let's talk about cherries!

Cherries – $6.38

Cherries are this perfect, delicious, self-limiting snack that through pricing and portion-to-be-sold is almost immediately dismissed as an option, even by those I know who can afford it alone.
posted by RainyJay at 7:26 PM on August 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Are those apples everyone is so exercised about made of actual lard
I think it'd be better if they were! At least then there would be some chance of a satiating meal in the bag. The only protein is in the vienna sausages. If you ate that whole bag of carbs you'd be gnawingly hungry an hour later. Why not get a dozen eggs and some butter? Maybe a jar of peanut butter? Produce isn't necessarily the healthiest thing for you in every situation!

I volunteer at a food bank and all we ever pack is potatoes, rice pasta... the only protein I've ever seen there was a crate of Clif bars and however much is in dry pinto beans. I think we are doing the clients a disservice with all the carbs and no protein or fat to balance them out.
posted by bink at 9:27 PM on August 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, apples are huge these days. One apple is about a pound. I know this because I buy them individually and it sucks because you can't really save half an apple effectively for the next day.

I chop them in half, vertically, and leave half in the fruitbowl. The surface soon goes a bit brown and dries out a bit. When you're ready to eat it, slice off the surface thinly, and you've got the best part of half a fresh apple. No need to wrap in plastic or anything like that.
posted by rory at 3:52 AM on August 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


If you ate that whole bag of carbs you'd be gnawingly hungry an hour later.
Most people are really satisfied after eating a whole bag of apples. All the fiber and the chewing does a good job of filling you up. This doesn't always work anymore for people who have been on a low-carb diet for a while (they sometimes get more sensitive to carbs), but I don't think that's relevant for the target audience.
Also, potatoes and pasta have protein. You could eat nothing but potatoes every day and get enough amino acids.
posted by blub at 4:02 AM on August 6, 2014 [4 favorites]


man micromanaging a homeless woman's food choices is super fun.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:52 AM on August 6, 2014 [12 favorites]


Today I think she should eat one scoop of creamed potatoes, a slice of butter, four peas, and as much ice cream as she wants.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:54 AM on August 6, 2014 [7 favorites]


as soon as she has a shipping cart metafilter approves of she will magically be granted a home
posted by shakespeherian at 5:57 AM on August 6, 2014 [9 favorites]


I would love love love to have some kind of magic power so that when people start nitpicking on poor people's choices the laser focus would then be turned on them.

'Look at that - they spent twenty dollars on a video game and then played it for three hours. They could have spent that money on protein powder and went to the gym instead to lose that forty pounds they're dragging around because they work too late at their comfy white collar job! There's no excuse for that kind of sloth. Also, if they had Pimsleur audiobooks to listen to at the gym, they could acquire basic spoken fluency in several languages at the same time! There's no excuse for someone with a stable job and a college education not to be able to communicate in at least four world languages. It's disgusting.'
posted by winna at 6:45 AM on August 6, 2014 [30 favorites]


as soon as she has a shipping cart metafilter approves of she will magically be granted a home

I so desperately want to make a joke here but I have already made one joke on mefi today and it seems to be bombing and...REASONS...but that would be a cool magic spell if it worked and I would totally try that if I thought it would work.


(though I am hoping it is supposed to be shopping cart, not shipping cart -- I don't even know what a shipping cart is and that would seriously complicate any attempts to do magic spells.)
posted by Michele in California at 10:18 AM on August 6, 2014


I was at a free community function where the commissioner of agriculture came to congratulate the university on all the great ag science and outreach done over the years in various sectors including very important work in diabetes prevention. It was crowded and I was stuck over by the drinks table on which were many big glass urns full of sweet tea and some fluid the color of a praying mantis that I didn't sample to identify, but I am reasonably sure corn syrup was the second ingredient after water. Three times during the commissioner's 10-minute speech about feeding the world's hungry and preventing food-related diseases, a couple of 12-year-old boys came up to the drinks table to fill their pint cups full of the green substance. After the speech everybody clapped and the commissioner came down and mingled with the crowd and we all shared a celebratory sheetcake the size of a minivan. There's a meal limit at the homeless shelter--we can only feed so many without breaking ordinances designed to protect area businesses from proximity to too many surfeited homeless people. But there's no limit on donuts. Every day the grocery store drops off its day-old baked goods. They pour it all out on a long table. Mountains and mountains of donuts. Hungry? Have a donut! Still hungry? Sorry, you missed out on the soup line, but there's still plenty of donuts! You need to take the "We're feeding the world!" back-slapping yap you hear from state-sponsored agriculture with a pretty sizable chunk of salt.
posted by Don Pepino at 12:49 PM on August 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


some fluid the color of a praying mantis that I didn't sample to identify

UGH I know exactly what you mean and now the taste-memory of it is in my mouth and won't go away. They used to serve it at Vacation Bible School while we made our Jesus macaroni art. It was like the ghosts of vengeful limes.
posted by winna at 5:13 PM on August 6, 2014 [5 favorites]


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