I’ve been pondering the blog of yesterday, about the fast-food and crap, and I was thinking about how poor people eat more fast food and convenience food–at least that is my understanding from the vast amount of research I have done on the subject, i.e. reading the occasional headline and sometimes even an entire article on the internet–and I was thinking about how fast food and convenience food is relatively cheap (i.e. you can get a lot of calories for not a lot of money) and artificially so (because of corn subsidies and crap), but not really so cheap in the grand scheme of things because you can certainly eat normal food that you prepare yourself (instead of merely unwrapping) at home for a month cheaper than you can eat crap at a fast-food joint or convenience store for a month.
Of course, the catch is that you have to have a place to store and prepare food, and there’s this other catch, that you also have to know how to cook. So obviously there are certain “middle-class” assumptions that need to be met in order to realize the frugality of eating in rather than out. A dozen years ago, I was feeding my family of three for about $100 a month. (This was in California. When we moved to Oregon, the budget went up because food was more expensive here. Unfortunately, our income went down because we were living on a graduate student stipend rather than wages, and we would have eventually run out of money altogether were it not for a fortunate turn of events that is too far off the subject to get into here. Another time!) We did not eat fast food because we didn’t have any extra cash for eating fast food. So that was the mindset I was working with when I was pondering how people can say that fast food is so cheap because in my experience as the relatively-poor, it still qualified as an extravagance.
Then Susan M reminded me that many fast-food places have dollar menus, and that got me thinking. Let’s say you fed yourself off the dollar menu only. Make that dollar menus because the key to healthy eating is diversification. I just made that up, but it sounds plausible, doesn’t it? Anyway, let’s say you feed yourself only dollar-menu items. Let’s say you can feed yourself breakfast, lunch and dinner for a dollar each. That would cost you, on average, $90 a month. If you’re a family of three, that would cost you $270 a month, but I have no idea what an appropriate food budget is for a family of three anymore, and I stopped keeping track of how much my family of six spends on food per month because it depressed me, so let’s stick with you being just one person who spends $90 a month on food. That’s doable, isn’t it? Assuming you have an income of at least $90 a month, of course.
Anyway, I was just thinking that if you ate only dollar-menu items at fast-food places, i.e., one dollar-menu item per meal, it would still be gross, but you probably wouldn’t get fat. For one thing, you would not be getting fries with that. You would not be drinking sugary (or rather, corn-syrupy) sodas, which are just empty calories. (As opposed to fries, which are calories filled with deliciousness.) I wonder what would happen if you did that. Someone (impersonal “you,” perhaps) should make that documentary: DollarMenu Me. Three dollar-meals a day for thirty days. I’m thinking one might not get fat, but would there be other ill effects with that level of fast-food consumption? That cat in SuperSize Me became impotent, I think. Would a dollar-menu diet make you impotent? I’m just wondering.
I’m not curious enough to do it myself, of course, because a dollar-menu diet would probably make me hurl, or at least feel like hurling, and I’m not too keen on either of those things.
Speaking of hurling, Girlfriend is sick. She developed a sore throat Sunday night, and as of 6 a.m. today she started throwing up. Of course, she isn’t throwing up much because she hasn’t eaten much in the last 24 hours, but she still managed to get her stomach acids on all my bedclothes. I’m referring to sheets and quilts, in case you were wondering. So I have a lot of laundry to do. Speaking of laundry, Elvis has been so busy with school and whatnot that he has not been able to force me to do laundry, and thus I have fallen behind thereon. I am beginning to think that falling behind on laundry is what causes children to throw up. It seems like as soon as I realize that I need to wash a whole bunch of clothes and towels, someone starts vomiting on the sheets and quilts as a cosmic punishment for my procrastination. I realize that “cosmic punishment” is not a term one often finds in scientific literature, but I still think there’s something to this theory. Maybe it could be part of the dollar-menu documentary somehow.
I didn’t get much sleep last night, in case you were wondering.
Speaking of sleep, I think I will get a nap in whilst Girlfriend is still not throwing up. Wow, I hope this blog has been as pleasant for you as it was for me. Happy Tuesday, gentle readers. Adieu.