My brother in law is a cracker jack financial advisor who has been helping hundreds of fortunate clients manage the recession. The title of his blog this week was “No Inflation Unless You Eat“. Apparently, the Fed omits the price of food when calculating the Core CPI but as Jay points out, “most of us don’t live in a core world.” I can appreciate his issue with the numbers and the underlying increase in food costs but it also caused me to think about all sorts of food and income related issues.
For example, how much do we spend on food and is it true that eating well has a class divide? In a study of 51 countries that house nearly half of the world’s population, results show that the richer a country is, the smaller the percentage of income that is spent on food. In India, 51% of household income goes to food compared to 27% in South Africa. France, Italy, Sweden and Australia hover between 14 and 17% and the U.S. allocates just over 10% to food. I guess those results may be intuitive to some.
But that’s only part of the story. I loved the scene in Food, Inc. where Joe Salatin was airing his frustrations at consumers who lamented the price of his eggs while downing a big-gulp cola. Fact is, while the U.S. enjoys relatively low, but rising food prices, we have the highest caloric intake amongst nations and the highest % of food purchased that is not prepared in the home. There will be some that say I’m making too big of a leap but what if we spent a greater % of our income on food that was high quality, fresh and unprocessed resulting in lower caloric intake?
A recent proposal by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg that suggests food stamp recipients be prohibited from purchasing soft drinks is receiving a great deal of criticism from those who say that it penalizes low income residents and that government has no place regulating food consumption. Should government be able to impose restrictions on a program like this and if showed a corresponding benefit in healthcare costs would that change the answer?
There are also those orating that the slow food movement is made up of elitists. In fact, Senator John McCain spoke out on the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer Know Your Food“. The Senator claims that the project benefits “’small and organic producers’ whose customers typically consist of ‘affluent patrons of urban farmers markets.’”
A bit of research in my community has uncovered that a family of five with food stamp benefits receives $30 per person per week or $150 weekly. Can I feed my family good quality slow food for that amount? Can you feed yours?
We’re going to give it a try and I’ll be back to blog about the results.
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- coarsely ground salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 300. Toss pumpkin seeds with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. I roast for about 10 minutes or until I hear the seeds begin to pop.