Thursday, January 27, 2011

Food For Thought

Mmmm lunch time.

I stumbled back across this slide show earlier today:

I've actually seen it a couple times, but it never really loses it's impact. It's 20 pictures of how much food you can buy for $1, from a couple threads of saffron to 4 somewhat sorry looking grapefruit. The prices are from New Mexico, so they don't translate to the same amount of food here, but it's still interesting in terms of scale. What's even more interesting is when you consider that many people live on $1 or less every day. I'd be interested to see this photograph experiment performed in countries all over the world. How much would $1 buy you in Nigeria, Russia or England?

It's unfortunate that the items with the largest volume per dollar are also the ones with the lowest nutritional density. Something just seems downright wrong about the idea that the more processing an item gets the cheaper it becomes. Processing and manufacturing cost money (a lot of money actually), so one would think that the more processing went into an item, the more expensive it would be. You know, like it used to.

Thanks Henry Ford.

I'm actually quite surprised by the grapefruit comparison. I don't know about you guys, but the organic produce in my area looks more like the photo of the 4 grapefruit rather than the photo of the individual grapefruit. Not that I could get either for $1. Going to the conventional grocery store I'm more likely to see the "pretty" fruit.

"Pretty" food landed me in the hospital as a kid, but that's a story for another day.

I'm just curious, when did we decide we were too good for ugly food? I feel like it's been ingrained into me, even though I grew up eating oddly shaped, yet very tasty, veggies at home. I know a couple shops I can get "ugly" fruit and veggies from, and I go to them for different foods that they carry. Purple bell peppers anyone? My Italian market sells them, but I still hesitate at the "flawed" veggies. I'm actually mildly frustrated with myself for this, because there is a substantial cost savings. Do you find yourself hesitating when faced with blemished food?

Food for thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oy, I heard ya! I bought pretty food until last month, when we realized that the "immigrant" (hah what a dumb characterization) grocery store sells food for MUCh cheaper. Why? Because it's ugly! Yet it tastes about a hundred times better. So we slashed our grocery budget by a lot. Maybe $20 per visit? Their packaged food is more expensive but...we're not supposed to eat that crap. Theoretically.