Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Recession Diet

via Ezra Klien, The New York Times had an article over the weekend about changes consumers are making in response to higher food and fuel prices that had the following anecdote:
Ms. Dunaway, a homemaker, used to splurge on the ingredients for homemade lasagna, her husband’s favorite, before food prices began to surge this year.

“Now he’s lucky to get a 99-cent lasagna TV dinner, or maybe some Manwich out of a can,” she said. “I just can’t afford to be buying all that good meat and cheese like I used to.”

I don't know how widespread it is for people to switch from homemade meals to processed food to save money, but it's certainly not a good sign if it's common. I've never really liked too many frozen entrees, besides pizzas, so I'm not sure how the pricing works... but I had always sort have assumed that if you used coupons effectively and had a reasonable size freezer to buy in bulk when meat was on sale, you would do much much better than someone who bought a lot of processed food. I presume that's still the case, but perhaps there are cheap "food-like substances" out there that trump whole foods... as I've mentioned before, I'm a fairly extravagant shopper when I cook, and I've never really focused too much on the cost because I have always compared it to eating out every meal (which was most of my twenties)... now, however, it's making me feel sort of irresponsible and wasteful... so, especially with my Farmer's Market project, I'm going to work harder to be more conscious of costs.

However it takes me most of my brainpower to just focus on being able to cook something... I've only just started to be able to think about side dishes that are green and leafy... so this might be a slower transition, but I'm hoping "it all just works out" with buying local food that is in season.