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-   -   Poverty living... (http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f12/poverty-living-32572.html)

Snoop Puss 02-27-2007 06:23 PM

I remember eating an awful lot of lentil soup as a student! I'd agree with Claire - pulses are amazing value for money. Lentils, beans or chickpeas, a can of tomatoes and an onion or two and you're away.

Flourgirl 02-28-2007 09:51 AM

I remember "shopping" at our local food pantry, adding water to milk to make it go farther, buying only what was on sale, and eating rice & beans for breakfast and dinner. And that wasn't all that long ago. Except for the chickens, I think this is an helpful article.

Claire 03-01-2007 05:54 PM

Choosing to raise your children yourself is not something I'd call "poverty by choice". By the time you pay everything it takes to keep a child constructively occupied for 50 hours a week minimum, you wind up more in debt (since you're working, you have a higher credit rating) unless you make the big bucks, which we are NOT talking about here.

The fresh veggies thing ... especially if you live in a four seasons area, it is often a bargain to buy bags of frozen vegs. You can take a handful at a time and the rest of the bag will last for a long time. They can be thawed and rinsed, dressed and served as a salad even. I know it is very popular to say you should eat only fresh veggies, locally grown, and in season. Who are we kidding here?

There is also a difference between what is a bargain for a single person living alone, a single person living with room mates (who, experience tells me, may grab anything you prepare from the fridge, thereby eliminating any savings you might acquire by cooking at home (yes, been there, done that)), a couple, or a family. City living and country living make a vast difference (no live poultry in suburbs or apartments, sorry. In most places in the 'states that's illegal or at least against community regulations).

There's also a vast difference between nowadays and my day and real olden days. I see the salad bars in grocery stores and really, really wish we had them when I was young and broke. Such a variety of fresh foods for a decent price. Salad bars were only in restaurants when I was that age, places I couldn't afford on a regular basis. It was cheaper to buy a head of lettuce and a tomato and throw the excess away when it went bad. Well, I never let it happen. I found something to do with that lettuce!

There is also a huge difference between what is considered poor now, what it was when I was 20, and what it was when I was a child. And I'm only going back to the 60s, not the depression!

So keep all the great suggestions coming. Us oldsters (52, here) have to remember that it IS different from generation to generation, from location to location, and family situation.

Constance 03-01-2007 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Claire
Choosing to raise your children yourself is not something I'd call "poverty by choice". By the time you pay everything it takes to keep a child constructively occupied for 50 hours a week minimum, you wind up more in debt (since you're working, you have a higher credit rating) unless you make the big bucks, which we are NOT talking about here.

I know exactly what you mean. It was my choice to be a stay-at-home mom with my kids, but when we really got in a pinch a few times, I looked into getting a job. By the time I paid for child care, I'd have gone in the hole. Instead, I did sewing and alterations in my home, which brought in extra money for the kids' shoes and such. Luckily, I had 2 little girls, so I was able to make their clothes and mine.

I managed to feed my family healthy balanced meals for very little money by following certain rules:

*Search the newspaper ads for what's on sale, keeping in mind that buying something because it's on sale won't do any good if you don't use it.
*Save coupons, remembering the same thing. Why buy ready made cookie dough, when it's cheaper and better to make your own?
*Remember, some purchases may seem expensive at the time, but if it's something you'll use a lot (like a big box of black pepper), it's a bargain. USUALLY items are cheaper per weight when you buy a larger quantity...it's a packing thing. However, this is not always true, so check your prices.
*With some exceptions, convenience foods are EXPENSIVE! It's usually cheaper and better to make your own...but not always. And sometimes the convenience is worth the extra cost. For instance, Bisquick, basic flavored cake mixes, Jiffy cornbread mix, certain seasoning blends, etc are worth having on hand.
*Learn to cut your own meat. A whole chicken is a great bargain, and you can easily cut it the way you like and put it in ziplocks of breast, thighs, legs and wings, and scraps for the stockpot. Instead of buying stew meat, buy a chuck, arm or sirloin tip roast and cut it into cubes yourself.
*Eat more turkey. It's the best buy per pound for protein, and the larger the turkey, the more you save. It's easily frozen in small ziplocks for casseroles and such.
*Never let a bird carcass go to waste. Boil it for broth, freeze, and save for soups and other uses. I find that once I strain the broth, it's best to let it simmer until it reduces by half.
*Do raise your own garden, if you can, but keep in mind...that food doesn't come free either. Besides the seeds and plants, you need fertilizers, bug dust, and a lot of water. There are a lot of items that are cheaper to buy in the long run.
*DO NOT BUY JUNK FOOD. Enough said.

I'll probably think of more, but this is a start.

StirBlue 03-01-2007 09:50 PM

Save coupons, ziplocks, Boil it, lot of water, Junk Food:

These are some of the most costly items to be reasoned with yet. There are rare exceptions when a coupon is offered for milk, vegetables, meat, etc. It is usually buy x-amount of products and get a free gallon of milk.

Ziplocks are absolutely expensive. Storage containers last forever. You'll waste every penny you save on bulk when you turn the corner and stock up on plastic storage bags. People who wash these bags to reuse are investing in cleaning products, water, energy. (you cannot sanitize a plastic bag)

Boil it means using hours of energy.

Lots of water means seeing the expense on the water bill.

Every generation has it's junk food. While one group may buy plain yogurt and add fresh fruit, another is buying fruit n' yogurt cups, and another is squeezing it from a tube.

Cutting corners depends on what you are spending on in the first place. You should not try to put three months of groceries into your one month budget.

A garden is nice but it is not a sure thing and depends on the weather conditions.

Hunting is not a free turkey, deer, etc. It cost hundreds of dollars on license, fees, not to mention equipment. It cost even more when you do not have a license and get caught.

Once a year I bake a popular cookie. The products cost $20-$30 and the recipe makes about 4 dzn. Cookie dough cost about $2-$3 per dozen so 4 dzn cookies would cost $8-$12.

I check the grocery store ads against my shopping list to see where I will save more. It's usually about even.

People used to think it was cheaper to live in a rundown neighborhood and shop at rundown grocery stores. The opposite was true.

One day, I check my grocery list (a bill of groceries in the day) and I realized my grocery list was 25 years old and some of the products were not even available anymore. We no longer buy powdered sugar by the lb box. We buy a bag and measure it. etc. Many cuts of meat, poultry, ham and fish are also not available. Some days, shopping can be a real challenege.

auntdot 03-01-2007 10:50 PM

I remember when I was a kid and working in grocery stores after school and during the summer.

I did the lousy jobs, for example, cleaning up the garbage room that was filled with rats. When you went in you turned on the light and they scattered. You waited a few seconds before entering further to make sure they were gone.

The worst task was cleaning the worms (? maggots, anyway they looked like them) off the potatoes and saving those spuds that looked OK to be put back for sale.

One of my jobs was to put out in the trash the food that had to be tossed, and the store did not relegate items to the dumpster easily.

We had a routine and the very poorest folks in the area knew when we did it.

Some of the people working in the store would try to destroy the stuff before putting it outside. They would berate the folks waiting outside, big shots they thought they were.

They had a job. Little did they know how close to the people standing outside they were.

I always put the stuff out in a way they could take the edible parts (although I learned later that all of it was considered edible). They were all old, probably a lot younger than I am today, but clearly needy.

If someone wants to learn about needy would suggest reading Jack London's 'People of the Abyss'. Just Google and you can read it on the web for no cost (there are many books that are out of copyrite one can read that way).

If I have a point, and I guess I must have one, it is that there are many folks who are in true poverty, not the dude who scribed those 'tips'. To him it was self imposed.

And we, for several years, lived not too far from that, but never had to miss a meal.

But many folks still have to.

So I choose to direct my charity to those who truly need it, today's people in the abyss.

Sorry about the rant, just had to do it.

StirBlue 03-02-2007 06:32 PM

Brands of peanut butter not affected by the recall, are dirt cheap....STOCK UP! :tongue:

Constance 03-02-2007 08:00 PM

Quoting Stirblur, "A garden is nice but it is not a sure thing and depends on the weather conditions.

Hunting is not a free turkey, deer, etc. It cost hundreds of dollars on license, fees, not to mention equipment. It cost even more when you do not have a license and get caught."

Amen. Sounds like you've been there, done that.

I just asked DH how much he thought our venison cost per pound, and he wouldn't even attempt an estimate. Think guns, clothing, other equipment, vehicle, licenses, permits and beer.

Need I elaborate on how much the black bass costs?

As for the garden, I forgot to include several costs, like electricity or gas used to can your food, or doctor bills for your hurt back.

You know, I think the most important thing is to use your common sense.

jpmcgrew 03-02-2007 08:52 PM

:smile: Gardening can be a great extra if you dont have a yard you can grow alot of things in a 5 gallon bucket just drill a few holes into the bottom put some styrofoam pieces in for drainage and then the soil and it costs nothing to make some compost or get some plant food.I can grow 2-3 tomato plants in a bucket and get a whole bunch of tomatoes.I do this in my tiny green house [8 by 10 feet to keep the deer away]I also use big plastic storage tubs.You dont need the green house you can do it in a sunny window.

Corey123 03-02-2007 09:39 PM

For a look at poverty living, Will Smith's latest movie, The Pursuit of Happyness will give you a moving and powerful look at how this disease affects those who may encounter it.

He plays Christopher Gardner, who, with his then small son in tow, went from real-life rags to riches by landing a good paying job as a broker.

Smith's own real-life son little Jaden Christopher Seayer Smith played his son in the film. It was both sad and heartwarming to me. It should be coming to pay-per-view soon.

jpmcgrew 03-02-2007 10:06 PM

:smile: Corey,Im curious how is poverty a disease?

Corey123 03-02-2007 10:17 PM

It depends on how you look at it. Just in mental terms maybe.

It is sometimes paired with alcoholism and drug addiction. Or just a person falling on exremely hard times like in the movie and being forced to live out in the streets or subway.

What would you call it? A disadvantage, maybe?

StirBlue 03-02-2007 10:26 PM

If poverty is a disease then we are one sick nation! Poverty is circumstance, struggle and sacrifice.
It takes a lot to get on your feet and become poor! :huh:

StirBlue 03-03-2007 01:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by auntdot
I remember when I was a kid and working in grocery stores after school and during the summer.

I did the lousy jobs, for example, cleaning up the garbage room that was filled with rats. When you went in you turned on the light and they scattered. You waited a few seconds before entering further to make sure they were gone.

The worst task was cleaning the worms (? maggots, anyway they looked like them) off the potatoes and saving those spuds that looked OK to be put back for sale.

One of my jobs was to put out in the trash the food that had to be tossed, and the store did not relegate items to the dumpster easily.

We had a routine and the very poorest folks in the area knew when we did it.

Some of the people working in the store would try to destroy the stuff before putting it outside. They would berate the folks waiting outside, big shots they thought they were.

They had a job. Little did they know how close to the people standing outside they were.

I always put the stuff out in a way they could take the edible parts (although I learned later that all of it was considered edible). They were all old, probably a lot younger than I am today, but clearly needy.

If someone wants to learn about needy would suggest reading Jack London's 'People of the Abyss'. Just Google and you can read it on the web for no cost (there are many books that are out of copyrite one can read that way).

If I have a point, and I guess I must have one, it is that there are many folks who are in true poverty, not the dude who scribed those 'tips'. To him it was self imposed.

And we, for several years, lived not too far from that, but never had to miss a meal.

But many folks still have to.

So I choose to direct my charity to those who truly need it, today's people in the abyss.

Sorry about the rant, just had to do it.


Your post reminded me of an experience that happened about five years ago.
We had a camping trip planned and my family was supposed to bring the eggs. There were several families and we needed eight dozen eggs for the weekend camp out.
When I went to the store, I realized that eggs were on sale 2/$1 (no limit).
I purchased 14 dozen (6 dzn for home). I went to the check out and there was a couple (man & woman) being checked out. They had bought the frozen pizza special 5/$10 (no limit) and were paying for about 20 pizzas. Then they were gone. The cashier was nice and put 2 dzn eggs to a bag for me. After packing the eggs in the car, I drove home.
The dogs got to barking and when I looked out my window, I noticed a car parked along side the curb with somebody sitting inside. When the dogs started barking again, I looked out and a man had left the car and was throwing away a drink cup in a neighbor's trash can.
He was the man who had checked out in front of me with the pizzas and the other person in the car was the woman. They had followed me home.
I called the police and they came out. They arrested the couple who had warrants out for their arrest for burglary and home invasion.
We felt like others were involved with these people because they never found the pizza.
People do watch grocery stores and shoppers.

Candocook 03-03-2007 06:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Corey123
It depends on how you look at it. Just in mental terms maybe.

It is sometimes paired with alcoholism and drug addiction. Or just a person falling on exremely hard times like in the movie and being forced to live out in the streets or subway.

What would you call it? A disadvantage, maybe?

There is much more to poverty than circumstance. Much of it is epidemic, endemic, institutionally set by government policy--and well-meaning rescuers. AND it does become a mindset in those that are affected. It behooves those of us who are NOT in poverty to understand its roots and rip them out. We will all be raised. AND it is NOT a question of being too lazy to get work or to help themselves.

Claire 03-03-2007 07:12 AM

I, also, make a point of donating to my local food bank. Over the years I've met, like, and admire a lot of "charity professionals". They usually make more than my husband and me, put together, ever have. I'm sure they are worth every penny, BUT .... I don't want to pay their salaries. So I go shopping every month or so and leave a few bags at the food bank. At Christmas I thow a party with a "price of admission" of food, paper, or cleaning products. I've been "broke"; thank heaven never needed to use this service (indeed, I didn't know it existed!) -- when I was down & out I was gainfully employed ... my hospital bills just put me so far down I really didn't ever think I'd be out of debt. Luckily my mother taught and preached birth control (don't have babies until you can support them), so at least I wasn't a single mother. I also have to laugh. She insisted I learn to type; and much as I hated that, I also have never had to be a minimum wage slave. In D.C., if you had ten fingers and knew how to use them, and a CLEAN history (i.e., can pass a security clearance), well, you had a job. Back in those days you could not use a credit card at grocery stores, so I often ate stuff that I could "buy" at drug stores. It cost more (a LOT more), but when there is nothing behind the check ..... many weeks I ate frozen pizzas and other convenience foods because that's what I could put on VISA. It is a false economy, but that is all I had the few days before payday.

Corey123 03-03-2007 08:23 AM

If anyone wanted to know or see poverty first-hand, then Hurricane Katrina was one of the perfect examples of that subject.

Two small children were on the air on location just days after the monster storm hit. A little boy named Charlie, age 9, spoke out. "We just need some help out here. It's pitiful, it's pitiful!!", he yelled. Then a little girl spoke out.

When I saw that, I lost it, became so upset that I cried!! My heart just poured out to those two kids!! I wished that there was some way to help them.

skilletlicker 03-03-2007 11:28 AM

I've been way closer to poor than rich, and slightly closer to rich than poor.

In my very humble opinion, if we can feel good about feeding a third world child for "less than a dollar a day," we would do well to think of our own nourishment in the same light. There are many folks, in the US and elsewhere who could benefit from better nutrition. For instance, I have looked into the matter on the Internet but I can't find the the nutritional value of a well made stock. Is collagen a good nutritional dollar value?

I think that we, in this forum, could provide a wealth of information to folks, here and abroad, struggling to get enough calories and nutrition on limited resources, and that it would be best to do it in a dedicated forum.

There is an attitude that if you can afford a computer you aren't poor but I think computer access, worldwide, is becoming almost as ubiquitous as radio. This forum is big enough to include information for both the molecular gastronomists, and very basic home economists, struggling to keep their families healthy.

What do you think?

Corey123 03-03-2007 12:07 PM

I absolutely HATE to see or hear of people starving and in poverty, especially children!! They just can't help themselves, and they should not have to go through that ordeal.

Cable and satelite TV are supposed to be considered a luxury as well, but who wants to be fighting all the time with rabbit ears?

skilletlicker 03-03-2007 12:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Corey123
I absolutely HATE to see or hear of people starving and in poverty, especially children!! They just can't help themselves, and they should not have to go through that ordeal.

Cable and satelite TV are supposed to be considered a luxury as well, but who wants to be fighting all the time with rabbit ears?

OK Corey, you're a gadget guy. The old story is grind your corn once a week and your wheat once a month. How about you and I chip in, maybe with some help from other folks in the forum, to provide a communal mill and some corn and wheat to a family, or even a refugee camp or village in Darfur?


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