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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Fat Kids on Welfare

The alarms are sounding about the growing (no pun intended) obesity epidemic especially in low income families. Well I have the answer and the cure. It is no secret, especially to anyone behind a food stamp recipient in the grocery store line, why people on welfare are fat. Just look at the crap they are buying, almost all processed foods high in sugar, fat and salt. Twinkies, soda’s, frozen pizza, corn chips….. You name it. Hardly any fresh fruit, vegetables, meats or other ingredients to make a wholesome home cooked meal.

And there you have the root cause. People do not know how to cook anymore. I don’t know when they quit having home-economics as a required course in high school. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they teach anything in school anymore…but that is another rant. It used to be that young girls and boys (boys can cook too) learned at least some rudimentary cooking and household skills from their mothers. Now we have two or even three generations who have grown up on fast food and frozen food and have never learned to cook.

If the government wants to cut down on obesity and the health related costs in welfare recipients and the poor in the United States, I say give them some cooking and budgeting classes. Make these courses a mandatory part of the curriculum again.

Ah…. But some people say that you can possibly make decent meals on a low budget or food stamps. Baloney! (which is also an inexpensive luncheon meat) My parents didn‘t have high paying jobs, and we ate well. Good basic comfort food with occasional splurge dinners. My Mother’s cooking style was basic stick to your ribs home cooking and my Father took an interest in gourmet meals. I learned both styles and love to cook.

In California a family of four receives $425 a month in food stamps. Now, granted, they aren’t going to be eating rib eye steaks and gourmet dinners, but you can eat well on that amount of money if (and here is the big IF) you know how to cook, use leftovers and shop wisely.

We are a family of two adults but we do love to eat and it can be done reasonably. For instance, last night we had:
Parmesan Chicken Breasts
Sautéed Hot Pepper Garlic Broccoli over Fettuccini
Sliced Tomatoes with a Olive Oil Basil Dressing
Strawberries and Ice Cream

Chicken Breasts $1.00 each x 2= $2.00
Broccoli 1 lb for .89 (saved half for another day = .89
Fettuccini 1.29 for a package (used half) = .65
Butter ½ cube at 2.99 /lb = .40
Parmesan Cheese 6 oz at 4.00 ( I use real cheese and grate it myself) used 3 oz = 2.00
Tomatoes 2.99 lb (used two) about ¼ lb = .75
Strawberries from a local grower $7 per half flat(6 baskets) used one for the desert, froze three for later and have two for tomorrow. = 1.16
Ice Cream Dreyers Sugar Free 6.99 we probably used about 1/3 of the carton 2.33

Total ingredients cost = $5.00 per serving.

If we didn’t have the expensive ice cream I could have made the dinner for less but….hey it is strawberry season so live it up. We also had a nice glass of white wine with the dinner.

The point is that people can eat good healthy and inexpensive meals if they only had some knowledge and training. If they aren’t going to be getting it from family members then where? Television? Books? School?

Learn to cook people!! The result is that people will be healthier, happier and the burden on our public health care system will be decreased. Your food budget will go much farther and your taste buds will thank you too.

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