April 2010

Fast food is cheaper – right?

Posted on April 8, 2010 at 10:28 am in

Well… no. Not at all.

I recently bought a 9.5lb ham for about $10 including tax. I simmered it for 4 hours, making it literally fall-off-the-bone tender. I stripped the meat off the bone, dropped the bone back in the pot, added a little white vinegar, and simmered the result for 2 hours. I pressure-canned 5 quarts of ham stock, and had about a pint leftover. I used the leftover pint to make red beans and rice.

For a total cost of about $12 we have had 4 evening meals and 5 lunches so far. I still have 5 quarts of awesome ham stock to use in soups, red beans and rice, or whatever.

To compare: a recent meal at Arby’s consisting of a small sandwich for the munchkin, a medium sandwich for my wife, a large sandwich for me and a shared large fries cost us $14. A similar meal from one of the hamburger places would cost around $10.

It comes down to a simple phrase – “Good. Fast. Cheap. Choose any two.” A meal of red beans and rice takes hours to cook – but you can toss everything apart from the rice into your slow cooker in the morning and come home after work to an awesome tasting, healthy, and CHEAP dinner – the only preparation you need to do is to cook the rice. Or you can spend $4 to $6 per person on something that only loosely resembles food and leaves you with no leftovers for other meals.

I know what choice I prefer. I will go for cheap and good and cherish my slow cooker!


An open letter to the Alabama Legislature

Posted on April 1, 2010 at 1:01 pm in

Honourable members of the Alabama Legislature,

There are bills before the House and Senate to remove the 4% state tax from groceries. Sadly the definition of groceries in this bill includes sodas, chips, cookies, candy, and other such items usually referred to as “junk food”.

You have an opportunity to change our state for the better. Please consider leaving the tax on junk foods, but removing it from produce, cheese, fish, meat, and other things recognisable as actual food. This will provide extra funds in the state budget to provide fresh, seasonal, Alabama grown produce to our children in school.

The First Lady, Michelle Obama, is campaigning against childhood obesity and against the health problems that this causes. Jamie Oliver, a famous British Chef, has pointed out that the current generation of elementary and high school students may be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.

Honourable legislators, you have a wonderful opportunity here to put Alabama on the national stage as a state that puts the health of its children first. You have a chance to use junk food to pay for healthy food for our children. You have a chance to provide jobs for Alabama’s farmers.

You have a chance to put Alabama on the map for something very positive – improving the health of our children.

Please take this opportunity.

Respectfully yours,

Stuart Carter