Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

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It’s a common notion that part of the reason why so many people are overweight and obese and saddled with diet-related chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes is because they simply can’t afford to eat healthy. But are healthy foods really more expensive than their junk food counterparts?

An interesting opinion piece in the New York Times, by columnist Mark Bittman, argues that you can actually feed your family home-cooked meals for less than it costs to go to McDonald’s. Most people can, in fact, afford real food, Bittman argues. Which means, of course, that money alone doesn’t guide decisions about what to eat. In fact, the convenience, pervasive presence, and the addictive nature of processed food may be far more important factors.

Is Junk Food Really Cheap?

Most families nowadays are juggling not only tight schedules but also tight budgets, and when it comes time for dinner, a $1 hamburger from a fast-food “value menu” may seem like a frugal option. You have the U.S. government to thank for that $1 hamburger, as U.S. food subsidies are grossly skewed, creating a diet excessively high in grains, sugars, and factory-farmed meats. So there is some truth to the idea that junk foods can be cheap.

But if you’re basing your family’s diet on fast-food dollar menus, you are quite literally fueling future disease, which will exact a hefty toll on your family physically, emotionally and financially down the road. Perhaps you already know that fast-food is not the healthiest option, but you’re thinking, “I have $10 to feed my family of four, and I get off work at 7 pm, what else can I do?” Actually, quite a bit, which I’ll detail below. The reality is, any money spent on junk food is an absolute waste, not a bargain!

Why Spend Money on Food That Will Make You Sick?

While it’s certainly possible to find cheap junk food, much of it is actually quite expensive. I’m often surprised at the prices people are willing to pay for breakfast cereals that are nothing more than sugar, bags of chips that offer nothing good for your body, soda that is an absolute health disaster … these pricey processed foods will eat up your grocery budget in the blink of an eye and will actually cause disease in the long-term.

The fact that manufacturers are able to keep pulling the wool over people’s eyes, convincing them that these products are “foods” worthy of buying is nothing more than a marketing victory, albeit a very persuasive one.

As Bittman writes:

“It’s not just about choice, however, and rational arguments go only so far, because money and access and time and skill are not the only considerations. The ubiquity, convenience and habit-forming appeal of hyperprocessed foods have largely drowned out the alternatives: there are five fast-food restaurants for every supermarket in the United States …

… Furthermore, the engineering behind hyperprocessed food makes it virtually addictive. A 2009 study by the Scripps Research Institute indicates that overconsumption of fast food “triggers addiction-like neuroaddictive responses” in the brain, making it harder to trigger the release of dopamine. In other words the more fast food we eat, the more we need to give us pleasure; thus the report suggests that the same mechanisms underlie drug addiction and obesity.”

Since junk food is convenient, for the most part affordable, addictive and created to appeal to your taste buds, the system is orchestrated to keep you buying more junk food in lieu of real food, and the more you do this, the more you’ll lose touch with the foundations of healthy eating — and your kids may grow up never knowing the value of a home-cooked meal. So getting back to the original question, how to feed a family on a very limited budget, with a limited amount of time, the answer lies in choosing foods for their nutritional value, first and foremost, as well as planning out your meals carefully.

How to Eat Real Food on a Budget

In order to protect your health, I believe you should spend 90 percent of your food budget on whole foods, and only 10 percent on processed foods (unfortunately most Americans currently do the opposite). This requires three strategies, especially if you’re working with a tight budget:

  1. Become resourceful: This is an area where your grandmother can be a wealth of information, as how to use up every morsel of food and stretch out a good meal was common knowledge to generations past. What I mean is getting back to the basics of cooking — using the bones from a roast chicken to make stock for a pot of soup, extending a Sunday roast to use for weekday dinners, learning how to make hearty stews from inexpensive cuts of meat, using up leftovers and so on.
  2. Plan your meals: This is essential, as you will need to be prepared for mealtimes in advance to be successful. Ideally this will involve scouting out your local farmer’s markets for in-season produce that is priced to sell, and planning your meals accordingly, but you can also use this same premise with supermarket sales. You can generally plan a week of meals at a time, make sure you have all ingredients necessary on hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to prepare if you’re short on time in the evenings.
  3. Avoid food waste: According to a study published in the journal PloS One, Americans waste an estimated 1,400 calories of food per person, each and every day. The two steps above will help you to mitigate food waste in your home, You may also have seen my article from earlier this year titled 14 Ways to Save Money on Groceries. Among those tips are suggestions for keeping your groceries fresher, longer, and I suggest reviewing those tips now.

Some of the Healthiest Foods are Under $1

When choosing real foods to feed your family, remember that some of the healthiest foods are incredibly affordable, even under $1 a serving, such as:

  • Raw organic milk
  • Raw nuts and seeds
  • Two cage-free organic eggs
  • Avocado, berries and broccoli
  • Fermented foods you make at home

Ideally, choose foods that are organic and locally grown, keeping the following ground rules in mind:

  • The most important foods to buy organic are animal, not vegetable, products (meat, eggs, butter, etc.), because animal foods tend to concentrate pesticides in higher amounts.
  • Grass-feed beef is far healthier than grain-fed beef (which I don’t recommend consuming). To keep cost down, look for inexpensive roasts or ground meat. You may also save money by buying an entire side of beef (or splitting one with two or three other families), if you have enough freezer space to store it.
  • Buy in bulk when non-perishable items go on sale. If you are fortunate to live near a buyer’s club or a co-op, you may also be able to take advantage of buying by the pound from bins, saving both you and the supplier the cost of expensive packaging.

The Gold Standard: Local and Organic

In a perfect world, all of the food you purchase for your family would be locally grown and organic. This gives you the best of both worlds: food that is grown near to you, cutting down on its carbon footprint and giving you optimal freshness, as well as grown without chemicals, genetically modified seeds, and other potential toxins.

Without both, you risk getting chemically loaded, CAFO (confined animal feeding operation) foods that are grown nearby, and thus passed off as “local” and “natural,” like Wal-Mart and other mega-corporations often do. As written by Ronnie Cummins and colleagues for the Organic Consumers Association:

“Greenwashing CAFO products as “natural” or “local” is a major source of profits for Wal-Mart, Cargill, Conagra, Perdue, Land O’ Lakes, Kraft, McDonalds, KFC, Monsanto and chemical/GMO farmers and ranchers.

… These animal factories, where GMO feed and drugs are force-fed to most of the nation’s livestock and poultry, are not only poisoning consumers, but are also generating massive amounts of climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases, especially methane, which is 72 times more destructive per ton than CO2. Methane (CH4) pollution is responsible for approximately 14% of human-induced global warming.

… Millions of consumers are still in the dark about how “conventional” foods – especially the cheaper brands of animal products, processed, fast, and fake foods – are produced.”

Avoid wasting your money on these types of “local” CAFO products that are common in large supermarket chains. Instead, seek local and organic food, or locally grown food that you can verify has been grown naturally. To find these types of real foods, grown by real farmers, not corporations, visit You may be surprised to find out that by going directly to the source you can get amazingly healthy, fresh food for less than you can find at your supermarket.

Source: New York Times September 24, 2011
Source: The Washington Post September 27, 2011

0 thoughts on “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

  1. No and stupid Barbadians continue to enrich the main proponents of this garbage at the expense of their health. In fact, Black people, and those from Barbados to a large extent, seem to be exploited in most exploitative relationships. I understand that young White men in Barbados have developed, possibly as a passing fad, a taste for Black women. Apparently, in response, young Black women are readily flinging open their legs. When the fad is over, some young, unsuspecting Black man will have the leftovers as a wife and life partner.

    • @Alien

      It seems that convenience it what flavour our decisions more than anything else.

      BTW should it matter if the Black girls a fling them legs open for Whites or Black?

  2. Seems to me that this article is intended for a North American audience, however junk food is not cheap when you think of the additional medical bills down the line if you consume too much of it.

    Raw organic milk? Is he writing about unpasteurised milk? Good luck with that

  3. David | October 15, 2011 at 1:02 PM | BTW should it matter if the Black girls a fling them legs open for Whites or Black?

    It will not when we reach the stage where non-Black women fling their legs for Black men as much as Black women fling their legs for non-Black men – until then, I have a problem with it.

  4. junk food is not cheap in barbados. if u buy a snack box. it costs about $14.00. which will keep u for abut 2 hours. that $14.00 dollars could get u small pack of rice avg $4.00, peas about $2.00. 5 bananas. $2.00, and a tray of beef for $6.00. another meal could be pasta, cheese, some broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage and mince meat, all under $14.00. even so kfc’S outlet in black rock sells, cages, which is the rib and back of the chicken they used for chicken sandwiches) for .50 cents pound. about 9 is in a pack. which sells for $2.50. they are full of meat. the outlet is always full. but u can buy $10.00 worth and have so much. then concentrate on buying veg and fruits

  5. Alien | October 15, 2011 at 12:43 PM |

    I understand that young White men in Barbados have developed, possibly as a passing fad, a taste for Black women. Apparently, in response, young Black women are readily flinging open their legs. When the fad is over, some young, unsuspecting Black man will have the leftovers as a wife and life partner.


    .. been going on fer centuries son …….

    It is called human nature.

  6. @ Alien:

    Since the 1700’s White boys have been having a “piece” off black girls.
    In the old days most White boys lost their virginity (first ride) by having sex with a black woman; either the house servant or the sexy looking black wrench in the field. Most White men especially those in authority (plantation overseer, shop owner, straight Anglican priests, etc) had regular sex outside their marriages with beautiful sexy black women.
    Hence the reason for so many so-called brown skin and “red’ people in Barbados. It was extremely rear in those old days of “sexploitation” for a sambo man to have sex with a White woman unless she was post menopausal and still horny. The black well- hung boy who showed his family heirloom in the open and stupidly gave into the wiles and charms of an ogling young White lass would have been lynched in a hurry. No hearing, no defence, no trial! Just the rope, the tamarind tree and the White man Mr. Lynch and his mulatto gang around.

    That is why modern black men see white women as sexual quarry. Something sought after (in the mind and dreams) from previous lifetimes in the colonial past but like the forbidden fruit to be looked at (not to be caught) but don’t touch. Most black men, if offered the opportunity would bed a white woman just for the novelty and to put a special notch on his proverbial pistol. I suppose white women (released from their social apartheid-type strictures) would take similar advantage of the modern sexual liberation

    Prove me wrong!

    • So if fast food is not cheaper in Barbados why is it so popular in harsh economic times?

      Is it Barbadians don’t have ‘brain’?

  7. Pingback: Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? | | Healthy Foods

  8. David fast food is convenient for “lazy” people like me.

    I eat it because I can’t be bothered to spend the time preparing my own.
    Even worse for us living in Toronto is the variety of fast food joints including the Jamaican restaurants.

    if I have given up a few years of my life so be it.I am 59 and already enjoyed the best years.

    It is cheaper to cook your own food but that takes time and effort.

  9. No junk food is not cheaper.

    Cooked a nice soup on Sunday. Half a chicken $7, pumpkin, carrots, yellow sweet potatoes, a cupful of mixed beans and peas, a few dumplins made with flour, cornmeal, oatmeal, and ground barley. I spent less than $20 in all, and took 45 minutes to prepare. It served 2 people 3 dinners (6 nutritious meals in all) until we got tired of it and discarded the rest Tuesday evening.

    I’ve noticed too that fast food places seem to feel that more is better. I had fast food Friday night, bought from a small corner vendor. Fried fish (nice and tasty) and french fries (ok not so healthy, but hey!! Friday night and the pot turned down). Little Johnny picked up the order which was a full serving of marlin and half a serving on fries. The alledged single serving served 3 people adequately

  10. Adding:

    along with a salad which took maybe 10 minutes to make, some lettuce, pear (avacoda) cucumber and sweet pepper. So yes it is possible to make a standard serving of fast food serve 2 or even 3 people and sometime mix fast food with a nice home prepared fruit or vegatable salad.

  11. And no I wouldn’t drink raw milk from anybody. I was raised on a farm, even back then even home milked raw milk was a no-no.

  12. Since fast food is so unhealthy and has an “inelastic demand economics” characteristic I suggest that the government impose a FAT TAX on each outlet that sells the ‘unhealthy fare’.

    The tax will be an annual lump-sum tax imposed on the establishment and based on the gross sales of the outlet’s previous year’s VAT returns. Of course the business will pass it on indirectly to the customers; like all taxes by the way.
    The taxes collected can then be ring-fenced to support investment in the development of organic agriculture and the expansion of local food crop production. Some of it can be used to help pay for the high cost of treatment of NCDs allegedly linked to the high consumption of unhealthy fast foods.
    Such a tax has been imposed on gambling arcades with their “one-arm bandits”. Alcohol & tobacco are also heavily tax (sin taxes) on the premise that they act as deterrents to high consumption thereby protecting the health of the “poor” and contributing to the cost of treatment and terminal care.

    But we all know where these taxes end up! Government can consider this proposal as a small but sure source of revenue to help with the current fiscal deficit. Which one of you would complain about such a tax?

  13. Alien
    Would it be okay for a black stud to use n abuse a black female, then throw her to the curb when he’s had his fill or when’s he’s ready for his next black victim?
    Not a fair comment Allien.

    muahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Ting Long, Long. Hope um in long,long n LIMPPPPPPPPPPPPPP.
    murdahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, tek dah.

    I gine by Chefette now n buy a VEGGIE burger. Hear what I say? Dat gotta be good causen um got de word ‘veggie’ up frunt. ‘

  14. @ Bonny
    I hope you didn’t wash down that veggie burger with a long red drink. lol. I notice that the original author of the article is Dr. Mercola. He sends me mail twice a day and most of them end with a recommendation to buy his products.This makes me feel a bit suspicious of his advice. However he sent me one this morning which I decided to share with the BU family (women and men).

    What can you do to Actually PREVENT Breast Cancer

    While it is certainly helpful to identify cancers as soon as possible, even better would be to engage in lifestyle changes that would dramatically reduce or virtually eliminate your risk of developing breast cancer to begin with. This includes:

    Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. Vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and trigger apoptosis (cell death). When JoEllen Welsh, a researcher with the State University of New York at Albany, injected a potent form of vitamin D into human breast cancer cells, half of them shriveled up and died within days. It was as effective as the toxic breast cancer drug Tamoxifen, without any of the detrimental side effects and at a tiny fraction of the cost.

    If you have cancer, your vitamin D level should be between 70 and 100 ng/ml. Vitamin D works synergistically with every cancer treatment I’m aware of, with no adverse effects.
    Normalize your insulin levels. A primary way to accomplish that is to avoid sugar, especially fructose, as well as grains (including organic ones). Aside from causing insulin resistance, all forms of sugar also promote cancer. Fructose, however, is clearly one of the most harmful and should be avoided as much as possible.

    Also make sure to exercise regularly, especially with Peak 8, as exercise is one of the best ways to optimize your insulin levels.
    Get plenty of natural vitamin A. There is evidence that vitamin A also plays a roll in helping prevent breast cancer. It’s best to obtain it from vitamin A-rich foods, rather than a supplement. Your best sources are organic egg yolks, raw butter, raw whole milk, and beef or chicken liver.

    Beware of using oral supplements as there’s some evidence that vitamin A can negate the benefits of vitamin D. Since appropriate vitamin D levels are crucial for your health in general, not to mention cancer prevention, this means that it’s essential to have the proper ratio of vitamin D to vitamin A in your body.

    Ideally, you’ll want to provide all the vitamin A and vitamin D substrate your body needs in such a way that your body can regulate both systems naturally. This is best done by eating colorful vegetables (for vitamin A) and by exposing your skin to safe amounts sunshine every day (for vitamin D).
    Avoid exposure to xenoestrogens, such as phthalates and BPA. These chemicals mimic natural estrogen, which is a breast cancer promoter.
    Avoid charring your meats. Charcoal or flame broiled meat is linked with increased breast cancer risk. acrylamide—a carcinogen created when starchy foods are baked, roasted or fried—has been found to increase breast cancer risk as well.
    Avoid unfermented soy products. Unfermented soy is high in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, also known as isoflavones. In some studies, soy appears to work in concert with human estrogen to increase breast cell proliferation, which increases the chances for mutations and cancerous cells.
    Maintain a healthy body weight. This will come naturally once you cut out sugar, fructose and grains, and start to exercise. It’s important to lose excess body weight because fat produces estrogen.
    Drink a quart of organic green vegetable juice daily. Please review my juicing instructions for more detailed information
    Get plenty of high quality animal-based omega-3 fats, such as krill oil. Omega-3 deficiency is a common underlying factor for cancer.
    Take curcumin. This is the active ingredient in turmeric and in high concentrations can be very useful in the treatment of breast cancer. It shows immense therapeutic potential in preventing breast cancer metastasis. It’s important to know that curcumin is generally not absorbed that well, so I’ve provided several absorption tips here.

  15. Dr Helen Macdonald @ the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have done research in the UK on how the depletion levels of VITAMIN D* is affecting people of Black Caribbean and those of African descent who have lived in a cold climate for over a decade… Her findings were startling to say the least…

    I am not sure if my Facebook friend Doc Mercola cited the importance of differentiating between the correct form of VIT. D as they are [5] versions of vitamin D but the one most efficacious and effective for humans especially PEOPLE OF COLOR* is Vit. D3…

    This is crucial!!!

    Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is seldom prescribed by doctors or nutritionist choosing rather to give (Dihydroergocalciferol) vitamin D4…

    So be careful when applying VIT.D drops to the diet as a supplement to ask your pharmacist or heath food retailer for the right one…

  16. To MillerA:
    Each time taxes are introduced; the consumer is saddled with the increase. There seems to be some law that all businesses must always make money. Yes at some time there was talk about a fat tax, but it fell by the way side. Airlines are now charging a fat tax to those who take up two seats because of their girth.

  17. @ DAVID

    The issue with so-called “FAST” food is not so much the articles of food we consume but with the “DENATURED” condition of what we eat – flown & clocked 1000’s of miles across time and space…

    Foods oiled, fried, salted – then coated and decorated with processed additives, all plated up in “WRONG” combinations – ultimately “PUTREFYING” in the stomach when combined with the hydrochloric acid and other gastric juices… Then we wash it all down with some HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) added to fizzy water and flavoring in the form of sweet drinks…

    And we wonder why our S.H.I.T stinks?

    No wonder most of us either morbidly OBESE* or getting there “FAST” – suffering with what is clearly lifestyle “DISEASES” compounded by the fact that we place a burden on our physical bodies and on the healthcare system to treat what an “OUNCE” of prevention could have aptly avoided from a pound of “CURE”…

    So David it comes down to “CHOICES”…

    I like the words of Moses the PROPHET*:


    • @TB

      Yes, we have choices which nowadays are influenced by convenience.

      ‘Oxymorononic’ if ever there was a case.

  18. @ Lemuel;
    Thanks for the valued contribution.
    The difference with the proposed fat tax on these nurseries for the fat farms is that it can be avoided by cooking your own food, eating from the small food vendor or change your diet avoid the consumption of “junk” food.
    Of course all taxes are eventually paid by the final consumer, you and me! Nothing new! It certainly has more merit than the foolish imposition of a $4.00 tax on mobile phones, whether on contract or prepaid (pay as you go)!

  19. This issue of a FAT TAX* goes all the way back to 1942 where U.S. physiologist A. J. Carlson felt is was necessary to float the idea of a tax upon fat people…

    From time to time during the rise of American Fast Food Industry and the distended waist lines of Americans – politicians of all ilks have made similar threats…

    CBS News recently initiated a poll in January 2010 of Americans who would favor a tax on items such as soft drinks and foods considered to be junk food, and the findings were such that 60% of respondents opposed the idea with 38% in favor of it…

    Interestingly, some 72% of Americans do not believe that a FAT* Tax would actually help lazy Americans lose any weight whatsoever…

    Research done at Quinnipiac University cited that NY residents felt that a soft drink tax was not a bad thing…76% felt the tax was necessary while 22% was clearly against it…

    In Washington DC, Democrats & Republicans politicians want to impose this FAT TAX* but keep hitting stumbling blocks from the Fast Food Lobby and from constituents…

    In the EU, Denmark in the last few days have introduced the so-called FAT TAX of 2.3% on butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed foods..

    British PM David Cameron & Co; have been hinting for months the same thing and it won’t be long before Britain tries to implement a similar TAX*…

    The irony is that this kind of tax will hit the poorest in society as middle-class and upper-class folks can afford to eat at posh restaurants where quality food is sold…

  20. Hi TMB

    I can’t be too critical of fast foods and what they are made of because they saved my life 40 years ago on my first visit to New York, At the time I was messing around with a fruit and vegetable diet. It was hot , humid day when I was shopping with the wife and my knees started to buckle and I felt dizzy.My wife asked me if I was hungry. I told her that I couldn’t describe the feeling but if she could nip into a health shop and buy me some stuff I would eat/drink it. Everybody whom we asked for directions to a health shop, told us that the nearest one was about 20 minutes walk from where we were. My friend, I was 2 minutes away from a hotdog cart and I changed my mind about healthy eating. I told the wife to fetch me whatever was available . She brought back a sausage about a foot long inside a roll 1 inch longer and a drink which was brewed on the spot. I don’t know how many calories, saturated fat, cholesterol or E.coli I consumed but I was stronger than Goliath after the snack. From that day till now I have not stuck to any rigid diet and will occasionally have a bit of bad fast food. lol

  21. @ TMB:

    “The irony is that this kind of tax will hit the poorest in society as middle-class and upper-class folks can afford to eat at posh restaurants where quality food is sold…”.

    I can only support your argument if you are suggesting that poor people do not have stoves or fridges in their flats or homes. Why must they eat at fast food joints unless it is seen an a special treat, at the most, once per month.

    It seems supermarket (or even the regular market) shopping for basic food items could soon be a thing of the past.

  22. @ Chuckles

    “My friend, I was 2 minutes away from a hotdog cart and I changed my mind about healthy eating. I told the wife to fetch me whatever was available …”

    I believe we’ve all been in a similar situation at one time or another – however, to abandon a healthy lifestyle which I am sure you can appreciate is much more than just D.I.E.T (an acronym which I will elaborate on another time) but involves wholistic living, i.e clean water to drink and to have a bath, fresh air, sunshine, adequate sleep, good SEX* and above all quality exercise ( although for most us we combine SEX* & EXERCISE to create a mind-bending form of what is called “SEXERCISE”*)…


  23. I does have a okasanal Chicken Barn but tah me dat ent fas food bekus ah does always havta wait long fuh it. . Dem Barbukew chicken does tastes sooo gud . And dem chips wid nufff ketchup dem does got dere. Dat is one of muh weaknesses but lately ah started at de gym. My personal trainer tell me dat it is ok to have some every now and den but keep de potions small….stuuuupse. I does always order a kid’s box an lick it down. But tah tell de trut , I like fast food at home……food dat doan tek long tah cook dat is. I stir fry my veggies, eats nuff curry chicken wid sweet patatoes , some fish sauted in a onions tomatoes and garlic in a likkle olive oil and butter. And a cahn forgets muh rice. De only ting dat does tek long tah cook is pulled pork wid a jerk rub down. But whem um done lawdy loh um does pull reel sweet pon a bakes, bagel or salt bred. But taday I ent cooking at all so I jest nibbling pon whatever dat look healthy in de frige. Bonny yuh gots any leff overs? Ah coming tah visit yuh.

  24. Quoting Terrance Blackett “So be careful when applying VIT.D drops to the diet as a supplement to ask your pharmacist or heath food retailer for the right one…”

    Most Barbadiand would get enough Vitimin D if only they would spend 20 minutes or so in our lovely sunshine everyday.

    But we have become a nation of poor great poppets, and take pride in not going outdoors. We like to know that we can go from airconditioned car to airconditined office to air conditioned house, and then we wonder that the rate of cancers (all kinds) is rising, amd the rate of multiple sclerosis too.

    Notice that our grandmothers who worked in the fields lived to be nearly 100 without breast cancer and without MS, and without expensive commercial vitimins.

  25. @ millertheanunnaki

    “I can only support your argument if you are suggesting that poor people do not have stoves or fridges in their flats or homes…”

    On the contrary, above the poverty line working class families & individuals according to research tend to buy TV dinners – cheap processed food that hardly needs any preparation and can be quickly microwaved or fried and dumped on to a plate…

    Professor Martin Caraher:
    & Elizabeth Dowler:
    City and Warwick universities, co-authors of Challenging Food Inequalities, point out: “It’s more often a problem of dietary imbalance than under-nourishment.”

    The Fast Food Culture is pervasive and it cannot be denied that even middle class individuals and families with expendable income are flocking to MacDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Subway and every other imaginable food establishment for that QUICK FIX*…

    For early postmodernists sociologist like George Ritzer understood the effects of what “THE MCDONALDIZATION OF SOCIETY” would have ultimately created… The evidence is now with us…

  26. Random thoughts ….. bajans don’t want to get too black so does avoid the sun so dem prefer tah get Cancer. I remember one blogger told me that I was stupid because the sun does cause nuff diseases so I shouldn’t want people to wuk in de hot sun.

  27. @ Random Thoughts

    “Most Barbadiand would get enough Vitimin D if only they would spend 20 minutes or so in our lovely sunshine everyday…”


    Bajans are a bunch of “LUCKY” sods and don’t even know it!!!

  28. To Terrence:
    I have seen some WHO reports on nutrition and food security where the expert panel was very concerned about the role of food industry in attacking studies which highlighted the need to make fast food more healthy. One even made the point that a similar thing happened when it was decided to establish the framework for tobacco control. The tobacco industry threw up their funded studies to repel the intent of the WHO. Like tobacco there is a strong correlation between fast foods and obesity, but the food industry is winning the war of words. Although for Barbados the KFC and Cheffettes have established salad bars, but they made sure it away from the main stream food their fried and oiled chicken. Coke and Pepsi would have a voice for they too are the drink of choice for the fast food industry.

    For those of you advising about home cook foods, the problem is most of our young people CAN NOT cook or bake. Cooking classes may be needed or make every one learn to do it before leaving school.

  29. @ LEMUEL

    I concur with your findings completely…

    What is at stake however, is the spiraling astronomical cost of “HEALTHCARE” due to dietary excesses, bad food and the resultant “DISEASES” which follow…

    This aspect of things must be addressed by GOVERNMENT* clamping down on the food industry and not on the POOR* choices made by families and individuals…

    We have a problem in our world due to GLOBALIZATION* where an IDAHO* farmer can plough his potatoes back into the ground because he can’t get the monies for his crop due to market forces…

    Under the EU CAP that same thing applies to our farmers who can’t fetch a certain price due to the same globalized forces…

    Yet GIANT* manufacturing food companies would rather invest in BIO-technology which gives them the ability to create “FRANKENSTEIN” processed foods in a lab (in the same the BIG PHARMA industry creates dangerous patent drugs) and where gullible consumers are brainwashed with subliminal TV advertising and go and buy into the HYPE*…

    Lem, this is a war of attrition…

    The public is suffering from infantile paralysis – governments have been “SHAGGED” into submission by MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS, THE BANKSTERS* & “FILTHY” RICH INVESTORS…

    So frankly, at the end of the day, it’s left up to each of us individually to make the best choices for ourselves and our families…

  30. Maybe I am fortunate that I had a father who liked to grow food, and did so very sucessfully and a mother who was a great home and professional cook. But truly basic cooking is not difficult. In fact it may take less time and less money to prepare a home cooked dish than to drive to the nearest fast food place, wait in line and then drive back to home or work. Home cooking is often the fastest of fast foods. But first one must shop, directly from farmers, from the many markets we have around or from a supermarket.

    Rince one cup of green pigeon pigeon peas and throw them in a pot. Add half an onion or a whole one, add a bunch of mixed herbs, thyme, marjoram, basil, etc, add 3 cups water, bil for about 5 minutes, add one cup of rice, bring to boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and it is done when all the water has disappeared. takes 30 to 40 minutes to prepare and cook.
    Season some chicken the night before, cover and place in teh fridge. When ready to cook put it in a sausepan and place on stove, stir occasonally, add a tablespoon of oil and stir some more, chop and add an onion, a tomato, a sweet perrer, a clove or two of garlic, add a bunch of herbs, some chopped chives, stir some more, add a little water, a little coloring, and simmer. 30 to 40 minutes or less.
    Salad. Wash and dry whatever vegatables you have on hand. chop them up, put in a bowl. Add a little oil and vinegar as dresing. Less that 10 minutes. In all a 3 curse dinner is ready is 45 minutes or less. Cheap, hot, tasty, nutricious.

  31. Random
    But ya faget ta tell de cookist to skin de chicken n tek off all excess fat. We tawkin ‘healthy’ doan faget. I would prefer not ta add na kinda oil ta my chicken stew. But ya gine good.
    Nex ting ya gotta do is gih we de method fa coucou. De ol time way not de soakin in cold water first method.
    De floor is your Sous Chef Random.

  32. Yes it is better to skin the chicken and not add any oil, but a little cheating allowed for Sunday food.

  33. Thanks islandgal. People are sometime afraid to start cooking. They see it as too difficult and too complex.

    I can come up with dozens of healthy 45 minutes or less dishes. Cheap, quick, and healthy and not so healthy including sweet coconut bread which can be made in less time that it takes to drive to the commercial bakery and back.

  34. millertheanunnaki | October 15, 2011 at 2:42 PM |

    Go check the 1715 census of Barbados for St. Philip and you will see there were “white” women either living with or married to “black” men ….. and vice versa!!

    The first marriage I came across where a “black” man married a “white” woman was 1684 or thereabouts!!

    I have an ancestor who had 10 children with a slave that belonged to him. He manumitted her and her child after the first child was born.

    She became a slave owner as well, one of the several free people of colour who owned slaves ….. like our National Heroine …. Sarah Ann Gill. Sarah Ann Gill would have been a class above her because Sarah Ann Gill was born to a free woman of colour from what I can determine.

    When my ancestor died he left his plantation … actually two plantations … to her and his 10 children.

    He never married her as he was already married but he left her and his children well provided for.

    Vaucluse was left by Henry Peter Simmons to his two sons by a slave. She died as far as I can tell from the returns shortly after her second son was born, maybe in childbirth c. 1820.

    Interestingly he did not manumit either of his two sons until just before emancipation

    Dunscombe ditto!!!

    Kendal in St. John, left by Joshua Steele to his children from a slave …. 1780 ….. but the will was successfully challenged …. but it did not matter because family of Joshua Steele saw to it his children were well taken care of.

    Go to Spain and you will find many Spaniards are the product of miscegenation between the Moors who were in control up to 1492 and the Spanish, “black” men and “white” women.

    Human nature … boy meets girl … or vice versa …. sparks fly !!

    Colour is irrelevant.

    Class is the only thing that can get in the way, but once those sparks are flying, even that does not matter and a way will be found around it.

    What woman (“black” or “white”) in her right mind would subject her children to a partner who is only there for a few nights for some fun and has no interest in them.

    …. and …. therein lies a major problem many men, (“black” and “white”) have!!

    Women (“black” and “white”) are not fools!! Their children come first.

    I have no doubt my ancestor had his fun but he provided for his offspring.

    Mr. Ward in St. Lucy also provided for his children (all 99 of them) ….

    No doubt he had his fun too!!

  35. @John
    Interesting interesting. Can you tell me where at the Archives I can find
    this information on the black and white marriage in 1684? Blacks at that time weren’t recognized as human beings. The start of the Ward mixed race history can be traced to the late 19th century i.e post emancipation. Do you know the family names of the descendants of Peter Simmons or John Steele? I visit the Archives at least once a month. I am running into a roadblock on one branch of my maternal ancestors. The next time I go there I will check on the Dunscombe, Vaucluse and Kendall Plantations history.

    • Campaign financing is definitely needed. BU wouldn’t be surprised at the level of contribution by the fast food industry to the two political parties.

  36. As far as Peter Simmons is concerned, you can find the data in the Queree Papers for Vaucluse. I repeat the section here.

    1843 Will 70/225
    Henry Peter Simmons, aged 67. Vaucluse pltn, bequeathed to friend Isabella Young for life. At her death the pltn bequeathed to testator’s 2 “natural coloured and reputed sons, Harry Simmons and John Alleyne Simmons” both baptized in St. Thomas on 5th March 1820 and both the children “of a woman on my pltn named Molly Harry now dec’d”. Executors Thomas Ellis of St. Thomas also a free coloured man born of a coloured woman and a pltn owner who bequeathed him his pltn – Canefield
    (John Alleyne Simmons died 31 May, 1860 in St. Leonard’s Parish, Sussex, England and bequeathed Vaucluse to his 2 children, Henry Ellis Gresham Simmons and Caroline Marie Simmons)

    The Queree Papers are the product of the combined research of Ronnie Hughes and Mr. Queree (a mathematics teacher at HC in the 50’s and 60’s) and others.

    My research on Harry Simmons shows he died in 1847 leaving everything to his brother, John Alleyne Simmons. His will is in the archives.

    Hery Peter Simmons is buried on Vaucluse Plantation. You can see is tombstone in the new development to the south of the yard in a roundabout.

    It is alleged that the men who physically moved him there to accommodate the development died within a year of their deed.

  37. Have just returned from The Bahamas where I delivered a presentation on the future of culinary tourism…so I was very pleased to see all the above comments re food except for alien’s own. Sir or Madam – this is a blog about food not about sexual food but real food, the kind one puts into one’s stomach through the mouth – how black and white sex gets into here is beyond me…but I guess some minds just are able to turn everything into a barrage against whites because of historical facts whether they were good, bad or ugly (and they were all but it is past and these sexual unions have produced a wonderful colourful people of all hues, some who eat healthy food and others that open their mouths and immediately show what their stomachs are filled with so that the brain is never in gear with today’s life but seems to have been left to fry in the dirty oil of history. Whilst we should not forget, we should be happy we are now gorgeous Caribbean people with great soul food, and turn our thoughts positively about that! To each his own sadness I guess.)

    Yes! Fast Food is not cheap. Yes! Fast food is unhealthy. This cry has been going out now for a very long time. But the fast food business is booming and will continue to do so because we are a lazy lot. And yes! what we do not realize is that Fast Food is also ‘addictive’. And yes! Fast Food can cause us to spend more with the doctor (they are happy…has anyone seen a poor doctor ’bout hey?).

    In Barbados we love to go KFC to be seen standing in line for hours, the aroma of old oil in deep fryers covering our senses and enveloping our bodies and later stomachs in a film of grease coming from chickens whose feed is questionable and whose potato chips come from the US and GMO potato. The bright plastic sign outside and on each package with a Colonel just smiling down on us with that grin that says “come on in and mekk us rich at whatever cost to your health!” TGI Fridays with their US food and drinks that are plastic enough to build cars not far behind with Chefette at least playing a part with a salad bar although half of it consists of canned produce (why I ask?) that few visit because the excitement is listening to children screaming as they fly down colourful shoots balancing a burger, hot dog and pizza in their mouths. What deliciousness. A portion of hummus and a pita bread from upstairs Lanterns would be a much bettah deal…but children would have to sit down with their parents and eat properly…lawd what a catastrophic thought.

    Home cooking does not have to be tedious and long (we have always overcooked our foods in the Caribbean) and it certainly costs less than any fast food joint whether healthy or not. Shopping at Cheapside Market on a Saturday morning is not only exciting, invigorating but spreads the money where it should be spread – with those who toil the lands in extreme conditions so that we can enjoy a healthy lifestyle – but can you imagine taking the children there for them to see what a real sweet potato looks like? Or how colourful a real tomato is? I can hear the screaming from here…I want McDonalds, I want McDonalds…thank God we threw them out but on the other hand, I wonder why? We still crowd the fast food joints anyhow! So it could not have been because of that! Poor Mr. Mac…he came to fight against Chefette.

    Returning home after three weeks away, with no real food in the house…I managed to prepare myself a meal in minutes – opened a can of corned beef, a can of baked beans and threw it into some coconut oil with several garlic cloves and some pepper sauce & seasonings I made before I left. Added Basmati Rice on the side and a nice little spoonful of Mango Chutney made right here in Buhbayduss. Okay…real healthy it was not but it took less than 15 minutes to cook, and it was good enough for a dinner and a breakfast until I get to my hucksters and restock. The cost was little as I know where to shop and always keep a small stock of canned goods for bad weather…and none of it came from the US – I read my labels – made in the Caribbean helps the money to stay ‘home’. I could have gone to a Fast Food but I make the sign of the cross whenever I pass those places so that was definitely not an option. This fifteen minutes allowed me to also unpack whilst the rice was cooking…wasting time is not in my agenda. When my larder is full again, I can cook healthy, delicious meals in very little time…always in the 15 minute ball park and the price is usually quarter of what I would pay at any fast food counter. But for those who hate cooking, why not eat sensibly with the van ladies then (or even the little restaurants dotted around the island although I wish they would stop serving food in those poisonous containers and also putting them into the microwave! I insist mine nevah goes into the latter)…instead of a huge portion, a small one does the trick – meat, a carb, veggies and salad…

    We are what we eat. And our children should be learning this in primary school. PRI9MARY SCHOOL IS WHAT I SAID. MINISTER OF EDUCATION I WOULD BE PLEASED TO GIVE A LITTLE TALK FOR FREE ON THIS – CALL MUH!! Our tiny little tots should be dictating to their parents (who are immobilized brainwise by all the toxins in Fast Food) that Fast Food is not what they want, that it will kill Mum and Dad and leave them as orphans! If harsh education is what it takes so be it.

    Meanwhile it is good to see the comments and great input into this very problematic scourge that has hit the inner core of our island lives…we were once healthy…we can see that in the generation that are living to be 100. A friend of mine wondered if she wanted to live that long. I said eat healthy now so there is no health expense or worries… and when you reach around 80/85 and feel that looking in the mirror and using Bengays Balsam as a moisturizer is not an option for ya…then line up at KFC ’till you dead – it won’t take long! Bless.

    David…you continue the fight…So necessary. So very necessary.

  38. Peter Simmons was against the abolition of slavery. In fact he wrote letters to MP’s in Britain explaining his reasoning.

    In a letter to the Right Honourable Earl Grey, he says the West Indian Slave receives better treatment and has greater material security than the poor in England. However, the major emphasis of the letter is to “solemnly protest against any interference with my colonial property without receiving ample compensation”

    Taken from Handler, ” A Guide to Source Materials For the Study of Barbados History, 1627-1834.

  39. Rosemary

    I agree, I don’t know how it got in here!!

    I would not be commenting as I rarely cook but I would say that there are numerous sources of “home cooked” food that compete with the fast food joints where I eat many times for lunch.

    I have left out the fast food for years, only occasionally visiting when it is the only choice.

    I can’t stand the grease!!

    Looking at prices in the supermarket I do not think I could prepare the equivalent meal much cheaper that those suppliers of “home cooked” meals so I eat and enjoy their fare without worrying about price, usually $14-$17 but sometimes a few dollars cheaper.

  40. This is Joshua Steele’s story, also from the Queree papers available at the Archives.

    1736 Will 27/67
    Samuel Osborne of St. James (one of the biggest pltn owners in B’dos history), bequeaths Kendal pltn to eldest son, Robert Osborne (Robert Kendal Osborne? Bequeathed Kendal to his wife as life tenant and then to his daughter and her heirs. His daughter died and bequeathed Kendal to her mother who married an Irishman, Joshua Steele in England. On his stepdaughter’s? death, (Beckles letter says wife died and Elizabeth left her share to Steele) Joshua Steele came to B’dos to manage Kendal himself. He also leased Byde Mill adjoining Kendal and stated that his property was 1068 ac, i.e. including Byde Mill which was 320 ac, Kendal was therefore 748 ac. Steele was a remarkable man of wide cultural and scientific interests. He altered the status of his slaves to that of feudal serfs but the experiment died with him. (For system see BMHS x 62–67, Lucas Mss.)
    Beckles letter (Estate had to be sold in Chancery Court to pay debtors and Steele bought it)
    See Halletts – Steele inherited from step daughter? Advocate 82-03-07 (Nat. Tr.)
    BMHS 22:84 – inherited from wife, Sarah Osborne
    Francis Bell tried to continue Steele’s experiment and it was only after his death and 16 years of litigation that the estate was sold in Chancery

    1796 Will 38/283
    Joshua Steele. Bequeaths ½ Kendal to spinster sister, Mary Ann Steele of England and the other ½ to his 2 slave children, Edward and Katherine Steele
    (Edward & Katherine Steele were Joshua Steele’s children from a mulatto slave on Byde Mill named Anna Statia. By law Edward and Katherine Steele were not Joshua Steele’s property as he did not own their mother. As slaves, they could not inherit property. Joshua Steele’s executor Francis Bell bought the children and sent them to England where they were manumitted in an attempt to secure their legacy, probably for his own benefit as he was heavily in debt. The Osborne heirs headed by Sir Philip Gibbes, bart, contested Joshua Steele’s will in so far as it applied to Edward and Katherine successfully. However, their aunt, Mary Ann Steele compensated them for theire loss by a large cash bequest charged on Kendal in her will.

  41. @John…I shop at SoLo in Black Rock and get things required not available there and are fairly inexpensive by comparing prices from Super Centre and other outlets. My shopping also does not take a day. Just perhaps a morning if I do it on a Saturday and I always start at Cheapside Market, with all my meat intake coming from their butchers and also the Bridgetown Fish Market and/or Oistins. Such a lovely and exciting experience. And the fisherfolk and vendors are always so happy to see ya (I am a regular and also know who to shop with – like my veggies etc. organic!) and the banter/laughter and ‘carrying-ons’ is sweet to the ears bringing laughter into your heart…plus as I said I rather give my money to those who really work hard to supply us with good food. And yes! I also only eat with those small restaurants and/or van ladies – food sweet and good for little money – one of their meals is good for a day with a light breakfast and dinner. If one spends $20 a day that way your food bill is only $140 a week! Try leaving a big supermarket with a basketful of food for a week on that! No way! But as I love a little cooking, I do tend to spend sometimes less than that, and prepare myself what I like for the week…. ‘Bully’ beef & beans is not a regular, I came in late from Jamaica…11 p.m. and was starving as the “delicious curry chicken” served on board remained tough as did the rice in the plastic container that was obviously microwaved or whatever they do up in the air to one’s food!!!!

    Apart from our health, we can help the economy by spreading the little monies we have with those who get up sometimes 3 a.m. to ensure there is food for all of us who sometimes are lazy. No need for the aromas of old oil, broasted (what is that? boiled and roasted?) everything (hate the smell, it sticks to your clothes and all), and delicious chewy plastic ready-prepared in the US and microwaved in Barbados!

    I salute those who work the farms…I salute the ladies who drive around selling home-cooked food and all those small restaurants (delicious veggies ones included) who open their doors daily and do not disappoint in taste and service for little money! And for those who have big households to feed…shopping in the markets can bring your food costs right down…comparing prices and using only and I mean only Caribbean goods (particular Bajan if you live here) is a must. And for crying out loud make good shopping a family adventure, get those kids away from their fingers on buttons of technological crap, and let them breathe some fresh air before it is too late…teaching them early brings in the good habits!

  42. Well the food blog certainly captures attention apparently ’cause all manner of different topics now pouring in…we’ve gone from food to sex between the races to oil prices! Food for thought I guess!

  43. It seems that many are obsessed with SEX and RACE and can’t seem to get it out of their system so they will bring it in at any opportunity. To tell the truth wunna menz doan know what good sex really is. All wunna know is bout cumming and wunna call dat good! It ent bout colour dat many wunna menz tink. Axe many wimmen bout how many ah dem does pretend dem like waht dem menz does do. Sex starts outside de bedroom, a soft kiss on the neck, compliments during the day, tender words, little gifts, flowers or a flower (pleese not from the graveyard). A meal cooked by a partner for a change or a picnic. Wunna menz jest like tah aim and fire, but de target must be prepped long before de shooting start.

  44. @John
    Thanks for the information. However I must tell you that I observed how a particular foreign Historian distorted the History of Barbados after socializing and picking the brains of the old folk in particular district in which my parents lived. The person used to be drunk from 10 am to 11pm when the last bust passed through the district. I have no respect for that individual or anything which that person put into writing. Unfortunately that person became a lecturer at a university and taught that crap as factual events. I have total respect for Ronnie Hughes.
    Thanks again.

  45. … and here’s what happened to the two children of Joshua Steele and Anastasia the slave, viz Katherine and Edward ….. when Kendal was inevitably sold in Chancery in 1815 and the charges created against the plantation by his sister were paid to his children .

    From Queree we learn:

    1815 262/187 Chancery Court Sale of “Kendal’s”, “Chesters” and “Halletts” pltns now called “Kendal’s” pltn for £45,000, 747 ac, St. John and St. Philip. Among debts £10,000 each to Katherine White, née Steele and Edward Steele, both resident in England. These bequests made by Mary Ann Steele and charged on Kendal pltn, purchased by William Prescod
    Bounders: John Poyer (Henley), George Barclay, Thomas Hollingsworth (Halton), Thomas Sealy (Cliff), Richard Earl Drax Grovesnor (Drax Hall), John Hothersall Pinder (Ashford)

    Looks like the new owner of Kendal became William Prescod who bequeathed it to his nephew William Hinds Prescod who was the father of …………………..
    …… it is said … Samuel Jackman Prescod.

    Small world!!

  46. It is I think easy to understand why emancipation in 1834 is seen as no big thing by many Bajans.

    We now have kadooment on the first monday of August whether it is the 1st or not.

    There is usually only a handful of persons we see in the press taking part in the remembrance of 1st August when it comes.

    I think the reason is that freedom was being given to the offspring of slaves and their owners for years before emancipation actually happened.

    They formed a class “above” the slaves.

    They were referred to as free mulattos.

    They were forced to develop survival strategies to get them and their families through a period when they had to depend only on themselves. Emancipation meant little for them except it created increased competition and forced them to develop new strategies of survival.

    Freedom was also being given to a second class of slaves, from as early as the 1600’s. Some Quaker owners set free their slaves ….. I believe I have another ancestor who was so freed in 1721, almost a century before my slave owner ancestor manumitted his mistress and more than a century before emancipation.

    These freed slaves were referred to as free Negroes.

    They formed a second class, also “above” the slaves.

    Like the free mulattos, they also had to develop strategies for survival and depend on themselves because they were faced from increased competition.

    When emancipation was proclaimed, a third class of freed slaves came into existence.

    Every body had to develop new strategies.

    I think these three origins of freedom of our ancestors explain the various classes of the bulk of persons who are said to exist in Barbados today.

    First, there are those set free from the 1600’s because their owners made a conscious decision based on principle to do so.

    Second, there are those set free as a result of blood relation … from the 1600’s to 1834.

    Third, the largest class comprises of those set free because the law of the land changed in 1834.

    …. but that’s just a theory!!

  47. Pingback: Man Turn On De Stove! |

  48. Islandgal
    Murdahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. ‘na roses from de graveyard’.
    dat is a classic.

    Islandgal marrid ta a bajan but he kno how to charm she, so she’s in good stead.

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