Fisking the “Stop Telling Poor People to Cook” Doofus, with Special Guest, My Mom

This article was making the rounds last month, and it was just begging for a fisking, but I was up against a deadline and had to concentrate on Getting Paid. But that book has been turned in, so better late than never.

Usually my fisking posts are about writing or politics, but this time the topic is something near and dear to my heart, eating good while being poor. (Full disclosure, I ain’t poor no more. Having tried both, being rich is way cooler)

Oddly enough, it turns out on my Facebook page someone knows the author personally, and said he’s an attention whore (shocking) and that I shouldn’t give him the clicks. But regardless, I always link back to the original so you can see that I’m not cherry picking or taking them out of context. The article is here.

The original will be in italics, and my comments will be in bold.

Please Stop Telling Poor People to “Just Cook” to Save Money


That’s Jef with one F, he said haughtily.  According to his bio he covers “pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior”.  As we will shortly see, his bio does not include economics, shopping skills, or self-awareness.

There’s a meme making the rounds again comparing the amount of food you can get from KFC for $20 and the amount of food you can get from the grocery store for the same price.


If you click the link, it’s actually a whole bunch of memes showing X dollars of fast food or junk food vs. X dollars in grocery store food. It is like basic Home Economics stuff (do they still have that in high school?). Anyways, big whoop. Personally I love junk food, fast food, and drink Coke by the gallon, but you’d have to be a complete dolt to not realize that stuff costs more money.


The implication is that stupid, poor and lazy people are throwing their hard-earned tuppence away on fast food when they could be cooking at home, being healthier and richer in the process.


I suppose if you were easily butt hurt and looking for a reason to get all offended, okay. Regardless, cooking at home is still way cheaper.


Give me an absolute break.

Naw. I’m fresh out of mercy.


The basic premise of the meme is correct, and by basic I mean whoever made it had half a thought and didn’t bother with the rest. It IS cheaper to cook at home than get most take-out… in the long-term.

Thus Jef appointed himself Speaker For The Poor. 

The really fun thing here about this article (and why I decided to fisk it) is how stupid Jef thinks poor people must be.  

I mean, Jef really thinks poor folks are dumb. Good thing he is here to tell them how hopeless they are.

A recipe is far more than the ingredient list, and things like utensils alone can make what seemed like a simple, cheap dish into something more costly than going by the drive-thru would have been.

Poor people can’t just own utensils! That’s crazy talk.

At this point I realized that I needed back up for this post. I grew up really poor, and I spent a lot of years scraping by, but now that I’ve worked my way into the ranks of the evil 1%, guys like Jef will just dismiss me as being out of touch.

For this post I called in a special guest expert on utensil costs and the shopping habits of poor people. So I called my mom.

Having been married to a dairy farmer, Mom understands cooking while poor (on the bright side, we always had all you can drink milk!) But the reason I called her is that my mom has been the manager of a dollar store in a poor rural area for the last decade. Jef seems unfamiliar with the concept, but a dollar store is a place where you can buy stuff for super cheap. Plus, she retired like a week ago, so I can quote her freely and not get anyone fired. So you’re in trouble now, Jef.

Mom said forks are four for a dollar. Spoons are four for a dollar. 

 Cooking is not just a trip to a grocery store. You need a basic set of cookware for starters. I’ve been on a $70 Tools of the Trade set for more than a decade, and trust me, it really wants to retire. You’re going to need some knives for chopping, butterflying, mincing, etc. The low-end of those starts at $20, but they are absolutely essential.

Apparently, to cut a tomato in half requires a knife forged by a samurai blade smith, using ore taken from a meteor.

In reality, as a guy who likes to cook, who is married to a woman who actually made her living as a cook, 95% of the time we use the same eight inch knife that we’ve had for the last twenty years. We got it cheap. 

Apparently Jef’s hypothetical really stupid poor people have no friends or relatives. My wife is still using a cooking pan that she got from her grandma. It was made in the 70s, and it’s still her favorite pan.

Jef’s hypothetical poor people also live in the only poor neighborhood in America that doesn’t have a thrift store.


Of course, you’ll require a cutting board as well.

And you will require a house to put your cutting board in. Houses cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.


These things add up quickly.

 Of course expenses add up, you nitwit. You know what adds up even faster? Spending money on restaurant food. Only when you’re done, you’re still poor, only you have no assets to show for it.


 The dish in the headline picture is my take on the basic the McCormick Rosemary Chicken and Red Potatoes recipe. It’s cheap enough and easy as pie, but do you have a 5 quart mixing bowl?

 Mom says the dollar store does. But if you want a really nice one, it will cost $4 whole dollars. My wife still uses the one we got from a thrift store twenty years ago. I think we got it for 75 cents. Adjusting for inflation, that’s like ten thousand dollars now. 


You need one if you don’t want to be chasing escaped potatoes all over the kitchen.

 Poor people do not have the fine motor skills necessary to wrangle potatoes, Jef explained patronizingly. In Jef’s mind, poor people are like the helpless schlubs on infomercials, who horrifically fumble the most basic tasks while Voiceover Guy says HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?


 Another question, do you have a 15x10x1-inch baking pan, heavy duty foil, and cooking spray? All this just added another $20 onto the price of a meal if you don’t have them.

 I’m betting with his expertise in social justice and video games, Jef skipped those classes explaining the concept of “up front costs”.  Do these poor people throw the pan away when they are done or something?


It looks like the foil costs about $2-$3 for FIFTY feet of it.

 And cooking spray? Mom can hook you up. 


The McCormick’s recipe is at least kind enough to recommend garlic powder rather than fresh garlic. Most recipes not put out by spice companies don’t.

 Ha haha ha ha ha. Yes. Even the dollar store has powdered garlic!  (Mom’s comment, “what is wrong with this asshole?) 

 Now personally, we buy our spices in giant containers, better value that way, but Jef has already told us that he thinks poor people are too dumb to think about their future. They’re basically single celled organisms like that.

 Better learn the fresh-to-powder ratio or buy a press. That’s another $8.

 Because smooshing a piece of garlic with your $5 Walmart knife is basically impossible. Ironically, as a devout capitalist 1%er, I actually own a garlic press (a nearly unachievable dream for most Americans, I know) but I made fresh guacamole yesterday. and I didn’t bother to get out the press. I just diced it with my twenty year old knife, and then smooshed it with some salt in it.  It was all very traumatic.

 Also, the ratio thing? Everybody who cooks know that’s nonsense. Spices are about taste. Good cooks season until it is right. Any recipe that calls for garlic, I just assume it’s safe to double the amount just to start.


Over time, this even outs,

 Yeah, like one trip to KFC worth of time, which is kind of the point, you twit.  


 but setting up a working kitchen can easily cost as much as a used car depending on where you start from.

 You got a lot of $100 cars rolling around your neighborhood, Jef?


As the primary cook and grocery person in the family, I’m very used to poverty substitution games, which I am slavish to even when money isn’t tight because it’s become second nature.

Bitch please, unless you routinely roll your own tortillas you don’t know shit about money being tight.

One of Jef’s problems is that poor is a nebulous term. There are people who are “poor” because they blow their money on stupid shit, want instant gratification, and make bad financial decisions. Then there is “poor poor” where through shitty circumstances, you do what you’ve got to do to squeak by.
Or as mom pointed out, she had lots of regular people struggling to make ends meet, and also lots of people buying piles of garbage and paying with EBT cards. 

But either way, Jef is full of crap, and learning to roll your own tortillas is friggin’ awesome (and they taste way better than store bought too!)


You swap vegetable oil for olive oil, water for stock or broth, table salt for sea salt, etc.

My grandma used to run warm water through a chicken and call it chicken soup. I don’t think you’ve got a real strong grasp on what the word “poverty” means.


All of it in an effort to shave just a few more dollars off the grocery total, and all of it produces a slightly lesser version of what you’re hoping for.

Yeah, using table salt instead of sea salt is basically like being water boarded in Gitmo.


That’s if it even comes out good and you’re not forced to order an emergency pizza to cover a cooking goof.

This line tells me Jef wouldn’t know real poverty if it bit him on the ass. When you’re actually poor poor, and dinner gets burned, you shut up and eat your burned dinner. If it is really fucked up to the point that it is inedible, you eat Ramen noodle.

(oh wait, Jef says that the poor can’t make Ramen noodle because they can’t afford a $200 pot to boil bottled natural spring water in. You’ll just have to eat it dry like a big ass cracker)




That’s some wishful thinking, Houston Press. Nobody in the world liked this story. 

Now, these days for me, cooking is absolutely cheaper for virtually anything.


Why do you think you are special, Jef? What makes you better than poor people? Why wouldn’t cooking be absolutely cheaper for them too? Why do you think they are so inferior that they can only live in the now, and not make good financial decisions which will benefit them long term?

By the way, those are rhetorical questions, you smug putz.

 I’ve got nearly two decades of pan, utensil and spice acquisition to prep for. If I want to make turkey chili some night, I can probably do so for less than $2 a serving because odds are my spice rack is full and I have everything else I need ready to go.

In reality, when you are actually poor poor, you only need one spice.

Portuguese Seasoning

Boom. Dinner is done. In my house my kids all refer to Season All as “Portuguese Spices”. I put this stuff on everything. I’ve got tons of spices now, and my wife is a brilliant cook. But for a lot of poverty stricken years, Season All was my best friend.

It’s funny, most of the people I know who’ve been really poor have some seasoning like this that they grew up with that they always fall back on. Every culture has one. The spice varies, but it’s what they put on all their poor people filler food like rice, beans, potatoes, etc. Old Bay, Greek seasoning, lemon pepper, curry powder, mesquite, soy sauce, Sriracha, ranch dressing, whatever it is you love, get one bottle and stick it on all your bland cheap dinners and be happy.

So when Jef insists that you must use saffron, grown from flowers that were tended by Persian virgins, in the secret valley of the Hashashins, and picked during a lunar eclipse, because the recipe called for it, somebody like me–who was actually poor–will sprinkle some Season All on there and call it good.


Again, the chicken pictured at the top? All I had to buy was the meat and potatoes. Everything else was handy because I’ve bought it piecemeal over the course of years.

Again, poor people are incapable of buying things piecemeal today. It’s either Iron Chef right now or nothing.


 If you’re observant about sales and coupons, good at meal prep and have a fair-sized freezer, you might not even need to go buy those.

Yes. The concept of having a protein and a carb inside your house already is a totally foreign and mind blowing concept.

Jef can cook because Jef is special. You poor folks can’t, because you’re too stupid. Now, personally, instead of being a defeatist asshole like Jef, I’d say skip a couple fast food meals and eat a bologna sandwich instead (you don’t even need utensils!) then take that money you saved down to Family Dollar, and get set up to cook a couple dishes. Then cook those. Using the money you saved repeat this process until you’ve got all the kitchen stuff you want.

But what do I know? I’m not an expert on social justice like Jef.


Alton Brown has given me a lot of good advice, but the best is still “freeze the ingredients you don’t use.”

Alton Brown is a gentleman and a scholar. It actually saddens me to see his name used in this bullshit. So, like, what did you do before this shocking revelation? Did you just throw your extra ingredients away with your pan and 49 remaining feet of aluminum foil?


But that brings us into a final discussion: time. You know why people go through KFC? Because, in terms of total resources it is the most efficient family meal you can provide in a 20-minute timespan.

No shit, Sherlock. The reason it costs more is because you are paying your money in exchange for someone else’s labor and equipment.

All us business and STEM majors had to take a bunch of stupid liberal arts classes in order to graduate college. Shouldn’t these social justice majors at least have to take some econ and accounting classes?  It would spare us a lot of articles like this. Is that really too much to ask?  

You pay for convenience? You could say this about most jobs, Jef. It’s more convenient to pay a mechanic to fix your car, and it’s more convenient to pay a CPA to do your taxes. But when you’re poor, and you can’t afford those services, then you learn to fix your own car in the Autozone parking lot, and you muddle through your 1040EZ.

Why in the world would you think someone cooking your food for you would be any different? Once you’ve got money, you can pay the experts for their services, because capitalism is awesome. But when you don’t you suck it up and deal with it.  


I have three fried chicken recipes. Most of them require at least an hour or more including store and prep time. Time is, well, not money, exactly, but it is something that is precious and in short supply when you’re coming home at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday.

Holy shit… Time is worth money, dipstick, which is why people pay extra for the convenience of someone else using their time instead. That’s how jobs work.

Your time is worth money. But newsflash, asshole, when my work time was worth $7.15 an hour it did not behoove me to constantly pay $20 for someone else to cook my dinner.

I love eating out. I love good food. I’m a food nerd. I once ate in the fanciest restaurants in Manhattan, London, and Paris in the same week, to see which one had the best sea bass (Paris won that challenge), just because I could.

I paid a lot of money for that privilege. It was awesome (and delicious). But I can do that now because my labor is worth hundreds of dollars an hour, and I didn’t go into debt to eat Long John Silvers when I was making $10 an hour. 

And I love how you picked fried chicken, one of the most time consuming meals to prep. If time is your biggest concern then pick a recipe that’s quicker. Make a friggin’ sandwich. Save that grueling fried chicken death march for your day off.

You even included STORE TIME in your calculation!? Are you fucking kidding me? Oh poor me! I just got home from working a 16 hour shift in the coal mine, the children are starving, but I’m going to stop by the store on the way home and buy a 20 pound frozen turkey for dinner.  

Seriously, Jef? Straw harder, jack ass. 

Let me make something very clear. I love to cook, and it is a handy way to save money.

Again, friggin’ duh. I think that’s like the 3rd “duh” you’ve rated. When you have to keep restating the obvious facts that diverge from your thesis, then that should be a clue that your thesis is shit.


That said, one of the ways we make that happen is that I work from home within hiking distance of the grocery store. I can pull myself away from an assignment and go get whatever we need for a spinach quiche whenever I want. If my wife, who works 12-hour shifts at the hospital and often doesn’t get home until 8 p.m., were doing this without me, I imagine there would be a lot more KFC in my daughter’s diet.

Whoa… so what you are saying is that human beings are all distinct individuals who have unique circumstances? MIND BLOWN.

Your problem, Jef, is that you switch from specifics to bitch about generalities, and then switch back when it suits you. So when people say, “Hey, poor folks, you’d save a ton of money and be way better off if you learned to cook” you start pulling extreme examples out of your ass why they can’t. And that’s just disingenuous, because in general, it’s absolutely true.

Whenever I argue about any lifestyle choices with a liberal, and I say if you do X in general you will be better off, you guys always trot out poor Sally Born Without Hands, who can’t possible cook, because she has no hands. You always want to build general policy based upon outliers.

Bell curve, Jef. Learn it, live it, love it. And most of the bell curve is clever enough to BUY FORKS.


Everyone should learn to cook. It’s an essential skill, but the answer is way more complicated than “just cook, you lazy poor!”

 What a weak ass straw man.


I’ve yet to buy a single recipe book that didn’t take at least one $20 purchase for granted as they casually told me to run something through a food processor.

 Improvise, adapt, overcome, you chuckle head. It’s chopping up food, not building a nuclear reactor. Oh woe is me! I can’t cook this recipe because I lack this specific tool! Then skip that recipe and use one of the other 500 that you friggin’ can.

 That’s like saying, poor people can’t possibly get jobs unless they can buy a new BMW to drive to work in.


Cooking costs, and that’s one of the reasons some tired parent working two jobs stops by McDonald’s on the way home for the cheapest, most nutritious food in human history.

I’ve got nothing against McDonald’s (once a year my family celebrates Nuggetpalooza) but your entire premise is defeatist dreck.

 You should be ashamed of yourself, Jef. First off, poor people aren’t stupid. The most insulting thing here is that you assume they must be.

 When I called my mom to price check, and I told her your premise and read her your headline, she laughed at you. Because not all poor people are the same, Jef. Some are poor because of circumstances beyond their control and some are poor because they made bad decisions. The ladies at the dollar store grasp that a lot faster than you do, they hook poor folks up with fifty cent spice bottles and affordable pans, yet none of them were self proclaimed experts on social justice. Go figure.  

 Your hypothetical helpless, poor folks don’t need to cook the most complex recipe in the book. Pick a few and run with those. Pick ANY and they’re better off. Hell, start with one pan and a spatula. With just those two things off the top of my head I can think of a slew of dishes I can make. I’m a master of omelets, because back in college eggs were cheap and I needed the protein (with weight training I needed 6500 calories a day just to maintain my weight, but I was poor and creative). With that same spatula and pan, my other favorite dish was cheap ass potatoes fried with whatever animal meat was on sale that day. Add Season All. Party. 

 But not Jef, oh no. No omelets for you! For his smug ass there is no wiggle room between Michelin starred restaurants and bologna sandwiches, so you might as well just give up.

 Quit making lame ass excuses for people who are making bad decisions, Jeff (screw it, I can’t stand looking at it spelled goofy any more). Learning to cook will save them money. Quit holding people back, you smug son of a bitch.



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385 thoughts on “Fisking the “Stop Telling Poor People to Cook” Doofus, with Special Guest, My Mom”

  1. Even the stuff one can buy at, say, Krogers or what have you won’t put one back -too- badly. Not to mention there’s this thing called “Inheriting or receiving gifts from family members and friends.” And that all this stuff can be re-used. And a lot of it can multi-task. And makes food that’ll taste great.

    1. I was thinking that, too…how little stuff we’ve had to buy because of generous friends or relatives.

    2. Heck, I’m still using 40yo Correlle dishes I ate off of when I was a kid, and my mom gave them to me when I graduated college. And pots and pans I was given for presents 30+ years ago.

      Of course, I’m also rich enough I have bought TWO apple corers in the last 6 months! One was actually more than $10!

        1. I’ll bet that one’s better than 90% of the ones on sale today. They used to make things to last. And I’ve got my mom’s waffle iron she got as a wedding present. I’m 53.

      1. The only downside about Correlle is, if you dropped them, you had to throw away all the exposed food in the kitchen and wipe down all the dishes to get rid of the shards of glass. They didn’t just break, something about the internal stresses that made them so durable also meant that when they broke, they detonated.

    3. My contribution would be to say that if a utensil is necessary, don’t be afraid to get quality. My family has a skillet that… well, we’re not sure when it was made. Some time around the turn of the century, at the latest. Still cooks great.

      And I don’t think it was what you might call some magical fancy uber-elite skillet. Which brings me to the second point. If you can’t afford top quality, you can always afford to take care of it.

  2. You missed where he is walking to the store to get ingredients for spinach quiche. Having been poor for 48 years and counting, I can honestly say I have never had to walk to the store in order to make spinach quiche ….. or any other quiche. I don’t even know how to say “quiche”. OTOH, I make some kick-ass chicken nuggets that are way better than the things you get in the drive thru (even kids say so) and it takes less time. Bonus: I get to spend time in the kitchen with my granddaughter instead of listening to her whine about being bored while we sit in the drive thru.

    1. Of all the things he mentioned, quiche is probably the cheapest to make. Eggs, milk, spices, and cheese is the base, add whatever you want to that, pour into a pie shell, and bake.

      The book “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche” was probably written by someone who never tried one. It’s good eating.

      1. I never thought of quiche as fancy. They’re kind of a savory pie that you add vegetables and leftovers to and then eat cold for breakfast.

          1. You can also use old bread that you leave out and let go stale instead of letting it go moldy. Kind of makes bread pudding-ish areas in the frittata. You do have to use decent bread, though.

          2. Then it is a strada, my personal favorite “egg pie”. Having grown up poor, all three dishes are excellent one pot refrigerator Velcro (to use an Alton Brown phrase). Vey cheap and a way to get rid of all the bits and pieces of left overs in the fridge. Leave the eggs out and it is a stew. Another dish you need a single pot and utensil to make.

          3. Stale tortilla and corn bread works well. Even last nights rice if you have enough to line the pan.

      2. It’s egg pie, what’s not to love? Toss in some onion, cheese, and meat and you are good to go. Don’t even need a pie crust, just a quarter to a third of a cup of bisquik and it’ll form a crust on it’s own.

        1. Quiche gets a bad rep due to its very sissified sounding name. If you called it Egg Pie then manly Americans would love it.

      3. Quiche is also one of the better ways to use up leftover tidbits from the other cooking you did. Most traditional cuisine is like that. Peasants Did. Not. Waste. food — they threw the stalks and stems and bones and organ meats into stews and extracted the most food value out of everything.

      4. Real men do NOT eat quiche. They eat frittatas. (Full Disclosure: 1 week working as a busboy, press ganged as the SOLE dishwasher on Friday night, at Marie Calendar’s during the height of the quiche craze in the ’70s may color my perspective a wee bit.)

          1. Alton Brown is a guy who decided, back in the 90s, to design a cooking show that was a combination of Julia Child, Mr. Wizard (science expert), and Monty Python. He gets into the science of cooking, why things work and why they don’t, and throws in a metric ton of geekery along with it. The show is called Good Eats and it is highly entertaining even if you plan to cook nothing from it.

            You might say he has a “take no prisoners” approach to cooking. Any of his recipes that I’ve tried have worked exactly as advertised.

          2. Alton Brown’s recipes have never failed me. Always exactly as advertised, with clear directions and ingredients that are feasible to source. And the results are delicious.

    2. I had been making an egg concoction with whatever I had left over for years until a more refined GF asked me where I learned to make such excellent quiche.

  3. Crock pot, pressure cooker, cheap ingredients, coupons. Those are some of your best friends when you’re so broke, you can barely pay attention.

    1. A pressure cooker (inexpensive models can be found in Hispanic markets) and a rice cooker (look in Asian markets) go a long way to making cheap, fast cooking really easy. Toss some dried beans in the pressure cooker, toss some rice in the rice cooker, and half an hour, maybe forty-five minutes later… dinner! Basically zero effort as well.

      1. I bought my rice cooker at the local Ralphs. So I would imagine that most people could find one with minimal effort, even if there aren’t any Asian markets in their area.

      2. Rice cookers are awesome … but when I was in college I couldn’t afford one. No matter. You can use a regular, cheap ol’ dollar store pot to cook rice in, and after a few attempts you will get good at it.

        For home cooking on the cheap, rice is the absolute cornerstone. $30 will still get you 25 pounds of high quality rice at your local Asian market, and you can make that 25 lbs of rice the backbone of your (very healthy) diet for a whole month.

        1. Oats are also easily overlooked. Save up 15 dollars or so for a dutch oven. Which also does great as a rice or bean cooker.
          Boil your water the night before, toss in the good steel cut oats, put on the lid and let it soak over night.
          In the morning toss in some fruit and maybe add some fruit juice. Turn on the heat while you get dressed and viola, perfect rib sticking oatmeal. Toss the rest in the fridge or freezer for the rest of the week.

        2. My mom got me a little rice cooker for Christmas when I was college, after I burned the rice a few times trying to cook it on the stove. Even full size rice cookers are surprisingly cheap, plus you can use them for steaming veggies, or toss some eggs in while the rice cooks and you’ll have hard boiled eggs.

          I remember the resident adviser being totally amazed that I could cook, when he saw me cooking some chicken. It was just cut up boneless skinless chicken and bottled teriyaki sauce, but apparently that was more than most could handle. Yikes.

          1. I baked a cake in my rice cooker once (Because I was In Japan, and the apartment didn’t have an oven.)

            A box of yellow cake mix and some chopped bananas, when one cook cycle ends, start another. It maybe took 3 cycles to cook, and the bananas did kind of sink to the bottom (Which became the top when I turned it out) but it was close enough fro government work.

        3. Actually, they’re beyond awesome – some rice, a few handfuls of whatever frozen (and fresh) veggies you’ve got, meat of some kind, a few spices. Rice takes about 25 minutes, do the rice with a little extra water, halfway through put everything else in, stir, ignore until it beeps. Except for the rice, a completely different meal every night, and what’s left gets fridged for tomorrow or frozen for next week.

          And, that $30 rice? Find a friend with a Costco membership and tag along – I recently paid $16 for a 50 lb bag of rice.

      3. Toss some sausages in with the rice. We aren’t poor but we do that probably three times a week. Different sausages make a different meal. Good stuff quick and easy. Include some salad to get some roughage.

      4. And, while an InstantPot is somewhat expensive compared to some other cooking tools, it combines all those things, along with a crock pot, into a single utensil. Just decide which one you need.

        1. The Instant Pot is the lifesaving tool that everybody needs. Throw in water, raw anything and a cup of rice, ignore for 40 minutes, enjoy the stew for two days. Terrible cuts of beef, pork hocks, chicken necks and backs, whatever was so cheap they were giving it away will make a savory stew you can live on. Use even half a brain and you can make heavenly food.

      5. And do not forget that you can buy 50 pound bags of rice and / or beans at ethic markets for real savings that can be the basis of a lot of good meals.

        1. After becoming a diabetic, I had to reduce my rice intake to less than a cup a week. That pulled a lot of my favorite menus off the list. Eating low carb isn’t cheap.

          1. Greens should become your new best friend – use them as a base for pretty much anything, for not much more $ than starches. Plus, added nutrients! That, lots of eggs, & buying whatever meat is on sale. A big freezer helps, too – we buy seasonal meats in bulk & freeze for later (turkey after Thanksgiving, ham after Christmas, corned beef after St Pattys, etc – we usually pay less than $1 per pound that way).
            Source: I’ve been eating low-carb to prevent diabetes for the last 6 years.

      6. Yup. We used to call pressure cookers “Colombian microwaves” (my wife is Colombian) because everyone had one and used them to cook up beans for beans and rice almost every day.

      7. I have a Nesco countertop roaster (the cheap little one) I use like that — throw in random frozen meat, potatoes (or dried bread = dressing), whatever else is handy, a little water, seasoning, go away for a couple hours, and it’s food for a week.

        Before roaster, I did the same with a deep fat fryer (found at a yard sale for $4, it’s somewhere high of 60 years old, and still works) which also did regular duty as soup pot, egg boiler, and macaroni cooker (the frying basket is handy for that, and is especially nice for quick-straining bones out of chicken-carcass soup). Never did use it as a deep fat fryer!

    2. “So broke you can barely pay attention” is a great phrase, and I would have voted your comment up for that phrase alone if the up- and down-voting buttons were actually working.

    3. Saute onions, garlic and ginger in the pressure cooker before putting in the stuff for chicken soup (chicken stock, vegetables, chicken). Then make curry roux (butter, flour, curry powder, garam masala, crushed pepper. ). Once the soup is done combine the roux and serve result on on rice. None of the ingredients are expensive and only thing that can’t be ordered online for cheap and isn’t in every food store is ginger, which is still in most of them. If you’re lazy/pressed for time you can order premade roux at 4 bucks for enough to make a family sized meal and cut out all the work except chopping vegetables+chicken and a bit of sauteing.

      I’ve yet to find anyone who doesn’t consider it amazing. Most consider it witchcraft because you’ve stepped outside the sphere most Americans know how to cook.

  4. Wait. In this stupid article, he … Himself … Says that cooking is a handy way to save money? Well, q.e.d. dumbass! Why are you spending a couple thousand words trying to tell us it is not?

    1. He’s admitting that it’s cheaper, food-wise, but claiming that investing in cookware and utensils is expensive

      1. I’ll bet, for the cost of an upscale hamburger (with his attitudes about food, I doubt he’s ever eaten a 99cent burger!), I could get a cookbook and enough utensils to cook 3/4 of the stuff in it from a thrift shop!

        1. i’d bet my lunch money he’s never been in, much less shopped in a thrift store, or a garage sale, or estate sale/auction. when i make coffee at the house it’s in a french press i bought at Goodwill for a dollar.

    2. It comes down to his article of faith that poverty is environmental. He’s admitting that there are behaviours that keep poor people poor, but he has to go on to explain that these behaviours are forced on them by their environment.

      He would probably also argue that poor people have to buy things at rent to own stores where they will end up paying several times what the item is worth and pay their utility bills late which results in additional charges.

      Living on a budget takes work, and planning, and it’s a skill that many of us never learned until we had to. But it’s possible. Poverty is a lot less about how much money you make and a lot more about how you manage what you do have.

      1. It’s like the article a few years back in National Geographic about food-poverty. One of the people studied was a home-health nurse in the Houston area, who spent most of her budget on fuel because her manager assigned her patients all over the Houston metro area. She was driving 200+ miles/day, and feeding 3 kids. No father was mentioned. The lady worked hard, but she had serious money and time management problems, some of which were job-inflicted.

      2. Hey Poor People!

        Shop garage sales. Don’t buy any teflon lined cookware, since it’s usually burnt and flaking off. A reliable rule of thumb is weight = quality of cookware. The cheap crap is always thin, because metal actually costs something to buy, form, and ship across the pacific.

        Good choices at garage sales can be unbelievable bargains. Especially kitchenware.

          1. Yuppers…. I currently have 3rd gen cast iron passed down from my older sister who got it from her deceased husband who was Italitan and owned an Italian restaurant… it was used in his restaurant but was passed down to him from his mom. I plan on passing it down to my daughter now that she has retired from the Navy and doesnt have to worry about moving it around everywhere.

      3. “poor people have to buy things at rent to own stores where they will end up paying several times what the item is worth”

        We slept on a pile of blankets for a few weeks until friends of ours threw us a boon and gave us a futon mattress. (We’d had to move to chase a job out of poverty—a tactic which ultimately worked really well, FWIW. But it meant we had precisely one van’s worth of stuff with us—not even our books.) You do what you have to do.

  5. I remember the days of baking a meatloaf on Sunday, and eating a slice for dinner every following night. Sometimes I’d be supplementing with ramen by Friday, but those were 10 cents each. Breakfast was oatmeal. Lunch was usually skipped.

  6. Recently my eldest daughter moved into a place of her own. It is the first time that she has ever lived by herself, and she had nothing for cooking. I took her down to the local Walmart Super Center, and for about $100 I outfitted her kitchen and filled her cabinets and fridge with food.

    I was being expansive because, well, I’m a dad, and I spent a lot more than the bare minimum and got her some luxuries. Even so, that is about the cost of eating out every night for a week, and it was a lot more than a week’s worth of food, plus, of course, the pots and pans and pasta strainer and whatnot.

    It does not take a lot of disposable income to start cooking for yourself (and your family). What it takes is thinking ahead and taking responsibility.

    1. Well that last part of your post is the core problem, per the Jefs of the world.

      “Social Justice” is ultimately about refusing to accept responsibility for anything at all by assigning blame to vague, undefined concepts like “patriarchy” or “racism”.

      1. I agree that this is “social justice” and not Social Justice. We can all, probably, agree that there are people out there who have just never encountered a positive circumstance/ catch a good break. Jef is hijacking a legitimate subject and inserting his ego and idiocy into it. Some people need help in the world, but not from Jef.

    2. There are some YouTube videos about how ladies cooked during the Great Depression. Extremely informative. Folks were actually starving in the US then. Faye’s circumstances weren’t anything at all unusual. (Hell, there’s pictures of Ukranian families selling their kids to be meat during Stalin’s enforced famine.)

  7. I recall a very lean period back in the ’80s — I’d just started working the slime line in a fish cannery when the fishermen went on strike, idling all the cannery workers. Try finding another job in a small Alaskan village when 300 other transients had just been thrown out of work. Not gonna happen, Jack.

    I discovered that you can make edible pancakes with nothing but flour and baking powder, both of which cost almost nothing. Pancakes and clams (free for the digging) kept me going for a while.

    Fortunately, the ancient trailer I was crashing in along with a bunch of other guys was furnished with the platinum spatula, the CVD diamond-coated griddle, and the 15-burner Thermador stainless steel commercial luxury range.

    Oh, wait: it had a crappy “non-stick” pan with most of the Teflon scraped off and a propane stove with a cooking surface about the size of a toilet tank.

  8. Tsk, tsk Larry, from your reaction to this well reasoned article, you’d think that you don’t respect the sage judgements of the writer. I am stricken! He so well pointed out that by committing the crime of being poor, people had demonstrated that they couldn’t do anything for themselves. Thus, they need both the government and the fast food industry to do it for them!

    Egads man! Next thing you’ll tell me is that people can actually think for themselves rather than having some SJW talking head do it for them! Or, even more sacrilegious, that poor people managed without the sagacious guidance of their betters before he came along. Because that article demonstrates to us the vital fact that the writer knows best!

  9. All hail the glorious egg! Like Larry I ate about a million of them while in college. Wasn’t allowed near the kitchen growing up and my first away from home purchase was “The Campus Survival Cookbook” (no doubt out of print for 30 years now but some sort of starter cookbook for the totally kitchen ignorant is out there) written by two moms so that their jock sons would not starve.

      1. This is weird, but is it just me or does any one else see replies to Susan’s comment (which was made about an hour ago from me writing this) showing as being made 3 years ago in response to apparently Clamps and issue with some fantasy with dark elves being hypersexualized?

        1. For me, it shows Susan’s comment correctly, but it shows Jordan S. Bassior’s comment being three years ago, as well as all the comments below it in this thread.

          1. That is what I meant. Well that’s strange Now I am curious what they were talking about and which post it came from

        2. Not just you. It looks like the forum software may have accidentally re-used a comment ID. Probably Clamps’s comment got deleted so the replies to it (which were marked as replying to comment 12345 or whatever) ended up not showing up anymore since they were in reply to a non-existent comment. Then Susan posted, happened to get comment ID 12345 (which showed as available since no existing comment was using it) and all those replies-to-Clamps showed up here.

        3. As you can see from the appearance of the blog, Blue Host screwed me yesterday. So we are experiencing some technical difficulties.

          1. Well, I have to say that I appreciate how the new layout gives more horizontal room to comments, so that comments that are two or three nesting levels deep in a conversation are still readable. That part, at least, is a great improvement from the previous layout.

  10. This guy’s so full of shit that I’m surprised that he actually has any room left for food in the first place. The truth is that utensils and cookware are cheaper and of higher quality for a given price range than ever before (thank you, China!). Assuming that you’re starting from no cooking utensils at all (which in itself would be fairly uncommon), I’d say that you could likely buy *all* your bare-minimum utensils and cookware (say, one frying pan, one knife, one pot, a cutting board, a spatula, and a spoon) for maybe a little more than the $20 he claims is the entry level for a knife, and I’m talking new items. Sure, it won’t be more than functional stuff, and what you’ll be able to make at first would be limited, but you’ll be able to save for more items from the money you save from not getting takeout.

  11. Oh no Jef didn’t. Alton Brown called, Jef. He said you use a knife to crush the garlic because you shouldn’t waste money on single-use kitchen tools, tool. Seriously, Jef cites the patron saint of NOT wasting money on snazzy equipment you don’t need to explain why po’ folk can’t afford the right size Williams-Sonoma spatula and are therefore condemned to a life of Arby’s and Popeye’s for all eternity.

    I talked with my neighbor who’s a pastor last summer. (Yeah, out here in the boonies we do stuff like that.) His church has a food pantry program. Now, they DO have issues with people receiving their food who don’t know what to do with some of the more whole-product donations, like whole chickens and vacuum-seal tenderloins. However HE took this to mean that someone ought to TEACH them. When he has the kitchen setup that the church wants to build, I offered to teach a class if he wanted someone with ServSafe and teaching experience to do something on ‘don’t fear the chicken.’ Silly us. People can’t possibly learn to cook. Or buy a pan for $10 at Tru Value hardware like I did that I use for half of what I cook. I have pans in a Goodwill box because they’re taking up space and I only use about four that I own.

    Wait…Goodwill…I think you can buy stuff cheap there. I may have heard that somewhere. Maybe it’s just trendily ironic vintage clothing, though.

    Jef is from New York or LA, isn’t he?

    1. Oh, I saw that mention of a garlic press, and my mind immediately went to a quote from National Lampoon’s DOON:

      “You say to me, ‘Mauve’Bib, here is a garlic press.’ Yet I tell you that I am He Who Lives by the Knife and the Fist. I place the flat blade of my knife upon the clove of garlic. Down upon it I smash my fist. The garlic is crushed; its skin flakes off. Now go away, I’m in a bad mood.”

      1. And here I thought I was one of only about three people who read that. (Note: written by the authors of “Bored of the Rings.”)

  12. I own a stand mixer, and often talk about it in my food blogging. But you know how much I paid for it? Nothing. It was a gift from a friend when I was dirt poor, busted beyond what poor lil’ Jeffy can imagine. Sure, it’s a bit broken, but that just means I manually control the speed and stop. It works fine. I’ve rolled my own tortillas, baked my own bread, and wildcrafted, which is a fancy word for picking weeds because produce ain’t cheap. This dud (he doesn’t get the e) made me roll my eyes the first time I saw the article float across my feed, and the more I see it, the madder I get.

      1. This came with the first electric tortilla machine I bought at the fancy Cooks Wares store a quarter century ago for $65 that both presses and cooks the things. I got it because we were living in Germany and pined for soft-shell tacos. I’m on my second one since then, even though we moved back to the States, because homemade tortillas are cheap, fast, and miles more delicious than store bought ones; we keep wearing out the top rated machines. But a poor person could probably find an aluminum tortilla press or rolling pin, a nonstick frying pan, and a spatula at the dollar store.

        Nb: the original recipe called for plain Crisco or lard. I don’t do lard, but find plain Crisco a bit bland.

        Basic Flour Tortillas
        2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
        1/2 tsp salt
        1/4 cup butter-flavored Crisco, melted
        2/3 cup warm water

        Food Processor method: Place flour and salt in bowl of processor. Add melted Crisco, and process for about 3 seconds. With machine running, pour water through feed tube in a slow but steady stream. Let machine run until dough forms a ball. Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter. If dough is too stiff add a little water. Knead lightly with fingertips for 2 minutes, until dough is smooth. If dough is too sticky, add a little flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes before making tortillas.

        Nb2: I melt the Crisco and heat the water in the microwave next to my work surface, speeding the manufacture process by minutes, but both can be done in a pot on the stove.

        Hand Mixing method (if you are poor or a purist foodie snob): Rub flour, salt, and melted Crisco together with your fingers until completely incorporated and fine crumbs form. Pour water into dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork until dough forms large clumps. Sprinkle dough with flour and knead lightly with fingertips for 2 minutes, until dough is smooth. If dough is too sticky, add a little flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes before making tortillas.

        Sweet Tortillas
        Add 2 Tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon to flour. Serve with fruit and powdered sugar, top with honey and serve warm, or serve topped with ice cream. Crisp fry sweet tortilla for a special touch.

    1. Around my house, “wildcrafting” is a fancy word for “YUM, CHICKWEED SEASON IS HERE”. 🙂 (And lamb’s quarters. Lambs’ quarters are my best green friend ever and I rejoice when the dogs carry seeds around and start a new patch.)

  13. Our cookware consists of
    1. Iron skillets from the 80s & 90s received as gifts (we had a deep iron skillet from the 50s or 60s, that my addict brother stole and traded for drugs before he passed)
    2. Pots from a 60s/70s set, an Amway set from ca. 1980, and a “Club” saucepan set of unknown vintage that belonged to my late grandmother.
    3. A ceramic-coat skillet set we paid $40 for one thanksgiving at Wallyworld, and 2 $20 pyrex baking and storage bowl sets from 2 other Thanksgivings (the last 3 years – and probably the only purchases we made this decade)
    4. 50 years worth of knives, utensils and cutlery – minus HUNDREDs that we tossed out, or sold in yard sales (a quarter a piece for steel, $1 each for silver plate).
    5. several crock pots of various sizes (including a removable crock behemoth of a size that is apparently not made anymore).

    Spread over the years, that’s probably less than a dime a week for costs (even when you consider how much an 1980s Amway polished stainless 15-20 piece set cost back then).

    That’s not even considering the Thrift stores, “everything for a dollar” stores, yard sales and flea markets. Must the “poor” buy everything new and at full retail? For that matter, anyone can use a 5-8 quart cooking pot for a “5-quart mixing bowl” (though that might mean hand mixing instead of an egg-beater or electric mixer), without having to buy some overpriced bowl – for that matter, my mom uses a 15-year old Halloween candy bowl bought marked down in November for pocket change for mixing most things.

    When I was in college in the 90s, I was living in a dorm – but there was a kitchen you could check out, and while the guys down the hall were buying ramen, I was buying a turner, a meat fork, and a couple spoons, then the next month a pot, then a skillet, and by the next term I was frying my own potatoes, burgers, and cheap steaks, for less than what the guy next door was paying for a single pizza from the cheapest place in town. Even the Ramen and sandwich eaters had coffee pots, that did double duty to heat the water for the ramen – and probably spent more on their coffee than their food with actual nutritional content. French or Italian bread was far cheaper than bagels or English muffins, by size and content, and with some pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni, made far better snack pizzas (and definitely larger quantities) than bagel bites, at a quarter of the cost (and could be made in a toaster oven). I even taught some of the other students (who were at that point, mostly 8-10 years younger than me) how to make it, and shop for cheap-but-filling meals.

    Jef must be a firm believer in the “give a man fire/set a man afire” meme, not the “give a man a fish/teach a man to fish” one it parodies.

  14. 15 years ago or so, I went through a period of about a year where I was either un- or under- (minimum-wage+a bit) employed. My grocery budget per month was $50, and I could have gotten by with less. Even if I had no pots and utensils (I did), I could have picked up enough to get by with for another $50 or less, and that would have been less than a week’s worth of eating out for every meal.

    The food processor comment is what really floors me, though, as far as epic stupidity levels go. Cause all a food processor does is cut stuff up fast. You can still cut stuff up with a knife. My first ‘food processor’ after living on my own was an 8″ chef’s knife. Still have it. Still use it, even though I have fancier knives (and a food processor) now.

    1. I’ve been cooking since… a long time ago. When I was little, it was easy stuff: boiled pasta, mostly. When I got older, I watched a guy at the store making omelettes to show how teflon keeps things from sticking. So I went home and tried it, and made my own scrambled eggs from then on. Over the years, I’ve learned to make all kinds of things, and most of them cheap by the serving.

      But I’ve never NEEDED a food processor. I did buy a blender a couple of years ago to make fruit smoothies (again, so much cheaper and better if you make them at home as opposed to buying them at the mall), and it came with a food processor accessory. We use it maybe once a month? Maybe even not that often.

      A good knife is a good idea. But “good” is relative. You don’t need an $80 Wustulff (sp?) chef’s knife if you can buy a whole set of nice knives from your local band kid during a fundraiser for about $25 (watch out and make sure they’re not serrated). I have one knife my parents gave me again, a long time ago, that’s still my go-to knife in the kitchen. Get a good cheap one, and you’re set to go for most meals.

    2. Can’t stand to use food processors. I’ve owned a couple. The cleanup time far, far outweighs the chop time saving (for me, at least)
      Cleaning my chef’s knife is darn near instantaneous. I use the cutting board as an eating plate (veggies only, raw chicken means an extra scrub)

  15. Beautiful job, as always, Larry!
    I love to cook & I’ve never owned a food processor in my 53 years. I don’t cook for many folks at a time, & I can do what I need with a knife. I have newer knives, but my go-to blades are an Old Hickory butcher knife & an OH paring knife, both of which I’ve had for 30 years or so, & they weren’t new then.
    Eating meat you’ve hunted saves money, too. Nay-sayers will mention the costs of weapon, special clothing, license, hunting lease, etc., but as you said, poor folks find ways. I was poor (the real kind) when I took my first deer, & it didn’t cost me much. Old jeans & an M-65 I already owned, carrying an SKS I already had, hunting on a relative’s land (no license required). Hell no, I didn’t take it to a checking station, it went to the back yard & to be butchered & packaged for the freezer (a hand-me-down from my grandmother, & as old as I was). With a wife & 3 kids, that meat helped a hell of a lot.
    Kiss my hillbilly ass, Jef.

    1. I have a food processor, but I mostly use it to shred Fels-Naphtha soap bars for making laundry detergent.

      Hypothetically I could do that by hand, but who would want to?

  16. Bah!!!! Fried chicken is so damn easy. OK, I have a deep fryer. But still. Just fry the damn chicken and sprinkle some adobo on it after you’re done. You don’t even need to mess with any breading.

    1. Why fry? Roasting a chicken is easier, takes less clean-up, helps heat the house in winter, and costs about $6 for the chicken. Add a couple dollars worth of vegetables — Kroger’s even has a pre-chopped “roasting vegetables” mix for $3.50. Some flour (1.50 for 2 lbs) and some stock (1.10) and you can make gravy. That flour will last a year, BTW. So under $15 for a roast that will feed 4 (or one for 4 meals).

      Don’t have a roasting pan? Any oven-safe pan will do, including a cast-iron pan you can pick up a Goodwill — and that will last you forever if you care for it.

      1. Oh, or you can pick up an already-roasted chicken for $7. Lacks the gravy, vegetables, heat, and smell, though.

  17. Holy cheeseballs! That idiot’s so full of crap, the toilet’s jealous!

    And the thing is, I get it. I don’t like to cook. It takes a lot of time that could (IMO) be better spent doing other things (like writing or reading Larry’s epic fiskings). So does driving to the grocery store. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t steam vegetables or saute anything to save my life.

    But you know what? I cook for myself. Why? Because I’m smart enough to realize I can’t afford to eat out every single meal, or even once per day. And the way things are spread out around here, a trip to a restaurant (even fast food) takes just as long as a trip to the grocery store.

    Pots? Pans? Utensils? All the extra stuff that Mom & Dad left behind when they moved down to Florida. Most of it’s newer-ish, but mostly because Dad can make Scrooge look extravagant and buys the el-cheapo stuff whose handles fall off after a few years, but it still works (though I’m gonna probably have to buy a new knife set soon. Tips are bending and breaking off).

    And for those nights when I work late and/or have a ton of homework? Simple. Frozen meals. Yeah, not as cheap as making it from scratch, but they’re almost certainly (okay, depends on the brand and the meal itself) healthier, cheaper, and tastier than fast food. Picked up a pair of VERY tasty and VERY filling Steak & Stout pies from Trader Joe’s for about the same price as a single Double Quarter-Pounder with Cheese. Just the sandwich, no drink or fries.

    Lunch at work? Most everyone goes out to eat. I pack a sandwich and snacks, so I can eat for the week for about the same price as a single meal out. And I could probably do it cheaper still if I bought the $4.99/lb ham instead of the $9.99 ham, but I like my food to have a flavor other than salty nastiness.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat out. There’s this Italian restaurant near me where everything is made from scratch and all of the ingredients are imported from Naples. I’m not kidding. The food is to die for. And the price per plate reflects that. So I only go there on REALLY special occasions.

    Seriously, this Jef (what, did he take Jeff Dunham’s Peanut character seriously?) character sounds like he really would starve to death if he tried to live on my budget.

  18. just introduced to your posts courtesy of Brad Torgersen. at 50 I cook almost everything myself and yes when i was a young single Marine I ate either chowhall, or out, but once I was out….I was cooking everything as it was cheaper. I still have the first skillet i bought for myself back then.. a cast iron “lodge” 10″ that I bought because I knew it would last. This idiot you are referencing makes some of my dumbest cohorts in the Corps look like friggin Einsteins.. and the way he talks down is sad…it shows he has alack of empathy among other bad traits.

  19. For my last couple years of college, my entire food budget for the year was what I could earn over the summer/winter breaks at $8/hr. I bought a $40 pot and pan set from Wal-Mart, and splurged on the $25 knife set, and that was what I used till I got married. Grocery shopping was riding my bike the couple miles to the grocery and carrying bags back on the handlebars. Eating out never happened, because a single meal would be the same price as 3 days of better food at home.
    I got to be a good enough cook during that time that eating out no longer really appeals for a lot of things, because I know I can make most dishes cheaper and tastier myself. I can’t claim to have ever been really poor by any stretch, but I can’t imagine having less money would make me more likely to eat out.

  20. This nonsense reminds me of the politicians who try to eat on what foodstamps can get them, and they fail miserably. How can you live when you can’t go to the fancy restaurants that politicians are used to going to?

    Meanwhile, my wife and I look at foodstamps for a family of four, and notice that it’s a bit more than what we budget for our family of six.

    Of course, we live in Utah, and not Silicon Valley…but then, that’s a major reason why I am *very* skeptical when I consider software engineering positions in Silicon Valley. Hey, Silicon Valley people, why don’t you just pay me the salary I’d need to barely survive in Silicon Valley, but let me work remote from Utah? You’d be paying me the same as all your other employees, but I’d be able to make significant progress paying down debt (rather than just scrape by, from paycheck to paycheck, as I’d have to do making $100k a year living in Silicon Valley….)

    1. I always wonder if those politicians are failing the “foodstamp challenge” on purpose or if they really were raised by French poodles and are unaware that you can buy food at places other than Whole Paycheck.

  21. The $20 cook book comment got me. Most of ‘the poors’ have access to the internet, unless Google search is too time consuming. I probably have close to 50 recipes on my phone from snapping pictures from the cook books in the book store.

  22. People in this country are poor for one of three reasons:

    1) They are have a low IQ, are not capable of providing a service people will pay them very much for

    2) They have some other mental illness that makes it difficult for them to cope with life.

    3) They have VERY high time preference and simply (as Jordan Peterson would put it) “Sacrifice to the future”.

    15% of the population has an IQ less than 85. They can’t even join the fooking military. Not even my homies the Marines will take someone that dumb.

    I bet there’s a STRONG overlap between poverty and stupidity. Well, plus sociology degrees.

    > Shouldn’t these social justice majors at least have to take some econ and accounting classes?

    If they did, they might start doing the math and figuring out that their degree ain’t worth spit. Then, being that sort of person, they’d go crying to the papers about how the school fooled them into taking out loans for this crap and they’d sue. Which would be POPCORN time.

    BTW, I still have the pans that my mom got me when I moved into my first apartment in 1991.

    And I still have one or two of the bar cups left from the bar I used to go to in 1991/2.

    1. Well, by definition, 50% of the population has IQ below 100, not sure if that matters all that much cooking-wise.

      That said, some people are poor because they’re new immigrants; or because they got sick or injured and are drowning in medical bills; or maybe because their entire profession is on its way to being automated. Sure, such things wouldn’t pose a problem for a person with 200 IQ, but most ordinary people aren’t that lucky.

      1. Are you kidding me? There is so much bullshit in Bugmaster’s post.

        IQ is a measurement of a few kinds of intelligence of a multitude of different types of intelligence. Your relative math skills mean jack shit when it comes to frying an egg. So no, it doesn’t matter much cooking wise. It’s painfully obvious it doesn’t matter much cooking wise, when for thousands of years of human history, people cooked.

        Your second bit… I said there were different reasons for poverty. Thanks for restating the obnoxiously obvious. But if you’re an immigrant? You fucking learn to cook (and in fact, cooking jobs are some of the MOST COMMON things immigrants do!) If you’ve got medical problems? You fucking learn to cook. Your profession is being automated? Cry me a river, and then fucking learn to cook. Oh but wait! What about Poor Sally Born Without Hands? Oh shit. Got me there, we’d better all just give up now.

        And I don’t think anybody has an IQ of 200, and if someone does, then he’s too busy building a time travelling star gate to cook, and hired somebody with an IQ of 50 to make him a PB&J.

        1. IQ is a measurement of a few kinds of intelligence of a multitude of different types of intelligence … It’s painfully obvious it doesn’t matter much cooking wise…

          Um… yes ? Isn’t this exactly what I said ? Sounds like you’re violently agreeing with me.

          Your second bit… I said there were different reasons for poverty. …

          I agree with you, but I disagreee with William O. B\’Livion, above, to whom, I was replying. He seems to be saying that poor people are poor strictly because they’re stupid. Of course you can still learn to cook in pretty much any unfortunate circumstance (unless you’re in a coma I suppose); again, seems like you and I are in violent agreement.

          That said, you might want to read William O. B\’Livion’s comment, above, just to get some context.

          1. He seems to be saying that poor people are poor strictly because they’re stupid.

            Incorrect; I think you’re the one who needs to re-read his comment. Low IQ is only one of the three reasons he gives; the other two are addiction mental illness and high time preference (e.g., not being willing to delay gratification in order to get a bigger payoff down the road). I think he should have spoken more about high time preference, since that’s what will cause many people to spend $20 on KFC instead of spending two hours cooking. But don’t claim that he said poor people are poor strictly because they’re stupid, because that’s just plain false.

            Edit: I thought he mentioned addiction, but he actually mentioned mental illness. Updated my comment to fix my mistake.

          2. And the real difficulty, I think, is he didn’t say he was speaking about long-term poverty. Most free people can go briefly into poverty for a LOT of reasons besides those William listed. But those mired in long-term poverty are usually burdened with mental/personality issues, drug/alcohol issues, or a significant learned behavior issue (welfare dependency).

        2. Brookings Institute did a study, came up with three rules to avoid poverty: “… at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children. Our research shows that of American adults who followed these three simple rules, only about 2 percent are in poverty and nearly 75 percent have joined the middle class (defined as earning around $55,000 or more per year).” Bad decisions more than low intelligence.

    2. Not even my homies the Marines will take someone that dumb.
      Well, they won’t let them *start* that dumb. But they will *train* them. 😉
      (Just interservice rivalry, nothing more.)

      I bet there’s a STRONG overlap between poverty and stupidity.
      If you define “stupidity” as “willful ignorance” and make that “prolonged poverty”, then yes.

  23. When I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own apartment, I had about two cubic feet of fridge space and two burners. That was good enough though. I would get some hamburger, canned tomatoes, and pasta from the store down the street and that was a really filling meal. Utensils, pans, etc. came from Goodwill or were hand-me-downs.

    Even one pan lets you make some ramen, which you can improve by tossing some frozen veggies into. Truly, this stuff is not that hard.

    1. Ramen, some frozen veggies, an egg stirred in. Add water, pop into microwave and 6 minutes later, reasonably tasty and now with added protein. Splurge, add some leftover meat or another egg.

      1. And a microwave (probably the one thing I wouldn’t buy at a garage sale or thrift store) is <$100 at Wally World. Not that bad if you're saving up $2 a week.

  24. Find your local thrift shop, flea market, auction house, craigslist, etc. $10 can buy you an entire kitchen in a box. I once bought a whole box of stuff at an auction to get one 12in cast iron pan. I still have it and use it more than any of the other fancy stuff I now own. I ended up giving $10. I got the pan I wanted, several mixing bowls, a kitchen knife set in a block, 6-7 tupper wear bowl, potato peeler, and I couldn’t tell you what all else. Its nice to have cool nice matching stuff, but cool matching stuff doesn’t make it taste any better.

  25. “I’ve yet to buy a single recipe book that didn’t take at least one $20 purchase for granted as they casually told me to run something through a food processor.”

    Maybe try Fannie Farmer, Betty Crocker, or (if those are too white-trash for your sensibilities) Amy Vanderbilt, all which were written long before food processors were even a thing.

    Heck, Fannie Farmer’s was written almost before electricity was a thing.

    Pro tip: if the author pic is of some guy with a man bun, keep looking.

    1. Find a second hand book store. The cook books may be stained and have broken backs…

      A really lucky find would be an older edition of “The Joy of Cooking”. It predates most of the appliances and even has sections on preparing game…

      1. There’s a Joy of Cooking at almost every estate sale I’ve ever been to. Most church thrift stores have at least one, and often more. It’s my go to cookbook and BTW it’s funny too. It’s filled with little humorous bits. While it’s a gem, and recommended, they’re not hard to find.

        In fact, any thrift store is going to be packed chock a block with cookbooks (many of dubious utility) but many very basic ones, that are a good start.

        Most food manufacturer’s have published cookbooks that use their products too. They are almost all focused on the beginning cook, simple preparation, and maximizing the value of “starter” ingredients, like mushroom soup.

        1. Reading through that particular cookbook, I get the feeling that the authors were serious about the “Joy” part in the “Joy of Cooking.” It sounds like they were always having a blast.

      2. Jeff is an idiot. There is this thing out there called libraries…. have been around for decades… free books with just a library card – including cookbooks. If you find a recipe you really like then there is this stuff called paper and pencil or pen…. total cost – maybe a dollar depending on how big a pack of paper you buy . Spiral notebooks are cheap.

    2. You don’t even have to buy cookbooks or magazines, they’ll have hundreds at your local library to check out for free! I admit that I do own lots of both, because I love cookbooks, but I also check out lots from the library, especially if I just want to try the recipes first or see what sort of ingredients/effort they entail. In addition to books, they’ll have magazine subscriptions, so you can read the latest Taste of Home or whatever.

  26. You just need the Holy Trifecta of cooking: Microwave, Stove, and Fridge. Everything starts in the fridge, goes to the stove for cooking, goes back into the fridge when everybody has eaten off it as much as they can (i.e. that fried chicken you bought that was part centipede because it had a dozen legs for cheap) If it needs to be warmed up when it comes out of the fridge, microwave. In a pinch, you can do without the stove, but it makes frying (umm…. bacon) a little more difficult and the results less tasty.

    (Obligatory recipe) Take one meatloaf tin, put leftover chicken in the bottom, a can of drained mixed veggies, can of mushroom soup (the real stuff, not the fake no-fat stuff), sprinkle with shredded cheese, top with mashed potatoes or Bisquick (a required cheap kitchen staple) and a touch more cheese, bake at 350 for 30 min. Enjoy.

    1. This is the second Bisquick reference: It’s just flour with a bit of baking powder and salt (i.e. the biscuit recipe that’s on every can of baking powder ever sold).

  27. Back when i was really broke (circa 1968), my housemates and I took turns in going to either Covent Garden or Smithfield at around 4:00am and getting reject fruit and veggies from Covent Garden and meat from Smithfield. Sometimes free, the rest of the time dirt cheap. Some of the meals we concocted were pretty weird — there was no telling what we’d end up with, but a few basic spices and some cheap Spanish olive oil, we did pretty well.

  28. When I was single and living on a tight budget (e.g., the nine months I spent between jobs one year), if I was tired of cooking, I would sometimes splurge on fast food. BUT… I would go to the local Taco Bell, Wendy’s, or Jack in the Box and order exclusively from their dollar menu. Three bean burritos cost $3 plus tax (now they’re off the value menu so that would cost me $4.50), and they make for a pretty satisfying meal. And even there, I could have fed myself for cheaper if I’d been willing to invest the time on cooking rice and beans (with a dash of Sriracha for flavor).

  29. Buy a cook book?

    Is there left on earth a single recipe you can’t find for free on the Internet?

    Maybe a few, but really…you can find nearly anything.

    LOVE your mom’s idea about the chicken and the warm water. 😉

  30. The worst thing about this is that some people will believe him. I’m not talking about Jef’s fellow travelers, but ordinary people who don’t have exposure to cooking (surprisingly common). Home economics seems to be a fading skill set. Every time a Jef believes this, it’s just silly (but not as silly as one f). Every time a poor person believes they’re better off buying KFC than $20 in beans and rice materials, that’s lost capital of both the financial and self sufficiency kind. It’s like endorsing payday lenders, but for food.

    1. X1000. I’m an Olde Farte now, so to my younger friends and colleagues I preach the gospel of crock pots and index funds.

    2. One of the classes I took in Highschool that I actually remember is home economics. Hey, I even cooked Pizza for one of the project.

  31. Larry, have some Mercy. I will say that if “Jef” has tools that wear out in ten years, he’s buying overpriced crap. My utensils and knives are sourced from thrift stores and garage sales, but the knives have lasted me twenty, twenty-five and twenty-seven years thus far and show no sign of wearing out. (Learn to sharpen, “jef”.) Cost? I think the most pricy one was twelve dollars–at a dollar an inch. (Twelve-inch chef’s knife, full-tang, maker’s name worn off when I got it.)

    1. We have a paring knife we got from an estate sale of an elderly woman who’d obviously gotten it early in married life. So, 50+ years plus our 14 years and it is still going strong. My favorite kitchen tool.

  32. I suppose Jef thinks all poor people are friendless orphans, as well. The only equipment you need to set up kitchen is a pan and a utensil. It’s nice to have all that other stuff, but you can Make Food so long as there’s a vessel to cook it /eat it in, and something to stir it with. Most of the time, your mom/dad/granny/neighbor lady can hook you up with her spares. So you need something you don’t have- go next door and ask to borrow something. That’s what us poor people do when we’re starting out. ‘hey mom, I want to make a cake, can I borrow a cake pan?” 9 times out of 10, mom will not only lend you a cake pan. She might pour through her stash and give you a few items.

  33. 1: Find the place people donate things to. (Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, et al)
    2: Go there and buy kitchen things.

    If you can’t stand using someone else’s leftovers, go to ShopKo, K-Mart, Wally World and buy the “dorm room special”. Service for four, one or two fry pans, one or two pots and some utensils (usually includes a knife or two). Price? Twenty five to forty bucks.

    This reminds me of the SNAP (Food Stamp) challenge the lib-babies throw out every couple of years.

    “Buy groceries for one week for one person with thirty dollars.”

    Boom, done.

    “No, no, you have to buy it all at once, at Whole Foods, no coupons, nothing on sale and you have to cook everything in an old Campbell’s soup can using a rusty spoon formerly used for boiling heroin doses.”

    Uh, what?

    “See, you don’t know what it’s like to be poor.”

    1. It’s funny. With all the comments here and hundreds more on Facebook, yes, many of us do know what it is like to be poor. That’s why we are fresh out of pity. 😀

      1. Hell no baby!

        We’re all giving advice for any unfortunate SOB’s who found Jef’s article through a google search on how to eat while broke.

        Of course, we’d gut, skin and cook Jef. Nobody respect’s a cow’s intellect much, either. Poor Jef. At least we’d kill the cow first.

  34. My wife of many years is now so disabled that she can no longer cook (traditional stay-at-home mom here). Translation: I now do all the cooking. But I also work full time and have other things I need to do after work. Translation: I don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking.

    What to do, what to do?

    OK: here’s a thought:

    Buy two flank steaks (about $20 or so). Marinate overnight in a mixture of 1/3 cup each honey, cooking/olive oil, and balsamic vinegar). Pan sear over medium heat for 15-20 minutes a side. Serve with rice, noodles, etc. (I spend a little more time and make a Parmesan risotto – look up Ina Garten’s recipe).

    Prep time about 20 minutes on Saturday night. About 40 minutes to sear the steaks on Sunday, and 45 minutes for the risotto (I use two pans – one steak per pan). So for just over an hour’s work, the two of us eat for a week. Adding up all the items and dividing by about 10 meals, it works out to $3-4.00 per person per meal.

    I have other recipes that are similarly cheap both in monetary outlays and in prep/cook time. I’ll never be an Iron Chef, but I have time to spare and neither of us has lost weight because of my awful cooking.

    It just isn’t that tough folks!

    1. Sir! I can’t help speaking. Why would you cook a flank steak for 15-20 minutes per side? What? What!

      Broil, or pan fry on high, more like 5-7 minutes per side. When it’s done the meat will hopefully be nicely seared brown outside and red or red-pink inside. We call this rare. This is how steak should be eaten, not solid gray like your method must produce.

      1. Nope. This is done over a medium heat. When I cut the steaks they’re still nice and pink inside. Growing up my parents always cooked steak “well done” as you feared I have done. Damn near broke teeth trying to eat the stuff, and vowed to never do that once I left the nest.

        1. What’s the advantage of longer cooking over medium heat, vs. less cooking time over high heat? Serious question: I’m way more ignorant than I’d like on this particular subject and would love to find out more.

          1. From my understanding, cooking at lower temperatures means that the outside is less likely to be burned or otherwise overdone by the time the inside is done than cooking at high temperatures.
            To see this in action, cook a Hot Pocket in the microwave for the recommended time at full power, then cook another at 50% power for twice the time. There’s quite a difference.

          2. If managed properly, a higher temperature will cook the outside of meat rapidly, sealing in the interior juices. Many suggest a brief searing (high heat, to cook the outside) followed by a lower temperature long cook (to cook the inside).
            Also, a lower temperature over long term will often make for a very tender meat. It’s partly why (along with marinating) a crock pot roast will turn out to be fork tender.

  35. You can get a 7 quart crock pot at Wal-Mart for like $25.

    My favorite recipe. Fry 2 lbs ground meat. Put in crock pot. Add 1 lb small red beans. Add a lot of garlic. Add veggies. Add 3 quarts chicken broth. Season to taste. Cook in crockpot on low all day.

    Cook rice in rice cooker when I get home from work.

    Pour rice in crock pot.


    Eat for 6 meals.

    1. Buy a whole chicken and bake it. After eating as much as you can, boil the rest. Strain it (can just use the pot lid). Boil down. One now has “free” chicken broth. Pick the meat off the strained bones and stuff. Add noodles and cream-of-mushroom soup (buying that is probably worth it). Put in anything oven-safe and bake. One now has casserole.

      I just can’t believe people don’t know this stuff. Where do they think chicken broth comes from?

      1. Given how there are people think that you have to kill cows for milk, and that meat comes from the grocery store ‘and that you don’t need to kill animals for it’….

  36. lol, the utensils are the easiest part, go to goodwill or some other secondhand store and you can get everything you need for pennies on the dollar.

  37. ETA–hit “read more” to get this to format right

    First, I cracked up quite a few times. This was pretty funny.

    Second, so-called “Jef”s so-called article has probably come out now because Trump is proposing a much needed overhaul of the various welfare systems, the idea being that the needy (and “the needy”) will be given boxes of fresh nutritious food that they’ll- wait for it- have to cook! Soon we’ll all be lectured at length as to how much of an onerous, nearly impossible chore this “cooking” is, how the poor will struggle to find time to do in between their 5 jobs, and how any who support the plan are basically Nazis letting the poor starve this time around, etc.

    Third, if anyone wants a recipe for some of the finest meatballs ever made google “Steve Shirpa hungry Vimeo”. Its the recipe for Rao’s meatballs in NYC, and they’re magnificent.

      1. From my understanding, the boxes will have both staples and produce. The proposed savings to the government will be in hundreds of billions, and it seemed form the wording that they’d be delivered or brought to the general area of the recipient. Frankly, I’d prefer they give out food from a warehouse like in the old days, but this still much better than nothing.

        And I want add a general note that the comments here being interspersed with random, bizarre, 3 year old debates on how sexy dark elves are is pretty awesome.

    1. Question is, would the food and logistical bureaucracy be worse than the EBT bureaucracy plus wastage? I favor simply cutting the entitlement spending.

  38. When I moved out on my own, my mom gave me a pot and a pan, a few cups, and a handfull of mismatched silverware.. I still have most of that, 35 years later, because using them was way cheaper than take-out.

  39. My favorite pan is a 10″ cast iron skillet my grandmother gave me, she got it around 1920. Until she was in her 70s she never bought the herbs she used most, she had a little patch of a garden about 2×8 feet with basil, oregano and rosemary enough grows from a plant or two in summer to dry and jar to last the whole year. She also grew tomatoes in that little patch. You can grow the herbs in pots inside easily enough. Another hint for Jef the Douchnozzle, if you have a 6 quart pot to cook in you do not need a 5 quart mixing bowl just use the freaking pot and wash it out.

  40. Apparently, to cut a tomato in half requires a knife forged by a samurai blade smith, using ore taken from a meteor.

    On the plus side, I now have the perfect setup for my long-time dream of opening up a theme restaurant.

  41. Now I want to filk a heavy metal “Master of Omelettes”.

    Taste me you will see
    Eggs are all you need
    You’re dedicated to
    Cooking lunch for a sou

    Come whisking faster
    Obey your master
    Your eggs cook faster
    Obey your master

    Master of omelettes I’m stirring your eggs
    Twisting your yolks and smashing your dregs
    Seasoned by me, you can’t taste a veg
    Just call my name, ‘cause I’ll hear you scream
    Just call my name, ‘cause I’ll hear you scream

  42. For a while, I was so poor that i lived on peanut butter, white bread, plain yogurt, and honey. Oh, and the occasional doggy-bag if i got invited for a meal. Then i got “rich” and could afford eggs, milk, cucumbers and one of those all in one spice mixes. When my finances finally got together and i was working a real job, i was astounded at the amount of money people paid for lunch instead of brown bagging. Fortunately for me, the price shock remained and i rarely ‘eat out’ and i still shop at thrift grocery stores.
    I do enjoy a good beer every couple of weeks though 🙂

    1. At one time, I was making really, really good money in IT for a Fortune 10 company. My green beret bro smacked me with a cluebat when I discussed restauranting lunches and dinners. He pointed out that I was spending enough on eating out that if I started eating really, really nice brown bag lunches, I could use the rest of the money I was spending to easily make the payments on a new Harley.

  43. Stupid Jeff. One can cook a big pot of soup with re-wrap dirt cheap veggies, or rice/pasta and it feeds a family. Several meals. When we lived in the USSR, I worked (3 hours a day in public transport ), 2 hours in line to buy some half- rotten vegetables, something called meat (bones mostly) if you were lucky. Dead tired in the evening, we all cooked to feed the family. Do not forget not having a washing/drying machine or dishwasher. Survived. Have money and applied especially now, but still buy only foods on sale and cook 3 meals a day, saving money and health.

    1. I’ve heard that for years, don’t know who came up with it, but its usually Poor Sally Born Without Feet. Whenever you are arguing against any feel good liberal social program, inevitably, they forget what most of the people they’re supposedly trying to help are actually capable of, and begin arguing on behalf of Poor Sally.

      1. My question for his Poor Sally without hands is… if she doesn’t have hands or the ability to pick things up to cook then how does she pick up the junk food to eat?

  44. In my twenties, I was very poor. I lived on rice and whatever proteins I could get cheaply. Steamed rice is nigh fool proof. All you need is some sort of double boiler (buy or improvise) and something to punch holes with (I used a phillips screwdriver). Punch holes on the side of the top part. Put rice in there, add water to the top and bottom and cook the rice until done. Steamed fluffy rice that will not burn. The double boiler came from Goodwill. Cost around a buck. Or, if you live in and around Charleston SC you can pick up a ‘Charleston rice steamer’ that does the same thing, but is prettier. Steamed rice is really versatile. You can add proteins like eggs or sausage and whatever vegetables are in season. Easy peasy.

    1. Easier rice–bring water to a boil. Add rice, stir, put the lid on and turn off the heat. It will cook fluffy and not burn.

    2. Make sure you put the holes in the right half. *Really* important.
      “Jef” might say that makes it impossible for a poor person.

  45. I enjoy me protein. I enjoy my veg. Some days I just eat veg. No particular reason. Given what they say about the food pyramid . . .veg and fruit should be the better part. Amazing what you do with mashed anything. There shouldn’t be leftovers I believe. Simpler the better. Best memories are simple meals. I also enjoy the occasional Macca’s. This guy is a poser.

      1. Read Jordan Peterson’s daughter’s blog It details her struggle with her multitudes of health issues she had since childhood. Most of which she solves by adapting a very restrictive. The blog is call Don’t Eat that for a reason. And she’s very critical of the Food Pyramid.

  46. “… poor people can’t possibly get jobs unless they can buy a new BMW to drive to work in.”

    Wish I’d known that years ago. Would’ve saved me from some shit jobs.

  47. Ugh. My future self just revealed that when the Doom finally comes, we somehow get Jeff on our post-apoc team. He’s the genius that grabbed the 30 weight can to refuel the generator. Also shot the Lizard shifter in the face while cleaning his rifle, which worked out ok in the end.

    Anyways, Future Fen warns me to take the left fork at Radiated Falls instead. He says it leads to Courtland’s Cannibals. And no more Jef.

  48. When I left home, I bought a set of plastic plates, a very pan cheap set of eating utensils, and an iron skillet. Mom gave me a pan and a mixing bowl. I had knives from Scouts. 40 years later, I still have them and still use the.

  49. Dollar Store? Garage sales, yard sales, thrift shops, neighbor’s cast-offs… My economic circumstances have improved over the years, but I still think it’s morally wrong to pay retail prices. OTOH, if you’re looking for reasons why you can’t possibly do something, you can always find them.

  50. My wife is still using a cooking pan that she got from her grandma. It was made in the 70s, and it’s still her favorite pan.
    I have some hand-me-down cooking utensils which were made in the 50’s. They’re still in great shape. And they had to have been affordable because my parents did not have much money then.

  51. I’m poor and I am not going to waste my money of fast or junk food. I use 3 knives, 2 skillets(cast iron natch), 2 turners, and old bay if it’s been a bad week/month. And I ain’t on food stamps, so I really have to budget for meals. Jefie is a douche for a lot of reasons, but especially for pissing me off by equating poor with stupid. I may not be the brightest bulb, but a least I can improvise a fricken meal on a budget.

    First comment I’ve posted here in at least 2 years. But you just had to make me aware of that ID10T

  52. Yeah back when we were poor we ate pretty much all our meals at home because we couldn’t afford to go out. Maybe a pizza once in a while. This is pretty much a no-brainer and of course TILoH is correct.

  53. Agree 100%. I GIVE AWAY FREE FOOD at our local pantry and it is amazing how few will cook. Free food! I am always grateful to find a client who can say “Oh yes, I’ll take that, I can make a (fill in the blank).” There are so many who refuse to take anything that requires more than a microwave.

  54. I and my Elderly mother live on $210 per month for food. We eat out once a month, a $5 large carry out single topping pizza. Everything else is prepared at home. Small freezer to buy meat when it goes on sale and seal it into 2 person portions using a cheap seal a meal machine and generic bags. Shop groceries we are using store cards and their different savings programs. We buy store brands of canned goods especially when Kroger does their semi-annual case lot sale. Most meals are cooked in the crock pot-$10 Family Dollar. Coffee is Made in the Coffee Pot-Family Dollar $12.
    Anything time I hear someone bitching about being poor holding a cup of Starbuck coffee…I restrain myself just hoping they don’t have kids.

  55. You noted thrift stores earlier. The whole “Every recipe calls for at least a $20 item!” is completely destroyed by their existence.

    I love thrift stores. I picked up a 3 qt enamel-coated, cast iron braiser. $6. Simply because I wanted to see if their utility was better/ a good addition to my other cast iron pans. $6 is a lot less to spend on an experiment than $40 or $50 that the cheapest seem to go for. (Aside- it was a great addition to the other cast iron pans, and I now have learned the difference between a braiser and a dutch oven.)

    While there I notice food processors, different ones every day. As we own a very nice food processor, I’ve never bought one. Prices range anywhere from $2 to $6. Since they seem to disappear regularly and be replaced by new ones, many poor people are aware of these mysterious places that elude the author.

    And, of course, yard sales are left out. Dollar store has nothing on yard sales. 4 forks for a dollar?! Try 12 sets of silverware for the same. Oh, one note though. Never go to a rich person’s yard sale. They think their crap is special and price it accordingly. Go to a poor person’s yard sale. They want to get rid of the crap and price it accordingly. (I grew up “poor” as well. I’ve learned thriftiness as a second nature.)

  56. In my neighborhood, there are an alarming number of children who do not eat unless the government feeds them at school. Many church groups fill backpacks with food so that these children will have something to eat on the weekends, and God bless them. I think the problem here is not poverty, but that these families have no father, the mother works too many jobs, and the children do not have the knowledge or the discipline to cook for themselves. I think Larry would agree with me that anyone over the age of seven should be able to prepare a meal for themselves and any younger children. M.F.K Fisher wrote a marvelous book: “How to Eat a Wolf’. Still good advice.

  57. Here was my response to Jef: I once was a homeless drug addict and lived in a van for 3 years with a wok and a Coleman camp stove and a small plastic cooler. Cooked nearly every day that I actually ate. Fed other people too. Now I own a big house but the kitchen is demolished temp due to remodel construction. Last night I fed my husband T-bone steak, (reduced for quick sale), rosemary potatoes (OK, I cut the rosemary out in the yard so it was free) and sautéed broccoli. (came out of the freezer). I used ONE cast iron skillet that I bought at a flea market about 10 years ago for $5. My good knives are packed away so I used a paring knife for prep and one burner on the stove. My good oils are packed behind a box of dishware so I used butter to cook with. 2 people: $8 for 2 steaks on sale, $3 bag of broccoli, $1 worth of russet potatoes, .50 one medium onion, .50 butter, .25 Mrs Dash, and .15 sea salt. Less than $15 bucks for 2 dinners and 2 lunches. Feel free to call if you need cooking lessons.

  58. I thought this would be all about how poor people don’t have time or something. Because time spent is honestly the really only bad part about cooking at home and this is mitigated a good bit if you are cooking for multiple people, such as the described situation here.

  59. As a Houstonian I’ve run across Jef with one f and no brain’s idiocy of few times. As soon as I think he’s reached the absolute nadir he shouts “hold my beer.” The Press used to be an independent alternative paper and while definitely left, it had more of a punk FU vibe more than anything. It was a good source for reviews on indie bands and hole in the wall restaurants and its political commentary was more of a mock the establishment type. It’s real revenue was the adult personals and hooker ads. Then it became part of the New Times/Village Voice syndicate and, well, you can see what it’s become. As for Rouner, I can’t say I follow him closely, but everything I’ve read that hes’written seems dumber than the last. If you really want to see why you should never take life lessons from this moron just check out this story:

    1. Damn…. I mean, damn. How fucked up in the head to you have to be to do that? That’s like next-level, grade A, nuclear warning fucked up.

      And hiring people like “Jef” must be one of the reasons Cracked is a shadow of what it once was. Their SJW humor pieces are just sad. Actually, now that I think about it, this article reminds me of one of those cracked articles, it would be titled something like “The top ten reasons telling poor people to cook is stupid”

        1. Mr. Knighton’s replies are all off-subject, so far… He put up a reply to my comment which had absolutely nothing to do with the discussion, and it was addressed to somebody named “Cramps.”

          1. All these odd replies are also dated “3 years ago.” I think the comment section is futzed somehow.

          2. Yeah, this one went viral and Blue Host blew up my blog. Because they totally suck now. All sorts of weird stuff happened when they “fixed” it.

    1. no regular melon baller will do..if it isn’t a TACTICAL melon baller, then they must be to stupid to close their mouth while it is raining….Jef missed that utterly indispensable kitchen item that ‘poor’ people need. Clearly, there is no cooking possible without one. I mean, everyone in the smart set knows both fire and ice cubes needs a tactical melon baller to even be able to go about their physics induced functions.

  60. I’m afraid Jef – and you! – neglected the real showstopper here: Knowing how! Right there where he was talking about knives to “butterfly” things? That’s a good example! Where are you going to learn how to “butterfly” – and you KNOW that’s in ALL the nutritious recipes so you’ve gotta start with that – without an expensive course at your local Williams-Sonoma? And who exactly has the time for that, even if you could afford it? Which you can’t, because you can’t get out of that place without buying some $25 placemats or a $35 lemon zester.

    1. And the terribly expensive trip the library to gaze upon a cookbook… if one doesn’t have other readily accessible means of acquiring information from afar in space and time.

    2. There is always the local grocery store, too. I’ve asked the people behind the counters questions many times. Most are eager to help so long as you’re polite.

  61. Speaking of filler, I was in my 20’s before I realized that oatmeal isn’t part of most meatloaf recipes. 20 years later, I still prefer my meatloaf with some oatmeal.

    1. Huh? Every meatloaf recipe I’ve seen uses some sort of starch to help bulk. Heck, the cafeteria at work they use huge chunks of white bread — it’s almost a sandwich!

      1. Well, my mom always used crumbled fresh whole-wheat bread. Some people use saltines, some use soaked French bread, and some even use oatmeal. I actually possess a cookbook calling for potatoes as the stretcher, but that’s a real outlier.

  62. My grandma used to run warm water through a chicken and call it chicken soup.
    You had a chicken?!? Pfft! My grandma had to soak the leftover bones the coyote didn’t eat in cold water, then let it warm in the sun! And we were happy to have that!

    when you’re coming home at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday
    Wow. That’s a terrible time to be prepping your dinner.
    Along with the “Buy a pan” rant, throw in a friggin’ crock pot. One that’s programmable is about $40 at WalMart. And it will last *forever*. Start your meal at 6am and it will be waiting for you at 6pm when you get home.
    Bonus: only one pot to clean.

    go get whatever we need for a spinach quiche
    How long does it take to buy eggs, spinach and cream? Oh, and a pie crust.
    Or, you could make an omelet instead and just buy *eggs and spinach*, which would be a LOT cheaper. Hell, you could probably afford some ham to put in that egg.

    I’ve yet to buy a single recipe book that didn’t take at least one $20 purchase for granted
    Like what, a friggin’ POT? I have like 100 cookbooks, and very few of them require “unusual” cookware! And the ones that do include my Korean and Thai cookbooks (well, you gotta find the right ingredients, too). My Death By Chocolate cookbook requires double boilers and such. The Pace Salsa recipe book and the Better Homes And Gardens and Betty Crocker ones don’t. Nor do most of the recipes in my The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines. (Hey! A *frugal* gourmet! Who knew, right?) Or, yeah, the occasional recipe in my BH&G thinks you should have a dutch oven or a griddle. Wow, exotic. *eyeroll*

    Cooking costs, and that’s one of the reasons some tired parent working two jobs stops by McDonald’s on the way home
    No. It’s the opportunity cost. She’s *tired* and McDonald’s is easy. And you just told her there’s nothing she can do to make things easier or better. *smh*

    Hell, start with one pan and a spatula.
    And make the next one with a crockpot. Because chopping some veggies (or buy cheap frozen ones), some taters, throwing it in a pot with some juice, and put a cheap piece of meat on top, then letting it cook all day while you’re doing something else is so damn easy.

    Excellent fisking, Larry. A bit more surgical than your normal monster dealings. 😉
    Oh, and I love your mom! 🙂

  63. I agree, the “poor people can’t cook” guy is all wet. Where I live the population is over 60% Hispanic. The community has a hard time supporting very many restaurants, because so many of the Hispanics have at least one person in the household who has utensils and knows how to use them. There are some things that are harder to make at home and require deep friers, for instance sopapilla. The most popular local Mexican-style restaurant has bags of those marching out the door in takeout orders all during supper, which means when you go there in winter you don’t sit near the door. Pinto beans are a staple, and anyone who has the use of their limbs can learn to cook them.

  64. Excellent take down, but you needed to hit him harder on the start-up cost angle. The way he wrote it, one would think one had to buy new stuff for every meal.

  65. Red beans and rice…

    2 hours to cook that, probably around $4 for ingredients (and cheaper if you want to) and enough food for 4-6 people, EASY. And by 2 hours, I mean, it’s on the stove for two hours…not that you’re hovering over it for that long.

    Jef (with one f, because, douchebag) is an idiot.

  66. Having grown up dirt poor, I get *all* this. I don’t know how many meals were hamburger rice with tomato sauce. If we didn’t have that, ketchup made do. Hit with soy sauce or salsa and you were done. And beans. God knows I ate enough beans to cause global warming.

    I’m happy I don’t have to eat like that. I’m happier that my kids didn’t have to eat like that although we still ate cheap *a lot*.

    So, yeah. F*** Jeffy boy and everyone like him. What an asshole.

  67. How about we talk to the poorest of the poor, homeless guy with shopping cart, Chester A. Bum? No refrigeration, all he has is a knife, fork, spoon, can opener and lighter.

    “Fool, why you buying burgers and sh–, that money could be going to your next bottle of MD20/20! A loaf of day-old bread, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly – lunch sorted for the week. A can to make a fire in, a coffee can to cook with, canned beans or chili plus some minute rice – there’s supper and leftovers for breakfast next morning.”

    “What, you want more? Heat water in that coffee can, put in a ramen packet, stir an egg or two in (eggs will last a few days without refrigeration easy), add a can of mixed veggies. Heck, make some hard boiled eggs! Now, take that money you saved and get me a bottle of Cisco.”

    Yep, even drunken bums know more than Jef.

  68. If you want to save time, as far as prepared foods are concerned, rotisserie chickens are usually a good deal. They typically cost about the same per pound as fresh chicken and as a single person, I can get four meals out of it and then I make chicken soup with the carcass.

    Jef should talk to an orthodox Jewish woman with eight or more kids to feed. Kosher meat is significantly more costly than non-kosher meat, particularly if you live outside of the NYC area. Kids need protein. Fast food isn’t an option because those chains aren’t kosher.

    1. Perhaps “Jef” never learned to wash up after meals, and just threw out his pots, utensils, plates, cups, and spoons.

      It would explain a lot.

  69. My black little heart swells with mirth.

    “All us buisness and STEM majors had to take a bunch of stupid liberal arts classes in order to graduate college. ”

    It’s true. So true.

    I went back to school in STEM later in life. I was old enough to see through the bullcrap in my required social justice course. Fortunately there were two marines and an army corporal in class with me (all of whom were in STEM as well). We were all pretty outspoken.

    Somehow we all passed the class and we’re not expelled from campus.

    I’m pretty sure Dr. P went home and cried most days.

  70. I saw only a couple of mentions of food pantries, churches, etc., so I wanted to highlight that point. I live in a ‘burb of Silicon Valley and there are churches that hand out food (no questions asked), a service organization that prepares one hot meal a day, food banks, and many other organizations (public and private) that assist the poor and homeless.

    Jef’s post reminds of the book where a woman tried to live on a Wal-Mart salary for a year and just couldn’t do it. In every town where she lived, when she mentioned not making ends meet she was repeatedly told to visit the local churches, service organizations, etc., but (of course) she refused to do that while continuing to bitch about everything else. There are plenty of places that provide safety nets for people, not just the government, but you have to take advantage of it. I realize it’s not consistent everywhere, but to ignore what is available demonstrates a special level of ignorance/stupidity/mental blindness.

  71. Well cat my dog!
    All this time I could’ve been eating out cheap instead on wasting thousands of $ making my own dinners?
    Who knew?

  72. As a diabetic, I have to laugh at Jef for praising McDonald’s over home-cooked meals in terms of cost versus nutrition. The cost has already been addressed sufficiently. As for nutrition, for anyone who has to mind their diet (like me) fast food is ridiculous. That ridiculous puff piece in The Telegraph neglects to mention the salt and carbohydrate levels; a Big Mac has the equivalent of 2.4 grams of salt, 46 carbs -3 fiber for the lettuce for 43 carbs, and 10 grams of saturated fats (the ones that saturate your belt line and arteries). We haven’t even gotten to the fries yet. Home-cooked meals (diabetic cookbooks are many) allow people to make good, tasty food that is good to them, and not bust the budget. Jef apparently thinks that it’s cool if his hapless poor folks die at age 50 as cardiovascular disease, gout, and diabetes whittle away their health.

  73. Not to mention that kitchen pots, pans, utensils can be had for free from many churches and other charities and if not, second hand stores have them virtually for free. Shopping at Goodwill or the Salvation Army or any number of similar locations you’d be surprised what you can find. Hell, I make six figures and my wife still goes to those places because she likes to bargain hunt.

  74. Two quart stainless, copper bottom pot and a cast iron frying pan. Then keep them for the rest of your life (like my mom and myself). Frying pan, bacon, sausage, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, cornbread in the oven, beef stew, steak and cheese (with cheap roast beef cut into strips and some provolone), flannel stew, biscuit gravy, spaghetti sauce, pot roast in the oven with gravy, etc. Pot, soup, ramen, pasta, spaghetti sauce, vegetables (corn, carrots, beans, black beans, black eyed peas, lima beans, greens: mustard, collard, turnip, etc. I could go on and on. And on and on. Cast iron skillet works great on the stove, in the oven, on a Coleman stove and on the coals. Cooked bacon and french toast in my cast iron frying pan many times.

  75. Oh yeah, here’s one for Jef. Canned fruit, canned veggies, and canned soup. Lasts for a while, requires minimal cooking skills and tools to prepare, and lugging ’em up the stairs to the apartment is good exercise. (Nothing by Hormel, Jef, those are not for consumption by anyone who is not cutting timber in Sasquatch country.)

  76. I actually had tears in my eyes as you spoke about how you survived the lean years and laid down the truth hammer on this nitwit.

  77. I read the first couple of paragraphs, saw the “utensils” comment and thought “Dollar Store” and you backed me up. BTW, the year I moved out of my parent’s house my now wife took me to the Dollar store and for $20 bought me everything I needed to cook . It’s been 25 years and our favorite kitchen knife is still the orange-plastic handled dollar store chef’s knife she bought me that day. Kroger sharpens them for free.

  78. Don’t forget equipment from Goodwill and other thrift stores. Hell, you make luck into a pyrex bowl for $2 that is really worth $250 (like my wife did).

    Some of it is new (our local goodwill seems to get a lot of Target overstock / seasonal stuff with clearance stickers still on it). You can get all the kitchen equipment you need for <$10, unless you need to virtue signal. Notably, many poor people are more pragmatic about that.

    Though, to be sure, $1 value entrees aren't as bad a deal as a lot of restaurant fair. You can often get upwards of 450 KCal for a buck, which means for ~$3/day you can get substence fair, for $4/day you can get maintenance, and $5/day you can get fat (depending on physical demands of work, add a buck if you medium hard labor).

  79. Easy to see how someone can entertain stupid ideas like this when one essentially mooches off his wife’s income from her 12 hour shifts at the hospital.

    Funny how these SJW types spend all their time as coffeehouse revolutionaries instead of going to the rough side of town and seeing how the poor really live. They can’t do that, though, cause they’re too valuable and there’s dirt and filth and untermenschen and a lack of quality coffeeshops there. Besides, they might get mugged.

    I’d tell this clown to head out to Channelview and get a real job working in one of the refineries, but he’s a self-avowed professional nuisance, and judging by his picture can’t carry scaffolding for shit. Why punish a foreman with a guy like that?

  80. I practically lived on spaghetti with meat sauce in college. One large jar of generic sauce, one lb of cheap ground beef, one package of generic pasta, voila meals for a week. Back then you could get plain spaghetti sauce in no name jars for about the same price as canned tomatos. Call it $10 for 5-7 meals. Only 1 pot and 1 spoon required, as in a pinch you could mix and eat from the same utensils.

  81. The only thing I’d add that I haven’t seen mentioned in the comments: if you are whining nobody taught you to cook — stop sniveling and go to YouTube. There are thousands and thousands of videos teaching you how to cook. My favorite is “Great Depression Cooking”

  82. “Season-All” Hah! Luxury….

    Poor no more, we still enjoy the snout-to-tail ethnic and/or regional dishes we grew up with that have since become high end fare. I recently saw pork belly on a menu for $58.

    BTW-I still use the set of American made cooking utensils I bought in ’67. They don’t make flexible, thin stainless steel spatulas aka pancake turners anymore and it is already spoken for…just as I inherited my Gran’s batter bowls, cast iron frying pans and rolling pins.

  83. you know, I have bought several cookbooks from Deseret Industries for $1 each and they are great. I too still have the same cheap knives and cutting boards from 20 years ago, cast iron pans that were my grandmas still work great. Jef is an idiot. I didn’t have season all, but Lawry’s seasoning salt did just fine, and still does.

  84. Seasoning? JFC man, who can afford seasoning when they are poor? When I could afford mac-n-cheese from the dent-n-ding shelf for 25 cents a box I couldnt afford milk to mix with that orange powdered stuff they call cheese. Let me tell ya, it’s horrible without some kind of milk product. Fortunately, butter is a milk product and I could eek out a bit of butter now and then to help it slide down my gullet. But I am sure there is some part of California’s government which is right now trying to get that stuff labeled toxic.

    Also, it’s like the fiskee never heard of tinfoil cooking on a wood fire. Yes, when you’re poor, you will salvage tinfoil, dump whatever is available into the tinfoil and throw it on a fire to cook in its own juices. Lessons learned, however, are that meat which is more than 50% off and discolored in any way literally cannot be cooked enough to kill off all of the bacteria. You will wish with all your might you had been able to afford more TP and not the awful 1-ply that was 75 cents a roll and understand how the small bottles of pepto in the travel section are grossly inadequate for the levels of damage done to your stomach.

  85. Something that never happened to me while working food service: Going hungry.

    I was working minimum wage, but most places I worked the kitchen or delivery would feed the crew once a shift.

    It gets monotonous, but it’s free!

    1. When we were poor and my wife worked in a kitchen, we ate a whole lot of stuff that was supposed to get thrown away.

      1. I used to work at Captain D’s, which threw away leftover fried fish at closing each night. Whenever I worked closing, I would stay with a friend who was almost within walking distance, and bring home a couple grocery bags of fish for the 7-kid family. Made me feel a lot less awkward about sneaking into somebody else’s house at 1AM. 🙂

  86. That was delightful. It reminded me of a book I found once called “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School” in which a chef met a woman at the grocery store who was buying expensive chicken parts instead of a whole chicken, which gave the chef an idea. Best of all, I got the book at the library so “free”-ish. But I learned a lot from it even though I was 50 when I read it.

    But since the proggies like Jef (wonder if he’s a jug-eared freak too) devote their lives helping the poor by convincing them they are entirely helpless, I don’t know if the idea of getting cooking stuff at the dollar store and a yummy recipe from the box of pasta will ever occur to them. And God knows JEF won’t tell.

  87. I remember fondly the early days of my marriage, when we literally survived on big pots of whatever I could cook cheap – chicken soup, chicken spaghetti, endless casseroles. There is no way we could have made things work by eating out even sometimes, much less at every meal. What’s better, a big pot of pasta provides leftovers for lunch and another dinner or two.
    I also remember the young woman who worked for me years ago, with her 5 children under the age of 10 and a shiftless husband, who insisted that taking the entire bunch of 7 people out for fast food was cheaper than cooking.
    And as I learned from Alton, you need a pan, a knife, and something to stir with. He’s the reason I learned over the years to say no to anything that takes up space in my kitchen, but doesn’t do multiple jobs. Food processor? Do you think that Jef knows it just chops food? Cause you can do that with a knife.

    1. Well, no, a good food processor will grate, slice, chop, puree, crush and blend. Heck, my old Cuisinart has a friggin’ whisking attachment! (I’m not sure I’ve ever used that piece.)
      I use mine making sauerkraut because it makes for quick shredding of the cabbage. And for anything where I want a bunch of uniform slices. Or a *bunch* of stuff chopped.

  88. Jef has a rare talent: offering the kind of unsolicited advice that prompts poor people to look for lampposts and the rich to give them money for rope.

  89. I use a Revere two quart sauce pan that I got from my mom. I was home visiting from college in 1979 and saw a box of kitchen utensils in the garage. She was throwing out old stuff. The sauce pan and a few other items from that box of trash made me the star cook of my college buddies. I used the same pan, and same lid, to make beans last night, to accompany chicken tacos.

    $20 in college was five hours of my student labor in the cafeteria. No way I was gonna waste it on restaurant food.

  90. One, your mom is awesome. My aunt worked at a Dollar Store for years, and says the same thing.

    Two, does this dickless moron even know any poor people as actual people other than drug addicts? Because that’s the type of person he’s describing in a roundabout way. Drug addicts sell everything they have to get their fix. They have no pans, no forks. Well, some of them do, because nobody wants to trade crystal meth for dirty dishes. But still.

    FFS, there’s stupid and then there’s nuclear stupid. This not-manly-enough-to-give-two-F’s idiotis definitely the second.

  91. I recall being a very poor single man, in a closet sized apartment with a Murphy bed. Two plates, a dozen forks, and 3-4 pots I bought at the thrift store for, what $5? Now that might be $10?

    I made a lot of baked potatoes with sour cream and chives – bag of potatoes was a couple of bucks, and there were a dozen of those suckers in there ($0.78/lb. today). Let’s see, rice with lemon pepper ($0.70 a lb.). Hot cereal (the can, not the packets) with a dash of cinnamon. mac and cheese. I was big on apples and carrots. spaghetti with canned sauce (maybe $2.00 a serving today). Dozen eggs are $2 today – probably a buck back then. Couple of those would do me right, so a dozen eggs….that is six meals at $0.33 each.

    Once in a while I’d buy a very cheap frozen pizza, or turkey pot pie. I just checked – 7 oz. pot pie is $ 0.74 each.

    I recall eating just fine on $10 a week, plenty nutritious, with probably not more than 20 minutes a day in the kitchen. I bet I could do it again today if I had to.

    $10 bucks gets you two meals at McDonald’s.

  92. What a joker Jef is. I remember in the lean early days in the Navy. My roommate and I maxed our budget out so we could get a place out in town vice the barracks. We had one pot to cook everything in (a dutch oven I still have) and one plate/fork/spoon/knife for each of us. We lived on spaghetti for the first few months ’til our finances caught up with us. No trips to the drive through and certainly no crying that “it’s not fair, it’s too hard.”

  93. This person has also never heard, clearly, of second hand shops or garage sales. A lot of the baking dishes I’m still using came from a newly married couple’s ‘making space’ sale.

    But let’s say you had to get things new. Besides the dollar store…

    This idiot’s also never gone into Kmart or other places where it’s cheap – a full 54 piece starter set – bowls, plates, mugs, cutlery, enough for 4 people – is 39 AUD – probably about 25 USD, and that’s brand new. A full 80 piece kitchen set of cookware costs about 69 AUD – oh hey they even come with dining cutlery!

    We still have the cheap small pot that my husband used during his bachelor pad days. It’s great for cooking instant noodles, and it came from Kmart. It’s 11 years old.

    There are entire markets that deal in cheap but oddly durable goods; Daiso, for example, Kmart, Walmart, the wide range of dollar stores and the Asian run farmers’ markets sell veg, spices and dry goods for cheap.

    This blithering moron doesn’t know what it’s like to be poor. He’s never had to eat rice where you had to wash bugs and pick out small stones out of the rice. He’s never had to haul water into the house from outside for bathing and boil it for drink, and skim away the white chalky stuff that floats on top before it’s okay to drink or use for cooking.

  94. Random note:

    Eating ramen noodles dry like a bigass cracker is fucking amazing. It’s actually one of my favorite quick and easy snacks.

  95. Spend some time watching Haitians working in the restaurant kitchen and you may loose your love for eating out. I’ll take a home cooked meal any day. The meal being cheaper is a bonus.

    1. When I was in college in the Eighties, there was a delivery place that had fantastic pizza. We’d have ordered from them every night if we could have afforded it. Then I happened to walk past their store one day and went in to place an order. And walked back out and never ordered from them again.

      In retrospect, perhaps the name “Alley Pizza” should have tipped us off…


  96. Aww, poor inbred white supremacist shitbrains don’t understand article, rant about it. Go back to burning crosses in the trailer park, you inbred shitwits.

    1. Heh… Considering that one side of my family is Portuguese (and when he was still farming was darker skinned than Barack Obama), and my maternal grandmother was a Polish Jew, I’m like the worst white supremacist ever.

      1. Interesting though. This anonymous asshole ( shows up screaming racism last night, and at about the same time last night another anonymous asshole edited my Wikipedia entry to say that I’m a white supremacist.(there was no cite, go figure)

        And this is why nobody takes liberals seriously anymore.

          1. Very, very, *very* seriously.

            And, I think Larry understood the article very well. And communicated his superb understanding with vigor and hilarity. And his mom, too.

        1. As one who has frequently called myself a liberal, I agree with you. The stupid, asinine rage of people who tout themselves as SJW’s or even just “liberals” anymore is frustrating to say the least. I spend more time arguing with liberals than conservatives because many fellow ‘liberals’ do seem to think that attacking a person is somehow winning an argument.

          Again, I still hold to many ‘liberal’ beliefs, but I have no idea what “David” up there wanted to achieve, let alone what he is talking about. *sigh* People like him making comments of that kind just weaken the arguments of any liberal who really gives a shit.

      2. Larry! If your maternal grandmother was Jewish, you qualify as a Jew. Eligible for Israeli citizenship and you count as a member of a minyan even though you’re LDS.

        I knew there was something about you I liked……????

  97. Exactly. I prefer the higher quality stuff when I can justify the cost, but the Dollar Store (technically the $1.09 store in my neck of the woods… thanks sales tax!) has perfectly serviceable utensils, dishes, and various other baking/cooking supplies. Heck, I just bought a bread pan there the other day. My first set of silverware (enough for 8 full place settings) was from Wal Mart, and I think it ran ~$15. Used it for two years before I decide to upgrade, and honestly, it’s probably still good for at least two more.

    Also, you can make some pretty decent meals with ramen noodles if you toss (or save for later) the seasoning packets and add your own sauce or seasoning.

  98. Good grief. Even as a nearly-broke college student, I could eat very well–like, pot roast and veggies well–because I a.) knew how to cook, b.) knew how to shop, and c.) also learned the value of a slow cooker. (Which is a boon to anyone who either works long hours or has a full classload AND works full time.)

    And since I learned to cook for a family of NINE…I had enough from that one “expensive” meal to feed me for a freaking week. And I didn’t have to stick with the plain ol’ leftovers. See, I had a brain. And I knew how to cook. So I would take that leftover pot roast and make the best damn Cornish pasties you’ve ever had. (Because biscuit dough? Yeah, that’s SUPER duper cheap to make. And sure, it was a time consuming thing to do…but you do it on a weekend or day off, and freeze what you’re not going to eat right away.)

    Hell, I was at a point where my cooking skills were such that I could even splurge and make, say, vanilla rice pudding WITH ACTUAL VANILLA BEANS. Because I saved money elsewhere and could, on occasion, afford to buy vanilla beans when I found them at a good price.

    (Also? Making one’s own vanilla extract from cheap vodka and bought-by-the-pound-at-cheaper-prices vanilla beans off the internet means your vanilla extract is both awesome and way, way cheaper than even the crappy cheap imitation vanilla extract from the store.)

    You don’t need to go buy expensive cookbooks (unless, like me, you have something of a cookbook addiction). It’s called the freaking internet and the search engine of your choice. Find a dozen versions of the recipe you want, and adjust to what you have on hand. It’s not hard. Anyone with access to the internet–even if it’s at your local library–can do it.

    I deeply want to slap this moron.

  99. Well. This one struck a nerve. I have a monthly food budget of 120 dollars. Just 60 lasts me two weeks. Sometimes I’ve lasted on a lot less. Been dealing with this ever since I moved out on my own, and I’ve learned to cook and cope. But this guy? He makes me want to round-house kick his teeth out. He has no idea what real poverty is in this country. Real poverty is walking more than a mile to work at 7:30 A.M. when it’s 15 degrees outside through the snow. Real poverty is being so hungry that you legitimately consider eating feral pigeons, ducks at the park, or even your own pets. And no, that’s not an exaggeration. I’ve been there. Real poverty is walking to work in boots filled with holes during a heavy rain because you can’t afford to buy new shoes.

    I’ve never made more than ten thousand dollars a year, so I don’t eat out, don’t have a car, not even a bike, but I tough it out and try to do better. Congrats Jef, your idea of poverty is the idea of a vacation for me. But you know what? I’m finding ways to improve my living standards, and I’m grateful for what I do have. In spite of making so little I have a TV, a kick arse computer, a personal library and a stash of awesome Legos.

    Man, this one was therapeutic. Thank you Larry for verbally pimp-slapping him for folks like us who actually know what it’s like to deal with hunger.

    Also, if anyone had the patience to read through this whole spiel and are in any way interested in fighting off hunger, I am an indi author with a few titles out. Weird west stories with cowboys fighting monsters, dinosaurs, classic pulp adventure stuff.
    Any help would be super appreciated and will be used to fight starving artists. 🙂

    1. will be used to fight starving artists
      Is this like an Octagon thing? Or more like Ace of Spades’ hobo hunting? 😉

      I’ll check out the books when I’m somewhere that doesn’t block url-shorteners.

  100. Yeah, using table salt instead of sea salt is basically like being water boarded in Gitmo.
    You have no idea how close to the truth you actually veered. I have had the “honor” of being waterboarded during Navy S.E.R.E school. I can assure you that all I could think was how grateful I was that they used Sea Salt in our gruel not table salt. I swear this entitled D-nozzle has no concept of actual poor vice tv poor.

  101. The point Larry made about the distinction between poverty due to bad choices and poverty due bad circumstances is an important one, though of course you usually see combinations of both in reality rather than just one or the other.

    For example I’ve been “poor” – definitely not impoverished – short term in life because I dropped to a such a low amount of working hours that earned me about $10 a fortnight more than “the dole” (The Aussie term for social security) does. This was a deliberate choice made so I could get a degree which earns me more money. This lasted for only four years of my life. It was reasonably easy to get what was needed from the thrift stores or get hand me downs from friends and relatives. I still remember a good friends of mine doing the huge kindness of buying me a nice tomato sauce and a nice knife just because they were empathetic enough to notice I couldn’t afford any luxury back then. This is all easily survivable.

    The other poverty often comes from poor choices and addiction (which starts out as a poor choice and becomes compulsive). That’s when it gets hard to cook because its hard to cook when you are on methamphetamine. Its also hard to borrow a fry pan because your friend that has a spare one doesn’t answer your calls anymore because at your last visit you were on meth and head-butted his window in/frightened his dog. That’s when Maslow’s hierarchy of needs starts to kick in.

    On a related note, apparently Robert Downey jnr quit drugs in part because of how bad McDonald’s tastes. He apparently was eating some when coming down and realised how ridiculous his situation was – he was wealthy and was eating crap. McDonald’s – so bad it motivates you to quit drugs.

  102. Apparently, Jeffty* has never heard of thrift stores. With a little searching, you can outfit kitchen pretty well.

    *classical allusion.

  103. Indeed, my local supermarket (granted, one of the best, if not THE best, chains in the USA), Publix, regularly has BOGO on pasta, Kraft mac-n-cheese, things like that. And because they aren’t dishonest bastards, that’s *actually* half price, not “half of 150% price”. And, of course, raman noodles. BOGO on cheese, luncheon meats. And bread. And as an alternative to bread, put sandwich ingredients into a tortilla and make a wrap (one tortilla is MUCH cheaper than 2 or 4 slices of bread).

    There are a hella lot of ways to cut corners on a budget. Not all of them are entirely healthy. But they certainly are no more unhealthy than McDs or KFC at their worst. And vastly cheaper…

  104. My wife pulled out the mixer yesterday. We got it as a wedding gift. We’ve been married for 40 years. She also recently replaced the 50 foot aluminum foil roll she bought 25 years ago. I’ve been a PFC in the Army with a wife and daughter living on the economy (PFCs don’t rate much in the way of base housing). When I went on active duty we had the contents of what amounted to a pickup truck for our possessions. Poor? Motherfucker Jef(f) I have eaten a metric fuck ton of Rice-A-Roni, Rice and Beans and every other motherfucking thing you can cook with fucking rice. My wife worked herself half to fucking death to feed a young daughter and her soldier husband who was trying to start a career. She did it all without bitching and we NEVER EVER MISSED A SINGLE FUCKING MEAL you pusillanimous, pussy mouthed imbecile. She did it with shit pots and pans so bad some of the handles were literally held on with baling fucking wire. Utensils our respective grandparents handed down to us from their discard piles. She was the master of the pinched penny Jef(f). She knew the insides of every thrift store and discount grocery like she knew her own house. You’re pissing on the efforts, knowledge and skills of my wife and her spiritual siblings numb nuts.

  105. I have a cast iron frying pan that belonged to my Great-great-great grandmother. I’m pretty sure it crossed from Indiana into Illinois when the Land Rush opened homesteading of that state in 1849. The company that made it went out of business about 100 years ago.

    It still works just fine, but my new fancy glass-top electric range doesn’t like it very well. (though I may just be afraid of scratching the glass) Though I think it would work fine on an induction range.

    Then there is St Vincent DePaul. Goodwill and garage sales.

    Yeah, I have Wusthof Classic Icon knives, but I was making a decent living before I retired.

  106. A 20 pound bag of rice at Walmart – 8 bucks. 4 pounds of dried black-beans = 5 bucks.

    I would regularly eat black beans and rice (with a few veggies) when I was in college.

  107. Ahhh, Old Bay, the only spice in Maryland. Also, has this guy never heard of a slow cooker or Dutch Oven? They could prep a stew or roast the night before, then toss the thing on low/200 degrees in the morning when they leave for work. Boom, instant dinner when you get home. Not the best given the long cook time, but it sure as hell works.

  108. Back in the early nineties, the wife and I both worked full time at well-paying jobs and ate out with regularity. My wife had an opportunity to take a buyout in a downsizing. Since we had just had our second child, we sat down to crunch numbers to see if we could handle living on my salary so she could be a stay at home mom for a while. We looked at how much we spent in restaurants and were appalled to find that we spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 a year eating out. Mind you this was not dining at high-end restaurants. Since we both worked, 1-2 nights a week wound up as dinner out, mostly in mid-range family restaurants (we weren’t taking two little ones to expensive places), usually 1 weekend morning was breakfast at a favorite neighborhood spot a couple blocks from home, and during the work week we generally ate lunches in the work cafeteria or ran out for fast food. We had never looked at the cost and were amazed that what seemed like moderate restaurant eating was taking so much of our money. The take away: You could outfit a very nice kitchen indeed with just tenth of what one can spend eating a not unreasonable amount of restaurant food in a year.

  109. You don’t even need to buy a cook book, get yourself down o the local library/community college with an internet connection, get on Pinterest and type in food. Voila – all the recipes you could want for variety and people have mostly come up with cheaper/less time consuming ways to make awesome food on a budget. Hell people even have how-to-coupon guides if you haven’t figured it out yet. I’m currently in college and best thing I ever bought was $15 pack of 40 pack of Rubbermaid from Sam’s and a slow cooker. instant time saver and you can make and store food. coking at home and saving money is about planning and taking responsibility for your life, regardless of the circumstances that put you there.

  110. For some reason, the blog ate my response I did last night.

    Ah, well. It’s pretty much everything that’s already been said. (Hell, with a slow cooker and shopping sales, you can have something as wonderful as pot roast for not very much! And you can make Cornish pasties with the chopped up leftovers–which freeze really, really well and so last for ages.)

    It’s like he thinks you have to re-buy all the kitchen/cooking utensils every time you cook. I can’t grok that level of stupid.

    1. I’ve got it set so that first time posters I’ve got to approve their comments. I didn’t get back online until this morning.

      1. No worries. And it’s been…well, I dunno if I’ve commented here, come to think of it. (If I did, it was a couple of years ago. I usually prefer to eat popcorn and watch the fun!)

  111. There’s several thrift stores near me that literally have bins overflowing with cookware of all types.

    And the stuff is priced to move! You could walk out of there with some basic pots and pans, a few knives, spatula, baking sheet, scrapers, wooden spoons, flatware and a few plates and cups for about $10.

    And one of the stores is constantly doing 50% off sales so if you choose your day right you can get set up for like $5.

    You just have to be willing to use something someone else has used. And if you’ve ever eaten in a restaurant you’ve already done that so there should be no issue.

  112. Oh, and how much extra is added to the cost of food and equipment because of idiotic regulations and taxes?

    I don’t know but I bet it’s substantial.

  113. Jef with one f is seriously stupid.

    I cooked with nothing but a cereal bowl, a plate, a 2 quart sauce pan, a pyrex dish, a serrated knife and a single dinner fork for at least 10 years.

    If it didn’t involve a McCormick spice pack and a pound of ground chuck, we didn’t eat it, growing up. Sloppy Joes, meatloaf, spaghetti, stroughanoff, am I at Friday yet? Point is, yes, we’re all tired, but that’s not excuse for expensive fast food. If the Pew Report is correct, and 90% of people wouldn’t be poor if they would work full time, then poor people should be LESS tired because they AREN’T working full time.

  114. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
    Thank God for a mother and grandmothers who taught me how to cook from lessons they learned in the Depression.

  115. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Jef was in favor of banning incandescent light bulbs, even for the poor. Compact fluorescent bulbs last longer, and consume less energy, so it’s to their advantage! Never mind that to save money over time requires that initial outlay for the more expensive bulbs… which he argues here the poor can’t do.

    1. CFL’s, like regular flourescent lights, work by making UV light then the tube inner coating absorbs the UV and re-radiates it in visible wavelengths.

      IOW CFL’s are UV+visible wavelength lights when the phosphor coating wears out or was cheaply manufactured. Stay away from them. The cheap CFL’s are cheap for a reason, and cause skin cancer (melonama). The UV is bad for your eyes too. The only set you ever get.

  116. I am sorry to tell you this, Larry but they actually DO have to take econ courses. I know because I sat through an econ 1001 course where the other students hissed and booed the professor because he dared to explain the gospel according to Adam Smith. It was surreal. Just because they have to take the class doesn’t mean they accept any of it as reality or take away anything from it other than that economics professors are amoral evil people.

    You can lead a horse to a text book but you can’t make him eat it. (Which is probably a good thing. All that ink and clay can’t be good for a horse.)

  117. Other than camping gear, I’ve never bought a pot, pan, or utensil in my life. My parents, who were sharecroppers, handed me down their old stuff. Some of it was probably made in the 1800s. Cast Iron lasts forever.
    I go to the store once a month, generally, to buy groceries. I buy in bulk when it’s on sale. A 10 pound bag of chicken leg quarters goes on sale for 39 cents a pound sometimes. I separate the legs and thighs and freeze them. I boil the backs and make soup out of that, then I throw the back bones in a crock pot with a big ass dent in it (which I bought at a thrift store for 5 bucks) and render them into chicken broth which I can add to many recipes. 5 bucks worth of vegetables and I can make about 27 16 oz bowls of soup. 27 big servings for 5 bucks because the meat is essentially free. Chicken backs are not much good for anything but soup. Any bones left over go to the dog. Name one fast food place where I can get a bowl of healthy soup for less than 19 cents?

  118. There is not a single hand tool he mentioned that you can’t find at the dollar store. Of course he wouldn’t go to the dollar store because of the poor people who hang around buying food to feed their families. It might trigger him and cause him to melt like snowflakes under a heat lamp.

    1. I still have the entire newsletter collection in a giant three ring binder. With original postit stickers for all the recipes I used.

  119. Call it the “Upfront Cost Fallacy”.
    In this case, you add up and maximize all the upfront cost, so the task appears to be impossible

  120. Alton Brown would have fisked this clown harder than you, Larry. Alton Brown is the king of cooking cheap. He did an entire episode on building a smoker from a cheap electric cooker and a cardboard box.

  121. “I’ve yet to buy a single recipe book that didn’t take at least one $20 purchase for granted as they casually told me to run something through a food processor.”

    Does he really not know is a thing? Two of my cheapest go-to chicken recipes are from there, and the more expensive of the two (sour cream chicken and stuffing) is still comparable to a McDonald’s trip but with leftovers that will feed us for lunch the next day.

    I guess the Internet is for pr0n…I mean, lecturing rubes about muh soshul jusstiss on Facebook and not a giant archive of information. Silly me.

    Although heck, even before that I was grabbing all the (entirely free) recipe cards from local supermarkets and tweaking them depending on taste and what I had available. Even most middle class families know how to hunt for bargains and cut corners, so how all this common sense might as well be sorcery for apparently helpless gentry leftists, I’ve not a clue.

  122. How about starting a kitchen with some basic utensils? A basic set will cost less than $20, and with that you can start cooking and saving money. Then with experience you’re going to find out what other utensils you need and save up for them (another concept unknown to Jef).
    Sure, you’ll end up with a kitchen made up of mixed utensils from just about everywhere, but you’ll be eating better and better without useless junk cluttering up your cupboards.
    A solid wrought-iron pan, a couple of pots, a cast-iron wok, and a set of cutting boards and knives (on sale every now and then) will be enough for most recipes.
    Keep your eyes open for sales and bargains, know what utensils you’re missing, have some instant broth in stock, be creative when cooking, and your family will prefer your food to eating out – potatoes mashed with a spoonful of pesto, a bit of ground pork or other meat, and brussel sprouts or other vegetables will feed a family for less than one Big Mac.

  123. One point I haven’t seen Jef-with-one-f bashed on nearly as hard as he deserves is this one:

    “That said, one of the ways we make that happen is that I work from home within hiking distance of the grocery store. I can pull myself away from an assignment and go get whatever we need for a spinach quiche whenever I want.”

    You know what, Jef? Both my husband and I work and can’t go hike to the grocery store whenever we want. You know how we get around that? By planning a week’s worth of meals in advance and doing a large shopping on the weekend. Yes, believe it or not, you’re allowed to do that. You don’t actually have to buy all the ingredients within an hour of when you cook them. Yes, even if you’re poor.

    Now, admittedly, both my husband and I have graduate engineering degrees, so maybe the poor can’t manage what we do. Maybe that level of planning requires at least one PhD. Or, on the other hand, maybe it just requires not being a complete idiot like Jef. I’ll leave it to others to decide.

    1. Late to the party, but I’m leaning towards the ‘just requires not being a complete idiot like Jef’. I’ve known too many people with NO degrees who can manage that sort of thing. Some of the most efficient planners I’ve known haven’t even had a high school diploma. (Never underestimate the fierce old ladies… NEVER.)

  124. Excellent! I grew up cash poor but opportunity rich. My dad moved us back to Louisiana (from California — best thing they ever did for me!) in 1948, when a tornado destroyed my grandparents’ house and left my grandfather unable to work. I can’t think of a time we didn’t have a garden, chickens, and at least one cow. I also learned to hunt and fish, both for sport and to put food on the table. I learned to cook and take care of a house when my mother went to nursing school. I was 12.

    I joined the Air Force right out of high school. Found the girl of my dreams when I was 19, and married her. I found out she was an excellent cook AFTER we got married. It wasn’t important before, because I knew I could cook. We’ll celebrate 52 years together this coming Monday.

    Being low-ranking military, we learned to eat cheap right from the beginning. Eating cheap doesn’t always mean eating plain. There are ways to make most meals more exciting with just a few cheap seasonings. Ingenuity also helps. I was visiting home once, and two of my mother’s sisters (and their nine children) dropped in just before lunch. We had just buried my father, and Mom hadn’t had a chance to re-stock the pantry. I went through her pantry, found what I needed, and asked if I could make lunch. Mom had cooked chicken breasts she prepared for her Chihuahuas. I took two of those, diced them, put them in a large pan with plenty of water and a little salt, and started them cooking. I added three packages of Ramen and a package of frozen mixed vegetables, and served five adults and nine children a hearty and warm soup in less than 15 minutes. Everyone left happy.

  125. My mom was not a very good cook, but we ate everyday. Hamburger night, hot dog night, meatloaf night, baked chicken night, fish stick night, cube steak night, roast night. She never added any spices. She added frozen veggies heated on the stove, mashed potatoes or french fries and we lived, grew up and learned to cook decent food after getting richer than her.
    She wasn’t a rocket scientist, drug addict or moocher on society. She gave us ok dried up meat and lots of love.
    I suspect those that get McD’s or KFC are skimping on love and affection as well as cooking.

  126. Prostitute’s spaghetti. (Can’t recall the real name) : Olive oil, garlic bits* red pepper flakes and ramen. One thrift store pan, pot, and wooden spoon.

    * Garlic is, to use the buzzword, sustainable. Stick one clove in the ground outside your apartment to get many more FREE!

    Lord love a duck

    1. That’s a rather entertaining name for that pasta! ^_^

      ANYTHING that is a bulb or a corm or root is ‘sustainable.’ Garlic, onions, ginger- Large pots will find themselves overcrowded in relatively short order. Potatoes are grown in sacks fairly easily (Or those neat large pots with the hatch on one side) and carrots are pottable. I find myself also very jealous of the people who are able to grow lush blueberry bushes in a pot; my in laws grew some in a plot and the birds got most of them. Dad to grow Filipino bird chillies (siling labuyo) in pots, but my chickens loved them – chickens would eat them as treatment for chicken colds. Since we kept the birds as pets/egg providers, we never found out if the resulting flesh from those chooks were pre-spiced. Dad? He’d sigh in amused resignation.

      Trees are also pottable; there are ‘fruit salad’ tree grafts where you can get different citruses, or apples, etc, on a single tree, and they make them in pot size varieties. I know Costco sold young fruit trees like limes and lemons and such. The calamodin lime (Kalamansi to us Filipinos) is also a common pot citrus plant and it’s growing habit more greatly resembles a bush than a tree. I’ve seen them in California, and here in Australia. They’re found in Asian groceries too.

      My father told me of a Swedish or Norwegian (?) fellow who so fell in love with the things that he very very carefully squeezed out a bottle of juice and put intact seeds in it, and smuggled it back home. He later wrote to my father, telling him with delight that his bush was flourishing in a pot, which he would train a sun lamp on, and it was providing him with delicious little kalamansi limes.

  127. I haven’t read through all the comments, so perhaps folk there have noticed this as well. All of you telling these stories didn’t stay cooking-poor, as you would’ve if your local community organizer, church, public library, etc., most of whom are fellow urban liberal elites, or their chattering-class groupies had followed Jef’s advice.

    The poor are much more useful to these people if they stay poor.

  128. Exactly what grocery stores does Jef(f) shop in? Look next to the beans and you’ll find lentils for something like $0.50 a pound. Next check near the flour or the oatmeal for whole barley. I think it runs something like $1.50 a pound. Add water and you now have a protein-complete soup for about $2.00/pound. Takes maybe an hour to make, tops, so you can make some at night while you watch TV.

  129. In my past I did at-home mental health evaluations on Medicaid covered children in FL. I’d say I did at least 100 of them. Every home had a handful of things that, when looking at the entire planet, put our country largely in the top socioeconomic tier.
    Every home had: 1. food, plenty of food, and spices, and dishes…to think they don’t have this again supports the premise that Jef really hasn’t been to a “poor” person’s home; 2. climate control, heat/cool, every home had it without exception; 3. a TV with cable; 4. cell phones; 5. a car (being honest, I think one family didn’t have a car, just one).
    I’ll say again, these were all Medicaid homes, way better off then many people on planet Earth.

  130. Season All??? Uncultured Phillistine. The truly sophisticated palate prefers Tony Chacheres Cajun Seasoning. Not sure what Jef would make of the required trip to Wal-Mart though.

  131. I guess I don’t see it as an “eat out or cook at home” dilemma. I don’t eat out, but I don’t really cook either. Most of what I eat comes straight out of the bag or can: veggies, bread, fruit, chicken/turkey breast, cheese, cereal, nuts, fish. The exceptions are rice, eggs, pasta and frozen fish fillets which require a microwave, a bowl, a plate, a spoon, a fork and/or a knife. My grocery bill is under $100/month in a high cost of living area.

  132. we would season chicken breast with season all and bake it on a baking pan we received as a wedding present. It was one of the kid’s favorite dishes…

  133. Sir: I recommend the Grill Room in Portland Maine for that sea bass. A few years ago, they had Severus Snape season it. It remains the best meal I’ve ever had.

  134. Unlike other spices, powdered garlic and powdered ginger are not related the way you would think to real garlic and ginger. They do not digest. Don’t use them. Ditto “cooking spray”. A bit of butter (or margarine) and flour are enough for baking brownies.

  135. I’m a liberal and I want to punch Jef in the throat repeatedly. What a clueless, self-centered piece of crap. I hope he gets food poisoning from that spinach quiche he’s whipping up.

  136. Wish I’d seen this a couple weeks ago. I have a Cuisinart DLC7, a wedding present circa 1988. The first time the spindle cracked, in ’94 or so, I drove it to the Sunbeam repair facility in Central NJ (fuel cost was cheaper than Parcel Post.) They shipped it back a couple weeks later repaired. 12 years later it happened again, I ordered the part plus a spare, looked up instructions on-line, did the repair myself. It’s another 12 years later, there’s a bit of a crack in the spindle, but it’s still working ok. Sunbeam sent me a notice that there were safety issues with the blade last year, I signed up and got a free replacement. Joking about the whole “OMG WHO CAN AFFORD A FOOD PROCESSOR” is fine, but functional models can be found in thrift shops if a blender’s not good enough (which can also be found in thrift shops.) Mom passed last year, I have a bin of all the utensils she acquired over the years, including her old original Revereware cookpot, the one she only used for gefilte fish. And there’s a story there too: When they were still living in Brooklyn (aka “de olt country”) Mom decided come hell or high water, she WOULD make gefilte fish for Dad. She had to chop the ingredients by hand (this means using an old hockmesser and a wooden chopping bowl – both of which I have) as she didn’t yet have a hand-cranked meat grinder. Hours later, she went to bed with the finished dish cooling on the stove. Hearing a noise during the night (like everyone else in the tenements, they had a rat problem) she got up to check – and found Dad sitting at the table, chowing down. “ROSIE! I COULDN’T SLEEP! THE FISH KEPT ME AWAKE!”

    Like many concentration camp survivors, all they had when they came to this country was the $25 given to them by the Jewish Immigrants Agency. Mom never got over her food hoarding behavior, but there were definitely lean times, like after Dad died, where that was all that kept us fed was that very thing – $.10 loaves of white bread at Pathmark on sale, ShopRite’s annual CanCan sale, fish sticks, Hebrew National crappy salami, fishing friends who gave her the stuff their kids didn’t like (drumfish isn’t bad if you put enough garlic powder, onion powder, salt and paprika on it. Who am I kidding. It’s awful. But you had to eat it to get your applesauce for dessert. Plus nothing’s worse than canned spinach.) Thanks to Mom and her PTSD inspired obsessions, we never had to worry about “enough to eat” during tech employment downturns once I was That Mom. Got a wheat allergy now, but there are times when I really miss those scrambled egg sandwiches with margarine and mayo on cheap white bread. I can still taste the memory. 🙂

    One last anecdote: When still with spouse, when he was finally employed again after his longest lay-off, we celebrated with his first paycheck by going to Sears and buying New! Clothes! (mostly for the kids.) My older girl, when we were ringing things up, leaned over and said “Mom, can you just imagine how much we could have gotten for all that money at a thrift shop?”

  137. This is hilarious. I seriously read this while eating ramen out of a dollar store soup mug with a plastic spoon from the break room. Not because I can’t afford better, but because it’s cheap and convenient. I added sriracha because I keep a bottle in my desk drawer for just such occasions. I keep it beside the extra virgin coconut oil and small-batch local honey I use in my morning coffee.
    I’ve been real live ramen noodle poor too. Back then, I learned you could make a down right passable dinner by adding chicken and/or eggs to it while cooking it in the hand-me-down pan from my mother.

  138. I know I’m late to this one, but I missed it! I’m sorry! And even though no one will probably see this, here are the things you need at the dollar tree to get going on the kitchen:
    11″ pan, nonstick, $5
    2 qt pot, 7″, nonstick, with lid, $5
    Spatula, $1.25
    Ladle, $1.25

    Go to Walmart for the knives (trust me on this)
    8″ chef knife, $7 – $10
    3.5″ paring knife, $5

    $27.50 total before taxes. Splurge a little at the dollar tree, get a mixing bowl for another $5.

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