The time has come, BadBadIvy said, to talk of many things…

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

My mom was reading Home Ec 101 this weekend, and she noted that Heather does a lot more instructional posts while I write a lot more commentary type posts. I was totally going to write a how-to post today to prove her wrong, but I’ve been fighting off the urge to write this post all weekend long. I can’t fight it any longer. So tomorrow, I’ll show you guys how to do something, but today, more commentary.

See, I’ve been seeing a rash of snotty commenters at many of the blogs I read that are in regards to food. None of y’all, of course,  Home Ec 101 has the best commenters on the internet, hands down. But in other places, I’ve seen an interesting phenomenon that I feel needs to be addressed.

It’s the attack of the militant foodies. And I don’t mean foodies like Claudia or Lesley– I mean the people who will crucify a blogger because she dares post about deals on frozen chicken nuggets or posts a $50-feeding-a-family-of-four-for-a-week menu. Let me tell you kids, I don’t think you realize the privilege you have if you are able to avoid feeding your kids Tyson chicken nuggets for their entire lives.

This wraps up a whole lot of little issues into one place, this militant foodie-ism. First, the notion that everyone has the time and skills to make  fabulous meals from scratchevery single day. Consider a single mom I know who gets off work at 5 PM, has a one hour commute, and by the time she gets home, she’s tired and hungry and her kid is starving because schools typically serve lunch at super-early times. So, she pops in a frozen pizza or some chicken nuggets, everyone’s fed. But then she goes on the internet and feels bad because she sees some mommy blogger getting eviscerated because she’s posting about Tyson chicken nuggets.

Now, we all know that there are better nutritional choices than frozen chicken nuggets. And we all know that from-scratch is better than processed and organic is better than conventional. But not everybody is working with enough funds to be able to afford organic, and many people who are tired from working all day don’t have the energy to cook from scratch, and they shouldn’t have to feel bad about their choices.

Instead, some kindly education is in order. For example, my single mom friend could learn to do the “Once A Month Cooking” thing. Heating up already frozen meals is just as fast as heating up chicken nuggets, and she could use the cooking time to both teach her kid to cook and spend some quality time with her.

And the $50 menu post? I know people who have precisely $50 a week to spend on food. They’re not doing it to be frugal. It’s all they have to spend. It can be done, and people who are saying it’s not possible to eat healthfully on $50 a week should try living poor for awhile. When you cook from scratch and don’t get all worked up about eating organic foods, feeding your family of 4 for $50 a week is possible, unless you live in some ridiculously high cost of living area.

Did you know that in poor urban areas, good produce can be hard to find? That the grocery stores in those areas may not even carry healthier choices? It’s sad, but true. Having lived in some of these areas, with nary a Kroger on the bus route, much less a Kroger that carries organic items, I know what this is like. The fact is, for people who are not educated on good nutrition and cooking, grabbing some chicken nuggets and frozen french fries seems like you’re feeding your kid a great meal.

So instead of speaking from a position of privilege, speak  as an educator. Teach, don’t judge. People are far more likely to respond to your evangelism when you present it in a kindly, sharing way rather than looking down from above.

I know I’m largely preaching to the choir here- like I said, we have the best commenters on the internet, and we’ve not faced much of this criticism. However, the message needs to get out: sitting up on your high horse and looking down your nose at people isn’t a good thing, and it’s certainly not going to help anyone- it may be damaging your own cause.


  1. LuckyJ86 on August 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Organic food is not any healthier than convention food. Just saying. 🙂

  2. Sara on May 16, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I grew up poor. We ate a lot of rice, beans, and SPAM. Yep, slice it up thin and pan fry it crispy (no oil needed) and it tastes NOTHING like that expensive sushi the militants like to eat while they laugh at those of us who can’t afford anything better. Pre-packaged foods are cheap for a reason. You may not be able to afford to feed your family organic-everything, but with these “convenience” foods you CAN feed your family.
    I’m also of the opinion that the people who comment about how the $50 menu-for-a-week have never had to live like that. If you’ve never been there, you can’t disparage that kind of life. At least that person is feeding their family and not letting them starve.

  3. rikiamber on May 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    I live in Alaska. Avacados here are about $3 a peice….think I can afford to feed my family ‘clean food’? I am lucky if we can afford food and gas and the $400 heating fuel bill for the 9 months of winter. So when people get on their high horse about eating ‘clean’ I just smaile and say “Must be nice.”

  4. Nancy on March 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Just stumbled upon your excellent “sermon” about food militantism.  I fear as a Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader (teaches nutrient-dense, properly prepared eating) I’ve inadvertantly sounded that way at times, so this was a good reminder.  My husband and I have eight children and are trying to avoid bankruptcy and losing our farm, so I understand poverty.  However, we cannot afford to feed our children frozen pizza and nuggets, etc., b/c several of them are on the autism spectrum and we’re trying to heal them through diet and supplements (which so far, we can only spottily afford).  Thankfully, we live in a rural area and can grow a bunch of chickens for meat and eggs and have a cow and a garden, but it is WORK!  I just worry about the current and future health of those overworked, financially-struggling parents and their children who don’t understand the huge negative consequences of processed foods.  Even poor people can ferment cabbage into sauerkraut, eat a lot of eggs (way cheaper than pizza), and properly prepare beans and rice.  A lot of it comes down to education, which is sorely lacking everywhere.  

  5. Alla on June 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Good grief, THANK you for this one — I do have the time to spend on “stay at home momming”, but I have always, always gotten mad as fire at the people who for one reason or another, cannot understand the actual lifestyle and economics of a single working parent. It’s infuriating to see people bash women who may already be emotionally down, just because those women can’t spend $50 a DAY to feed 3 people on organic, pesticide free, perfect, “yuppie” food.

    No, not everyone can make perfect, nutritious, economic, whatever food and meal choices. But sometimes a full belly is more important in the immediate sense, than anything else.

  6. Wendy on March 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Last summer I was working 65+ hours each week, on salary by the way, so no over-time, getting ZERO child support. We had a 45-55 minute commute each night. Not only was I too tired and the kids too hungry, I couldn't afford real food. I could feed the four of us with three Totinos pizzas for $3.75 a night. Choosing the pizza actually WAS an educated choice. Pizza has protein, carbs, veggies (and fruit since tomatoes are both), and calcium. The funny thing was I lost 30 lbs, but I'm not sure if it was from the food or stress.

  7. Jana on November 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

    the only way I can even manage having great food in the house, is by having chicken nuggets and frozen pizzas at hand on the days when I loose my creative drive and run out of time to make things from scratch. Its always been a privilege to eat homemade food for me, and I totally get it when others just can't. LOVE this post.

  8. tammy on March 6, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    When we had our first child, I stayed home and my husband made $8 an hour. I walked to the store with the stroller. I was frugal because I had to be. (I had about $30 a month for groceries at one point.) However, anyone who reads this and is right there…chin up! ….someday you’ll be doing a little bit better, and be sooo glad you have the skills you learned while you were living so tightly! Promise!! 🙂

  9. Kat on March 5, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    Amen! We are all doing the best we can. I walked down to the ity bity market in my town the other day to try to buy some zuccini (this store does not carry organic-although I buy organic when I can). No zuccini. I asked and they told me they had to stop carrying it because they couldn’t afford to keep selling it. It was a slow selling item and they had to buy a certain amount in bulk. It just didn’t sell fast enough at this small-town store.

  10. Amy on March 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I try to ignore most of it, but it really can get a person down about themselves. I think the anonymous comment bombs are the worst. I can stew about a comment for an entire day and I am trying to work on that. Good lawdy, if I was Perez Hilton I wouldn’t be able to live with myself 😉

    Preach on, sister!

  11. JJ on March 4, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    I so agree! Most people don’t even think about the fact that those that live in the city have to deal with riding a bus, so they are limited as to what they can carry on a bus too – which isn’t much. I’ve noticed one thing whenever we’ve been downtown (we live in a rural area but live near the state capital) there are very few actual grocery stores in the city they are all out in the outer areas. And when we go shopping, we hit the outer rim since that is closer for us, and they are adding two new stores (Trader Joes and Whole Foods) and there is already a Wal-Mart Superstore, a Target Superstore (whatever it’s called), a Krogers, a Ukrops (Local grocery) and there’s a FoodLion (another grocery store) not 2 miles down the road (with more grocery stores not 5-10 miles down the road even from that)! It’s crazy.

    I’ve noticed the increasing prices here, and since a trip to the grocery store isn’t just a quick trip. I’m trying to be better about only making 1 trip a week. If it’s something that I really can’t go without, my husband can at least pick it up on his way home since it’s not too badly out of his way (he works on the edge of “the big city”, I just don’t like to inconvenience him like that – not to mention he never bring home JUST that one thing. 😉

  12. […] Caitlin commented: […]

  13. Margaret on March 4, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Yay, Ivy!!
    Since becoming a parent, I’m realizing that judging other people’s methods of living is just wrong. It’s hurtful and it’s misinformed. Families need to make their own decisions and I need to butt out.
    To Caitlin: there are several blogs that specifically address tiny food budgets. I’d click on the Frugal Hacker link on Home Ec 101 to find some. And of course, I bet Ivy is going to take up the challenge and give us some ideas!!

  14. Busy Mom on March 4, 2008 at 1:24 pm


    And in the morning? I’m makin’ waffles!

  15. Sally on March 4, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I completely agree with you. Parents do the best job they can feeding their families given the parameters of their lives. Income, time, energy, fussy eaters, food availability all play a role. I’ve never walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, so I try really hard not to judge.

    We spend $50 a week just on fresh produce. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to try to feed a family healty fresh fruits and veggies with $50 as my entire food budget. I took a picture of one week’s worth of fruit and veggies a while back –

    I feel so lucky to be able to buy such things. With the large amounts of fruits and veggies my kid likes to eat, there’s no way we can afford organic. I guess it’s all relative.

  16. jim voorhies on March 4, 2008 at 11:29 am

    People who have never been poor usually have no idea what it means in the day-to-day world. They’d see your comment about there not being a Kroger along the bus route and wonder why you didn’t just jump in the car..

  17. Linsey on March 4, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    Amen! I am now in the process of feeding my family of 6 for $80 a week, and I’ve never been so stressed. It doesn’t help that everything is suddenly so much more expensive, (am I the only one whose noticed?), and shopping with four babies is like herding ducks. I admit there are weeks where all I buy are frozen pizzas, pasta mixes, instant mashed potatoes and boxes of mac and cheese. It’s odd, but those are usually the weeks I spend more that I allotted….

    Thanks dear Ivy!

  18. Tammi on March 4, 2008 at 10:17 am

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. You go girl!!!

  19. Caitlin on March 4, 2008 at 11:00 am

    I totally agree. Great post! Now, about $50 per week for food… where can I find a blog that can help me plan out a cheap and easy menu? (Other than this one, of course.)

  20. Stephanie on March 4, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Like the commentary, will wait for the how to! 🙂
    People judge b/c it makes them feel better about themselves.

  21. Ron on March 4, 2008 at 4:11 am

    I guarantee you Tyson chicken nuggets are a thousand times better than, say, school lunch. At least with Tyson, you know it’s mostly chicken and not zoo animals or old gym mats.

  22. Badbadivy on March 4, 2008 at 12:08 am

    See what I mean? Best commenters on the internet. 🙂

  23. Alison@This Wasn't In The Plan on March 3, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    Well said, Ivy! Thanks!

  24. sherry on March 3, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Amen, sister!


  25. Jessica on March 3, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Total agreement!

  26. Lisa- Domestic Accident on March 3, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Why, why do women tear each other down instead of lifting each other up? What could be done if all that negativity was turned into positive energy?

    Rock on, Ivy!

  27. john h on March 3, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Well done, my friend, well done.


  28. Melinda on March 3, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Very well spoken/written.

  29. malia on March 3, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Amen & Hallelujah!!!!!

  30. Mrs.W on March 3, 2008 at 9:47 pm


    Well said. And I’m a foodie.

  31. janjanmom on March 3, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    We moms take too many guilt trips every day!! You must choose to do the best you can with what you have and make no apologies for it!! For some that means organic whole foods, for others that means having at least one veggie per meal…we won’t all fit the same mold, EVAH. And THAT is a good thing.

  32. jessica on March 3, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Whew. This post made me feel better about the way i do things. Thanks!

  33. Lynnae @ Being on March 3, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. Feeding your kids frozen chicken nuggets is better than letting them starve, because you don’t have enough organic food in the house. And it’s better than letting them grab sugary cereal for dinner when you’re too tired to cook.

    Each of us needs to do the best we can with the resources we have, and that’s going to look different for everyone.

  34. hsgbdmama on March 3, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    * also standing and applauding *

  35. Klinde on March 3, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    * standing and applauding *

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