Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?  Answer: NO.

This NYT article by Mark Bittman says everything I want to scream from the tops of skyscrapers and church steeples all over America.  Junk food, fast food, processed food is NOT the answer.

It also touches on many themes I resoundly agree with — dispelling the myth that junk food is cheaper than the fruits of the earth and land; the cooking challenge; the need to breakaway from a culture of food consumption based on an 24-hour multi-tasking lifestyle; a call for concerted political and cultural action, a food revolution, if you will.

The cooking dilemma is perhaps one of the biggest challenges for most people struggling to break free from a processed food diet.  I’ll admit that there are nights when I don’t want to undertake the effort of cooking (not to mention cleaning), and I am a self-professed wanna be chef!  It’s takes time and effort to cook, and increasingly Americans are being brought up in an environment where food for purchase is so readily available, they don’t know how to cook!

But there’s a wealth of information out there about cooking.  An abundance of recipe books are available touting easy 20-minute suppers and other simple cooking ideas.  Cooking shows, cooking demonstrations at local shopping malls, magazines, books… Cooking can be easy and accessible, if you just give it a go.

For my part, I am trying to encourage healthy, “at-home” cooking, for those around me—-my office mates.  Last week, I served up 3 kangaroo loins, green beans, garlic bread and a tossed salad for the associates in the office.  It took 20 minutes, and fed 4.  Yesterday, Kelly and I made veggie pizza for lunch.  Using a pre-made pizza base and piling on freshly sliced peppers, onions, and tomato took at total of 5 minutes prep and 15 minutes wait time.  Approximate cost $8.  (Approximate cost for lunch from the laneways of Melbourne, $10-12 each.)

Apart from the cost incentives of personal food prep, there’s a moral aspect to cooking as well.  Working late nights at the office, it made all of us feel better have a “home-cooked” meal, plus we ate together in the boardroom (rather than the normal routine, stuffing our faces from a plastic take-away container in front of our glowing computer screens).  The joys of cooking are shared, and continued, with the joys of eating: communal food consumption.

So I challenge everyone to be honest with themselves.  Test the theory.  Go out and eat an easy meal at a sit-down restaurant, say pasta or roasted chicken.  Then go home, buy the ingredients, and replicate the meal.  See how it stacks up, and follow your taste buds!