Author Topic: Penniless Parenting - My Thoughts on the Article "Why Budget Cooking Tips Are Useless For Low-Income  (Read 3051 times)

trashtalk

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"And once you realize you're making that choice, it's empowering to know that you aren't a victim but have the power to decide how things will be for you. At least in some areas."

Thought this was a quality antidote to complainypants with several linked articles that had further good and detailed frugality tips.

http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2019/10/my-thoughts-on-article-why-budget.html

SwordGuy

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Had a big argument with some of my friends about this.

Their point is that not everyone has access to a stove or oven, or easy transportation around town, therefore articles like this are useless and harmful.

My point is that gobs of poor people DO have access to a stove or oven and therefore articles like this ARE useful and good.

Basically, the best way to describe the mindset of some of them is to say that it's wrong to supply these tips if even one person can't use them.

Should everyone else stop using penicillin because I'm allergic to it?   Seems like a damn fool thing to do, but that sums up their mindset.

Drives me up the friggin' wall.



AnnaGrowsAMustache

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I can see the point of view. I've been very poor in my life, and now I'm not. It's true that a lot of advice given to people living in real poverty isn't helpful - you can't budget nothing, you can't buy in bulk if you don't have extra money to do so. And it's actually more important to have a meal than it is to have 3 kilos of rice at any one time.

On the other hand, you have to start somewhere and that somewhere is usually an idea. Once I started to see how unit prices worked, and how I could pay less for things at the supermarket by buying in bulk, I started doing that on a teeny tiny scale. And that kind of strategy is one you can grow.

But..... I did used to get really sick of well meaning advice from people who clearly didn't get it. I wasn't poor because of things I did wrong/incorrectly. I was poor because of circumstance and bad luck. Those were not things I could change for awhile, but when I got an opportunity to change them, I did.

kite

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Had a big argument with some of my friends about this.

Their point is that not everyone has access to a stove or oven, or easy transportation around town, therefore articles like this are useless and harmful.

My point is that gobs of poor people DO have access to a stove or oven and therefore articles like this ARE useful and good.

Basically, the best way to describe the mindset of some of them is to say that it's wrong to supply these tips if even one person can't use them.

Should everyone else stop using penicillin because I'm allergic to it?   Seems like a damn fool thing to do, but that sums up their mindset.

Drives me up the friggin' wall.

My thoughts on how these articles are a bit useless is that plenty of poor people already know and have the wherewithal make better choices, they just don't because they are dumb and/or stubborn creatures of habit.  They are repeating the same behaviors that led to them being poor in the first place.  And no article full of tips or obvious facts is going to help snap them out of their stupor. 
My very poor uncle gets $800/month and spends $20/day eating in a diner.  His doctor tells him that he needs to avoid so much salt.  He could make himself food at home.  It's a heck of alot healthier and cheaper to heat up a can of soup or cook your own egg & toast.  Nope.  He just won't do it.  And an article that explains this might as well be written in ASCII.  If he hadn't been wasting money eating at diners his whole life, he might actually have some money set aside and not need to crash for free with relatives. 
If advice got people out of poverty, we'd have almost no poverty.  Cause we darn sure have plenty of excellent advice available. 

Slow2FIRE

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Had a big argument with some of my friends about this.

Their point is that not everyone has access to a stove or oven, or easy transportation around town, therefore articles like this are useless and harmful.

My point is that gobs of poor people DO have access to a stove or oven and therefore articles like this ARE useful and good.

Basically, the best way to describe the mindset of some of them is to say that it's wrong to supply these tips if even one person can't use them.

Should everyone else stop using penicillin because I'm allergic to it?   Seems like a damn fool thing to do, but that sums up their mindset.

Drives me up the friggin' wall.

My thoughts on how these articles are a bit useless is that plenty of poor people already know and have the wherewithal make better choices, they just don't because they are dumb and/or stubborn creatures of habit.  They are repeating the same behaviors that led to them being poor in the first place.  And no article full of tips or obvious facts is going to help snap them out of their stupor. 
My very poor uncle gets $800/month and spends $20/day eating in a diner.  His doctor tells him that he needs to avoid so much salt.  He could make himself food at home.  It's a heck of alot healthier and cheaper to heat up a can of soup or cook your own egg & toast.  Nope.  He just won't do it.  And an article that explains this might as well be written in ASCII.  If he hadn't been wasting money eating at diners his whole life, he might actually have some money set aside and not need to crash for free with relatives. 
If advice got people out of poverty, we'd have almost no poverty.  Cause we darn sure have plenty of excellent advice available.

I highly recommend someone told to avoid salt, stay far away from canned soup.  That stuff is typically not very healthy and loaded with way too much sodium.

Easy enough to make homemade soup.  Grab some low sodium bone broth or chicken stock, boil some noodles in it, dump in some frozen mixed veggies.  About the laziest way to make a low sodium soup that doesn't cost too much (in terms of money and in terms of time).

Cranky

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They aren't useless for all poor people - everybody hears a helpful budget hint for the first time at some point. Of course, some people have additional challenges, but that doesn't make the Budget Cooking Tips useless for *everyone*, which is why food banks hand out recipes and WIC offers cooking classes.

StarBright

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I actually read the book that the "Why Budget Cooking Tips Are Useless For Low-Income" article is based on. I find both the HuffPo article and the Penniless Parenting rebuttal sort of disingenuous because they are taking field studies that weren't meant for them and then having a discussion from the wrong angle.

The thing about the book and related studies is that they aren't aimed towards low income families and their conclusions are not meant to be utilized by low income families but by policy makers.

They aren't telling a frugal mom blogger that she isn't helping people or shouldn't share her wisdom with others. But what the original authors are saying is that it is wrong for policy makers to say "just cook from scratch."

There will always be exceptional people like the penniless parenting blogger mom who can apparently work a full time job, raise 4 children (2 with disabilities) by herself, take public transportation to the grocery store, run a blog helping others, and apparently cook full vegan and gluten free meals from scratch every day at the same time. This woman is remarkable - but let us be honest: Not everyone has the ability to be exceptional (I don't think I could do what this author does).

But the book and the original huffpo article weren't meant for her. They were meant for the people who decide upon and fund our nation's food policy (and the people that vote for them) and instead of making systemic changes , point to people like the Penniless Parent and say "if you just worked a little harder you could be like her."

When you do that you are pairing a systemic problem with an individual solution. The solution will certainly help some individuals, but you could probably help more if the system was different/better.


« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 09:53:07 AM by StarBright »

StarBright

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Also - after reading her blog further (it is a great blog for Gluten free and vegan recipes, btw!), the Penniless Parent apparently lives in Europe, in an area with robust public transportation and, presumably, more a of a social safety net than we have in the US (I'm making that assumption because most/all (?) countries in Europe seem to have a more robust safety net when it comes to subsidized childcare, healthcare, public transportation, sick leave, maternity leave, etc). 

She even had a post about taking public transportation in different metropolitan areas she's visited and says if she lived in Cleveland, OH she would not be able to use public transpo.

So it is a great post about individual choices, but now I find it an even more non-sensical response to an article that was originally about the systemic issues
faced by a group of women in Raleigh NC.

Cranky

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Plenty of people in Cleveland use public transit, and last month I took the bus from Cleveland to Madison, WI, so Iím puzzled. LOL

havregryn

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Also - after reading her blog further (it is a great blog for Gluten free and vegan recipes, btw!), the Penniless Parent apparently lives in Europe, in an area with robust public transportation and, presumably, more a of a social safety net than we have in the US (I'm making that assumption because most/all (?) countries in Europe seem to have a more robust safety net when it comes to subsidized childcare, healthcare, public transportation, sick leave, maternity leave, etc). 

She even had a post about taking public transportation in different metropolitan areas she's visited and says if she lived in Cleveland, OH she would not be able to use public transpo.

So it is a great post about individual choices, but now I find it an even more non-sensical response to an article that was originally about the systemic issues
faced by a group of women in Raleigh NC.

I read the blog and I was so super curious to figure out where she lives (I think when people make a point out of concealing something like that on their public profile, but then reveal extensively about their day to day life, it becomes like a challenge to prove that it takes maybe 20 min of amateur detective work to figure it out). I think she lives in Israel.

StarBright

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Also - after reading her blog further (it is a great blog for Gluten free and vegan recipes, btw!), the Penniless Parent apparently lives in Europe, in an area with robust public transportation and, presumably, more a of a social safety net than we have in the US (I'm making that assumption because most/all (?) countries in Europe seem to have a more robust safety net when it comes to subsidized childcare, healthcare, public transportation, sick leave, maternity leave, etc). 

She even had a post about taking public transportation in different metropolitan areas she's visited and says if she lived in Cleveland, OH she would not be able to use public transpo.

So it is a great post about individual choices, but now I find it an even more non-sensical response to an article that was originally about the systemic issues
faced by a group of women in Raleigh NC.

I read the blog and I was so super curious to figure out where she lives (I think when people make a point out of concealing something like that on their public profile, but then reveal extensively about their day to day life, it becomes like a challenge to prove that it takes maybe 20 min of amateur detective work to figure it out). I think she lives in Israel.

That is a good guess and would explain a lot of the recipes - they do have a Israel/Mediterranean feel. I thought maybe Poland/Slovakia-ish park of the world because she posted a picture of a vegan mayonnaise and the bottle had the Polish for vegetable on it :)

pennyp

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Also - after reading her blog further (it is a great blog for Gluten free and vegan recipes, btw!), the Penniless Parent apparently lives in Europe, in an area with robust public transportation and, presumably, more a of a social safety net than we have in the US (I'm making that assumption because most/all (?) countries in Europe seem to have a more robust safety net when it comes to subsidized childcare, healthcare, public transportation, sick leave, maternity leave, etc). 

She even had a post about taking public transportation in different metropolitan areas she's visited and says if she lived in Cleveland, OH she would not be able to use public transpo.

So it is a great post about individual choices, but now I find it an even more non-sensical response to an article that was originally about the systemic issues
faced by a group of women in Raleigh NC.

I read the blog and I was so super curious to figure out where she lives (I think when people make a point out of concealing something like that on their public profile, but then reveal extensively about their day to day life, it becomes like a challenge to prove that it takes maybe 20 min of amateur detective work to figure it out). I think she lives in Israel.
Hi, Penny here. Yea, I do live in Israel. Good call. I used to try to be super secretive about it, but a snark forum who wanted to hate on me for being frugal decided to expose my identity and made that possible to figure out through some ridiculous amount of detective work, and since that info was already out on the internet i stopped being so meticulous about hiding my identity. So yea, i just dont say straight out where i live, but its quite easy to figure out who i am and where I live now. Its more to deter people who'll hate me just for living in israel.

pennyp

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Also - after reading her blog further (it is a great blog for Gluten free and vegan recipes, btw!), the Penniless Parent apparently lives in Europe, in an area with robust public transportation and, presumably, more a of a social safety net than we have in the US (I'm making that assumption because most/all (?) countries in Europe seem to have a more robust safety net when it comes to subsidized childcare, healthcare, public transportation, sick leave, maternity leave, etc). 

She even had a post about taking public transportation in different metropolitan areas she's visited and says if she lived in Cleveland, OH she would not be able to use public transpo.

So it is a great post about individual choices, but now I find it an even more non-sensical response to an article that was originally about the systemic issues
faced by a group of women in Raleigh NC.

I read the blog and I was so super curious to figure out where she lives (I think when people make a point out of concealing something like that on their public profile, but then reveal extensively about their day to day life, it becomes like a challenge to prove that it takes maybe 20 min of amateur detective work to figure it out). I think she lives in Israel.

That is a good guess and would explain a lot of the recipes - they do have a Israel/Mediterranean feel. I thought maybe Poland/Slovakia-ish park of the world because she posted a picture of a vegan mayonnaise and the bottle had the Polish for vegetable on it :)
Curious what recipes specifically have a med feel since i like food from around the world, and have lots of korean and indian recipes too.
Yea, the jar was one i reused, we have jarred food from around the world here.

pennyp

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I actually read the book that the "Why Budget Cooking Tips Are Useless For Low-Income" article is based on. I find both the HuffPo article and the Penniless Parenting rebuttal sort of disingenuous because they are taking field studies that weren't meant for them and then having a discussion from the wrong angle.----

They aren't telling a frugal mom blogger that she isn't helping people or shouldn't share her wisdom with others. But what the original authors are saying is that it is wrong for policy makers to say "just cook from scratch."

There will always be exceptional people like the penniless parenting blogger mom who can apparently work a full time job, raise 4 children (2 with disabilities) by herself, take public transportation to the grocery store, run a blog helping others, and apparently cook full vegan and gluten free meals from scratch every day at the same time. This woman is remarkable - but let us be honest: Not everyone has the ability to be exceptional (I don't think I could do what this author does).

But the book and the original huffpo article weren't meant for her. They were meant for the people who decide upon and fund our nation's food policy (and the people that vote for them) and instead of making systemic changes , point to people like the Penniless Parent and say "if you just worked a little harder you could be like her."

First off, I do make gluten free, but only occasional vegan, i'm just sensitive to eggs and dairy but we eat meat and my family eats dairy and eggs.
Right, i also made it quite clear that i dont expect others to do like me, and I know everyone has different capabilities. But even often I've heard people say that when something is in their capabilities they "cant" when really what they mean is they dont want to. And thats perfectly fine. But say that you don't want to, don't say its impossible. (Things like bulk buying in small apartments for example.) And yes, I agree systematic changes need to be made.
I wrote my post because some of my readers sent me that article and wanted to know my thoughts on it. And the article specifically targets food bloggers which i thought was silly. I was writing in response to the original article, not to the study. And yes, i agree that the original writer missed the point of the study.

pennyp

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Plenty of people in Cleveland use public transit, and last month I took the bus from Cleveland to Madison, WI, so Iím puzzled. LOL
I used public  transport in Cleveland, did when I lived there. I said that public transport there is more difficult than where I live and would take much more time because buses are only once every hour so its quite inconvenient. I dont think its impossible to live there without a car, it just would be harder for me than where i live now, and since cars are so much cheaper there than in israel, if i lived there i would probably get a car.

pennyp

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Also - after reading her blog further (it is a great blog for Gluten free and vegan recipes, btw!), the Penniless Parent apparently lives in Europe, in an area with robust public transportation and, presumably, more a of a social safety net than we have in the US (I'm making that assumption because most/all (?) countries in Europe seem to have a more robust safety net when it comes to subsidized childcare, healthcare, public transportation, sick leave, maternity leave, etc).
We actually have very little social safety net, theres no welfare here, no wic, no food stamps, etc... Disability is 500 dollars a month, 1/3 minimum wage and impossible to live off of. But yes, socialized medicine.

StarBright

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Hey @pennyp  ! Welcome and thanks for joining our convo.

First- I am glad this thread led me to your blog and have especially been into your posts regarding ASD (I have a 2E son who we have not been able to get an ASD diagnosis (or any diagnosis) for because he doesn't check enough boxes).

I am blown away by what you are able to do and I honestly don't think I could do it and I only have 2 kids.

This is a serious question - I've looked through your blog looking for a schedule of your day. Because I'm always looking for ways to get more done,
 and do it better and still be a good and present mother. Do you have a post like that?

To your other question-
  • The amount of pulse recipes I noticed was was felt med. I felt like I ate a lot of pulses when I was in Tel Aviv :) But also I guess that goes with gluten free :)

I do still disagree with that one blog post in general: I believe at some point, even if you make the choice to do everything right, you can burn out to the point of really hurting your health and family etc so therefor it is ultimately "impossible" to live that way in the long run (I speak from experience).  But just because I disagree with a post doesn't mean I don't think it is a worthwhile blog!

I am super glad you found your way to the MMM board - lots of people on here would really appreciate your POV!


« Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 01:41:32 PM by StarBright »

mm1970

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I am also a regular blog reader - lots of great gluten free recipes, I agree!

Zikoris

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It can be kind of funny seeing just how far people in Camp Helpless will take things. They will start out reasonable-ish and gradually descend into madness if you can keep coming up with solutions to the problems they present - the furthest I ever managed to push one once was to the point of "Well, what about people with no arms or legs? Nobody ever thinks about THEM and how THEY can't grocery shop or cook!", at which point I just gave up.

availablelight

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It can be kind of funny seeing just how far people in Camp Helpless will take things. They will start out reasonable-ish and gradually descend into madness if you can keep coming up with solutions to the problems they present - the furthest I ever managed to push one once was to the point of "Well, what about people with no arms or legs? Nobody ever thinks about THEM and how THEY can't grocery shop or cook!", at which point I just gave up.

Haha.

I found myself in the opposite position pennyp did: rather than agreeing with the politics being presented and disagreeing with the content of an article, I disagree with the politics and agree with the content.

That, and your post, reminded me of a blog post by a favorite author of mine ripping into a similar "stop telling poor people to cook to save money" article.  He makes the very same point about people retreating to the worst situations -- what about this person with no arms or legs? -- to argue against people doing what they can to make things better for themselves.  In the vast majority of cases, they can do something.

Zikoris

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It can be kind of funny seeing just how far people in Camp Helpless will take things. They will start out reasonable-ish and gradually descend into madness if you can keep coming up with solutions to the problems they present - the furthest I ever managed to push one once was to the point of "Well, what about people with no arms or legs? Nobody ever thinks about THEM and how THEY can't grocery shop or cook!", at which point I just gave up.

Haha.

I found myself in the opposite position pennyp did: rather than agreeing with the politics being presented and disagreeing with the content of an article, I disagree with the politics and agree with the content.

That, and your post, reminded me of a blog post by a favorite author of mine ripping into a similar "stop telling poor people to cook to save money" article.  He makes the very same point about people retreating to the worst situations -- what about this person with no arms or legs? -- to argue against people doing what they can to make things better for themselves.  In the vast majority of cases, they can do something.

Oh man, I love that one. Off topic, did you read the latest Monster Hunter book yet? I just did a few days ago and I think it was the best in the series so far.

availablelight

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It can be kind of funny seeing just how far people in Camp Helpless will take things. They will start out reasonable-ish and gradually descend into madness if you can keep coming up with solutions to the problems they present - the furthest I ever managed to push one once was to the point of "Well, what about people with no arms or legs? Nobody ever thinks about THEM and how THEY can't grocery shop or cook!", at which point I just gave up.

Haha.

I found myself in the opposite position pennyp did: rather than agreeing with the politics being presented and disagreeing with the content of an article, I disagree with the politics and agree with the content.

That, and your post, reminded me of a blog post by a favorite author of mine ripping into a similar "stop telling poor people to cook to save money" article.  He makes the very same point about people retreating to the worst situations -- what about this person with no arms or legs? -- to argue against people doing what they can to make things better for themselves.  In the vast majority of cases, they can do something.

Oh man, I love that one. Off topic, did you read the latest Monster Hunter book yet? I just did a few days ago and I think it was the best in the series so far.

I wondered if you'd seen that post too, since your comment sounded like that, but didn't dare hope.

Yeah, I loved Guardian.  Having read some of the co-author's books as well, I thought it showed the best of the two authors' strengths.  Not sure if I'd put it or Nemesis on top for the series.