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Mark Bittman: Cooking Real Food Is Cheaper Than Buying Junk Food

Is Cooking Real Food Cheaper Than Eating Junk Food?

It's a widely accepted notion that healthy, fresh food costs more than prepackaged, processed junk food, and not without reason. After all, vine-ripened tomatoes at the supermarket will set you back a few bucks more than frozen taquitos.

But in the Times "Bitten" column today, Mark Bittman attempts to dispel this notion altogether. "You can cook less expensively than you can buy fast food, junk food, processed, packaged, and prepared food — and you can get enough sound calories to live better," he argues.

While dissenters maintain that food stamp recipients may not have the resources for future meals, the time to cook at home, and transportation to get to adequate grocery stores, Bittman believes that a mere $10 for basic cooking equipment, some dried rice and beans, and a bit of time spent while cleaning the house is all you need.

Although Bittman makes several valid points about the cost effectiveness of cooking at home, some of his arguments (like the part about cooking equipment costing $10) seem less feasible. Still, I appreciate his noble cause — and agree that we need to focus our attention on issues such as remedying urban food deserts. What's your take on healthy home cooking on a budget?


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