Instructables

Something that has been annoying me about my fellow Americans

Are they stupid, lazy or both? I ask this because I've seen repeated references, both online and in traditional media, saying that Hormel is experiencing a boost in sales as "money conscious" consumers buy more Spam. Now I am a Spam aficionado, and I can tell you that I have never seen it for sale for less than $2.39 a can, that works out to $3.18 a pound, for a food that is 25% saturated fat. So what other meats can I buy for less than $3.18 a pound? I looked at the circular for Publix, not the cheapest grocer by far, and whole chickens are $.79 a Lb, Bottom Round Roast $2.19 a Lb, Pork Cutlets $2.99 a Lb. And I bought ground beef for $2.52 a Lb. So, really, what kind of moron is being "money conscious" by buying the MORE expensive food? Are we really that BAD at basic math, the mortgage crisis would suggest so. Now I fully expect some apologist to say "It's convenient, people don't have time to cook", but according to Nielsen's we have time to each watch on average 4 hours of TV a day. And really don't you still have to prepare spam, or are people just plopping it on a plate, garnishing with parsley and serving?

Picture of Something that has been annoying me about my fellow Americans
triumphman2 years ago
I agree, people are lazy slugs! They take the easy way out, often unhealthy! Watch the movie "Walley"! That is where we are heading! Go anywhere and you see, fat, wobbly, sickly, people, barely able to waddle from their cars into the store to buy more garbage food!
They ride those electric carts, which their grotesk and immense bodies almost hide the electric carts! Sickening to see how big they are!
I have been cooking for my wife and daughter for over 25 years! I love to experiment, I use mostly fresh ingredients. i love my wok, frypan, and pressure cooker! I can make anything nyou throw at me, even game animals. Squirrel, venison, rabbits, to name a few. Garlic is my favorite spice, next to salt & pepper, thyme and rosemary! I just made a whole Turkey, it was so good, I made pan gravy, just by adding a little water and cornstarch mix. White rice and some vegees. We had a royal feast! My daughter loves to come home from college just to enjoy my cooking! This Easter I made a traditional, roast pork, rubbed with garlic, coarse salt, pepper & oregano! Suculent! Sweet taters, rice & beans! Heavenly! I am healthy, don't smoke or take anything other than a few aspirins now and again. I keep active, firewood, organic gardening, quad & motorcycle riding, auto repair, oil changes, tune ups, hobbies- too numerous to mention, and so much more! We just got a Wii and I love to do the dance routines and sports games! More exorcize for me the better! I have no doctor, except a good friend, who does plastic surgery! He can't believe I don't go to his friends, the other doctors. I say, "if I'm not sick why go " he laughs and says I'm right! So wake up people, drop the junk food and live healthy! Real men don't cook, HA HA HA !
metalarts2 years ago
Perhaps youv'e outlined the answer to your own question.It isn't the money.It isn't for health and longevity.It is for self indulgence.We will have our comforts and when we are denied them,we will find what we want elsewhere.It isn't even a lack of self discipline which would imply a lack of ability to "do whats best". I like it! I want it! I'll get it......
Padlock5 years ago
So your complaining that people buy spam instead of turkey or chicken...? Hmm... and I though Cancer was important.
D.L.H.5 years ago
Most Americans do not take into fact the cost in the long run just the one in the present and already ready to be cooked. The most sad part is Americans many of them go to fast food restaurants and or buy pre-heat meals that cost more than the fresh whole meat that is most likely cheaper. If we spent less time spending on quick meals and more on healthier and probably cheaper meals maybe we be a bit more rich and more healthy.
Rotten1945 years ago
But pre-packaged food comes pre-poisoned! Lead and Botulism, yay!
Goodhart5 years ago
I have noticed this phenomena in many others (some rather close to me, actually) where they'd rather buy a bunch of 99 cent boxes of frozen food (about 2-4 ounces) then get the fresh and have to make it themselves, despite the fact that fresh is both cheaper and healthier :-)
westfw5 years ago
Someone I respected (but I forget exactly who) once said "being poor is expensive." For instance, your fresh alternatives assume refrigeration, cooking equipment, assorted pots and pans, some talent, some (personal) energy, and time that is not just "available" but also "convenient" to a normal eating schedule. But yeah, I'm always a bit shocked at what people consider "inexpensive" eating. For the cost of a meal at McDonalds, you can eat SO much better. If you (can and will) cook, or at least investigate. There seems to be a whole class of food that people have labeled "expensive and difficult" just because it's served in good restaurants (at a high price). but it's really not... (Other examples. A regular school lunch I pack for my son is some pre-cooked (frozen) shrimp. Sure, they're $8/lb or so (two-pound bag from costco), but a serving is about 1/5lb. And last week I sent an Artichoke to school for my daughter's lunch ($2.50?) (incidentally impressing her classmates. Though it really wasn't that much tougher to prepare than a sandwich.) Compare to the "hot lunch" served by the school for $4-7...)
Bigev westfw5 years ago
$4-7?!?! Where I live, lunch is $2, while then free and reduced are still options. But I heartily agree, the art of cooking is becoming lost and even basic attempts of cooking is often met with astonishment from third parties.
westfw Bigev5 years ago
Yeah, well, lovely Ca public schools, you know. No kitchen, no cafeteria, food served by volunteers. Brought in from local restaurants (or "Healthy food services", now that "eating healthy" is so politically correct.) Sigh. All those complaints about school budgets, and yet what IS spent (or not spent) is SO inefficient. My first roomate after I graduated from college ended up asking me to teach him to cook Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I was a little boggled...
Jayefuu westfw5 years ago
Perhaps we should write a whole load of cooking ibles and put them together with some of the good ones that already exist to make an instructables cookery book. Loads of people buy cooking books for £10+, would be a great fund raiser for instructables. Or perhaps just publish the low and slow bbq contest winners as a book.
Bigev westfw5 years ago
Yeah, wonderful Ohio, land of the rural and cheap... At least our schools still have good, nutritional (?) food. Virtually unchanged since before health food was popular. Still though, they have to label eveything for allergies. e.g. "Hot dog with bun," "hamburger on a bun," Chicken patty on a bun," "rotini with meat," etc. I really wanna meet the kid with the bun allergy... Lucky for me i've watched mother cooking and developed a knack for it. Recently made a creole sauce and it was great. Didn't have any shrimp though so had to use shell pasta, but still good.
westfw Bigev5 years ago
> I really wanna meet the kid with the bun allergy...

"bun" is pretty useless as a label, but allergies to wheat aren't that uncommon. My wife is slightly allergic to barley. And then there are the poor people who are highly allergic to corn, and have to avoid HFCS, and that's used in LOTS of things.
Bigev westfw5 years ago
Yes this I know, and was making a joke... hard to do online. Although he corn thing is new. Man, all the drinks and such forbidden...
ewilhelm westfw5 years ago
You should do an Instructable, or at least slideshow, on innovative school lunches. Shrimp and artichoke both sound awesome to me, and I'm sure you've got more.
westfw ewilhelm5 years ago
Whatever I could do would be put to shame by the Bento Box artists...
http://itscairns.com/?p=17
kelseymh westfw5 years ago
Doesn't matter! Eric's right, and is merely expressing Kiteman's Zeroth Law -- Thou Shalt Post. What you mentioned is great, and very much in the philosophy of do-it-yourself is better than commercial anything :-)
Don't even get me started on this topic... people that eat fast food everyday and buy things like Kraft mac'n'cheese and Spam make me crazy. They say they're too busy to cook and that it's too expensive, and that's so wrong. I work 40+ hours a week as a manager, go to school two days a week, and intern two days a week and I still find time to cook nearly everyday. And sometimes, when I feel lazy, I don't go out and waste my money on empty calorie fast foods. I'll make something like quesadillas, grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly with a side of fruit or even just eat a bowl of bran cereal and be happy. :P I think the real problem is that cooking has stopped being passed down. It's not really taught in schools anymore. People are very hopeless when it comes to that sort of thing. They just don't know any better. This, I guess, is yet another reason why I've chosen to be a health educator. ;)
Yea, schools need to teach in school how to cook, and exercise. Not how to call Pizza Hut, and how to throw a rubber ball at people.
i buy mac and cheese; its cheap, fast to make, and i make insanly good mac n cheese too
Jessy, you have inspired me! I'm going to try to cook every night for a week. Maybe I can keep it up...any reccommendations for recipes?
Why don't you do subsitute meals for each night you would have takeout or dining-out instead? Prepare the meal that would have been delivered or eaten out, only better and cheaper. Cross Mickey D's off the list since you did that one already.

That's a great idea! I rarely eat takeout or dine out - usually I let someone else cook, or eat leftovers or ramen or some other random edible item from the pantry - but I could duplicate what I *wish* I was eating. :D

Let's see, I could start with eggrolls and chow mein...
Add fortune cookies to that. Of course, none of that is authentic Chinese cooking, all invented for American tastes. I used to get all of those Secret Recipes books, the ones that exposed a way to recreated all of your fast food favorites. Those were a fun read. The 11 secret herbs and spices for KFC boils down to salt, salt, MSG, pepper, salt, etc...
FORTUNE COOKIES YES! Haha. I'd love to try some genuine Chinese food, but I'm frankly a bit scared. Oo, nummy. I bet I could totally recreate KFC chicken!
Authentic Chinese food isn't very hard. As a grad student, I had six trips to Beijing, each about three weeks long. I was amazed (and reassured :-) to discover just how much of what you find on the menus here is authentic.
Kung-pau chicken (gong bao ji ding), egg rolls (spring rolls), dim sum (dian xin), sizzling rice (guo ba), spicy tofu (ma po dou fu), are just the ones who names I remember.

Authentic Chinese stir fry uses peanut and/or sesame oil in a very hot pan (wok). You don't need a wok -- I use a regular 12-inch frying pan with no qualms at all. Chop your meat and vegetables (whatever you want to use) into bite-sized pieces, and not geometrically uniform; e.g., do the quarter-turn bias cut for carrots. If you want an authentic look-and-feel, include some of the canned veggies you can find in the supermarket "Asian foods" aisle -- peeled water chestuts, bamboo shoots, baby corn.

Good stir-fry doesn't need a think, gummy sauce. The meat and veggies themselves get very well seasoned with sesame oil and some black pepper. You can add grated fresh ginger and minced garlic; a little (very little!) all-spice or Chinese "five spice" works very well.

If you really want a sauce, mix together some soy sauce, water, and a bit of brown sugar, along with a teaspoon or two of corn starch thickener. Add this at the end, after everything else, and let it boil for a minute or less before turning off the heat.
That post made my mouth water! That must have been very cool to be there. (The pinyin is throwing me back to Chinese lessons...I need tone marks to say it! :D ) Thanks for the tips! I think I need to try making my own Chinese food...tonight! Scratch that, someone already cooked. Tomorrow, then.
It was a really great experience. I stayed in the on-site guest house at the institute. The HEP group bought half a dozen bicycles to be able to loan to visitors, so I was able to get around on my own. Having to get by in Chinese (which I learned on-the-go with my phrasebook) was an excellent bit of life training :-)
Me too. Some of the stuff I had as a kid I would not eat today. There is a favorite black stringy fungus that now just reminds me of the stuff I fish out of a clogged drain with a snake. But hey, lobster is cheap at a Chinese Restaurant.
Oh, probably way too many. I've actually been thinking of doing a series of instructables over fast weeknight meals that don't suck. :P (Maybe when the semester is over. I only have three weeks left and no time to document anything!) I think more than anything it's really important you have a good pantry. I can PM you something I wrote up for my friend Shannon about kitchen essentials, if you want!
I do have a good pantry and excellent tools- it's the motivation to cook I need. :D And I think you provided that.
Awesome! How are you with basic flavor combinations? That's really the biggest part of being successful, I think. I mostly make things up. Nearly anything can be really great with the right seasoning. I go really heavy on flavor. :D Being able to have meals without meat is another great way to eat quickly. A lot of times I'll do a fancy beans/rice/additional veggies dish because it takes about a half hour. Or cracked wheat topped with veggies. Or even rice noodles with cabbage and carrots and peanuts. Really good! Or, if you only have frozen meat on hand, roasting it in the oven is a great way to go. I tend to roast it in the same pan with the veggies because I don't have a dishwasher. I do chicken breasts with potatoes, carrots, onions and peppers a lot of the time. Soups are also a good way to deal with frozen chicken and I do that a lot! Yay for poaching!
I'm okay with it, I guess - I can sort of make up a dish by flavors, using leftovers and fresh ingredients/stuff I cook to add to it, but usually just a bowl of said mishmash to nuke and eat quickly. I think I need to practice more, and look up resources online/ask ppl who cook to learn more about the basic flavors and how they go together. Thanks for the tips!
In addition to the food products for a good pantry, you have to have some essential tools. Maybe make an ible for that.
I have all that included in the email, too. I guess I will write something up! :D I really cannot wait for school to be out for the semester. I have so many ideas and no time at all except for eating, exercising and sleeping. Or, if I do get time, I veg out on the couch and watch Dr. Quinn or LOST. :P
Sounds like you should do a series on survival cooking or grub out of a chuckwagon.
And perhaps being a doctor, since I learn so much from both shows. ;)
I agree with Jessy, that there is way to much monotony in today's precooked, freeze-dried, salted and poisoned, fast or preprocessed foods, and that bugs me more then anyone buying a can of ham mush, solidified in it's own fat.
I'm with you: I work and play on a fairly busy schedule, but I cook a meal every evening. Want some recipes? =) I believe we go out a couple of times a month and eat at a local restaurant which has a surprisingly good menu, food, and prices. The 'hometown grill'.
lemonie5 years ago
Can you buy pre-prepared SPAM fritters in the USA?

L
As far as I know, only here:


Dr.Bill lemonie5 years ago
I would bet not. But you could make a nice instructable on it.
Goodhart5 years ago
I have only ever used Spam one time.....many years ago, I wanted to bring a dish to our church picnic, and so I got a fairly uncomplicated recipe for scalloped tators n cheese, that called for about a pound of ham. My parents had no ham in the house, but we did have this can of Spam no one seemed to want. It actually turned out very good, but I wouldn't eat it unless it was nearly hidden in a casserole like I did with it. . .
caitlinsdad5 years ago
answer d) All of the above. By the way, you buy ground beef at $2.52/lb which is ground up mystery beef trimmings of maybe 10-20% saturated fat, whereas the Bottom Round Roast from probably a single source of cow with maybe some fine marbling at $2.19/lb could be ground easily at home. So, more proof for the pudding.
Tool Using Animal (author)  caitlinsdad5 years ago
Aye, true. And come to think of it, I do have a grinder somewhere. But I can see my wife's face when I say "Sweetie we should grind our own meat."
That's how my Mom did it, with a hand crank type no less. ;-)
Doctor What5 years ago
Basically, Americans, and money-conscious people in general, have a theory - If it is in a can, it must be cheap. "Oh! A can of greenbeans is sixty nine cents! Holy s***!" Too bad they don't realize that they can home can their own for even less. And the only good spam is when it is eaten camping. When camping, everything tastes good, with the exception of bacon flavored spam. That is never good.
Cheap? Naaaaa! Good YAAAAA! SPAM Musube so ono. I like some now!
Dr.Bill5 years ago
Yes but SPAM is good. In Hawai'i we make SPAM Musube. It is a block of rice with a slice of SPAM fried terriyaki placed on top and wrapped in nori seaweed. It's not the price. People are just now discovering how MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm Good ! Dr.Bill 73's
rimar20005 years ago
Tool, it appears that you have not heard that "man's intelligence has a limit, but not his stupidity". That you raise is undeniable, but a slight sample. How do you explain smoking? What about addictions in general? And wars? And fundamentalism? I am happy to consider myself a "reasoning person", but they are innumerable the stupidities that I have committed (and continue to commit, if health permits me) throughout my life.

(Tool, parece que no te has enterado de que "la inteligencia del hombre tiene un lìmite, pero no así su estupidez" Eso que tú planteas es innegable, pero es una ligera muestra. ¿Cómo explicas el hábito de fumar? ¿Y las adiccones en general? ¿Y las guerras? ¿Y los fundamentalismos? A mí me satisface considerarme una "personal racional", pero son incontables las estupideces que he cometido (y seguiré cometiendo, si la salud me lo permite) a lo largo de mi vida.)
Haha yeah, I have thought about this before and your 110% right.
XD