Depression Dining

You may have noticed that times are tough.

USA Today surveyed more than a thousand of its readers to find out how higher grocery prices are treating them. Not too well, it turns out: 46 percent of those polled said that the higher cost of food is creating a financial hardship.

For some profiled in the article, belt-tightening consists of trading in their average dinners of grilled chicken with balsamic glaze and mushroom risotto for hamburger casseroles. For another family it means planting a garden. And what a garden: “This spring, they took their gardening to new heights, planting 235 potato plants, more than 1,000 stalks of sweet corn—each with a pea or bean plant as a companion to climb the stalks—and dozens of winter squash, tomatoes, peppers and carrots.”

Then there are those on a fixed income, like retirees, who are really in a no-joke bind. One senior observes that, even after giving up fresh produce in favor of canned and cutting most meat out of her diet, “I guess we’ll be eating dog food next.”

Sobering. And while quickie lists aren’t going to fix our broken economy or out-of-whack food system, the DivineCaroline website has just posted “The 20 Healthiest Foods for Under $1.” Some of the choices are certainly quibble-able (when was the last time you saw a bunch of kale for $1?), but for the most part, the list features solid, nutritious choices that will help you make it through until the next administration takes office.

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