Food Costs Around The World

Jessica writes:

What do you think can be done to bring down the outrageous food costs in America?

Right up front let me say that I have no idea how to influence food costs beyond supply and demand. Fresh food is cheaper than packaged, and healthier, so for a family I’d say stick with the produce section of the store and minimize the bags of chips.

Beyond that, don’t be too sure that food costs in America are “outrageous” just because you heard it on TV or the radio. From Time’s recent story What The World Eats I found these typical weekly food costs:

Kodaira City, Japan: $317
Sicily, Italy: $260
Breidjing Camp, Chad: $1
Kuwait City, Kuwait: $221
North Carolina, USA: $342
Cuernavaca, Mexico: $189
Beijing, China: $155
Konstancin-Jeziorna, Poland: $151
Cairo, Egypt: $69
Tingo, Ecuador: $32
California, USA: $159
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia: $40
Cllingbourne Ducis, Great Britain: $253
Shingkhey Village, Bhutan: $5
Bargteheide, Germany: $500

Given the many benefits of living in the United States, I don’t find the $250 average of the two U.S. food costs shown to be outrageous. The two cheapest places on the list were Chad and Bhutan. The favorite dish listed for each respectively was soup with fresh sheep meat and mushrooms, cheese, and pork.

Even in the U.S., if you raise the sheep yourself, gather the mushrooms, make the cheese, and fatten the pig, dinner can be pretty affordable.

So, maybe that’s the answer to lowering your food costs. Step one: read the Foxfire books. The first covers hog dressing, log cabin building, mountain crafts and foods, planting by the signs, snake lore, hunting tales, faith healing, and moonshining.

Master all of those and you’ll forget you ever had money troubles.

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