November 13, 2008

Fake NY Times snagged

I read about the fake NY Times distributed throughout the city yesterday on The Gothamist, but I hadn't seen any in the flesh (or print, as it is). That changed, however, when I was walking home and saw a headline I think we all want to see: "Iraq War Ends".

Although the copy was a bit windswept, I picked it up and checked out the weather report for July 4, 2009:

Today: clouds part, more sunshine, recent gloom passes. Tonight: Strong leftward winds. Tomorrow: a new day

While I know the agenda and am aware of my journalistic obligations, I smiled at this Onion-esque newspaper.

I haven't read much more than that, but I want to really study this interesting piece of New York faux media. Apparently, there's more to the newspaper's origins reported today.

The future, by their estimation, is bright. I'm waiting for "the other side's" response.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 6, 2008

Can you eat on $1 a day?

I don't think anyone could eat for a dollar day in New York City.

Sometimes keeping my food budget under $15 a day is difficult.

The reason I bring this couple tried the $1 a day food challenge in California. The Times article is worth a read. The piece cites their "forag(ing) for lemons" and the tiring task of rolling out tortillas after 11- to 12-hour days at work. The way they did it was by buying inexpensive foods in bulk and then letting that spread across the month of their experiment. But, by no means, was it easy.

The New York Times piece brings out the feat of eating healthily on the $1 a day budget, and how this kind of food pricing could be a deciding factor in how many people become obese in the U.S. in the financially uncertain years ahead.

This story really made me think about my buying habits. I'm pretty frugal when it comes to dining out. I do consider price, usually ordering water instead of a Coke. I buy meals from the cheapest (and best) street vendor that charges $5 a meal for rice, lamb and lettuce. And now, I'm trying to cook things myself more than ever. I buy groceries from Trader Joe's, the least expensive grocery store in NYC.

However, food doesn't come cheaply here for a reason. Shipping is one thing. Congestion into the city, not to mention tolls and additional trucking into the heart of the city isn't cheap. I wouldn't want the burden of driving a trailer truck into the city, nor the uncertainty of fuel costs to worry about, or the cost of EZ pass tolls that sometimes run over 10 bucks a pass over some bridges. Time is another. There are so many people living in New York City who live alone or in small families. Thus, buying the small container over the large one due to spoilage is always a factor. But, the thing is, buying the small container often costs more in the long run than the big one.

But really, what one person really needs a whole basket of strawberries or a two pound bag of grapes? I've grown up watching my parents buy groceries and I bought similarly when I moved to New York. It's easy to make that mistake. And then you have to start throwing things away because you couldn't eat it or prepare it because of the busy lifestyle away from the kitchen.

In this way, our modern lives are catered to dining out and ordering in. And it's so easy to give in to the temptation of the phone or glowing restaurant on 2nd Avenue. But I think things will shift somehow. Maybe people will get closer in cities with potluck dinners.

Times are hard and have the potential to get much worse -- or much better. My hope is that this experiment will become more of an experiment to more people -- not their daily reality. And that access to food -- a human right -- will be attainable, not only for the growing number of Americans trying to make ends meet, but a world of other human beings who've struggled much longer than we have.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack