Can You Housewife Your Way Out of Poverty?

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Kristin Devine

Kristin is a geek, a libertarian, and a domestic goddess. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals and works with women around the world as a fertility counselor. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of https://atomicfeminist.com/

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48 Responses

  1. Avatar gabriel conroy
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    says:

    I really liked this post, Kristin. And while I (luckily) have no firsthand experience of poverty, the post certainly rings true to me.

    Thanks also for the link to the Tirado piece. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks interesting.Report

  2. Avatar Ferny (y10nerd)
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    says:

    This post is perfect and connects to much of my childhood. I would also add that food in poor communities is often a rare form of community that survives against all aspects of life and connects people in an intergenerational struggle. And you aren’t going to feed your fucking uncle kale when he comes over but comfort food that brings you all together.

    A line from the movie Machete: “I just make tacos and sell them. To the workers of the world. It fills their bellies with something other than hate.”Report

  3. Avatar CJColucci
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    says:

    Barbara Ehrenreich laid all this out in Nickled and Dimed, which I recommend.Report

  4. fillyjonk fillyjonk
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    says:

    Middle-class here, but yeah to a lot of the things too. The coupon thing drives me wild, people used to say “just clip coupons! You can save so much money!” and I think about not just the time involved in hunting them down and cutting them out but also the fact that it’s mostly the kind of food I don’t ordinarily buy – and except for the very targeted coupons some places do (like: Meijer’s sends my mom coupons in the mail based on items she has bought in the past six months, so there’s money off the brand of canned beans she buys, and the kind of flour…) it seems like not really a savings.

    And also to the “cut out the little pleasures.” I remember in the 2008 recession how they were telling people “don’t buy fancy coffee drinks! Make coffee at home, it’s cheaper” and while I am not a coffee drinker – it seems like telling people to give up the small cheap pleasures (of maybe $10-15 a week) so they can ‘save” that money (inflation will just eat it, at those levels) and forgo the little things that make life happier or easier – no. I’ve read those “retire at 50” (or whatever it is) people and it really does seem like every fifty cents you spend “unnecessarily” now makes you a “loser” for the future.

    I would hate to forgo every pleasure in life for the future goal of retiring a little early, only to get hit by a bus before that happened. I’ve seen similar things – seen people on the brink of retirement die before they could ever enjoy day 1 of it.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to fillyjonk
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      says:

      Yep. My husband’s father cut every corner (even to a fault, as in, forgoing necessary repairs on his house and stuff like that) in order to retire early and then he got ALS and only got to enjoy a few years of being retired. So now his wife sits in a leaky, falling apart house while my husband and his sister try to find ways to hold it all together. In retrospect it was false economy, saving money on things that really needed to be done in the promise of “when I retire I’ll have time to deal with all these things then”. Nope. :/

      The couponing thing is RIDICULOUS. I watched a couple of the couponing shows and they were couponing things like Propel energy water and Swiffer pads and I was just like “these people have no idea”.Report

  5. Avatar Em Carpenter
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    says:

    My favorite thing you’ve ever written, maybe. It is the plain truth of things.Report

  6. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    +1000 to every damn thing you said (grew up poor, with parents who drank and smoked, etc.).

    My parents had no money because:

    A) They got pregnant and dropped out of college.
    B) They spent a lot on credit setting up house and spent years dodging those creditors.
    C) They were ‘victims’ of Sam Vines Boot Theory of Wealth.
    D) My father had a nasty streak of pride that wouldn’t let him admit he wasn’t the smartest person in the room.

    None of those things are going to be fixed with a garden (my family ALWAYS had a garden, because my mom & I enjoyed gardening).Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      Oscar, are you our long lost child? Why did you miss last Thanksgiving? 🙁

      Seriously though, the boots thing rings SO TRUE. We spent years with hubs buying Payless boots every 3 months and I’m sure spent a small fortune on them. Finally we discovered eBay and now he wears used boots (THAT is the reality of actually trying to save money, and not couponing – wearing other people’s shoes) Even that backfires on us sometimes with the older boots not lasting as long as they should. And it’s STILL a huge luxury we have because we have a computer, Internet, a PayPal account, a mailbox, and the wherewithal to plan ahead to that level. Some people just don’t have those things and so for an employer to say “you must have steel toed boots” sends a lot of guys to Walmart.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Kristin Devine
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        says:

        Heh, I think you would have had to start having kids at a much younger age for that to be true.

        For my parents, it was a lot of free or very cheap stuff from friends or family (or garage sales) that would just nickel and dime us. Sure, that car was only $200, but it needs a tune up, and new tires, and every month it needs some kind of work done on it (muffler, oil, tranny, shocks, timing, etc.). Same with our lawnmowers, and furniture, and the house…

        On the plus side, I had a library card and a library well stocked with Chilton manuals, and books on home repair and wood working, so I learned a hell of a lot.

        But when I was in the Navy, I learned the difference quality makes, even though it took me years to break those bad habits.

        And that’s another thing about being poor, you fall into bad habits that eat up your money. Those habits demand a lot of time and mental energy to break, time and mental energy most people do not have after working two jobs and taking care of kids and everything else. My parents didn’t ignore creditors because they liked stiffing Sears, they did it because ignoring the creditors was easier (in their minds) than finding the money to pay them.

        I see Jaybird writing about how easy it is to make some simple food at home and all I can think is, “Brother, you do not understand the mental and emotional exhaustion that is chronic.”

        Imagine your most draining day, the one that left you coming home and all you wanted to do was flop onto the couch and veg out.

        Now imagine that is your every day, and has been, for years.

        It’s like swimming in oil, you spend so much effort just keeping your head above the surface that you can barely make headway out of it.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    One of the big things that surprised me during this pandemic was how much money we started saving by cooking. We stopped going to McDonald’s for breakfast and stopped going to Chik-fil-A for lunch and stopped grabbing Chipotle on the way home and, holy cow! It’s so much cheaper to make your own breakfast sandwiches! It’s so much cheaper to make your own spaghetti sauce!

    And so when I would think “you can save so much money by making your own food!”, it’s because I had outsourced 80% of my mealmaking to others.

    Cooking, for me, had become a party trick. “Look! I can make spaghetti!”

    I suspect that a lot of DINKs out there have similar going on. And so, when they hear about someone with kids trying to stretch a dollar, think “Well, stop going to drive-throughs and fast casual to eat all the time! I did and I saved money!”

    Remember when “checking privilege” was a thing? I’m beginning to suspect that that was just a jockeying-for-position tactic used by college sophomores rather than, you know, something that people were expected to do when trying to come up with poverty policy.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Your privilege, as it is, is the time to prepare food at home.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        Yeah, I spent as much time waiting in line as I spent eating. I saved so much time!

        Now I spend about 90 minutes every day cooking and a half hour dedicated to dishes and cleanup and whatnot and I don’t really notice because, hey, there’s a global pandemic and I’m home anyway.

        But that’s 2 hours eaten by food. Every day.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          One of the things I do is that I don’t prepare food at home every day. I pick a few days out of the week and prepare a really big casserole or something, have some for dinner, then freeze the rest.

          My privilege is being able to afford to have an insulated garage and a large freezer in said garage.

          But I remember growing up, mom and dad both working, meals often came pre-packaged (the Schwan’s truck was a regular at our house, seeing as we were way out in the boonies) or as take out from some place along the way home from work.

          That changed somewhat when my parents scored an old chest freezer, but mostly that just meant more frozen Schwan’s food.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            As I was making breakfast, I realized that I was exaggerating. It’s, like, 15 minutes to make a good breakfast, 20-25 if I’m making it for Maribou too.

            I make hot dogs the long way, apparently. It takes me twenty minutes to make a hot dog lunch (but 10 of that is boiling water and walking away) and it only takes longer than that because I want to toast the buns and melt some cheese on them and there is condiment prep and so on.

            Maribou tells me about visiting friends who just made hot dogs by throwing the dogs in the microwave and then putting them in a room temperature bun.

            WITH KETCHUP NO DOUBT.

            So I do much of this to myself.

            But the food tastes better when you Martha Stewart it up a little.Report

            • Avatar Maribou in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              That’s not actually how we make hotdogs there.
              Step 1. Microwave the hotdogs for 1 minute.
              Step 2. Toast the bread. (These have to happen sequentially so you don’t flip the circuit breaker and have a whole bunch more steps.)
              Step 3. Put the hotdogs on the toast. Lay a slice of cheese across the hotdogs but contained within the toast.
              Step 4. Microwave the hotdogs, toast, and cheese for 30 seconds.
              Step 5. Condiments (I prefer mustard only; one of my friends uses mustard, mayo, and ketchup.)
              Step 6. Fold the toast to make it more like a bun.

              It’s not fancy cheese grilled on the buns under the broiler good. Jay’s hot dogs are better.

              But our way takes about 2 mins per person eating. If there are only one or two people eating….

              PS “we” didn’t eat out 3 times a day every work day. I ate out about 6-8 times a week. But that was still a lot more than either of us do now.Report

      • fillyjonk fillyjonk in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        says:

        and energy and motivation. I ate more carry out during the pandemic than before because there some days I simply could NOT with cooking, whether it was being tired from trying to shift teaching to online/juggle online and in person distanced like now, or days when the pandemic horror just got to me and I couldn’t motivate myself to do more than call out for a pizza to be left on my front porch.

        I’m doing some better now but….I remember now I used to grab a restaurant lunch twice a month or so and I just miss the third-placeness of it; it’s not quite the same driving through a window and carrying a styrofoam clamshell home.

        When you get home at 5 pm after a day of battling recalcitrant technology and trying to console freaked-out students over e-mail, literally the last thing you want to do is cut up a bunch of vegetables and then wind up with a bunch of pots and pans to wash at 7 pm or whatever when you’re done eating.

        I wish I had someone to cook for me once in a while.

        I pray my mom lives long enough for me to travel to see her again after the pandemic and eat her cooking again 🙁Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to fillyjonk
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          says:

          Cooking for Maribou does change things. When she went away to visit cocooning friends, my cooking pretty much deteriorated and I put no effort into meal-making whatsover.

          When it’s just food for me, who cares? Eat mashed potato flakes right from the box!Report

        • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to fillyjonk
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          says:

          Yes. And it’s a bit of a vicious cycle because when you don’t find real enjoyment in cooking/eating it’s easy to just kinda give up on it.

          This last several years living without a freezer and a few years of that on a very strict budget, we ended up eating WAY more starchy cheap fillers. There was something very defeating about it, knowing it was just rice and processed meats and nothing really GOOD. Didn’t really entice me into the kitchen even the few times we had anything decent. But now the garden and the freezer has really put the pep back in my step because I have something to show for it when I’m done.

          I too pray that this stupid virus goes away and we can all be together again soon.Report

  8. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    says:

    “Housewifing your way out of poverty” is a new variation on the ancient game of accusing poor people of indolence, the better to ignore the structural forces that created poverty in the first place.Report

  9. Avatar DensityDuck
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    says:

    “the rich lady went on and on about how it didn’t matter, it was healthier, and he should just shut up and deal with an irritable tummy rather than putting toxins in his body.”

    Diarrhea is just toxins leaving the body! 😀Report

  10. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    I remember reading an article wherein two experts (of some stripe) debated what was the best “bang for your buck”… literally: a McDonalds double-cheeseburger (at the time available for $1) or $1 worth of rice and beans. To me, the answer was obvious: the burger. Why? Because for $1, you basically got a meal. What does $1 worth of rice-and-beans do for you if you don’t have water or a stove or propane in the tank or a pot? The guy arguing for that side of things seemed to just handwave away how raw rice and raw beans became food.

    When I was young, I remember reading blogs that showed you meals for under $5 or whatever. And they’d say things like “5 cents worth of olive oil”. Which, yea, maybe a tablespoon of olive oil only did cost 5-cents. But… you can’t go to the store and buy a tablespoon of olive oil. You have to buy the whole bottle and even the cheap stuff ain’t cheap. So you need a whole heck of a lot more than $5 to get yourself going. Maybe after a few weeks or months you have enough of a stockpile to start making $5 meals but how much do you need up front and what do you do if you don’t have that money up front?

    Anyone who purports it is easy to get out of poverty had never experienced true poverty and, even if they did, likely did not get themselves out all on their own.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      Yep. A couple times when the “eat lentils” subject has come up, people are like “but you can make lentils taste great, all you need is some stock and thyme and rosemary and black pepper and a little onion and some cheese on top…”Report

  11. Avatar Pinky
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    says:

    I agree with some of this article, but point 7 seems way off. I know what it’s like to be stretching a budget, and $3000 is huge. People need to shake every penny out of their budget, and of course that includes money you’d spend on smoking, drinking, and gambling. That one scratch-off ticket can get you a sandwich, and I’ve never seen a person buy only one scratch-off ticket.

    I’m not saying that you can housekeep your way out of poverty, but you can mitigate the damage of poverty. Housekeeping probably won’t increase the money coming in, but it’s a big part of the money going out. How much self-denial are we talking about in ditching a Netflix account, anyway? Anyone with computer access doesn’t need to spend a penny on entertainment. Three grand won’t be enough to start a Burger King franchise, but it’ll keep a car running, and that can lead to a better job. The past few months should have reminded us of how much we can cut back.

    I feel like this comment is going to lose whatever focus it has if I keep rambling, so there I’ll leave it.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      First of all, only 29% of people smoke, and many of them don’t smoke a pack a day. I was estimating on the high end of voluntary purchases to demonstrate a point but the $3000 is somewhat generous about the amount of money one can accumulate by giving up vices.

      Actually, coming from an actual poor person, $3000 really is nothing. I have just in the past few years experienced multiple car breakdowns ($3000 twice) a tooth cracking through no fault of my own and then the dentist wrecking another tooth in the process of fixing that one (another $3000), a mystery medical condition that ended up costing upwards of 10k (without a diagnosis), a fire we haven’t paid for yet, and a flooded road that the county declined to fix that also cost us over 10k to repair.

      You’re talking about a LOT of self-denial for some people. They don’t have TV antennas. They don’t read the paper (if there is a paper any more.) They don’t know HOW to keep a car going. A whole lot of people don’t get/like computers, don’t read longform articles on weird cross political websites, etc. And it only takes a few times of saving up money only to see it go to some other thing before you think, Screw it, I want a doughnut.

      The past few months should have reminded “us” of how much we can cut back?? Who? Who is US? Is us the number of people who haven’t paid their rent in months, or is it Jaybird not eating out as often? Because there are a lot of people, who simply can’t cut back any more than they already have.

      No one is saying that there aren’t many corners people can cut, or that people are always super responsible with their money. You will find that sentiment precisely nowhere in my piece. I am simply trying to point out that it is nowhere near as easy as people make it out to be, and one of the logical errors folks make when criticizing the poor is acting like it’s EASY to get enough money to do anything of consequence. But it isn’t. You can’t scrimp your way out of poverty because $3000 and even $30,000 just is not that much money in the long term.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Kristin Devine
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        says:

        I’m with a lot of the points you make, but you keep harping on those numbers, and they seem way out of scale. It’s not like there’s a specific dollar figure that elevates a person from Poverty to Out of Poverty. A few grand isn’t a guarantee of an easy life. But it is a bucket of money that, I know from experience, can change your nutritional intake and keep you from getting evicted.

        I know there’s real poverty – it’s rare in the US, but I know it exists. Since I’m talking to someone with computer access, I assume you can watch YouTube for free. can play free card games, and can either read well or use the computer to improve your reading. That’s not true for everyone; I understand that. I hope I haven’t come off as criticizing the poor, but I feel like I’m getting blamed for it. I’ll say that no one in the US should starve, or suffer more than marginal malnutrition, given the public and private charity that’s available. If your family is suffering from vitamin deficiency and you’re spending anything on entertainment, you’re wrong to do so. Can we agree on that?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          The Road to Wigan Pier has a section that talks about this.

          Maslow’s Hierarchy defines a thing that exists but the mistake some make is that if you don’t have stuff on level 3 then you don’t worry about stuff on levels 4, 5, and 6.

          Nah. You just don’t have stuff on level 3. You will fight, by hook or by crook, to get you the upper level stuff. It helps with the absence of level 3 amenities.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          “If your family is suffering from vitamin deficiency and you’re spending anything on entertainment, you’re wrong to do so.”

          Is the entertainment spending in question going to fix the vitamin deficiency?

          “well you could save it up” oh, so I’ll be vitamin-deficient and miserable? yeah, sign me up for that

          “Since I’m talking to someone with computer access…”

          Addressed in the comment; please go back and re-read it. Kristin isn’t talking about only herself here.Report

  12. Avatar Veritea
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    says:

    Well I can share a lived experience that offers a counterpoint to this article which strikes me very much as the old Chesterton saw – housewifing has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. A key ingredient is that scrimping and saving makes pretty much no difference if you don’t have a solid plan to a.) capture the savings and b.) use it to improve your lot in life. A very strict budget is the only way I know to effectively accomplish both ‘a’ and ‘b.’ This article feels like a pretty accurate description of what happens if you try to be economical and don’t have one.

    We “housewifed” our way into a much better financial position. Early on in our marriage we read “Financial Peace” by Dave Ramsey. It inspired us to set up a very strict budget that had such a tight limit on food spending that we had to carefully plan and make every meal cheaply. We stuck with it for the first 5 years or so which let us pay off all of our debt, buy a “new” used car for $5k cash, and put about $20k in savings. With this cash cushion I took a very risky but potentially high-paying temporary job that required moving a long distance at our own expense. It worked out amazingly well and jump-started my career so that we have never had to live that way again. Only possible because we “housewifed” our way into a position where we could take a risk to improve our lot in life.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Veritea
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      says:

      And we “housewifed” our way into owning a huge plot of land, ending up with two homes in the end one of which we rent out for money (to our sons, for a huge discount that saves them money) and the luxury of homeschooling our kids – not to mention the luxury of five kids to begin with. I was also able to have the freedom because of my “housewifing” to create a career working online for more money and no commute. No one is saying that there aren’t massive and life altering advantages to being thrifty.

      But we (and you) were able to do that because of some privileges that other people don’t have coupled with a fair amount of good fortune. Thus I refuse to sit in judgement of any people who haven’t been able to pull the same rabbit out of the hat because they didn’t have the same level of mental acuity and reasonably good health that my husband and I had.Report

  13. Avatar Philip H
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    says:

    It is absolutely possible for domestic skills to help make a poor family’s life better – to provide a diet that is healthier, tastier, and more affordable. But don’t put YOUR unreasonable expectations onto the backs of the poor. They’ve already got enough to carry.

    Agreed.
    Totally.
    And contra @Veritea you can’t always Dave Ramsey your way out of poverty. Doing so requires a modest bit of privilege, in as much as you have to have financial tools and knowhow and time to work Dave’s system. If you are living in poverty and working two jobs six days a week just to feed and house your family, you don’t have tools or time.

    More importantly – the poor didn’t create their state. we have the tools and the resources to help them – but we keep choosing to slash taxes for rich people and failing to bail out Mainstreet so the next guy has a harder political time of it.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Philip H
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      says:

      My husband used to listen to Dave Ramsey and it used to infuriate me because caller after caller was like “we make 200k jointly and we need to pay off our student loans and our home loan and on these rentals I own and I have $1500 in credit card debt, and the first thing we’re going to do is not go to Disneyland this year!”. I would just throw up my hands because none of them were actual poor people, they were rich people with a lot of earning power who were all excited to do this fun program. Just as you say, a program they were able to do ONLY because they had the mental toolbox and the time in which to do it.

      Again and again I see more will to lend a hand to the Corn Syrup Manufacturers of America than to create any program to actually assist families in generationally rising out of poverty. It’s infuriating.Report

  14. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    says:

    I want to share some statistics from the annual report on the characteristics of households receiving food stamps later when I have time, because I’m not sure you realize how nonrepresentative your family was, but first I want to talk about potatoes. I know you said potatoes are okay, but they’re not okay. They’re not a necessary evil that you have to eat when you’re poor at the cost of your health. Potatoes are great!

    Everyone thinks they’re just empty calories because they’re white and starchy, but unlike other white starchy foods (polished rice, refined wheat, etc.) a potato is a whole food containing all the nutrients a young potato plant needs to grow big and strong. Fortunately, this has a lot of overlap with the nutrients humans need to grow big and strong.

    Yes, carbohydrates, but you have to get your energy from somewhere, and it’s either going to be carbohydrate or fat. Technically protein can be burned for energy, but you really want to be using protein to build tissue and use other macronutrients for energy. Eating large amounts of fructose is problematic because the liver’s ability to process it is limited, but starch is generally fine as long as you’re not consistently in energy surplus. Insulin resistance is caused by overeating, not by glucose in particular.

    Yes, they have a high GI index, but high-GI foods are really only a problem for people with dysfunctional glucose metabolism; a person with a healthy metabolism should be able to handle the glucose from a potato. Fructose has much lower GI than glucose, so for a while a lot of nutritional gurus were recommending fructose and/or agave nectar as a sucrose replacement, which turned out to be a really bad idea, since fructose a) screws up your gut microbiome, and b) causes hepatic insulin resistance and even fatty liver disease if consumed to excess. GI is overrated at best, and worthless if you don’t have diabetes.

    Furthermore, potatoes contain an appetite suppressant (potato proteinase inhibitor 2) that causes them to be far more filling than other starchy foods. A 1995 study (Holt et al, “The Satiety Index of Common Foods”) found that potatoes were, calorie for calorie, the most filling of the 38 foods tested—significantly more filling than beef or fish, and more than three times as filling as white bread. Anecdotally, whenever I add potatoes to something I’m cooking, it always ends up being far more filling than I expected. French fries may be fattening, because foods which combine fat and carbohydrates tend to promote overeating, but if you want to lose weight, the best thing you can do is fill up on baked, steamed, or boiled potatoes.

    Also, if you cook potatoes refrigerate them overnight, and then reheat them, some of the starch gets converted to retrograde starch, which reduces calories and feeds good gut bacteria.

    In summary, eat all the potatoes you want. They’re cheap, they’re nutritious, and they’re filling. 8 million 19th-century Irishmen can’t be wrong! Just…uh…have a backup plan in case of blight.Report

    • Avatar Kristin Devine in reply to Brandon Berg
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      says:

      Potatoes are fantastic. Agree fully. Standing ovation.

      I think the issue is that many poor people eat the box of mashed potato flakes and augratin potatoes instead of the real deal, and I can’t blame them because real potatoes spoil and are hard to store and carry home from the store in enough quantity to last even a week, let alone longer.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kristin Devine
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        says:

        For the longest time, I thought I was doing something wrong that my potatoes never lasted because I always thought potatotes were supposed to last forever if you just stuck them in a dark cupboard and kept them away from the onions (who also need a dark cupboard but a separate dark cupboard because apparently onions and potatoes don’t get along). It is very comforting to hear that potatoes are actually harder to keep than I thought.

        Also, I’m with you on rice. I’ve never successfully cooked a pot of regular ol’ rice. It didn’t seem to matter what I did… I always failed. I was reduced to using quick bagged rice but a colleague who hails from a culture where rice is king bought me a rice maker because she couldn’t accept my rice woes.Report

  15. Avatar Brett
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    says:

    Once when I was real little and my dad was working the concessions at the local stadium, he brought home what must have been a bag of a couple dozen leftover ballpark hot dogs. It was the highlight of the year – we all got hot dogs for dinner, and then we had cut up hot dogs in our dinners for the next week. Mac and cheese with cut up hot dogs. Yum.

    Your tastes change based on how you grew up and what you eat. I grew up doing fine, but without a ton of money to spare (parents got married young and were scraping by early on). My wife’s family has been well-off since she was born. I’m still used to the taste of canned green beans, reconstituted powdered milk, and all the other cheap stuff we lived on when I was a kid. It took work to adjust to a different diet, but I’m still not completely au courant with the current upper class food norms, even as I’ve moved classes. Can’t stand kale, don’t blame anyone else for not wanting it.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Brett
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      says:

      Re: Kale – Totally agree, raw Kale is just fresh picked sadness. There is no joy in eating it.

      That said, if you take Kale, toss it in a bowl with some olive oil, lemon juice, and salt, and massage it all together for a few minutes, the salt and acid will counter the bitterness (it’s a chemical reaction that alters the molecule that makes it taste like crap). You get the nutritional benefits of Kale without the sadness.

      Like wise if you cook Kale into a dish with salt and acid. Like a baked pasta. I made a frittata (not a baked pasta, I know) with Kale the other night and it was really good.

      Anyway, it’s not a hopeless green, it’s just not the be-all folks want to pretend it is.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brett
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      says:

      A piece of trivia that was popular back in 2015 was that, prior to the kale health boom thing, Pizza Hut was the largest purchaser of kale in the country.

      It used it as decoration to make their salad bars look pretty.

      It wasn’t *THAT* long ago that kale was considered food tinsel.Report

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