Homemade food is often treated as a privilege. Low cost of fast food and its nutrition value become a solution for many families who have neither time not money to cook at home. Warnings that fast food is not healthy do not stop Americans who treat it as an essential part of their daily diet. As a result, the prevalence of obese and overweight people plummets. If we look at what is behind attractive pricing strategies and delicious tastes offered at fast food chains, all facts support the idea that homemade food is a better choice. The articles _Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?_ by Mark Bittman and _Fast Food Versus Slow Food_ by Nancy Folbre provide enough facts to motivate people to cook at home. Out of these two articles, Folbre’s specific approach to argumentation makes her writing extremely persuasive and logical advocating cooking at home.
One of the biggest advantages of fast food is that it is really fast. People do not spend much time ordering their food and eating it on the go. People tend to work more and cook less than they used to 50 years ago (Folbre). Technological development simplify people’s attitude to food and cooking; all they need is to heat their meals in the microwave oven. Moreover, accessibility of fast food restaurants is becoming better and better. Contrary to this, cooking at home seems less attractive due to the routine related to this process. Grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning up, and developing cooking skills are required. Because time is the most expensive thing in the world, not all people are ready to spend it on cooking. Many Americans treat cooking as a job and they are confused that they are not paid for it. Complaints of many Americans about lack of time for cooking are common; however, the popularity of food shows is on the peak (Folbre). Instead of cooking, people prefer to watch how others cook.
According to Bittman, there are five fast food restaurants per each supermarket in the United States. If people eat at fast food restaurants, they forget about such chores as cooking and cleaning up and have more time to relax after work. Overall, it is difficult to argue that fast food restaurants are not convenient. In fact, they are life-saving for many people who work long hours and have no time to care about what they eat. Bittman states that average American family watches TV 1.5 hours a day; it means that they have enough free time. They lack motivation to cook and use ‘affordability’ argument to convince others that their behavior is right. A strong belief that cooking at home is expensive stops people from researching the issue in detail. Many of them even do not try to cook at home before they complain that it requires much money.
Folbre uses a strong and persuasive argument to prove that home food is not as expensive as people think about it. She finds that people need 30 minutes to cook a burger at home. This time includes time spent on shopping, washing up, cooking, and serving. While an average burger costs around $4, the cost of ingredients for a burger is $1. Folbre states that 30 minutes spent on cooking can be easily compared to driving to a fast food restaurant or standing in line to buy a burger. Homemade burgers become even more affordable is they are cooked for the family because it still takes a bit more than 30 minutes and four burgers are ready as a result. Folbre’s experiment proves that people can afford to eat at home and it can be economical for their budget. However, time spent on cooking is the reason why many people prefer to eat out.
Additionally, fast food is expensive according to both Bittman and Folbre, purely organic food is also very expensive because it requires special care and conditions to be produced. At the same time, fast food and organic food are two extremes; there are many other food products which are not too expensive and healthy. Bittman challenges ‘affordability’ argument providing a list of alternatives which are budget-friendly. Rice with a simple salad costs less than McDonald’s dinner. It does not require developed cooking skills and much time to be ready. There are many TV-shows, YouTube channels and cook books which offer a number of different recipes for all life occasions. Cooking can be fun if people stop perceiving it as a chore. Bittman tries to catch the issue as a whole; as a result, his article complexly argues for home food benefits.
Nutrition value of fast food is high; poor people believe that they need calories and eagerly consume fries and soda drinks. According to Bittman, Americans consume more calories they need a day; as a result, it leads to health issue related to weight gain. Fast food is addictive; even when people are full, they feel hungry after a while. There are special chemicals and flavors added to fast food to intensify its taste and make it desired for people. Ordinary home food contains less fat and sugar which makes it more useful for people. People who cook at home always know what ingredients they use to cook their meal which allows them making healthier choices. Also, it is very diverse and all people can find something simple to cook but delicious.
In summary, both writers agree that people who experience lack of time and money often eat at fast food restaurants because they believe that it is cheaper than cooking at home. Some of them complain that they do not have time to cook daily. People always have time but set different priorities; some of them prefer to watch TV in the evening and it is their choice. While Bittman tries to persuade people making his argument global, Folbre focuses on the economic side of the issue and creates a solid line of argumentation.
I like this specific approach to persuasion more than generalizations sprinkled by random statistics in Bittman’s article. Folbre successfully proves her point of view with the help of her experiment; she rationally counts money and time spent of home cooking to show that it can be economical and fast. Her research persuades me that cooking can be economical showing real examples in life situations. Bittman only lists alternatives while Folbre uses them and checks their relevance. Moreover, it can be healthier, more nutritious and delicious. Home food contains less sugar and fat while fat is the main source of calories in fast food. People need to try and decide what is better for their health, schedule, and purse.
Bittman, Mark “Is Junk Food Really Cheaper”” Everything’s an Argument with Readings. Ed. Andrea A. Lunsford, John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013. 660-665. Print.
Folbre, Nancy. “Fast Food Versus Slow Food”. _The_ _New York Times._ July 29, 2013. Web. July 24, 2014.
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