After more seriously perusing the data, families and especially the kind that are conservative-tending (more than two kids, SAHM, Christian) really are up against it food wise and food isn’t quite as cheap in America as it sometimes seems. When you have three or five or seven kids slamming into puberty within a year or two of each other, you can suddenly be looking at hundreds a month even if you do skip the meat and try to live on ramen alone. My mistake was forgetting how little the vast majority of this country earns and I apologize for being so callous. Twenty percent of 40k/yr is nearly 700/month out of gross income. That is a huge amount to spend when gas costs can be 50/week or more.
So there’s a context for the obsession with cost-reduction in the old food budget and it’s that because I’m surrounded by people with 2-5 kids who make above median income as their norm, I tend to forget in my day to day that this is not the norm for so many others.
Also, low protein diets (which is what much of the frugal/cheap stuff you see online comes out to) make people lethargic and listless, even if there is enough protein to avoid the very bad nutritional deficiency ailment kwashiorkior. Another unstated assumption in the expectation that a SAHM can wrangle the kids while cooking and cleaning and homeschooling (heh!) all day. I guess so, if they’re only getting the minimum to avoid the very worst of nutrient deficiencies. Although how they’d learn all that well is another question entirely and one that is as ever ignored because it wouldn’t fit the narrative that all homeschooled children are above average.