It may sound foolish, but, depending on one’s income, what can be more shocking than an increase in the price of a staple like milk is an increase in the cost of luxury items based on a staple (or a hidden staple like corn by-products)–ice cream, for example (only recently a luxury item in our home). Last night I paid $7 for 1.75 quarts, and realized that it was a tipping point. On the plus side, rising costs for transportation, fertilizer, and manufacturing are increasing the cost of prepared/junk foods faster than fresh foods, organic or not–a good thing for poor people who too often buy cheap filler foods because they (think they) can’t (or don’t know they can) afford anything healthier. 

Makes me wish we had local Asian open-air market along with our very nice but expensive farmer’s market. In many of the Asian markets, sellers buy ripe foods with reduced shelf life and sell then for far less–which means you go to the market more often but spend less (for vegetables and fruit, there’s little cost savings in bulk). 

HFCS rant: there’s a new commercial by the corn-processors guild showing a sensitive looking young man shying from a popsicle waved in his face by a woman we think is his girlfriend (or a demon in lovely human form sent to tempt him). But the bar contains high-fructose corn syrup, and he’s having none of it (although this could be masking a homophobic fear of having a phallic object publicly thrust at his face, but we’ll leave the subtext out for now). She looks at him with sardonic tenderness and assures him that HFCS is perfectly natural and poses no problems when taken in moderation–and how much could there be in an ickle popsicle? We assume in the next scene that he’s convinced and is happily slurping away while she privately plays a m4m fantasy and collects her check from the People of the Corn. Where are the fundamentalists when you need them! 

(Let’s also note that it’s impossible to ingest anything in moderation that is an ingredient–often a primary ingredient–in most products containing sweeteners–which is damn near everything–even those with sweetness too low-down for your tongue to detect but not your biochem. Let’s hope the cost of corn-based additives balloons as the economy wheezes.)