please support your local stitcher, there aren’t many of us doing our thing

Buttonholes / Tailor's Tacks

I’ve been sewing lots. Here are a few pieces:

First, Peter’s Retro Shirt (listed at Homesewn).

Peter's Retro Shirt


Just these last couple days I’ve worked up Winter Wool Pants #001 and #002 (#003 are on the way!):

Happy Pants

Belt Loops

They are beautiful pants – wool, and lined in silk – designed in every way for comfort, ease of movement, and durability. If your kids are as active as mine, I guarantee these will be a quick favorite.

So. Tomorrow through Sunday I am going to have a booth at the Schafer Meadows Fiber Festival, hosted at the Elma Fairgrowds. It would mean a lot to me if any locals reading this would stop by and talk to me and see my stuff. I’ve worked my tail off to create a booth and put together some literature on what I’m about and what my portfolio entails. The Fiber Festival is amazing in its own right, with all sorts of local talented artisans (mostly knitting, wool, spinning, carding, crotcheting-based) coming out of the woodwork!

The hours of the event are Friday, Noon – 5pm; Saturday, 10am – 5pm; and Sunday, 11am – 4pm.

I thought a lot about buying a space at my first-ever trade fair, or whatever you want to call it, as I am not able to make the time commitment of a full-time business but I definitely would enjoy more exposure. My current goals as a seamstress include pursuing my craft with all my heart, being able to purchase and explore higher-end fabrics and materials, making parents/carers and their children deliriously happy over their most favorite garment of all time (Phoenix put on the brown pair of wool pants – lined with silk and built with knee gussets and a low-bulk super-soft waistband! – and said, “These are MARVELOUS pants. You should make every kid a pair!”), stretching myself creatively, finding a community of garment-makers (quilters and crotcheters and knitters abound), and sharing my skills with those who appreciate them (including teaching!).

Anything you can do to support me is appreciated. It’s hard out here for a stitcher, competing with massive corporations, sweatshop labor and the abuse of environment and peoples for the bottom line. True also that many would like to experience the joy of learning how to create – but so few make the time.

short & sweet: friday links

Quick rant: Stop saying “X is the last acceptable form of bigotry” by Tami Harris. Ye god – Yes. Please. Stop.

Barn tableau at IBTP. Short and to the point.

Class rage in miniature: why I can’t read many food blogs anymore at Class Rage Speaks

On Blogging, Popularity Contests, & Why I QUIT at Postpartum Progress:

“I love blogging. I love bloggers. I love social media people. I love the internet. I love what we are able to do, that our words can stretch across thousands of miles to make someone else feel understood and supported. I love that we are able to use our voices, and that no one can take that away from us. That’s amazing. […] You will no longer see me asking for votes for these various contests. I can’t do it anymore. It tires me. It’s soul sucking. I’m not going to do it. If someone recognizes what we do here for the impact it has on mothers and families, or for innovative ideas, or for the writing, or for positively affecting mental health or reducing stigma, I will share it with you FOR SURE, but as for the rest of it … I quit.”

I believe everyone should have the right to blog differently (*ahem*… those bitching about password-protected posts, and no asking about it, or asking for a password, is not bitching about it), including using ads, contests, giveaways, tweeting all day long, whatever people do. I guess I just liked what this lady had to say.

How To Deal With Parental Mistakes by Laura:

“Making mistakes as a parent is he hardest thing, because it involves this tiny influential human being and you can’t have a do-over. It can be easy to fall into a guilt trip. That’s not a very healthy road to travel. Guilt is one of the most erosive, numbing emotions, and it’s certainly not beneficial to parenting.”

I’m feeling this, big time. Thank you, Laura.

& on that note:

Let’s try that again! Send me your stories on parenting with disability or chronic illness at Raising my Boychick. If you’ve got something? Do it!

Homeschoolers Who Run Businesses: The EpiCoutures Family Store. Both Laurie and Brycen are passionate about their work. Maybe someone reading here can spread word or support it!

Make: custom chenille for a blanket. Lovely!

Also: a cold summer soup collection from Mint Design Blog. Now I’m not much for cold summer soups, although my friend S. once made us a watermelon gazpacho that was truly amazing. So, I try not to be too close-minded!

Quote of the week:
Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ~ Malachy McCour

I’m late watching this of course, but I had to share it because I find it COMPLETE & UTTER BULLSHYT and I want to know if anyone else is scoffing as hard as I am?!

(I do like the second top comment though)

from the inside looking out, you can’t explain it

Today thanks to the invitation of my friend J. I find myself swimming with the children this afternoon. I’d woken an hour before, ran about doing laundry, packing swim bags, and finishing up a million dishes and packing a snack before bringing both kids out from a truncated sleep (Phoenix in particular was still up and texting at nine AM). It was hard going for her at first but by the time we pulled into the Y parking lot she had striped tiger eyes. She loves the water. (It’s a little after midnight and she’s remained equitable and loving all day, except for a brief episode with her brother fighting over rights to a kitten.)

In the pool a ponytailed man with his young daughter (or, possibly, granddaughter) compliments J. and I – in a way – saying it’s so nice to see parents actually playing with their children. I know what he means, but as I tread water across the depths I spend a few moments reflecting that I am not the most playful adult. Maybe that’s one reason why my kids are so delighted when I do engage in these ways. A few minutes later I float past them in the “river” while they “fish” with those float-noodles and I pretend to be, in succession, an alligator, an octopus, a great white shark, a blowfish (their idea), then finally a Tired Out Lady. I get all the kids laughing, even rather stoic T.

Ralph spent most of today and the day before recording a musician – efforts which were unfortunately partially sabotaged by rather inconsiderate grownups interrupting their rehearsal (many different people, many times). After my husband and I finally had our house and one another to ourselves, he and I took a date at our familiar and beloved Casa Mia and reflected on the last few days. Ralph and I have been, in final estimation, overhelping other people – not resting and helping one another nor ourselves enough. Some rest, respite, and dare I say genuine pampering is in order. If you think that means I’m going to finally treat myself to those octopus earrings, cherry read patent leather docs (okay, hell, also the teal pair), and that Pendleton blanket, you’re totally right. (EXCEPT I’m not, but let me just pretend I’m going to because it makes me feel badass. I’ll probably end up getting a big bulk scoop of Walmart cotton panties.)


Suprasternal Notch
(Small Stone #17*)

I’m transfixed by the water beaded on your flawless skin.
We hold one another very close, and for a long time.
You say:
“I should remember to listen every time you tell me about your love.”

A Visitor
(Small Stone #18*)

Linda’s voice is rich and deep,
Her laugh musical like a girls’.
She has dark skin and even deeper freckles
And large, brown, beautiful eyes.

Small stone project

I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing

So I just have to write this down. Of course.

This afternoon I receive a call and a fellow tells me he saw our fliers around town and he wants to know if there is a reward for the return of our cat. I say, uh well, I guess so, sure, kind of taken aback really. Then he claims he would go look for her and he wanted to know what I was going to offer if he found her.


I’m gobsmacked. After a beat I ask him well, what do you think your time is worth. He won’t throw out an answer on this and (by now my brain is slowly cranking and I’m figuring he has my little kitty already), I offer him, with kind of amazed laughter in my voice, about half our weekly grocery money. He ups the price twenty percent and I say, Yeah, okay, thank you, and we hung up after he tells me he’s likely to find her.

Yeah, I KNOW!

An hour and a half later he calls again and says me he thinks he has my cat. I was out-of-home but Ralph was primed to make the transaction so I sent him off to do so with instructions.

And lo, it was our cat indeed.

Josie's Home (AKA

Yeah, that Josie. Looking a little off-kilter after five or so days away from home. Who knows where.

Maybe people won’t understand why today – this thing with our little creature – exhausted me, but I’m going to try to write a bit more about the episode then be done. I can think of about three ways this scenario might have gone down. The first is taking the fellow at his word: he bounty-hunts pets and charges for his time. I could spell out the reasons I think this is unlikely. But let me point out, times are fucking hard on the Harbor and that sort of thing is a possibility. There are other potential scenarios ranging from opportunistic to sinister.

What can one say when one is (potentially) scammed? My mom wrote the young man a check so we’ll be getting his name at least (I also have his phone number; adding to the potentially-sketch factor he refused to meet us at his house). Putting a stop on the check is an option but then as Ralph said, “Then who’s the bigger douchebag?” Because you know? We don’t really know what went on.

The whole scenario was bizarre, and now I’m left rather frazzled. For one thing, the anxiety I’ve felt over missing one of our critters has been like a constant tension string and in my very typical fashion, when the cat/child/chicken is safe I have a little breakdown (I’ll be back to normal soon, promise). After the first phone call, to agonize if I would see her today or if it was not her at all and I’d be left to wonder; to feel creeped out by the likelihood someone was using our vulnerability to their advantage. The little kitty is sleeping on a chair a few feet away, a couple scraps of beef in her belly and her fur smelling like strange perfume. And I’m so. SO GLAD. to have her back.


This evening J. and I hit Thrift City and, after an incident involving an old-school Argus Mini Palmatic 2 camera that still had film in it (and yeah, it was under $1, so we bought it and I can’t wait to develop it!) and hysterical harpy-laughter and a huge box of MINDWIZARD cards flying all over the aisle, I found the absolutely perfect writing desk. Very sturdy, solid wood, perfect shelf and drawer availability, the ideal height and width, and it amazingly matches my (favorite) overpainted and chipped green chair, and it only smells a LOT musty (ha). Wunderbar!

My Tidy World: These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

My favorite things: my “new” (and really, really sturdy and awesome) desk ($15), the smartphone and One Line A Day Five Year Memory Book from Ralph (Christmas gifts), moleskine & papermate (gifts from friends), vinyl purse from Pure Clothing in HQX ($7), silver James Bond-esque cigarette lighter (gift from same friends who gave me the moleskine), and my very trusted, rugged and quickly-headed-downhill Mac named “Balls” (purchased to the dime with an inheritance sum, about five years ago).

I’m very happy about the desk which of course precipitated a reorganization and cleaning of my papers. But my night isn’t near over. I have an incredible mountain of laundry to fold. Don’t worry. I’ll fill you in on every detail.

Partaking Of Love
(Small Stone #3*)

Steaming rice-fried-in-butter
Slowcooked beans and pot roast
At the counter, midnight,
Children warm their bellies

Small stone project

my little splishy splashy

I think I’m pretty kick-ass for the most part: I can ovary-up and do things I’m afraid of. However, I’m not sure people know how often I’m afraid. And today facing my shift as a timer for my daughter’s swim meet rattles me from the get-go. For one, I’ve always loathed the uber-competitive parent or coach – you know the asshole I mean, screaming and intense and all sports-lingo’y and often unable to discuss anything else except the heat, or the meet or their (seven year old’s) form or whatever. But honestly? I can kind of handle these people. More to the point – because in general I’ve found these swim events to be merely highly active, a bit chaotic, and a positive experience overall with friendly people – I just don’t want to screw up and I’m rarely in a high-pressure situation these days that I don’t know my way around. Organized sports? Not so much.

This afternoon as a timer I’m part of both a secondary and tertiary backup system – that is, there is an official time activated by electronic sensors and equipment, and a physical button (me) also tied into this system should the sensor fail (ours later did); finally, myself and another timer are also responsible for hand-timing with stopwatches. I know, it sounds simple. And it kind of is, except at two minutes to the meet start I haven’t taken position and I am just hanging back and acting mellow (like Ben Murphy!) but inside thinking any minute there’d be this bullhorn and a crying kid and red-faced adults and everyone’s disapproving eye would swing around to my dumb ass and I’d be the only parent there who didn’t “get it” and was being this huge dick. Maybe even a record-scratch or slow-motion heads shaking in disgust.

But of course, none of this happened: when I finally make way to my lane – assuming, correctly, my timing accoutrement would be there – I find my lane is seeded with the slower swimmers and empty during low-attendance heats. My timing partner is a rather experienced one; he knows how to do the job well enough and he’s knowledgeable about swim meets in general so I get a bit of an education there (it’s been many, many years since I was in a swim meet myself). We spend our shift in companionable discussion when we our lane is empty, an official-looking intensity when a child thrashes through their race. I get the pleasure of timing my own daughter in one of her events: today she competes in two relays, 50 breaststroke, 25 backstroke, and the 100 individual medley (I know! She’s fucking awesome!). Not to mention that instead of waiting 15 freezing minutes for a bus we’d walked to the YMCA in the first place – a brisk stroll.  At the end of her meet my mother takes us out to lunch and my girl, who usually doesn’t eat much, demolishes macaroni and cheese, applesauce, lemonade, and half of a fudge volcano dessert. I’m thinking she’ll sleep well tonight.

As a side note, we’d missed our original 11:50 bus staying too long in Hoquiam’s new recycled clothing shop. I found a lovely line of soft cotton cami tops ($5) and happily selected three. Sadly, the women’s clothing tops out at about a size 10 so the shop holds little for me (and um, lots of other women I know – at a size 14 I am America’s average). Besides the shirts I purchased a glittery mask for Sophie at her earnest request.  Just as I laid my purchases on the counter Sophie brought me a pair of large, gold and red earrings – very striking, very bold.

“You should get these, Mama,” she says, “They’re beautiful.”

“Oh, I like them…” I say (true, very much). “But don’t you think I wear too much red?”

“You have red hair and your coat is red – you look good in red. It will be a nice touch,” she says – simple lilting sophistication in her seven year old duck voice! A few ladies in the shop turn around at this, laugh, smile. I laugh too but feel the sting of tears. I honestly feel I’ve already raised my kids; they’re so uniquely themselves and I’m always thinking, Where did that come from?

I got many compliments on the earrings today; Sophie was right.  And I could tell she was proud of selecting the earrings for me.  It was a pretty wonderful little thing between us.

and hours later i’m still thinking about her

Today in the grocery store I had my eldest child only, which meant I wasn’t having to deal with two children fighting or (and this is worse, I swear) climbing up the side of the aisles or running full-tilt through the store or pestering me every second for brownie mix and cream-top yogurt and coloring books.  In fact I was having a great conversation with my oldest; doing the math to shop for groceries.  An excellent exercise; I think I was in my twenties before I started noticing how much food cost.

In the produce section I ran into a friend and she looked beautiful but rather stressed; we talked about what was stressing her for a bit, then talked about some upcoming gatherings we’re planning, and caught up as best we could.  And toward the end of the conversation we heard the kind of heart-wrenching crying that usually comes from an infant in distress, an all-out sobbing that if drawn out for any length of time is hard for most parents to hear.  “I’m going to go nurse that baby right now,” I joked to my friend, and she admitted to having the same impulse.  We parted ways and my child and I headed to the canned vegetable aisle to get olives for tonight’s dinner, homemade French bread and Salad Nicoise.

The crying was not in fact coming from an infant but from a child old enough to walk, sobbing and screaming and trailing behind his mother who gripped the handles of one of those huge, pain-in-the-ass carts that’s supposed to be extra fun for small children but is really cumbersome to drive, at least in my opinion.  The screaming child looked to be between three and four and he was distraught and so was she, although of course full-grown women aren’t allowed, socially, to holler or collapse in the aisles of supermarkets.  As I passed I smiled at her and she smiled back, but her eyes weren’t really seeing me.  She looked almost calm – and of course, many parents can be calm while their child has a big, loud upset in a public place (the family I grew up in denigrated children’s emotional displays by calling them “throwing a fit”) – but I knew the look of tension and anger in this woman and I knew she was very upset.  I moved down the aisle and as my child and I spied the olives and noted their price I heard this mother at the end of my aisle lean down and near-yell at the child, telling him to shut up and I can’t remember what she called him.  Then she’d straightened again and continued shopping.  The child remained inconsolable.

Here’s the shitty thing, there were lots of people in the store and they were all either ignoring her or sending off hostile looks and vibrations.  This broke my heart into tiny pieces.  When I passed her again I said “Ma’am, excuse me, can I help you in any way?  Would you like me to hang out with him for a little while and you can finish shopping?”

“No, he’s just a brat,” the woman says.  She is a blonde and tiny, her face tight with strain.  Her voice is harsh, she looks up at me and then away, and her chin shakes.  I say, “I understand.  I have two of my own,” and I put my hand on her arm. I have tears in my eyes.  She passes on and I put my hand on the little guy’s head too, and I let them go. I think to myself I hope it means something to her, that I saw her and saw what she was going through, and I felt only love and compassion, and I didn’t cast her out or condemn her like everyone else I saw in the store.  And even as my words offering help came out of my mouth I thought it was so unlikely she’d avail herself of my assistance – although I was totally willing, and if she’d have had a few moments to herself to shop I’ll bet she could have pulled it together and come back to her child refreshed a bit, and I only wish she would have let me do this for her.  But I’ve myself been that mom who needs help, and had help offered, and sometimes I take it and often I don’t, and I hope every damn person who’s done it realizes how much it meant to me.

The thing is some people look at this woman and think she’s a bad person, or a bad mother (totally different, so much more pointed and awful and loaded), and feel sorry for the child in this case in that sort of nosey, pathetic what-about-the-children?! type of feeling sorry.  And I felt sorry for the child, sure.

But I also know the chances are most every other minute of every day this woman is loving up on this boy and sticking up for him, and just then she needed someone to stick up for her.

"thou shalt not covet"

Today I had a wonderful conversation, and then a great visit, with a friend and her children. Besides having a good time relaxing in someone else’s home with cookies and coffee and a new diversion (in this case, a new pair of super-adorable pygmy goats). It was one of those times where you have a few conversations that happen to provide good mental work and make life seem easier. Where you are grateful for a friend and for life’s circumstances that brought you together.

On another issue I am just feeling so congested and horrible. My mother recently bought a smoking new sewing machine. It was about $1000 and she walked into the dealership and wrote a check for the whole thing. I was with her; I helped her pick it out (I’d been scoping machines myself, more in the “wishful thinking” category). I went with her to her first class tonight. I sat there and watched as she messed with one million functions and sewed strong, stable seams and I thought about how sewing is a part of my life – more than hers – and here I am having something cherry dangled in front of me, just enough to see but not to have. Her Twin Demon of a high-end serger, bought as a present from her father for half again as much, sits in her closet almost entirely unused. In fact it was her serger example that led me to push for her to take the class and for me to attend with her; she reported to me she’d been feeling guilty about not using such a developed, specialized tool. I wanted her to, if she was going to buy it, use her new machine to its potential and love it. After all she herself has used mostly low-end machines for her sewing career as well. Still, despite knowing this was a good thing for her, it felt wretched for me.

This isn’t about a sewing machine. It’s part of a larger feeling of falling behind in some way, never to have what I want, never to catch up. It’s a shameful feeling of not being able to deal with going without unless I really put effort into it (effort I’m effecting now, I hope). It’s about getting lost in the mental wheel-spinning of envy, or getting caught up in other people’s plans and pursuits and reverse-projecting them into one’s own life. I know it isn’t wrong to want something nice, or well-made, for one of my life’s strongest passions. It’s soul-shrinking, however, to allow my feelings to prevent me from enjoying someone else’s experience of something lovely. For their sake, and because I’m their friend.

The fact is, obviously, her resources and her spending have nothing to do with me. Me, some day, it will come. If and when something (materially) fabulous like this machine is mine (examples of my treasured posessions spring to my mind: my wool pants, my Mac), I will cherish it, use it, and take good care of it. If I’m a talented and “deserving” seamstress I will find a way to make sewing work for me (nevermind the last 10 months of broken and inadequate machines and tons of bobbin case jams and busted seams… okay, deep, cleansing breath…) even when obstacles make it seem like a wasted effort.

Another fact is, I am strong enough to handle “going without” – whatever that means. Not buying something I can’t really afford, or struggling for groceries, or occasionally getting my gas shut off. Besides, lately life seems a little easier (financially) than it has been.* Or is it just that my husband and I seem to be on the same page more often these days? Whatever the reasons are, when I think about my own life and what I have to be grateful for, I feel humbled and contrite – and grateful, and, finally, finally! – joyful for my mother and her new purchase.

Today has been a good day but also draining. It is time once again to return to the family, to domestic chores – and tomorrow, painstakingly remove and re-do another crappy seam and try to patch it up again.

* Abbi – “Things are looking up for the Hogabooms!” as we said a few New Years’ ago.

a lovely man in so many ways

I recently found an anti-Walmart piece by an author I respect, for publication in my zine. In fairness, ideally, I’d like to put in a pro-Walmart or rebuttal piece (Walmart is a big deal here on the Harbor). So yesterday I’m telling my parents about my desire to find someone to write an article I could put side-by-side in the publication.

“You know…” I say, “Someone who can tell me some positives or a piece by a Walmart supporter.”

“Problem is, they don’t know how to read or write,” my dad snorts.*

“Oh come on,” I roll my eyes, annoyed with the put-down and wanting real conversation.

“Gap-toothed hicks…” he’s continuing on, mostly to himself.**

“Um,” I say, “As opposed to your gaps, and all the metal, and the pieces coming out like a messed-up drawer of silverware?”

He draws himself up with dignity: “A missing tooth isn’t a gap,” he imparts, offended. ***

* I hope the fact he’s currently dying from cancer alleviates some of my readers’ annoyance at his asinine, snide nature.

** No really. I am so sorry. He’s terrible.

*** My father did indeed stop being a jerk and come up with the idea to publish a call for a rebuttal or feedback, in case I don’t find someone to pen the pro-W piece this time around.

st. dorothy mantooth

Today I got to have something I wanted. My husband and children accompanied me to my normal set of markets as I “forced” them to participate in errand-running rather than goofing off or relaxing a bit more. I guess my children are regular attendants often enough, but specifically I invited my husband into my world of planning, shopping, cooking etc (all food-related). I did not let myself feel guilty I was infringing on their “play time” (we made sure to play today, too). I talked about my food concerns and expected him to care (altho’ not necessarily requiring him to remember all of this – that would not be fair) even though I sometimes feel insecure that this is, indeed, most of my day-to-day living and it’s rather mundane. We spent the day having just as much fun as playtime would normally be, and I felt heard and experienced.

When we got home Ralph volunteered to make dinner (Cabbage Rolls and mashed potatoes) and left him in there, by himself, not helping nor bossing. He’d say, “Should I put these in this pan?” and I’d answer or tell him to figure it out, mild in my manner and not really thinking much about it and letting him do it (he was working off my recipe). By the end of the (somewhat laborious, especially for him) process he said, “I like making these.” I felt not only did he help, did he take my shift and get another glimpse of what I do; he also felt how satisfying it could be to do what I do.

So yeah, I have been asking directly and specifically for more help around the house. Why does it feel like so much of the SAHM’s life is unappreciated? Would I “need” my husband to observe and experience if I felt others supported and experienced my life? Ralph and I like sharing one another and our experiences; he tells me about his job and I listen and chime in. I wonder how much of today’s experience was just about me, how much was about my desire for more social time with my husband, and how much was related to validation.

But for some reason it meant something to me to share with my husband why I buy my olive oil where I buy it; how I figure out what to cook; what market I get my forbidden rice from and how I found it.

Now it’s 7 PM and suddenly the rain is coming down in a torrent; heavy, rainforest rain. Amazing. Dinner is served and the family is at the table. Thank you, husband.

why I feel so fiercely protective, sad, and angry when I see the fat woman in stretch pants buying the family-size Oreos

We have moved to a locale with specific health issues that become apparent almost the minute we slushed into our driveway. Parents seem as a whole less involved in providing their children with healthy food (my own recent example precipitated more comments from my readers than any blog entry in recent history). Diabetics shoot up insulin then consume soda and candy for dinner. Shoppers “save money” at Walmart but are forced to do so by driving motorized carts, their visible disability being obesity and no, not all of it is “glandular”. Naturally, Ralph and I are concerned with both the health and well-being of our community and the influences on our own family’s habits.

Compare this to the culture of the town we moved from – a populace that seemed more progressive and active about eating locally, organically, sustainably, macrobiotic(ally?), and responsibly. Along with the education, concerns, and passion came a fair bit of smugness, often bolstered by economic advantages that helped foster abilities and attitudes that the working poor simply don’t have the luxury of. I remember a comment by a parenting group peer – in a single-income lifestyle with an at-home parent, a comfortable income, living in a brand-spankin’-new house in a lovely neighborhood with two working cars – completely flummoxed at why “some people” (poor) would eat such processed and horrible-for-you foods. “I mean, it isn’t cheaper to eat that kind of food… apples are 39 cents a pound, potatoes are a couple bucks for five pounds…” I didn’t even know where to start with this comment but I knew it was unfair. Perhaps I should have at least pointed out that single-income families have one person at home who can peel and boil potatoes, and yes providing three healthy squares does take considerable more time, planning, and work than Kraft Mac ‘N’ Cheese does – or gee, what the fuck takes up half my life these days? I also remember feeling very sad as this person was reflecting an attitude many of us share; we who can and do stave off junk food and empty calories either silently or vocally judge those who have neither the education or ability to do so, carving ourselves off as separate / smarter / more moral than, well, the white-trash fatties.

Fortunately, this article (by Michael Pollan, author of the well-received book The Omnivore’s Dilemma) does a more elegant and helpful job approaching the subject*. I feel his explanations for how we really screw over the poor is ultimately undeveloped – mostly likely simply in the interests of brevity, since it’s already a lengthy article. One quote that summed up a bit for me and the responsibilities of people in my socio-economic slot:

“Yes, there are eaters who think it in their interest that food just be as cheap as possible, no matter how poor the quality. But there are many more who recognize the real cost of artificially cheap food — to their health, to the land, to the animals, to the public purse.”

Thank you, MK for the link.

* P.S. This peer was also incorrect: as we see in Mr. Pollan’s breakdown, calorie-for-calorie, it is cheaper to eat processed and unhealthy foods – not to mention often more convenient than fresh-prepared. Couple this with how overeating can be one form of “entertainment” most Americans can afford (as opposed to entertainments some Americans can afford, like oversea vacations or a boat or a weekend at a B&B) and the drug-like addiction and short-term soothing nature of corn syrup, saturated fats, and high-salt snack foods. Still. Michael Pollan is doubtless smarter and more well-researched than I and I encourage you to finish the article if you can; read his book(s) if you’re so inclined.