Friday, November 12, 2010

Figuring Out the True Cost of Food

I was talking about nutrition and our food supply yesterday with some new friends. One, in possession of a 1.3-ounce bag of low fat soy crisps, asked what I ate for a snack.

“Organic raw nuts,” I said. “They are pretty cheap.”

“What? They are so expensive!” another said.

I pointed to the weight written on the bag of crisps.

“How much did this bag cost?” I asked.

“I’m not sure,” the owner responded. “I think about $2.”

“So that’s about $24 per pound,” I said, figuring out loud that 12 1.3-ounce bags got us to about one pound. “Organic raw almonds are $8 per pound in bulk at Whole Foods.”

Silence from my new friends.

“One handful of nuts—a couple ounces—fills you up,” I said. “And what do you need to do after you eat that bag of soy crisps?”

“Eat something,” a third said.

Exactly. Add the fact that walnuts and almonds are infinitely healthier than any soy crisp—no matter what the package claims—and $8 a pound for organic raw nuts is truly a bargain.


Gansetter said...

Rob, I agree wholeheartedly with what you are saying here, but are you sure those almonds have not been steam-pasteurized? Most US almonds are. I get raw, organic, non-pasteurized almonds from for $14/lb. They're nice folks to deal with, too.

djdebbie said...

Are roasted almonds steam pasteurized too? I love 'em roasted.

Chef Rob said...


Yes, the almonds--like most U.S. almonds--have been steam pasteurized. I didn't mention it in the conversation with the group because I didn't want to overwhelm them.

That being said, I should have mentioned it in the post, even as an aside. I must be getting old, because I also forgot to mention the BPA in the cans of Muir Glen tomatoes in another of the week's posts.

Thanks for pointing this out.


Chef Rob said...


The roasted almonds are probably pasteurized as well.

By the way, roasting almonds yourself is pretty easy. Put raw almonds (or any other raw nut) on a baking sheet and roast in oven (or toaster oven) until the nuts start to brown. You will smell the process happening!


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