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  • "what's A Cantaloupe?"

     

    So today, I helped prepare lunch for a bunch of people...mostly poor, urban moms.

    I'm taking fruit out of a bag, when one of the moms suddenly points and says..."What's that?"

    I say, "It's a cantaloupe."

    She replies, "Really? Wow. Why is it all like that?", referring to the texture of the rind.

    I say, "That's what a *cantaloupe* looks like... "

    She says, "Well, I've never had it before. Is it some kind of melon?"

    My initial mental response was what the HELL!!!! How do you get to be near forty and not know what a cantaloupe is? Don't you eat?

    After that I thought, how sad...she's got four kids. Bet they've never had melon either.

    We had a bunch of neighborhood kids over last week, and they'd never seen, heard of, or eaten mangoes. Or yellow and red peppers, or snap peas. They wouldn't eat mushrooms, onions, or broccoli, eating only meat, rice, and gravy, because "they can't be healthy, them.", referring to the vegetables.

    Anyway, all of that got me thinking of the problem with good nutrition in poorer, less educated neighborhoods. I've lived in rough areas all my post-college adult life, and I always complain about the poor quality and availability of fresh fruits and veggies in the hood. I used to think it was because of plain old prejudice and so on, but after meeting some of the people in my local area...maybe it's justified? Maybe people just don't buy fruits and veggies because they're unfamiliar with them?

    Is this a catch-22 or what?

    Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing?

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    I don't even know what to say.

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    I think it's definitely prejudice.....

    The veggies & fruits (fresh) are more expensive in the hood or absolutely the WORST...... old and rotten. It probably would cost "too much" for the grocier to have a truck come in with the freshest fruits because "those people don't eat it anyway..." When I do ride through my old neighborhood it's worse off than it was back then. There's many many borded houses and do on.

    I grew up in the hood (struggling like many w/ a single mother trying to make ends meet) and it was a lot easier and a hell of a lot cheaper to grab "2 beef patties" (w/ a slice of cheese added for an extra $.10) and a )high fructose corn syrup) peach (or pinapple) soda for lunch or dinner. "Juicey's" were only a quarter along w/ "a quarter bag of chips"... Back in the day (like i'm mad old *l*) we didn't have affordable places like Wal-mart. Our high end grocery store was hard to get to for us... it meant taking 2 buses there and 2 buses back, unless we could watch one stretch.... The same opportunites weren't afforded to us then than they are now (around my way anyway).... there's programs that educate about health and wellness.. programs to be able to have a car to get to a b and c. Ok, I'm getting off topic...

    It'll take someone like you to get on the picket line and get these opportunities and educate people.
    Our area is getting better, but slow paced for Black people. OT: I have NOTHING against foreign people, but do you know our mayor appointed some sort of "neighborhood clean-up" grant to not Blacks or those that have been in this area but people from Guyana. I believe it's a conspiracy. I'm glad to see the area looking better, but still.... there are poor people moved from one section to another. The houses are like $24,000 or less and the poor can't get grants or help to fix up these places.

    OT I'm off my soap box and I've completed my run on sentence... Basically, the rich are here to get richer not help the poor and struggling. I believe foreigners are moved in to make the city look good and be a "great place to live and visit".....

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    My initial mental response was what the HELL!!!! How do...

    yep. i really think this is the case. everybody knows you should eat fruits/veggies, but it's hard to put that into practice when you don't have any at home, don't know how to cook them if you do, and no one in your family has any more info than you do. it's sad and so unnecessary.

    up until recently, i lived in a rural-ish area in AL. i can't tell you the number of times i was quizzed/commented on by the cashier and other customers. most of the time my cart was fruits, veggies, tofu/soymilk and the odd junkfood splurge. i had to tell the cashier what the leafy greens were if they weren't iceberg lettuce or the pre-washed greens with the name already on them(like mustard greens). ditto for pomegranates, ginger, and sometimes garlic and kiwifruit. they usually asked me what i was going to do with the stuff they had never heard of. other customers said stuff like "you must be vegetarian" (i am), "look how healthy she eats", "she hardly has anything except fruits and vegetables" , "i bet you never get sick, huh?"(if they only knew ) and on and on. a few of them talked to me, but most of them talked about me like i wasn't even there. all the while i'm looking like . this happened every time i went to the store in the four years that i lived there.

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    See, I'm glad you all understand. The thing that really stands out to me with this is how inadequate nutritional education really is. How are you going to tell somebody to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day if they don't know what they *are*?

    It's really disturbing. This is un-natural!

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    Maybe people just don't buy fruits and veggies because they're unfamiliar with them?
    Or maybe it's because yellow & red peppers cost $3 each......plus tax.

    I bought 1 red, 1 orange, & 1 yellow bell pepper from wal-mart yesterday to make some chicken stir-fry pasta something-i-cook-that-tastes-good-but-ain't-really-got-a-name-yet.

    1 pepper cost $2.99+tax.
    If you are poor you can take $1.39 and purchase a pack of gizzards.
    Take another dollar and puchase a bag of rice, then used the change and buy a pack of gravy.
    BAM! You got a $3 meal that will will roll over instead of buying 1 lil azz pepper that will last 10 mins.

    ETA: You might want to make these women aware of the WIC FMNP (Women, infants, & childrens, farmers market nurtrition program) so they can get vouchers to buy melons & peppers. http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/FMNP/FMNPfaqs.htm

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    I'm taking fruit out of a bag, when one of...

    I volunteer in a group to help certain groups of folks and have experience this myself, however part could be miseducated or not. I know the neighborhoods in my area there are a variety of food groups. I believe this is also attributed to lack of knowledge in the home as well. Most of the young ladies I've spoken with just wasn't exposed to these different types of foods in the food group.

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    you are right about that, cs. if you can't afford something, you most likely won't be familiar with it. is produce more expensive in your part of the uk than when you lives in the states, tj?

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    i'm SO with you on the Red Pepper idea.... I don't really like green peppers so I have to really budget in for a red pepper.... <_<

    My diet has been changed (from Vegetarian to Vegan) and it's HELLA expensive to eat healthy. It's really annoying how people think that the poor have health issues because they're lazyand greedy.... <_< <_<

    Catsuga don't forget... a pack of legs are only like $2.00 and thing of Canola oil is like $1.50... flour is a $1.00... that's fried chicken for a FAMILY for less than $5.00.....

    Thank God I can afford to AT LEAST eat right and feed my child...

    Catsuga... is the Farmers Market accessible to a lot in your area? I'll give my kneck of NY credit for that much... they have plenty FM's here. WIC was a blessing when I was getting it.

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    i think most people eat what they are familiar with. it doesn't surprise me that she didn't know what a cantaloupe was, not because she may be poor or from the hood, but because maybe she was brought up on a meat and potatoes kind of diet and just passed on that familiarity to her own children.

    i mean, if the most unusual vegetable your parents ever prepared were canned string beans, chances are, you probably won't grow up to be too adventurous in sampling the other varieties of vegetables.

    i'd bet you if you had a room full of white students/adults from more affluent communities and showed them a pamegranate, many of them wouldn't be able to identify what they were looking at.

    to me, a pomegranate is as common a fruit to eat as is an apple or banana or orange.

    my son's school has a fun food friday, where all the kids bring in a fresh vegetable/fruit that represents the color selected for that week. most of the kids in his school are white, with degreed parents working at world-known universities. before the director started the sharing activity, many of the students had never seen a clementine and certainly didn't know what to call it. for many, it was the first time they'd ever seen up close or sampled a kiwi, red bell pepper, or egg plant. i think her idea was superb. hopefully, they will have gone home to ask their parents to shop for these things so that they can have more variety in their meals.

    i've been at the market and encountered adults who didn't know what a fresh turnip was and couldn't identify what they were holding in their hands.

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    you're right Thunderstorm. There were many fruits and vegetables that I never touched or knew of until later on in life. The first time I had eggplant was when I started working here 4 years ago. I cooked my first zuchinni 2 weeks ago. Squash wanted my mothers favortie dish growing up so she never gave it to us. I don't even remember eating spinach much intil I started making it myself at 19 or so..... Sage became one of my favorite herbs in my eary 20's....

    I think it has to do w/ economics and the way you were reared. If you were close to a neighborhood large chain grocery store w/ more options and you were sent to the store to get brocolo and you saw butternut squash sitting by it, you may just ask "what is a butternut squash?" and try finding this out on your own. They do not sell butternut squash in the hood (well not the hood I grew up in). We had the basics... and I'd never buy tomato's in those stores...

    I bought my first pomegranate a month and a 1/2 ago...*l*....

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    i mean, if the most unusual vegetable your parents ever...

    I agree with thunderstorm its probably a combination of people not being raised on a variety of vegetables and even possibly the fact that in society, vegetables really aren't regarded as a desired food. I saw a commercial that was explaining how for some children the only vegetable that they saw was a french fry.

    Some parents won't even give the children certain vegetables because they assume that the child is going to think that its nasty. And might be less reluctant to give children a variety of different foods in general. My mom was kinda of like that. She herself didn't like vegetables because she thought they were not desireable and then she just gave me the mac and cheese, spagettio's, and meatloaf type diet. Only when I got older and decided to eat more of a variety of vegetables for health did I try some of the veggies that I eat now.

    But I think that this is a nation wide societal attitude so maybe not a specific issue to low income neighborhoods. Then the lack of availablity would make it alot more of an obstacle as well. And cost would probably be a big factor also. I mean who the heck wants to pay $2 for one avocado. And let's not even get into organic produce. I can only afford to get some of my food organic.

    Perhaps some people need education on how to incorporate more vegetables into their recipes. I even find myself sometimes thinking now what do I want to do with this??? But I guess it depends on what your making. The basics recipes that are staples of america make it easy to duplicate. But if you have a jimca and you have never had one what is the best way to incorporate it into a recipe. This is what I mean.

    It's really sad that the children didn't know what a cantalope is. As well as the fact that they were turned off by vegetables. If the parent seemed like they had a negative image about veggies and fruits it wouldn't suprise me that the children caught on to this way of thought. But then again maybe they didn't buy certain produce because of price.

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    It's way on the northside of town so if you don't have car you won't get there.
    Now that I think about it alot of people I know has never been to the Farmer's Market.

    Back in the 80's the FM used to sell veggies downtown on the weekend. I don't know why they stopped.

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    Well, the exchange rate is an ugly lil' wench, so to me EVERYTHING is more expensive...but I don't think it's unreasonably so, no. With a balanced budget, you could probably make it work, I know I do!

    Plus, there's always options...different markets...different programs...even different cooking styles. Even if you do buy a few expensive peppers, make soup! That lasts for ages, and it tastes, looks, and nourishes better than some gizzards...but I see the point.

    I don't know why it's so much more expensive to eat like a human being these days...

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    I have a class in which all but one of my students are white Midwesterners, many of them from small towns, and I'd bet money that some of them have never seen a cantaloupe.

    I'm sitting here thinking...well, damn...how DID I learn what different vegetables and fruits were? It was a combination of school and home, but mostly home. I knew what a cantaloupe was because my mom would buy it when it was cheap and in season. I didn't actually grow to LIKE it (or any melon, really) until well into my adult years, but at least I knew what it was.

    When I was a LITTLE kid I hated veggies like most folks but the only ones I remember seeing in the house were: greens, green beans, peas, potatoes, and lettuce. I'm sure there were some other ones but those were the most popular ones. It's not like we had a lot of different veggies rolling through the house. And we weren't exactly poor, and grew up in a suburb where there were decent grocery stores.

    Still, just because we may not have had real (as opposed to canned) tomatoes in the house, I knew what one looked like. That had to have been from school or someplace else.

    As we got older I remember being exposed to more vegetables. Almost 30 years later they STILL talk about what I call "my broccoli summer".

    I agree that it's about what you're exposed to and what you're familiar with. I didn't know what a mango was until about 7 years ago.

    ETA: I wanted to comment on this statement:

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    I don't know why it's so much more expensive to eat like a human being these days.
    I am trying my level best to stay away from processed/factory-made food and to eat more whole foods. If you add the organic factor, the price goes up quite a bit, which is why I'm happy with conventionally grown produce (for now). Buying and eating in season helps too.

    Beans have been a pleasant surprise in that they're cheap and filling and last a while. The only beans I saw growing up were baked beans and I didn't like them. Now, black beans and lentils are a regular part of my diet. Same with oatmeal: Didn't grow up eating it, but I've learned to like it.

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    I'm thrilled to see other people who care about themselves and others. This is the kind of stuff that inspires me to be a nutritionist, one that works in communities of kids who don't know. If you're not learning something at home, you need to learn it at school. And if the school doesn't teach it, where do you go? You grow up to be an adult and teach yourself, if it's an interest. But if healthy options have never been introduced into a life, especially as a child, you have no desire to learn about fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains.
    When I was in elementary, we would have new foods day. Introduced kiwi to me. I made my mom buy it and everyone in my family eats it. That's all it takes. Just a small interest in something new and it grows. Now I always try new stuff. I like food from India, Spain, Africa and have learned alot about the medicinal and nutritional benefits from foods.
    I had more to say, but I'm at work and lost my train of thought.
    But keep on, teach your children well and educate those around you to make things just a little bit better.

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    Hmmmàƒ¢â‚¬à‚¦ interestingàƒ¢â‚¬à‚¦when you think about it, it all makes sense. My little sister and I have always had the problem of our friends eating out lunch. My mom used to make our lunches (even when I was in12th grade) and she was a health nut. Just the other day my little sis was complain because all she gave her was 5 pieces of fruit. Well people are allover it, pointing and asking what stuff is and can they try. I would sell my free lunch for like a dollar but I realize now there was no REAL fruit or veggie option. Yea there was that canned fruit cup or the cup of iceberg lettuce aka salad but there wasnàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢t anything out the ordinary. Where my mom differed is she never cooked àƒ¢â‚¬à‹œsoul foodàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢ if we take it wake back, slaves didnàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a plethora of fruit and veggies and that is the cooking that still haunts us. We still make that same soul food, which means house cooking staples consist of meat, starches and a few green veggies. True a lot of non blacks might not know what àƒ¢â‚¬à‹œgreensàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢ are, unlike other cultures that rely on colorful food thatàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢s full of fruit and veggies, soul food doesnàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢t contain a lot of fruit or veggies. I remember when the fruit truck used to drive through the hood, but that stopped for some reason. I defiantly think thereàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢s a reason junk food is cheaper than fruits and veggies, as people we crave colorful food so they give us chettos instead of oranges. I think if the government felt it was important they could incorporate more fruits and veggies into the schools and neighborhoodàƒ¢â‚¬à‚¦ I just think our relationship with fruit and veggies is off anyway. My little sis and her friends think Iàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢m deep because I pointed out that grape, strawberry, peach, etc scented items donàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢t really smell like the fruit at allàƒ¢â‚¬à‚¦.is that why we are so disappointed with fruit and veggies, leading to the attitude that we wonàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢t like it? Ok Iàƒ¢â‚¬â„¢m rambling nowàƒ¢â‚¬à‚¦. :P

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    I guess I was lucky, my parents grew up down south so even when we moved to Chicago and VA my Mom grew most of our veggies and fruits in our backyard...in fact I never had store bought jelly til I was in jr high when she started working :P

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    The veggies & fruits (fresh) are more expensive in the...

    I dont understand why blacks seperate themselves from people from the west indies, we are all black, our roots are all from africa, our ancestors were all slaves, and we just got different accents from migration, and getting the **** raped out of us. But we are all black, I hate the word, immigrants, foreigners, when it comes to blacks, we are all one. I was born in brooklyn and my mom is Trinidadian, we are the same.

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    I grew up vegetarian, and today was the first time I ever ate fresh asparagus. We did not eat eggplants regularly...I never ate mango, kiwi, papaya ( I did get papaya juice from the health food store) or broccoli, or ginger root as a child. My family is from the south, and we had greens, black eyed peas, string beans, snap peas, corn, carrots, and the like. Everyone in my family (in the middle of the hood) had backyard gardens. There were plenty or fresh veggies in the corner Arab owned markets, the big chain stores, and the very large, very famous 45 acre farmer's market Detroit's Eastern Market that my parents and I use to frequent on Saturdays. Also, I just read about a study that shows that blacks may actually be a core consumer base for organic food growers....not saying that any of this proves or disproves anything, just that there are plenty of veggie eaters that don't have diverse palettes (I think my exposure had more to do with what my mom liked more than anything); there is affordable access to veggies and fruits if you are determined to find them, and that many poor or urban folk are eating fruits and veggies (now the lard some folk are cooking in is another thing entirely, lol)

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    I grew up vegetarian, and today was the first time I ever ate fresh asparagus.
    Yay! I can get evangelical about asparagus. Cheap asparagus and lilacs blooming are my signs that spring is here.

    I had it once as a child. It came from a can, it was overcooked, and it was disgusting. The next time I had it I was an adult and it was freshly steamed and a COMPLETELY different vegetable.

    Now don't freak out about the "side effect" in the bathroom...it's nothing harmful...

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    I had it once as a child. It came from...

    HAHA!!! I have been having some "issues".....

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    Why is it so expensive to eat like a decent human being these days? Because decades ago the government put a lot of money into developing ways to process and filter foods to sell cheap foods to the consumers and we all bought it, really cheap, addictive foods came on the market and mucho, mucho money was made off it and it became a major source for the economy, over the decades generations have become more and more addicted to this cheap processed stuff and have grown away from whole, natural foods that come from the earth, so we are much more familiar with let's say cheetos, a completely fake product, than something that actually grew from the land we walk on...

    it's a sad, sad story, but if people stopped eating all of the junk all of a sudden not only would they be healthier, they'd have a lot more control over their government.

    I'm in a mood...

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    ITA with the clueless cashiers! I cannot tell you how many times that has happened to me and I have to tell the cashier what something is. I do think that many people in general did not grow up eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Even my own husband will not eat any vegetables outside of a turnip/collard green, green bean, or corn. If it is a squash or califlower or zucchini you can forget it. I understand if you have never tried certain vegetables and fruits but I do mind when you will not even TASTE it out of fear and lack of exposure. (A lot of people who aren't used to vegetables will refuse them even when they are offered). I tell my kids all the time, you have to at least try it. You may love it!

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