You know when they ask the presidential candidate how much a gallon of milk costs and the candidate looks blank and guesses $1.78 and then gets slammed for being out of touch with ordinary people's lives? Hmm, I guess they haven't tried that one in this campaign because they're too busy with Bosnian lies and incendiary preachers. But it used to be a staple, and I always used to think, man, I know I'm an ordinary person, but I have no idea what the price of milk is.
Partly, of course, that's because I am an ordinary person of sufficient means such that while I do need to think about how much houses and cars cost, I don't need to worry about paying for groceries. But largely it's because I rarely do the grocery shopping.
I am, however, highly aware of the increasing cost of food right this very minute, because it is a huge issue for the restaurant business. Part of the issue is the cost of gas, of course: pretty much everything a restaurant uses is brought to the restaurant by truck, even if it's the dilapidated pick-up of the organic farmer in the next town. So over a year ago, the cost of bread went up because the bakery is an hour away (what can I say, it's the bakery they wanted), and the gas to get the bread from the bakery to the restaurant rose too much for the bakery to absorb the cost. But now it's the food itself that is becoming exorbitant--down at that bakery, the price of flour is skyrocketing. Some restaurants are serving smaller portions; some are raising prices. S is trying to deal as much as he can by substituting--choosing his fish, his cuts of meat, his groceries very carefully, with the idea of sustaining quality via preparation.
But all this is fluff, compared to children eating two spoonfuls of rice a day in Haiti.