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Posted: 31 October 2011 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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That excellent website measuringworth.com says

In 2010, the relative worth of $0.10 from 1935 is:
$1.59 using the Consumer Price Index
$1.31 using the GDP deflator
$3.82 using the unskilled wage
$4.88 using the Production Worker Compensation

A quick search suggests in 2011 a Wendy’s cheeseburger usually costs $2.99. Thus a worker on the unskilled wage could buy nearly 28 per cent more cheeseburgers today compared to his/her equivalent in 1935, but compared to other items generally, the cheeseburger of today is almost twice as expensive as it was three quarters of a century ago.

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Posted: 31 October 2011 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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What size cheeseburger?  I always get the 99-cent cheeseburger at Wendy’s and the $1.00 McDouble at McDonald’s.  White Castle sliders with cheese will set you back about 79 cents apiece but you have to eat four of them to feel satisfied.  Prices slightly higher in Manhattan.  Then again the unskilled wage worker of today living with Mom & Dad can afford whatever they charge for a cheeseburger, and an unskilled worker living on their own has to use food stamps which are not accepted at restaurants.

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Posted: 31 October 2011 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I would bet the 1935 cheeseburgers would be on small side compared to today’s. (Well, maybe not White Castle small.) Portion sizes for food are generally much larger today than in decades past. For instance, the standard bottle of Coke used to hold seven ounces.

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Posted: 02 November 2011 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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And tasted twice as good.

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Posted: 02 November 2011 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Things sure were different before the changes.

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Posted: 02 November 2011 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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languagehat - 02 November 2011 06:12 AM

And tasted twice as good.

Coke used to be made with cane sugar and then it was beet sugar and now it is HFCS. In most other countries, it is still made with sugar (sucrose) as the sweetener, it is just that in the US, corn subsidies make HFCS cheaper.

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Posted: 02 November 2011 12:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I know.  The knowledge does not make me less bitter.

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Posted: 02 November 2011 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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And tasted twice as good.

I think food is generally much, much tastier than in days past. Meat in particular is much better quality. Plus cultural diversity has brought all sorts of “new” dishes to the middle-American table. And I can’t taste the difference between Coke made with cane sugar and that made with HFCS (and I suspect that no one else can either).

Of course, you have to compare “apples to apples” as it were. Comparing a mass-produced fast-food burger of today with a homemade one of yesteryear isn’t fair.

The major exception is mass-produced fresh produce. They’ve been genetically altered (mainly through cross-breeding, not laboratory manipulation of genes) to favor preservation over flavor. Apples and tomatoes are particularly tasteless nowadays. But, you can still get the good ones at farmer’s markets and specialty groceries.

[ Edited: 02 November 2011 02:18 PM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 02 November 2011 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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And I can’t taste the difference between Coke made with cane sugar and that made with HFCS (and I suspect that no one else can either).

I dislike this kind of preemptive strike: “I can’t taste it, so no one else can either.” I assure you that a fountain Coke I had in Rhode Island, made with syrup before my very eyes, tasted very different from the metallic prefab product I long ago gave up on.  I would also like to point out that my ex-wife, a woman of parts, confounded the usual bromide about all vodkas tasting alike by consistently picking out Stolichnaya in blind tests.  Some people are better tasters than others.

Also, “Meat in particular is much better quality”—than when, and how do you know?  And “Comparing a mass-produced fast-food burger of today with a homemade one of yesteryear isn’t fair”—of course it is, that difference is part of what people complain about.  You seem to be making an advocate’s case for today’s food.  In some ways it’s better, in others worse.

[Edited to add mention of Rhode Island.]

[ Edited: 02 November 2011 04:28 PM by languagehat ]
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Posted: 02 November 2011 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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I assure you that a fountain Coke I had in Rhode Island, made with syrup before my very eyes, tasted very different from the metallic prefab product I long ago gave up on.

I don’t doubt that. I too find fountain Cokes better than canned. But did you compare a fountain Coke made from cane sugar syrup to a fountain Coke made from HFCS syrup?

I dislike this kind of preemptive strike: “I can’t taste it, so no one else can either.”

But there are thousands of cases of people who claim one food is soooo much better than another, but when placed in a blind taste test cannot determine the difference. It’s especially prevalent among those who claim organic food “tastes better.” (And don’t get me started on wine “experts” who can’t even distinguish red from white in a blind taste test, much less the subtle variations, flavors, and essences that they prattle on and on about.)

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