Going back a few posts to the comment in the original article about fruit and veg being expensive compared to meat - I think the person making that comment was originally from Bangladesh - I suspect that there is little factory farming , so meat is likely to be a *lot* more expensive, in the same way as buying free-range is more expensive. Ditto the comment about beef being preferred to chicken.
Historically, in the UK, chicken was a luxury and beef was a more 'everyday' meat, because chicken was more expensive to raise. Once factory farming / battery farming came in, chicken got much, much cheaper, (and also a lot less healthy and tasty!) so was no longer the luxury it used to be.
I think it depends a lot on what meat and what veg you buy.
Junk food being cheaper than cooking - I remember a couple of years ago reading an article in (I think) the Guardian newspaper here (in the UK) which looked at this, and at the cost of trying to feed a family / eat healthily for those on very low incomes. Some of the points it riased were;
- no car & no easily accessible supermarket = less choice, and higher prices.
- no car = much harder to get savings by buying in bulk
- low income = much harder to get the 'capital' to allow you to buy in bulk, even though this might be significantly cheaper long term
- cost of gas/electricity = having the stove on for long enough to cook cheap., healthy meals may be an insurmountable problem - so stews / casseroles . curries made with cheap cuts of meat, lentils and other pulses become less practical, as you can't afford the cooking time.
- cost of electricity and ability to meet the bills may mean you can't afford to run a freezer, or can't be sure that you can keep it running consitently, so cooking large quantities and freezing them for future use is impractical
- limited storage space / overcrowded housing - makes it very hard to store larger quantities of food.
there is also the limited education issue - it's certainly possible to eat both well and cheaply, but you do need to be able to cook. And that can be hard to learn, if you haven't ever been taught, particularly if making a mistake means you have to miss a meal.
Visiting the US from the UK, the things I noticed were:
- People driving everywhere . not only for journeys where some form of transport was necessary, but also much shorter ones (for instance, driving between different stores within he same (smallish) town centre.
- portion sizes. They seemed very big to me. I think even taking into account the culture of doggy bags in restaurants it seemed to me that what is a 'normal sized' portion for (most) Americans in just larger than a 'normal sized' portion in the UK.
- Insularity - among individuals, there's obviously a huge range of outlooks and levels of knowledge, but I was surprised at how little National, let alone International news you seem to get.
- The size of the place. I thin this is one of those things you can *know*, but not really appreciate (incidentally, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who has visited Europe from Alaska a few times. She was describing a conversation she'd had with someone in Germany - my friend had been appalled that the German people had set out to drive to an event, in the snow, without taking supplies of food, water, blankets etc. They pointed out that at no point on their journey would they be more than about a mile from a town or village, so the ability to trek for help, or to dig in and survive for several days, if they broke down, was not really a consideration.