According to the U.S.D.A., American adults buy, but don't quite fully consume, 38 to 40 pounds of food per week, which costs between $37 and $78. Split the difference and call it $55 a week so it includes a couple of luxury-meat meals like chicken breast, fish fillets and pork tenderloin plus some fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Scene's man in Afghanistan, P.J. Tobia, notes in this week's story on his travels to the front, that KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, spends about $17 per person, per day for food for U.S. troops. That's $119 per week.
Of course, KBR has to transport it, so that raises the price. And prepare it. But wait, aren't the troops on kitchen duty?
Jeff Wilkinson, a one-time Nashville Banner reporter, pulled a shift in Iraq for Knight-Ridder in 2002 and again in 2003. He got a big kick from seeing British forces using old but perfectly serviceable portable kitchenettes from World War I. That would be the war that ended in 1919.
Restaurant people, bring on your experience to help my pitiful math skills. The thrifty food plan is already priced for retail. What factor besides retail mark-up is boosting American forces' food to 133 percent higher than a reasonably liberal estimate? And does it make sense for the war and the taxpayer? Are we winning at least the culture war with our in-house Taco Bells, Pizza Huts and burger joints? Is it worth it?