Food Benchmark

Lemon Squares

Ingredients needed:

3 organic eggs

6 tablespoons of organic butter

3 tablespoons of sugar

1 cup of lemon juice

One small package of whole grain graham crackers

2 oz. can of condensed milk

7 small lemons

1 cup of cream cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 11inch pan with butter or vegetable oil cooking spray.

2. Lay graham crackers across 11 inch pan and lightly pour one of the three tablespoons of sugar over the crackers.

3. Place the pan with graham crackers and sugar in the oven for 20 minutes. Do not turn off the oven after baking the crust.

4. In a medium sized bowl, stir the lemon juice, 3 eggs, condensed milk, organic butter, and cream cheese until smooth. 

5. Pour the filling over the crust and smoothen with a spatula. Bake the filling and crust in 11 inch pan for 20 more minutes.

6. After baking, cover the pan and refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.


I would say about 60% of this meal is organic while the remaining 40% is processed. The healthy/organic portion would be the whole grain graham crackers, organic eggs, lemon juice, condensed milk, and the organic butter. The unhealthy/processed portion of the ingredients would be the cream cheese, sugar, and maybe the graham crackers. I did a majority of my shopping for the ingredients at Whole Foods in Philadelphia in the section of the store that is local so the eggs, butter, sugar, lemons, and cream cheese are all from local farmers. The ingredients I am not sure about are the graham crackers, condensed milk, lemon juice, and sugar. Looking at the maps and date from the Whole Foods website, it seems the food that traveled the furthest was from California while the closest was from a farm in a Philadelphia suburb. In total, the cost of the ingredients for this meal was about $26. Had I purchased the ingredients from a grocery store that serves more processed foods like PathMark or ACME, the price would have been cheaper, maybe around $15-20. Purchasing foods from nearby farms is good for the environment because the food has less distant to travel, which means The only problem with purchasing organically grown ingredients and foods is the lack of pesticides and fertilizers. While this seems like a healthy alternative because there is less poison, there is a higher risk of insects getting into the foods. For obvious reasons, the food would have been MUCH cheaper had I grown it myself since lemon seeds are cheaper than actual lemons and supermarket groceries are always going to cost more because of the third party needing to make a profit. 


This unit has taught me a lot about the food industry and how hypocritical and terrible it can be. I learned about all of the schemes and behind the scenes lies that are conducted to hide the real ingredients in the United States' most popular dishes and now I am more aware of what I am putting in my body. While Science & Society has taught me a lot about the negatives, I can honestly say that I am more acquainted with the wordy ingredients and I know what I should and shouldn't eat. The Food Inc. video has forced me to want to eat healthier and support certain food companies and abandon others. Videos like this should be much more viral because I would say a majority of the United States' citizens do not know what they are cooking or purchasing. Then again, I think it's pretty easy to figure out what foods are not so great, i.e. 20 chicken nuggets at McDonalds are $5 which is ridiculous because real chicken is not that cheap. The general public is also to blame because we haven't been taking the time to do our own research and find out what we're consuming.

Screen shot 2011-11-15 at 8.18.16 AM
Screen shot 2011-11-15 at 8.18.16 AM