NaBloWriMo day #11.
There is much going on and I will completely understand if you’ve missed the news from the past few days. Just look at the top of the page where I have links to posts on the Good Bite-Quaker Oats competition where my chosen charity Farm to School could win $10,000, and on my giveaway for a $25 gift card to Macy’s.
Today (Sunday) was the first day of the Eat on $30 challenge that Tami of Running with Tweezers is hosting. I’m proud to say that I’m participating in this hunger awareness campaign. Yes! Yet another one! I told Tami if all the leaves in Colorado had fallen or were brown by this week (i.e. no reason to scour the state to shoot fall colors), I’d join. So here I am. I discussed the idea of the campaign earlier and got a lot of reader comments and suggestions. This isn’t just about seeing if I can feed my household on $30/person, it’s about getting a dialogue started about hunger in this country and maybe understanding the predicament that so many Americans find themselves in today. What does it mean to eat on $30?
produce i bought for the week
Eating on $30 is *easy* if you have access to a library of spices, typical staples (I always have butter, flour, rice flour, sugar, brown sugar, confectioner’s sugar, rice, beans, soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, vinegar(s), ten different kinds of Asian noodles, dried cranberries, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, hazelnuts, chocolate(s), chiles, etc.), and a freezer full of homemade broths and meats. It’s *easy* if you have a garden. It’s *easy* if you live in a place where food is cheap and you have access to terrific and affordable farmer’s markets. This is not about the EASY. This is about what struggling Americans have to deal with. Forgive me for having a little (or a lottle) attitude, but people who act indignant that others can’t make ends meet really chap my hide. As if the poor are at fault for being poor or hungry.
meats and most of the dairy
As far as I’m concerned, the hard part of Eat on $30 is over. That would be the menu planning, price comparison, and shopping. Now I get to cook (easy) and eat (easier). Let me describe my situation first. I live in a small mountain town of 1500 people at 8500 feet above sea level. We have snow on the ground from as early as September to as late as May. There is a decent (but small) local grocery store and a local co-op. Both places are on the expensive side for what I deem less than quality produce and it’s hard to find certain ingredients. Boulder is the nearest town of sizable population (~100,000) and it is a 30 minute drive down a steep and windy canyon from my town. I try to shop ONCE a week in Boulder. Food in Boulder is not cheap. We spend approximately 50% more on food per week than we did when we lived in Southern California. The quality of our groceries is lower and the selection is smaller. I shop primarily at Safeway, Costco, Whole Foods, and my local Asian grocer. I prefer organic, local, and sustainable products when I can get them. To be able to make a statement with my dollar is a luxury.
grains, canned foods
My approach to the challenge was to keep our eating habits as normal as possible. That means meat, vegetables, fruit. Tami gave us four gimmes: salt, pepper, oil, and butter. Because I am making a dessert to take to a party on Saturday, I threw butter into my budget since I needed more than just a smear on some toast. I opted out of Costco because I think that’s cheating. The membership is something like $40 (see, I don’t even know anymore) but the cost of volume, as I discussed before, is a large cost up front that people on food assistance likely don’t have available to them. In a few instances, I took down the price of things like flour, sugar, brown sugar and added them to my costs without purchasing them since I have all of those things at home, taking care to note the amount used is less than or equal to the amount I theoretically purchased.
what i bought for the week
**Jump for more butter**