Last week, I challenged myself to feed my little family for the same amount as a friend of mine who relies on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps) to feed herself. She gets about $150 per month, so for the two of us, I doubled that to $300 per month.
My intention was not so much to walk a mile in my friend’s shoes. I grew up poor – I know what hunger feels like. I know that necessity is the mother of ketchup chili (which was awesome, by the way). I’ve known the embarrassment of picking through your order, with what seems like the whole town in line behind you, to decide which items have to go back when your total’s too high. I have no interest in debating whether we should provide food stamps or how much the average benefit should be.
My interest was: assuming there will always be poor people, how they can eat as healthfully as possible? My intention was to provide recipes that real people can use.
Because I’m not so sure “food insecurity” is limited to those receiving benefits.
This morning, I read that the CEO of Panera Bread is undertaking the same challenge using the average benefit of $135 per month per person ($4.50 per day). You can read his blog about his experience here. What jumped out to me with his first post was that he walked into the store without a plan…. and walked away with no fresh produce or meat. He discovered that yogurt is a luxury. To be honest, I think it’s easier to feed two or even four than just one, so I feel for him.
I’d like to call him up and tell him to shop sales and to use leftovers… but it’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with on his own. I don’t know how this man going to eat well without a plan or leftovers, but I’m curious to find out!
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” ~Benjamin Franklin