Putting things into perspective... thinking beyond Ramen

casserole

While grumbling tummies speak louder than words, Stan Miller reminds us that SNAP keeps 4 million out of poverty each year.  A broader perspective keep in mind as we prepare for potential cuts to this crucial program this fall! On the way into work this morning I was listening to a report on the 2010 poverty statistics on NPR. Year over year poverty figures remained flat but still higher than they have been in decades. The reporter went on to say that had it not been for the SNAP program (federal benefits known as Calfresh here in California), another 4 million people would have fallen under the poverty line.

While I have had an easier time with the challenge this year, I find myself wondering like many other bloggers, just what I would do if I really needed the benefits, but did not qualify  for them or they were not available?

As a child, I know there were times in my life that my family qualified for benefits, but we never took advantage of them. In addition to the garden I mentioned last time, we would hunt to put meat on the table. It sounds a bit barbaric to me today, but one of my favorite thanksgiving meals was one of rabbit, pheasant, and veggies we had either frozen or canned from the garden. I was too young at the time to realize that we did not have a traditional meal because we could not afford to purchase the food for one.

I have read that during the 1940’s, approximately 40 percent of the vegetables consumed in America were home grown.  Today, the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that 40 percent of food in America is wasted. The average American throws away over $40 in the form of 33 pounds of food each month. Those numbers speak very loudly while going through a challenge that gives you just under that amount for a week. Like many others going through the challenge, I am making use of everything I buy.

I feel very grateful today.

Meals for day four included Chilies rellanos burritos (remember the roasted peeled chilies from the first night?) spinach salad, chips and salsa, and more beans with ham hocks.

Eating breakfast has been something new for me this week. Normally I have a couple of cups of coffee and make lunch the first meal of the day.  This week I’ve tried to have a bit of breakfast before leaving for work. It’s made me late a few days, but has alleviated hunger through most of the day and allowed me to work until 2 p.m. several days before breaking for lunch.

Day five I made omelets for breakfast had an apple for lunch, and then went big on dinner with enchiladas. I also prepared a no knead dough for a ciabatta bread for tomorrow night’s dinner. I did run to the store for some flour, yeast and 2 tomatillos. I now have $2.96 in benefits remaining.

Here are a few shots of breakfast, lunch and dinner day five:

2 egg omelet with spinach, green onion, tomato and cream cheese. Topped with tears of green salsa and sour cream.

3 pounds of green apples for the week. Had one for lunch today.