Friday, April 24, 2009

Day Five: Hunger Action Week

During the course of this week, I've focused heavily on the great and nutritious meals one can make on a small budget. I realize that I've done very little to "raise hunger awareness", though. Perhaps that's because I've never been truly hungry. I believe part of the reason lies in that my family has been on the lower income bracket for our entire existence. I've had to make-do since day one.

I think I've maintained a rather unhealthy sense of pride during this process, like if I can buy organic, prepare some meat dishes, and even invite company over that everyone should be able to do it. Although embarrassing to admit, I think I've even harbored the feeling that if anyone is getting this food assistance money and is still going hungry that they are to blame. You know, what's their problem?

But, I think I've failed to take into account the vast blessings in my life. For example, part of the reason our income is low is because it is important to us that I can stay home with our small children. If I had to put in 8 or 9 hours at work everyday (like most women I know), I know my energy would be too sapped to be creative in the kitchen.

Also, my mom cooked for me. I was exposed to cooking from the day I was born. Even though most of what I cook has been learned post-marriage, I still grew up under the influence, so to speak.

Furthermore, I live in such a wonderful place for fresh, local, organic produce. My friend in Dallas, Texas pointed this out to me recently.

And I realized that I've got a bit of a chip on my I can do all this without any help. In reality, I get lots of help. My husband lovingly picks up an extra this or that if I've planned poorly. He takes me out when I'm too tired to cook. My sweet mom stops by now and then with some extra bags of groceries just because she noticed it was the end of the pay period. My dad never lets me leave their house without some bag full of refrigerator odds and ends.

All this help is why I can be creative in the kitchen. Sure, I plan and organize and put in my time learning. But I want to say thank you for all the people in my life that have blessed my family with food so that we've never experienced true hunger.

Our family has recently sponsored a child in Bangladesh, a little girl less than a year older than my oldest daughter. People in her area of the world live on cents per day. It's been a good experience in generosity for our kids to be involved in giving money to those in need.

And we've long wanted to get involved in making meals for the homeless. I'd like for this to be the year. Maybe with a little more effort (mostly turning my eyes off myself and onto others), I can take the steps necessary to love on those who truly know what hunger is about.

So, after all that it hardly seems right to go into much detail about our meals today.

Breakfast was more of the same...toast with jam, fried eggs, yogurt, coffee (all paid).

Lunch was a tasty concoction of shredded chicken sauteed with onion and garlic and salsa (2.29). Wrapped in yummy organic olive oil tortilla shells (4.19) and garnished with red pepper slices (1.50) and o. tortilla chips (2.59).

Dinner will be more leftover chicken, tricked out with a piccata sauce of butter, lemon, and white wine (5.99). I'm planning to make some orzo pasta (1.50) with tomatoes and parsley (both paid). Leftover Herb Salad (paid) and some homemade pita bread using the same pizza dough (paid). We'll probably drink the rest of the wine and toast to our many blessings.

Grand total: $131.85

Leftovers include: 3/4 bottle of olive oil, a whole loaf of bread, several tortillas, a lemon, carrots, yogurt, garlic, onions, a bottle of soy sauce, a bag of tortilla chips, a load of chicken stock, two jars of chicken soup, and some milk. Not too shabby.


Nurit said...

I am glad this "project" is over but remember that for some people it is never over.

Jenn said...

It's amazing how something like this can put into perspective so many things the people are fortunate to have.

Thank you for sharing with us your experience.

alice said...

Beautiful post Julie. You inspire me.

PS: Regretting I bought a new bottle of fish sauce for this challenge.. now I have 2. I'll probably have it forever!

Diana said...

What a great introspective look at your life and perspective. Even though my husband and I are technically considered poverty level, we have everything we need and even a lot of what we want. I've been a lot worse off to the point of living off a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread. Now, even though money is tight, we never hesitate to provide food for someone in need. If you're ever interested in delivering free groceries to people there's an awesome group called South Sound Dream Center that I love helping out.

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