2011 Hunger Challenge: Last Supper

I’m taking the San Francisco Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge for the fourth year – trying to feed my husband (the Bottomless Pit) and myself for just $4.72 each per day. “So, I guess this is like your Last Supper,” a friend said, as we dined at a swanky restaurant Saturday night. Yep, no cheese courses or Wagyu beef this upcoming week. In fact, it’s a bit like hitting a wall at full speed, considering it’s just a few days since I returned from France. So let’s just say, I’m not really in the mood. Fortunately, this year, there’s an extra $.72 per person each day, due to rising food prices. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s almost a 20% increase. Feeling cranky and flush, I’ve decided to stick to shopping at the places I usually shop – the farmers market, Trader Joe’s and my local market.

This week’s food for the Hunger Challenge – with about $13 left over for spices, oil, things I forgot to buy and (I hope) some chicken at the end of the week.

The Bottomless Pit and I headed over to the Alemany Farmers Market on Saturday, where we passed up our fave haricots verts ($2.50) for $.50/lb zucchini. We got a huge bag of sweet cherry tomatoes for roasting (they provide a real umami kick, which is essential when you’re not getting a lot of meat). At $1.50/lb, they were priced right. “Get a couple of pounds,” I told the BP. Next thing I knew, he was handing the vendor $5. Ack! Then we bought some strawberries, which we intended to eat on Saturday. But, oops, our day did a 180 and the strawberries were still sitting in our kitchen at midnight on Saturday. Nothing to do but factor them in – they were too good to go to waste. $7. Ack, again! Unlike fellow Hunger Challengers – and brilliant planners – Cooking with Amy and Blog Appetit, I didn’t plot out my meals this year. I am winging it, much like I normally do – and like a lot of people living in poverty do, I suspect. I am fed up with doing the the calculating, the swapping out this so I can buy that. We’ll see if we crash and burn by week’s end. We hit Trader Joe’s and stocked up on whole wheat pasta, one of the few things that can actually fill up the BP for cheap. Two dozen eggs (not our usual cage-free brand) were just $1.69 per carton, but guilt-inducing. Carrots (organic!) and celery were a good buy. Some canned tomatoes for making sauce. (Yes, it’s going to be a very tomato-y Hunger Challenge!) Some spicy chicken sausage, because it has high flavor value and brings its own seasoning to the party. My splurge is going to be almond milk and instant espresso lattes in the morning – about half the size of my usual cup, though. The BP’s splurge is going to be Three Wishes wine – Whole Foods’ answer to Two Buck Chuck. So, here we go again! I can’t really feel sorry for myself, since so many people living in poverty have to do this every week of the year. But I think I’m starting to understand them better this year. There are complex emotions in play when you’re deprived, and I’m getting worse at dealing with them each year on the Hunger Challenge, rather than getting better. GET INVOLVED! ♥ Take the Hunger Challenge yourself. Sign up here. ♥ Read blogs by people taking the Hunger Challenge. There’s a blogroll here. ♥ Follow the Hunger Challengers on Twitter. There’s a listing here, or search for the hashtag #HungerChallenge. ♥ Learn more about the San Francisco Food Bank – and make a donation. For every $1 donated the food bank can supply hungry people with $6 worth of food! ♥ Follow the San Francisco Food Bank on Twitter or visit their Facebook page to see how they’re fighting hunger every day.

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