2011 Hunger Challenge Day 6: Slow Food vs. No Food

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.

Although I applaud much of Slow Food’s work and have been a member for years, I find it ironic that they are coincidentally holding their $5 Meal Challenge on the last day of the Hunger Challenge. Slow Food is challenging people to cook “a fresh, healthy meal” for $5 or less – yes, more than the total amount I have to spend for an entire day on the Hunger Challenge. More than the average California food stamp recipient has to spend for an entire day, for who knows how long.

The Slow Food chapter over in Berkeley is doing a pig roast with $5 portions. Since the Bottomless Pit practically teared up at the thought of missing a pig roast, I considered saying we could go and share a single portion, since $2.50 is more like what we’d have to spend for dinner on the Hunger Challenge. But there’s also a side-dish pot luck involved – and there’s no way we could afford to contribute a dish. Still I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we did show up and started a discussion. Would we be chased off by irate diners wielding fearsome legs of heritage-breed pork?

In San Francisco, 18 Reasons – another good organization – is doing a $5 soup dinner. Soup! $5! Could it perhaps be topped with gold leaf?

I finally found a chicken I could afford – and roasted it with onions, carrots, cherry tomatoes and garlic.

As for those of us temporarily with less than $5 to spend on a meal…I went to Trader Joe’s and was able to get a whole chicken that fit within our budget – but not the free-range type I usually buy (yes, Slow Food, I do care about that – when I can afford to). I roasted it with onion wedges, carrots and cherry tomatoes. It was definitely the best meal of the week.

Having done the Hunger Challenge three times before, I knew that I needed to save something good to get us through the home stretch. If I were trying to make it through an entire month on a food stamp budget, I honestly don’t know what would happen. At Trader Joe’s, I also bought some food for next week. It was a weird feeling not to have to add up the prices and worry about what I was putting in my cart. As always, I am very, very grateful that I have the luxury of just doing this challenge for a single week.

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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