A few hiccups and glitches and a busy family weekend kept me from writing a few more updates on living on $21 worth of food this week, but now that it’s coming to an end I should say what an amazingly eye-opening experience it’s been for me.
I realized near the end of last week that I was going to be in trouble getting enough of the right kind of food to keep my energy up so I bought some lentils which put me about a dollar beyond my permitted budget, but allowed me to make some hearty soup along with the other groceries I’d previously bought.
Despite the fact it was a bit bland (since I hadn’t bought salt so did without) I felt like it gave me some good nutrition at an economical price. And I realized that if you know how to cook and have access to a kitchen and some good, basic utensils, you can make yourself some simple soups and stews that can carry you a long way. But you probably can’t add organic vegetables, organic spices, and grass-fed butter to your concoctions on $21 per week. No it is basic fare and conventional fare – the kind that is lacking in so many nutrients and flavours that make food interesting and nourishing.
I think what I missed the most during the week was the spices and sauces and condiments that I use as a matter of course in my everyday cooking. And though these things may not make the difference in my ability to feed myself relatively healthy food, they add to the quality of life and the feeling of satisfaction that comes from eating a tasty meal. This is an aspect of poverty that I hadn’t ever considered before – the drudgery of bland, unappetizing food.
Additionally, to cook soups or stews takes time and know-how and the ability to plan – all things that could well be in short supply for someone living in dire straits, in unstable housing, or never having had the opportunity to learn these things at all.
It is a profound experience to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in this way even if it is only for a week and I know I will never think about food or the homeless and poor in our midst, in the same way again.
I encourage all of you who are the least bit curious to try it.
With humility and gratitude for the blessed life I’ve been given.
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