Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day 6

Day 6 was Saturday, and I had all the time in the world to make breakfast. I gleefully fried up some potatoes to go with my egg for breakfast instead of grits. Found some hot Hungarian paprika in my spice cabinet to liven it up. 

Despite this exuberant variation I concocted, the toll of the week had set in.  At snack time I found I could not face another under-ripe granny smith apple and skipped my morning snack. I took a walk with a friend to distract myself, and headed to the farmer's market to shop for next week. 

It is not a coincidence that I bought all kinds of apples: Honeycrisp! Stayman-Winesap! Nittany! Not one of them green.  Also: fresh kale. And squash, both of which were on my list from last week but which I could not afford. Also an heirloom tomato, some chicken of the woods mushroom, and some frisee greens. It was impulsive - I bought what looked good without regard to budget. I ran to the supermarket and bought a half gallon of lactose free milk, a block of cheese, and some soy yogurt to make up for lost dairy this week. (Some will note the absence of meat; I guess I didn't miss it.) I bought a box of pasta because I decided in the moment that I was going to make squash-kale mac and cheese. And I bought a box of cereal for breakfast. A privilege not to plan.  My total bill was around $50. A privilege not have to keep exact track going stall to stall at the farmer's market.

If I were relying on SNAP benefits, the picture would be quite different. I would have $33 to spend again, and have to think and plan very carefully about what to do this coming week. Whether I really need dairy, and if so, what to sacrifice in order to afford it. The thought of having to do it all again for next week, and every week, is exhausting. And the difference of a few more dollars is critical, as it can be the difference between including or excluding dairy, the difference between fresh and frozen vegetables, or the difference between whole and processed foods.

My leftover food is likely to include about a pound of carrots, a couple of potatoes, a granny smith apple. These will become carrot soup (and on SNAP, it would be without the benefit of the chicken broth I bought at the grocery store). There are some grits leftover, but not enough for a whole week.

I came back from my shopping trip and ate chana saag for lunch. Dinner was chickpea potato stew and chorchori. But I was still hungry, maybe the result of the walk I took earlier with my friend, maybe the result of living 6 days under minimum Caloric requirements. I decided to bake a granny smith to make it more palatable. It was better, but I was still hungry. In the end I made some grits so I could finally feel full. Definitely the best food choice of the week. True confession: it is the first time this Yankee ever bought grits to make at home. It is the one food I bought this week that I don't feel like I need a break from. I guess grits and I need to make up for lost time.

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