Monday, September 27, 2010

Savor Rochester and Hunger Challenge

Blogging is a kind of a small world. You read a blog, you follow a blog, they read your blog, you read some of the blogs they follow, it gets very circuitous. Another Suburban Mom reposted something from Amid Life’s Crisis (which I don’t follow, but have read) about Hunger in America. This was kind of an interesting coincidence, because just the night before she posted this, I attended a fundraiser for Foodlink, our local food bank provider. It was fun and delicious (for the most part, with a few notable exceptions) and it supported this vital service to the poor in our community. I took Alex and he was the only kid there, but boy, was it his kind of event.

He is willing to try just about anything because I have forced him from a young age to eat a bite of everything on his plate. He has learned that even though he may think it sounds bad or that he won’t like it, often he is surprised and finds that he enjoys it.

Now, mind you, I am not being self-righteous and smug about my kids not being picky eaters. Alex still manages to be fairly picky, the difference is, I just don’t care. You don’t like spinach you say? Oh well, eat it anyway. Because. I. said. So.

And Alex’s big brother the Marine Foodie was perhaps the pickiest child eater ever to live on the face of the earth. When enforcing my “take a bite of everything” rule one Christmas Eve dinnerwhen he was four, Marine Foodie promptly threw it back up. His father told me to not ever force him to eat anything, ever, again. I think he ate only ten foods for his entire childhood. He came around, though, sometime between his fifteenth and seventeenth birthdays. Now he’ll eat anything. And loves it. (Of course, being in Iraq camping out in the desert eating only mre’s will do that for you, too.)

So I determined with my subsequent children to go back to enforcing my rules. And this has turned planning dinner from “What can I make that picky eater will eat?” to “What new recipe should I try tonight?”

Which brings me back around to the Savor Rochester Fundraiser. There was a lot of good food. The tuna tartare tacos with sriracha, guacamole, micro greens, and caviar from One were amazing. The best thing there. Alex tried it, but didn't really care for it.

There was also a lot of pulled pork. (Which Alex DID like!)  Yes, barbeque is very popular now and there are so many good places to get it, and pulled pork is easy to keep hot and serve over a three hour time period, but it takes no imagination whatsoever.

A vegan restaurant (yes, I know, what possessed me to sample the vegan food? Well, Alex stepped up to their booth and I followed. I didn’t want to be rude, so I tried it) offered butternut squash risotto. I love butternut squash risotto. Butternut squash risotto is one of the best comfort foods in the world. Unless you make it with minute rice and no cheese. Yes, that’s right, I said minute rice. This cafĂ© (it shall remain nameless) concocted something they purported to be risotto with what had to be minute rice. It stuck together. It was not creamy. It was mushy. I couldn’t even taste the butternut squash. It was one of the most awful things I have ever tasted. Now, if I were going to try to make a vegan version of it, I would simply substitute vegetable broth for the chicken stock. I don’t know what I would do about the Parmesan cheese, I suppose you could leave it out and add more salt. I don’t know, but I would not use minute rice. Period.

Which brings me back around to the Hunger in America issue.

I am a food snob. I know this, you know this. My monthly food budget for four people is around $1200 a month. Or about $40 a day. This is over twice as much as a family of four receives on food stamps. And $40 a day for four people still doesn’t seem like a lot to me.

Some agency in the Midwest has issued this challenge: feed your family on $4.50 per person per day for a week.

The SNAP Hunger Challenge Rules
  • Spend no more than $4.50 per day in total, per person, for all meals including beverages.
  • Don't use food already on hand unless you deduct the value from your weekly amount. Salt and pepper don't count, but all other seasonings, cooking oils, condiments, snacks and drinks do.
  • Don't accept food from family, friends, coworkers and others.
  • Try to include fresh produce and healthy protein each day.
  • Keep track of expenses, food choices, etc. and share your experiences on your blog

There is no way I can do it for a week. But I’ll try to do it for a day. I’ll start the day right off the top with $1.25 in the hole from a pot of Starbucks French Roast. I will. Not. Start. My. Day. Without. My coffee. And Folgers doesn’t count as coffee, it counts as brown, tasteless water.
I don’t know what I’ll cook, but I’ll let you know.

I know it will not be some of the menus that I browsed on frugal living and couponing blogs recently. Maybe you can’t do it for any length of time without relying heavily on cheap, processed foods, but I am determined to make a reasonable menu that my family will like (for the most part). I’m thinking I’ll try to do it after I shop this week so that I can keep track of what everything costs. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.


Another Suburban Mom said...

Thanks for the mention June. Next time I am in your neck of the woods, I am planning on stopping by and bringing some jalapeno cranberry jam, fig jam and fine cheese, some bread and wine, you know as a warm up.

I commend you on your effort and I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

And risotto without cheese is an abomination. Plain and simple.

The Mendon Foodie said...

I will look forward to it! I'll even take you to the greatest grocery on the face of the earth, the Mothership Wegman's!

Another Suburban Mom said...

The mothership.......

OMFG! I might have pack my resusable shopping bags and go now.

The Mendon Foodie said...

Let's go babe! It has everything, it is 15 minutes from my house. They try everything there first before they decide to put it in other stores. They have: a french pattisserie, a tea bar (where you can get a japanese tea ceremony), an island in the middle of the bakery/meat department/deli where you can have lunch (they make fantastic lamb lollypops) a coffee bar, a station where they cut up veggies for people too lazy to do it themselves and a whole bunch more other stuff! Don't know if you've ever been to Weggies, but it makes life in the frigid north bearable.