Stockpiling my resources!
The Foodbank began its big push to increase Food Literacy (having skills of budgeting/meal planning/ preparation/storage) as a way of combatting the ‘food illiteracy’ that was running rampant in our society. Grandparents knew how to cook, but the skill was lost by many parents whether because they were too busy or just didn’t know how. That’s why our Feed The Future kids programs are designed to intervene and create a new generation of SB County children who will become adults who can be healthy with food whether they have a lot of money for food that week or not much at all. They should be able to whip up something tasty and healthy from modest ingredients and be able to make enough to create extra meals from the same cooking session.
I tell you all this now, because while I do my Food Security Challenge, I am up against the tougher part of food literacy – it takes time and effort to make it happen. Even if we are picky eaters or foodies, we still rely on a lot of convenient or pre-cooked meals. We expect to save time by eating out a lot as well.
On food stamps none of that is possible. There is absolutely no money for convenience foods and scratch cooking is the order of the day. After a busy day working a job or looking for a job, you don’t feel much like hitting the saucepans and chopping ingredients.
The inconvenient truth is that it requires a different approach – turning cooking into as much of a communal opportunity to connect as eating the finished dinner could be (if everyone was there at the same time). If no one is around to rope into chopping and conversation, you can also use the preparation of a meal as a kind of meditation, letting the physical work free yourself to clear your mind and enjoy being in the moment.
I’m feeling well prepared at the moment as I have prepared two large dishes in short order. Firstly a chicken noodle soup that should be good for five dinners spread across my month. The second is a turkey chili, which is also good for about five dinners. The pain now is allowing me to build up a stock of chilled or frozen left overs that I can have once a week so I don’t get stuck reverting to student days and eating the same thing meal after meal.
Next week I’m looking forward to visiting some food bank programs like Brown Bag (senior groceries) meeting some senior citizens and getting some good tips on how to stretch my food stamp dollars.