Shortly after learning about the food stamp challenge, I passed the word along to my co-worker, Chris. Like me, he was a little hesitant–it feels a lot like going back to college, for some strange reason. Regardless, he’s signing on too, so we’ll be accountable if one of us shows up to work with a latte and a breakfast panini.
The first thing I started thinking about is the obvious: what am I going to eat? My grocery budget is pretty small most of the time, in large part because I eat out pretty frequently. Clearly, that is not going to work next week.
Not being able to use my existing food reserves is interesting too. I found myself wondering whether it would be ok to use small amounts of condiments that I already have, since they’re not something that need to be purchased too often. Or should I charge myself .02 for using a clove of garlic? How about siriracha sauce? I am solving this dilemma in my mind by starting out with a $1 deduction from my budget for seasonings. Down to $20. Ouch.
How about meals with others? A significant number of my evening meals are eaten with my boyfriend, and sometimes in the course of going about our daily lives, we get free food. I picture myself freeloading on cake and crackers on Sunday at Quaker meeting, and wonder if that might help me make it all the way to the end of the challenge. I think about opportunities to get free food and wish that it were a First Thursday week. I ask my boss to stop me if he sees me dumpster diving for food at any point.
Mid-afternoon, I realized I had a bagel (36 cents) and cream cheese (20 cents) in the fridge at work that would go to waste if I didn’t eat them today, before the challenge started. I ate them.
Chris is resigned to a week of ramen and PB&J. I’m concerned about nutrition. Tomorrow, I’ll be figuring out what I will buy to make it through the week.
The challenge hasn’t even started, and all I can think about is food.