For the Love of Food

Example of an American grocery store aisle.
Image via Wikipedia

 

Food, yes that basic necessity that we all need in order to survive.  Some of us know it in simple terms and there are others that know it in more expensive terms.   However you know it, you know that some of us have it in abundance and others are truly experiencing a shortage.

This post may meander a bit, but stay with me……

I love food!!!  However, cooking for a family of 4 with some food allergies and some definite food preferences on our food family budget has become more challenging.  While cruising the web, I came across this chart.  Go ahead and take a peek, I’m not going anywhere.  Imagine my surprise when I looked at the numbers and realized that we are on the thrifty food plan.  Actually, we spend a tad bit below the thrifty plan for our family and that total amount is not just on food as it also includes our toiletries and cleaning supplies.

I am not a coupon cutter because I have yet to see coupons for fresh fruits and veggies.  I purchase 3 different types of organic milk at the store and we have a lot of of organic items in our diet.  Yet, we are able to eat well on less than the thrifty plan because I c-o-o-k.  We do have a weakness for jalapeno poppers and while I could make them, I don’t so that is one of the few pre-packaged non-organic items that is allowed in the grocery cart.

So, if you are still reading, I want to know, where do you and your family fall on the USDA chart?

Are you thrifty or are you liberal? 

Have you seen the cost of food skyrocketing in your area? 

Are you finding it harder to make your food dollars stretch? 

What changes have you and your family started implementing – more ________, less _______?

I ask these questions because I really want to know.  We helped a family from church (single mom of 3) with some groceries and when you take the time to come out of your bubble, you realize, it is hard out there.  Hunger is real!!  Hunger isn’t just the images of starvation as seen in other countries but hunger is also those pangs that set in because while you had breakfast, you are not sure where or when the next meal is coming.

The reality is – food will continue to rise in cost, many salaries are frozen for this year and possibly next, but we all have to eat.  What to do?

For the month of October, a fellow gardener, is doing a Food Stamp Challenge.  Yes, I know most of us are not on food stamps but the challenge isn’t one of being on food stamps as much as it is a challenge to eat well on a food stamp budget.  I am intrigued to see how he and his friend will live off of less than $275 for the month.  It is not my reality, but it is the reality of many of our neighbors.  If it is there reality, then we all should be more aware of life outside of our own bubbles.

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7 thoughts on “For the Love of Food”

  1. That is an awesome challenge. I feel I can’t do it because I just spent a ton of money over the summer bulking up my freezer and pantry for the winter. I did it because I am trying to reduce my food to only that which I grew or I knew the farmer who grew it. Do do that, in Chicago in winter, I need to prepare in the harvest months.

    But, I do find it awesome to see all the challenges that are cropping up on the internets. This one, the “Unprocessed October” one, the “Dark Days Challenge” one.

    I read this stuff and begin to think that maybe our food supply has a hope of righting itself in our lifetime.

    1. Ellen, your freezer sounds like a delightful place. 🙂 Thanks for the heads up re: the other challenges, there are some good things going on and maybe, just maybe we will get back on the right course.

  2. I have watched the cost of groceries skyrocket over the past year. Thankfully, I began bulking up our pantry and freezer last year, not to mention eating more and more from our own garden. I don’t coupon either (I use to, but only for toiletry items) but adding up the figures for a family of seven, we still come in under the thrifty total. Not always easy, it takes some mental adjustments, but it’s doable.

    1. Wendy,

      Yes mental adjustments are key. I spoke to a family and they couldn’t fathom giving up meat 1x a week. A hearty bowl of soup or chili can be more filling and provide the same nutritional value but it requires that mental adjustment.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Hi Kiva~ Our age group for our family didn’t fall into any of the categories on the chart (parents: 55yo… child: 24yo… child: 14yo) so I don’t know how that would influence things but I spend slightly more than the thrifty category but not nearly as much as the next category (I forget what they called it). We eat almost exclusively organic & I get most of our groceries via a buying club (food co-op: United Natural Foods Inc.). I think the main thing to save money is, as you said, to actually cook & not buy fast eat-at-home foods.

    UNFI notified all of us buying club members a couple months ago & said the cost of their items was going to be going up…. some things quite drastically. The things that were packaged in plastic were going to be going up (because of the cost to make plastic) and also grains were going to be going up as well (because of droughts, cost of farming, etc.). Those were the two things that were going to go up significantly… and boy, they sure did. So I’m guessing those things went up in the regular grocery stores too?

    My son works in a grocery store & he is always astounded at the amt. of soda pop that people buy, as well as all the plain ole JUNK that people stock their carts with. I’m always astounded at how incredibly busy the various restaurants are, in our area, and not only on weekends. There are people paying a LOT of money to eat out at places like Red Lobster (GREASE!!!!!) and Olive Garden on a regular ole Tuesday night or whatever. That makes me scratch my head & say to myself “We’re having a recession? Really?”. But then again, it never fails to astound me the people who whine that they are poor & yet have cable tv, internet & cell phones…. ya know?

    My mother-in-law often tells me about the lean years of their marriage when she used to make “potato soup without potatoes” to feed her four hungry young boys & her husband. I honestly don’t think young people (& many middle aged people too) would know what to do today if they couldn’t eat out at least once a week & go home to their cable tv shows & internet access. My husband’s grandma used to fry a piece of chicken at noon time & have a fried chicken skin sandwich for lunch & have the meat of the chicken for supper. She’s long gone now & it frightens me to think that the people of today wouldn’t even know how to do that, if times got real hard.

    Thanks for the great topic & blog post!!

    Love~ Andrea

    1. Andrea,

      Good points and thanks for sharing. I recently looked into UNFI and was overwhelmed by the catalog and couldn’t make heads or tails of the process. Do you enjoy it and do you find that you do actually save with it?

      I think your MIL’s generation and those older are important voices because they do know how to stretch a meal further than most and due to a need for convenience or having had plenty, those lessons are not known by many of my generation and definitely not the younger generations.

      On a global level, things are becoming tight everywhere, it is my hope that we will do what needs to be done so that none are hungry and that good food is available to all.

      Thanks again!

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