Poor Mario Batali subsisting on foodstamps for a week....might do the robust chef some good. When I read this I was like, "really". At first I thought wow 31 dollars a week for his family thats not a lot at all. I read he and his kids were eating things like lentils and PB and J... then I read it was 31 dollars per person for his family of four..and that is 124 dollars a week multiply that by four and thats roughly 496 dollars a month. Then I got a lot irritated with him...really a chef had a hard time feeding his family! Must not be that creative. Thats a lot of foodstamps to this single momming it momma of 2... I get an allotment of 331 dollars or $1.10 per meal per person and that helps me out a lot... we occasionally eat take out or treat ourselves to a u-bake pizza LOVE PAPA MURPHYS. For the most part our food is purchased with foodstamps. I just received them this month after being off of them for 6 months..but when I was spending 120 to 150 dollars a pay period on food every two weeks, bills started piling up. So I reapplied and it took a whole 45 days to get approved a long time to someone like me. I had fallen through the cracks because my caseworker assigned to me was out ill. That six month period was hard.. we ate a lot of hamburger and pasta...but we ate. So when my foodstamps arrived on my EBT card I bought New York strip steaks topped with sauteed mushrooms, onions and bell pepper, 16 dollars for a pack of four, a little pricey but oh so good when paired with 98 cent box of scalloped potatoes, green salad and french bread...it was a birthday meal for my daughter that would have easily cost 100 dollars at the steakhouse in town. By the way we fed five and 1 half people with this meal at a cost of approximately $4.10 cents a person. Of course we don't eat steak every nite so our meals are balanced out. It also helps that I do a lot of my cooking from scratch. I'm not grinding corn mind you, but I know how to shop and plan meals. So while I feel for the chef I also feel like hey chef let me have your income for food for one week and let me show you how this Momma would feed a block of people. It is all about creativity and planning. I know I am lucky to live in the bread basket to most of the world, the Central Valley of California. No lack of fresh foods here or organic produce, last year an organic farm Whole
Foods and Revive Cafe https://www.facebook.com/WholeFarms in Fresno California sold specifically to foodstamp recipients, through a grant from Roots of Change.http://rootsofchange.org/ Gardening is also a luxury I have available to me although I will say I have not planted one yet....yikes.
While I appreciate that Batali did this as a way of protesting cuts to foodstamps and the Farm Bill and he says it was not a publicity stunt but a way to start conversation..I am saying good. Start conversation, better yet connect with people who have to subsist on aid, give them the tools they need to make healthier eating habits. It's sad when its almost cheaper to eat fast food then it is to eat a well balanced healthy meal. It also sad when in the same week as I see Batali in the news taking the challenge I see a Newsweek magazine with a baby on the front holding french fries and the headline says "When I grow up I will weigh 300 pounds" that is also something the government needs to think about before they make cuts to programs like foodstamps or school lunches or Farm Bills.
Food is a big passion of mine and I have been blogging about it for a year on and off and have shared some of my recipes that have been purchased with foodstamps....I started it a year ago and while I wish I could devote more time to I have not been able to. Internet or food but now I am able to get online more often so hopefully I will add some new recipes. You can visit my site at http://noturtypicalgmacooks.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html
In the end all it really boils down to is that we need to eat the right food to fuel our body and whether we buy it with cold hard cash or foodstamps we should all be grateful for it. There are plenty of people and families that are just shy of qualifying for foodstamps by sometimes a dollar. Imagine how they feel when they go to sleep at night wondering about how they will feed their child the next day, should they miss work to get a foodbox or forgo a meal or two. That is the reality for many families today. I hope to share with you how I will budget my next allotment of foodstamps and that you will follow me and my family as we live the FOOD STAMP CHALLENGE DAILY.