Food Stamp Challenge Day 4: Getting Unfomfortable

Lauri Lowell, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council     Saturday, Nov. 17, 9:15pm 

I’m not so much hungry as irritable. I don’t like the food I am eating, so I’m eating less. Just enough less to be irritable. Maybe I’ll lose a couple of pounds. As my mother would say, make lemonade out of lemons.

Last night we had shabbas dinner out and our friends served brisket and homemade challah (amazing) and other delicious things. I was unusually focused on the meat. I knew I wasn’t going to see anything like it for several more days.

Today I slept right through breakfast and lunch. That way I didn’t have to deal with the dilemma of how much I would eat at kiddush.  I woke up hungry and surveyed my options.

I couldn’t afford Cabot’s when I went shopping last week, so I bought Cracker Barrel. I melted it on my cheapo whole wheat bread and ended up with a warm plastic-like consistency and very little flavor.  My son said I was exaggerating the difference. How does he know?  He’s not eating it. He’s eating fresh challah with chevre and olive tapenade. (What can I say? His tastes are sophisticated for his age.)  I couldn’t find a way to rationalize eating challah, so I didn’t.

Later in the afternoon I had a few squares of my one extra-large Hershey bar and a large glass of water. I took a long, fast walk and came home hungry enough to eat what was left of the Spanish rice, for the third time around. I spiced it up with some Chinese hot oil to try to fool my palate into thinking this was something new.

Instead of dessert I had a bowl of yogurt, with sliced apples and honey. I decided honey was one of the ‘condiments’ I’m allowed to eat from our shelves. But noticing the price I see that I would never be able to afford it on food stamps. 

Tomorrow I’m going to make lentils and onions and rice with sautéed greens. The following day I’ll add potatoes and turn it into soup.

Is it just me or are there a lot of stories in the media the last couple of days about hunger, food and nutrition? After all, it is national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.  It’s also the week before Thanksgiving, when many people remember to be thankful for all that they have.

I’ve been thinking about how proud Americans are to live in a country where they are free. But when you are poor, you may have freedom, but you have very few options. Maybe you are not really free when your choices are so limited.

Think about it. Poverty is un-American.

Please click to donate to the JFS Food Assistance program. Thank you very much.




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