February 02, 2014

SNAP menu - Working on it.

When I took up the challenge of coming up with food choices or menus for living on a food stamp budget, I struggled with where to begin.  The reason:  I probably know more about making things from scratch and stretching a food dollar than a lot of people.  Why?  Because I took the real Home Economics class in the early 1970's where the first thing we learned to make was muffins from scratch.

What else did I learn from the good ole Home Ec class?  Sewing, cooking from scratch, cleaning and generally an economical way to run a home.  This kind of training went out the door as women went to work in order to help support their families and they needed faster tools for doing things:  i.e. processed foods.

Getting back to my own food stamp challenge, I have decided to do two options.  One for me and with my knowledge of stretching a food budget and one with someone who has not had the same background and training and uses convenience and processed foods.

With a $50 budget ($25 per person in my family) I will use that money to purchase what a person with my knowledge could make into menus.  Since going on a SNAP budget means that we will probably have had hard times and I will have used up most of the items in my cupboard, I will be making up my grocery list with hardly any food at home in my pantry.

Plan B will be using convenience foods to fill the menus for a person who doesn't cook much and doesn't have the same cooking schools that I have.

For both plans I may add an option of getting a small amount of items (i.e. a few cans) from a food bank.

When the food ads come out, I will be using the ad for this week to make up the menus. In fact I may do these budgets for a couple of weeks using the successive food ads.

This was my stumbling block in getting this challenge done.  I was struggling with the "Rules" of the challenge.  Doing this challenge with a Plan A and a Plan B is just the ticket for my getting this research done.


Paula said...

I'm really looking forward to what you write about this challenge. It is wonderful to see someone taking the plight of these people seriously.

Janet Shaw said...

I've been trying to get our food bill down.
It's been good to read about others going through similar situations with their budget. Thanks for blogging.

Anonymous said...

I applaud you for doing this experiment. You are an inspiration and are actually DOING something about the problem.

yobaba said...

Just a comment on diaper rash - I refuse to use the 'wipes' that are on the market and also use homemade clothes with a couple of changes from your method - instead of wiping the 'area', I stand out little guy up in the kitchen sink and clean him with warm water using a bar of pure coconut soap [no perfume, nothing but coconut oil, etc.] which is anti-bacterial. No tears, even when there is an angry rash to deal with.

Paula said...

Martha, I thought you might be interested in something I learned about SNAP today. I volunteer to distribute TEFAP commodities here, and for two months we have received NOTHING. Yesterday about half the people got four cans of vegetables and a bag of frozen chicken. The rest just got chicken. When we left, there were absolutely no canned commodities in the building.

I called the liaison from the food bank today to see if there had been some kind of foul up or misunderstanding. There had not. They just aren't getting much from the government right now.

What I was surprised to learn was that the farm bill/SNAP cuts have an effect on the commodities--TEFAP--program, too. He said we are just now starting to feel the effects of that.
He did tell me that he now has 17 cases of green peas and more chicken waiting for our distribution next month.

Our local food pantry, at which I also volunteer, almost had to shut its doors this week. A water pipe froze and wasn't detected for awhile, as the building is often empty for days at a time. The organizer--who pays the utilities herself--got a thousand dollar water bill. The city would not write it off, even though we are strictly a local volunteer group, and take care of the commodities on behalf of the city out of the same building. The organizer could not afford the additional expense and had told us we were going to have to close. Fortunately, an anonymous person went to city hall and paid the bill.

I hope these things help with your understanding of the problem you have been working on. With SNAP and commodities both cut, the pressure on private food pantries is even greater, and it is a constant scramble to have enough food.