I think my roots are showing, and I don't mean my hair.( Cheap Spaghetti Dinner Details )
I just came from a visit to the Michigan Food Stamp Challenge website
, and I'm amazed at some of the difficulties people are having at meeting this challenge. I know that $1 a meal is pretty difficult, and you have to be creative and buy what's on sale and in bulk whenever possible. I know that several people doing the challenge are cooking for only 1 or 2 people, which actually makes the challenge harder, because you can't take advantage of some of the larger bulk deals.
But I never realized I'd be going through my first day feeling absolutely jazzed at the great deals I'm finding, and then seeing everyone else at the website talking about how hungry they are. Are the Meijer and Kroger where I live just that much cheaper, or is our group just out of practice with bargain-hunting?
For example, I recall reading about someone who said 2 pieces of bread cost $.26, or $.13 a slice. But my loaf of Kroger white bread cost $.99, and at 21 slices that's 4.7 cents a slice, or $.09-$.10 for 2 slices. At the cost of $.13 a slice, the equivalent loaf would have cost $2.73, which seems a bit expensive for bread (at least for this week).
Someone else purchased ground beef for about $3.93 a pound, which is a crappy price to pay if you're on a budget. Ground sirloin (the good stuff) costs about that price, but ground chuck when it's not on sale (which it often is) usually goes for about $3.19 a pound. Bulk hamburger often goes for even cheaper ($1-$2 per lb).
But maybe it's just my working class roots.
I know that my S.O. isn't participating in the Food Stamp Challenge because he's very picky about food and knows that you have to sacrifice quality for quantity when you're living on a $1 budget. We actually cooked separate sauces and hamburger for the spaghetti tonight because my budget doesn't let me purchase ingredients for the good stuff. His family growing up was firmly middle-class, with possibly high-middle-class tastes in some things, and it shows in everything from the cuts of meat that he chooses at the meat counter to his willingness to waste food on occasion.
I know if I were working a low-wage job right now, I wouldn't be putting bacon on my shopping list, or high-grade hamburger, or tofu for that matter, even though these are things my S.O. and I buy regularly.
So I'm wondering if perhaps at least some people doing the challenge are having the problem of being too middle-class in their tastes. Of course, I don't think I know anyone personally who is doing the challenge, so that might not be an accurate speculation. And I sincerely hope I don't offend anyone by that statement. But I when I read about PB&J's that cost a whole $1 to make, I have to wonder at least a little bit if the ingredients might have been just a little too high quality?
However, I did find out about The Angel Food Network
as a resource for people who really do have trouble making ends meet. :)