From Gourmet fo Food Stamps...

September 26 2010 - 9:15 AM

Today is day two of Chicago Gourmet and instead of planning my schedule around all the food, wine and cooking demos I can stomach, I'm gaming out a week of frugality. Tomorrow I begin my late start to the SNAP Challenge put on by FeedingIllinois.org. Here are the rules:

  • Spend no more than $4.50 per day, including beverages.
  • Don't use food already on hand unless you
    deduct the value from your weekly amount. Salt and pepper don't count,
    but all other seasonings, cooking oils, condiments, snacks and drinks
    do.
  • Don't accept food from family, friends, coworkers and others.
  • Try to include fresh produce and healthy protein each day.
  • Keep track of expenses, food choices, etc. and share your experience

While the social implications are obvious given who's issuing this challenge, the personal ones are why I'm doing it. ChicagoFoodies started over 5 years ago and for a long time I've been eating very well. I've had the privilege to enjoy the best restaurants, best wines, best produce, exotic cheeses, fruits, spices… If you are what you eat, I have not been living a reasonable life; at the very least I take way too much for granted.

Like anyone starting a diet, I might be somewhat disillusioned. But a reasonable goal is to spend a week eating frugally and to see how much I appreciate that. Hopefully they lead to better habits.

I'm looking forward to cooking more, and looking at my food shopping through a new lens. The success and failures will come in the kitchen!

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