Food Stamp Challenge Day 3: Did This Meal Really Cost Me 89 Cents?

I was pretty proud of myself for putting together this delicious, nutritious and filling meal of polenta, pinto beans and avacado for 89 cents. Until I realized that it might have cost me more.

Let's start with the costs of the ingredients.

Polenta: 20 cents. Bought dry in the Merc's bulk department, cooked with water and salt.

Pintos: 21 cents. Bought dry in the Merc's bulk department, cooked with water and salt.

Half avocado: .48 cents. Bought at Checkers.

That's how I got to 89 cents.

Then I started thinking. What advantages did I have that allowed me to make this very affordable meal?

For starters, I have a fully equipped kitchen, including the pricey pressure cooker I used for the beans. Then there's the car I used to drive to two different grocery stores to get the ingredients, the Merc cooking class that introduced me to cooking polenta, and the gas in my stove that turns on because my husband pays the bill religiously. You see where I'm going with this.

A few years back I went to a seminar called "Bridges out of Poverty." One thing we talked about is the danger of judging the decision-making of people in poverty from a middle-class frame of reference. In fact, our daily realities are very different. I take so many things for granted that the typical SNAP cardholder cannot access.

Today I am grateful for all of the things I have that make it possible for me to make a simple, affordable meal I feel good about eating.

On Thanksgiving, as we cut into the pasture-raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free sixteen pound fresh turkey that I will pay through the nose for, I'll be counting my blessings--both those I'm aware of and those that are invisible to me.

Tagged: Just Food, Food Stamp Challenge, SNAP


Chris Tilden 4 years, 11 months ago

Marilyn, I am appreciative that you have committed to investing your time to share your experiences this week. Thank you for participating in the challenge, and more so for your years of service dedicated to making a healthier Douglas County. I have learned many valuable lessons from my own experience in the challenge, and from hearing from others. Even more importantly, I a grateful to live in a community like Lawrence where there are people who are committed to making sure that it is possible for EVERYONE in our community to have the resources they need to make simple, affordable and nutritious meals. I'm participating primarily to show my gratitude for Just Food and the many other organizations and individuals committed to this goal. Thanks for your commitment!

Karrey Britt 4 years, 10 months ago

I've spent 66 cents on lunch every day for four days and between $1.49 and $1.58 on dinner. This looks way more appealing than what I made! :) Thanks for sharing.

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