Sunday, 23 October 2016

The week is done, here's what's left

By the end of the week the work to make food was routine. We do a lot of cooking normally, but the difference for the week of this challenge was the two days of work to prepare most of what we needed for six, effort that paid off once we were back at work. 

The other difference was all the mental preparation, and the emotional impact of such intense focus on social assistance and its inadequacies for the many thousands of people that rely on it. 

This challenge was a week of focus on food, but we also had the privilege of living in our cozy home, having a community of people around us at home and work that supported us, the ability to use our fairly well equipped kitchen, and have toiletries and other basics that kept life comfortable, even when we were hungry. If we had to buy toilet paper, etc as part of the challenge we would have had less food! What a nightmare choice for people to have to make! 

Well we started the week with a table food of food, and ended with maybe enough for a day left over. Here's the breakdown of food we ate with the stuff we bought.

The full list of what we had to start with:
Potatoes  10lb bag  $1.99        Lentils   1 lb  $1.61
Carrots    5lb bag    $$2.99      Beans   2lb   $2.54
Cabbage   4.3 lb    $1.69         Chick peas   1.3 lb $2.03
Celery   1 bunch    $1.49         Rice   1.3 lb  $2.13
Garlic    2   $0.38                     Pasta    1 lb   $1.67
Onions    3   $0.83                   Flour    2.2 lb   $3.51           
Apples    10    $1.77                Oats    1.3 lb   $2.29
Bananas   8   $1.48                 Sugar   .91 lb    $0.90
Raisins     $2.89                      Eggs    18      $4.79
Soda Crackers    $1.97           Peanut butter     $2.64
Cinnamon    .03 lb   $0.27       Yeast     .08 lb   $0.48 
Margarine      $1.49
Vegetable stock     $2.39
Canned tomatoes   3   $3.87
Milk  1L (not pictured)   $2.10

Leftover $1.80 we used to 'buy' a piece of ginger and one sweet potato we already had in house.

To recap the last of our meals: we had pasta and sauce on Friday night, and Saturday I made a potato/cabbage bake with onion & garlic, which we had for our last dinner along with some more pasta. Saturday we snacked on the last of the carrots and celery with the hummus, and ate the last of the muffin bites and crackers.

What it made:

Vegetable stew 
Carrot/Lentil/Ginger Soup with crackers 
1 bread loaf + 12 buns
2 batches of 24 muffin bites + 6 muffins
36 veggy cookies (made with potato, carrot, lentils, onion, garlic, flour)
Hummus (rather chick pea puree with some salt, peanut butter and smidgen of oil)
Big pot of beans & cabbage dish served with rice = 3 dinners and a lunch
Pasta and sauce 
Potato/Cabbage bake (with onion, garlic) 

What we have left:

- one portion of potato/cabbage dish, and one portion of pasta
- a little bit of hummus and little bit of peanut butter
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal mix
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- little bit of cinnamon and yeast
- one vegetable stock cube
- little bit of margarine (we ran out of oil quickly and this was our butter/oil rest of the week)
- 2 cups of cooked beans left in the fridge (I forgot to include in pic)

My head is full of lots more I want to write about, but we're now off to enjoy a brunch at the Whip (where Sasha can finally indulge in the waffles she has been dreaming of all week.) before heading to the Town Hall meeting at City Hall organized by Raise the Rates and the City of Vancouver. 

On a happy note, my post for day 6 and 7 were delayed because we were going through the process of adopting two little kitties from the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA), and yesterday we brought them home. Adopting kittens was something we were already in process with before we signed up for the challenge, but I know for those on assistance, having a pet is not really an affordable option. They are very good for cuddles and making you feel good, which is something everyone can benefit from, but a privilege for sure. We are very happy to welcome Willow and Socks into our home and our family.

Waking up Sunday morning to the cuteness of these kitties, as well as putting on coffee for the first time in a week, and having a full banana, were the luxuries of life I was grateful to enjoy. Time to ease back into life as normal, full of thoughts on all I've learned from this experience, and a heart full of gratitude for all that is good in our world...especially the food.


  1. I really do appreciate that folks are trying to understand at least part of the challenge of living life with disabilities. Budgeting and making the most of very little is just the beginning though. Having PTSD and anxiety can be very debilitating all on their own. Add physical disabilities and constant pain.. makes even making meals a challenge, let alone trying to balance anything. For some of us on assistance.. a pet is an absolute necessity. There are many days that we could not get through without the love and emotional support of our dog. That means our budget is even lower than this experiment as we have to also feed her. Also, we are also very remote.. the bargains one can find in a city do not exist in places where the nearest store is hours away. About half of our food budget goes on gas since there is no other transportation. Any repairs to our vehicle also come out of the food budget. Yes, our home is cheaper, but that doesn't count as support is reduced because of it. Anyway, Thank you for taking up this challenge. :)