Friday, July 8, 2011

Living on a food stamp budget day 8

I must confess it is my birthday. I tend to eschew acknowledging them as they might put a clue into my brain to begin to age and I am opposed to that. However too many people in San Francisco know so I can't hide the date.

The lovely part is having dinner cooked for me. Tonight I will likely have massive calories none of which will come out of my food stamp budget. To those of you who have e-mailed me worrying that I am not getting enough to eat. Worry not. I am not wasting away by any means.

Knowing that I had a noon meeting close to my gym I ate a big breakfast to tide me over until what may be a late lunch/snack.

2 eggs with rice (rice was leftover from the pork belly dinner and previously cooked and accounted for) .40
2 slices of bacon .32
1 small baguette .60
Coffee .25
2 figs .48

Total 2.05

This is a great example of how little it takes to blow a budget. While I can make it up in the budget; it is important to realize that ONE nice breakfast is not a possibility for many living on food stamps.

On CNN today was a list of the world's most expensive cities. They make some real comparisons in prices. As an example they say a loaf of bread 7.61 in Moscow and 6.06 in New York. WHAT bread are they buying?

In New York I can get fresh baked Rye for 2.99, a baguette for 1.29. I sent an e mail to a friend in Moscow who is a big fan of the black bread a sort of a sourdough Rye. When I did the math it turns out he is paying 3.99 for a loaf. CNN WHAT bread did you buy?

Bread rant over. After a meeting with St. Luke's Church and the San Francisco Food Bank I took a quick run home and had some of the beef stew from earlier in the week. 1.08

I went back to St. Luke's for another short meeting and then a big workout at the gym and onto a birthday dinner.

Turning older has no appeal but a meal like this, amazing.

There were healthy appetizers and I had a few of them, but it was the pretzels and blue cheese dip that captured me.

This was followed by an Asian chicken salad with a sesame dressing.

And then...the star of the evening. There is a Szechaun pork dish with green onions that blows me away and that was served with broccoli and white rice.

I feasted. I was blown away at how good it was. This along with 2 1/2 glasses of wine more than took care of my calories for the day.

And then dessert. A brilliant banana cream pie, not overly sweet and seriously delicious. If you are in San Francisco check out ChilePies

I consumed 2,523 calories with okay nutrition and more than twice the protein I need.

I spent (due to the birthday)3.13.

I will do the math for the past two days later to see where I am.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for being REAL.

Our family was on food stamps for over a year when both my husband and I were unemployed. It was very hard.

I remember shopping and eating the samples at the stores just like you do and being grateful when friend invited us to their homes for dinner. I never refused leftovers.

I have seen a few writers take on this challenge for a week. They typically tell us how they brilliantly bought only organic, give the weekly budget and a few examples of the brilliant gourmet meals. It always reads like BS.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading about your experiment. I have read alot about different people that have tried this. I work full time but we still qualify for food stamps. Five of us receive $500 per month. I use alot of coupons and buy stuff on sale and we eat very well. I, also, cook a fair amount from scratch. I look forward to reading about how the rest of your month goes.

Anonymous said...

I'm finding this series very interesting. Had been on SNAP for a few months because things had gotten fairly dire around here.

Luckily the social worker who interviewed us told us about the trick of filing separately. We ended up with $400 a month or $13.33 per day for two people, or $6.67 per person.

Benefits here in the northeast are fairly generous in that respect.

Elaine said...

So, a social worker told you how to rip off the system and continue to make it harder for the people who really need the benefits (like single older adults). How depressing.

Karl's project is indeed interesting and I appreciate his meticulous attention to detail. I have however been nagging him about the fictitious average numbers and your post makes my case.

Anonymous said...

As far as the average goes, I cannot speak to that. After my place of employment closed with no notice, and my husband was laid off, we had to go on food stamps to feed our 3 children. Unemployment has run out, so we are currently surviving on my PELL checks for school, and the odd landscaping job that comes his way. I did the math, and the benefits come out to $5.29 per day per person for the 5 of us. The school my children go to also have all kid bring in snack once a month. This lowers that amount a little as well. I am not concerned with me getting myself or my husbands nutritional needs met, so I tend to feed my children differently. They get all the fruit and veggies, while I munch on the main course. If I make a salad to go with pasta, they get a salad, and I just work on pasta.They are the ones with the growing bodies. It is very hard to make it though when you see a gallon of milk is $4.00. I would venture a guess that the average is probably pretty close. Just my opinion though.

scientious said...

Obviously this is cheating to get yet another free meal. If you had been more honest you would have deducted both for the garden produce and what you would have spent when you got a free meal. However, I'm guessing that at this point in the experiment you still trying to learn about budgeting.

Karl Wilder, Chef said...


Obviously you did not read very carefully.

I went into this project as MYSELF. A chef with friends and advantages. I wanted to see if I could balance calories and nutrition WITH all of my advantages.

The fact is that even with the advantage of being taken out, having leftovers and a garden I still came up short.

You have given what I consider to be some ludicrous suggestions to people that they eat margarine and shelf stable creamer for cheap reasons.

NO ONE should sacrifice their healthy by making such incredibly poor choices.

I ate my way, coming as close as I could to replicating my normal diet. I did this to try to find healthier options that could be done under this budget.