2010 Hunger Challenge, Day 2: What $4 (Plus 2 Potatoes, 1 Apple, and a Cucumber) Looks Like

I woke up this morning realizing that part of the crazy-ass dream that filled my sleep (once I finally fell asleep, that is) last night had me in Spain with some friends carefully deliberating whether to spend $2 on a glass of sherry or $2.25 on a glass of red wine. For the record, I went for the sherry, not so much because I was in a sherry mood but because, hey, 25¢ can buy a decent snack. When I finally pulled myself fully awake, I was both baffled by the dream in general--it was insane--and vaguely alarmed that food price calculations have already filtered into my subconscious.

It is literally and existentially exhausting to have to think all the time about what every single bit of your food costs. I've only been doing this for two days and already I'm tired of it.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is a rundown of what I ate today, and roughly what it cost.

  • Coffee with milk and sugar: 40¢
  • 1 small and 1 medium potato, roasted as home fries: free (I'm counting these as part of what an individual in SF would get from one of the Food Bank's grocery centers; see yesterday's post for details)
  • 2-egg omelet with cheese: 55¢
  • tortilla: 21¢
  • 1/2 cup orange juice: 13¢
  • (Technically, I should've counted the ketchup I ate with my home fries, but there comes a point at which laziness takes the day; this was that point.)
  • PB&J on whole wheat: 45¢
  • 1 small apple: free (I'm substituting apples for pears in the Food Bank's sample list)
  • 1/2 veggie banh mi: $2 (I'm guessing; I ate it at the board meeting I went to this evening)
  • 1 mini and 1 fun size Milky Way: 15¢ (I made the mini last for 4 bites and the fun size for 6--not an easy [or fun, frankly] feat)
  • 1 medium cucumber: free
  • 1 small homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie: 12¢, give or take
Grand total for the day: $4.01! Of course, without the "free" potatoes, apple, and cucumber, I'd be hosed.

This list reads to me like some kind of crackpot diet plan: enjoy one (more or less) normal meal in the morning, and then go slowly off the rails throughout the day until you find yourself so hungry in the late evening that you're unable to resist the siren song of a cucumber and a cookie (which, let's be honest here, are not exactly packing my stomach right now). The fabulous results? Lingering hunger for most of the day, followed by a gradual descent into loopiness, accompanied by longing for things like avocados and cheese and toast lousy with butter.

Dammit. I'm hungry.


Simon said...

I've always thought "fun-sized" chocolate bars were a complete misnomer.

Kate said...

We're doing the hunger challenge too - looking forward to reading how your week goes!

FJK said...

As a hunger challenge participant, too, I know how tiring it is to keep having to figure this out, live without the ability to nosh what you want or eat when you are hungry, etc. We only have to do it for a week. It must be so hard to do it full time. I thought your post really communicated all that very well.

Emily said...

Kate and FJK, kudos to you for doing the challenge as well. I find it a fascinating, maddening, humbling, and eye-opening experience.

Simon, I totally agree. A full-size (or, better yet, jumbo-size) candy bar would be much more fun.

DavidShag said...

This makes me appreciate again what my Mom must have gone thru year after year. There were no foodstamps or food banks then - what there was was surplus food, which was a government plan to buy up farmer's surplus produce to keep the prices up and distribute it to the poor. The best of this food were pounds of butter and five pound blocks of really excellent cheddar cheese and large jars of peanut butter. Most of the other stuff, such as dry beans or powdered milk were not useful to us because we lived on a farm ourselves and had those things a-plenty. There were nine of us kids and very little money. Besides what Mom canned in the late summer, we were really familiar with the Campbell's condensed soups and pasta. How tiring it must have been for her to try to cook three meals every day with so little to spend.