Six days of of taking the "Eating on $25 a week" challenge and it's almost over. I set out to discover if I could really stick to it and to learn something along the way. Success for both! I haven't cheated, although was given many opportunities for 'volunteer' food which included a lunch brought in for a meeting and coffee and tea at work, while I was making 'other' food for the family, having a meeting in a restaurant where everyone else is eating (and having some offer to buy me lunch) and just the general, mindless eating that occurs through the day. I learned that I am so blessed that this challenge ends for me tomorrow, unlike for so many others.
So yesterday, I stopped at Staples and Spice on my way home since our son was out of bread. Since he can't eat wheat, dairy or soy, he eats bread made of rice which is only carried in health food stores. It would be very difficult for him to eat on $25 and I feel for those families requiring special diets. After picking up a loaf of brown rice bread and another package of potato starch (use in much of his baked items), sitting up at the counter was a few bottles of Starling Gewurztraminer which we had just tried for the first time last week (obviously before the challenge). I commented how good it was and, look! the gal at the register happen to have an open bottle chilling and offered a little taste. Oh, the inhumanity! I ruefully declined.
You might be saying, whatever, why is this important? It is important because in my life, wine is part of my fantastic 'food joy' and reminded me of what I was missing. More importantly, it reminded me (or really just hit me on the head... again) that many people do not have the pleasures such as wine or other luxuries and again, I felt rather small.
Breakfast: Of course, oatmeal with 1/3 banana (the last 1/3 that was in the fridge -- very ripe and brown but tasted good) and GV coffee. This time I made sure to drink all my coffee while it was hot so I wouldn't waste any.
Lunch: Each month, I get together with other marketing professionals and business owners in town and we talk about a specific topic and help each other with ways to better market our businesses. Today's meeting was at the coffee shop Perkins where I was fairly certain the menu would not have anything for $.01 which is what I had left from my original $25. I am thinking, is there a re-buy option (like in Texas Hold 'em) here? Dang, no. So I sat with my ice water and participated. Then I rushed back to my office so I could eat my cold black beans, lentils and rice and spinach. I had eaten my carrots earlier in the morning and saved the orange for my ride home. The best part was the orange; everything else was pretty average.
Dinner: It was time for pasta again, so I threw in about 1/3 pound of thin spaghetti and took out some of my 'pasta sauce ice cubes' I froze earlier in the week. Since I had added water to my Huntz four cheese sauce (which really did not appear to actually contain cheese or anything else chunky), the sauce was pretty tasteless; more like red water. I steamed about a cup of chopped carrots and threw in some spinach which wilted nicely. It looked pretty but had little taste. The saving grace of the meal was that I sliced up a full, very ripe, banana into yogurt. I mean this was a RIPE banana - ready for banana bread. Usually I would have frozen it or tossed it but not today.
What I learned today: In the business world, food plays an important role too when having meetings over lunch or over coffee. People who can't afford to do this may have missed opportunities. Our society is so rich that going out to lunch is an expected necessity and not treated as the gift it really is. If you can afford to eat out, be thankful.