by all that’s holy —

June 16, 2010|Posted in: appreciation, family, food, Food Stamps

Dear lord, what I wouldn’t give right now to pick up the phone and order take-out. Just one phone call. There are four of us — how much could it cost? Ha! — a lot. Chinese food, delivered or picked up, never less than $35. Bad cheap pizza for $5? But it’s so bad, why would anyone eat it? Sushi does not deliver, but even the word sushi costs extra, I think. That stuff isn’t cheap, considering they don’t even cook it (ha ha)…

I haven’t slept well for a couple of nights, and woke up tired. I did a bunch of errands this morning including a trip to the farmers’ market, where I met up with a friend and scored some homemade wine. Then this afternoon I spent at the DMV with one of our girls, getting her state ID. Even with an appointment, it took a long time, and the counter-folk thought our birth certificate was a forgery or fake, which it is most definitely not, so they wandered off with the documents into oblivion, leaving us at the counter frothing at the mouth with impatience. Daughter was gonna be late for work, no one met us at the photo counter, I was trying not to hover although DD is 18 now (but still so inept in these official areas!), then we tried a different photo counter, were abandoned there for a while…it went on and on. She was upset, I was in a knot, and got lost trying to take the short cut to the nearest Bart station. It just doesn’t get any better, my dear ones.

By the time I got myself home late this afternoon, I wanted a nap and a Valium and a People magazine and one or two of those bottles of home-brewed cab with a couple of kamikazis on the side, and to call Fortune Cookie on speed-dial and tell them to bring me some freakin’ food, fer crap’s sake.

Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. Because of the JFSC*, see. So I’m having my whine here instead of a glass of wine, and then, in a few minutes, I’m gonna wash some dishes and chop up the leftover potatoes and ham and an onion, fry it and call it Tuesday Hash. There’s bread and butter and carrot sticks and leftover fruit salad. That’s dinner, as easy and fast as I can make it. And none of it comes from off the budget or a take-out menu.

I know I’m privileged, and that this is a mere whimsy to play the JFSC. Tonight I seriously wanted to point out how easy it is for us, the not-so-hungry folk, to hit speed dial when we’ve had a hard day. And frankly, how hard was my day, anyway? Boo-hoo, poor me. I drove around and stood in a line. Did some housework and fiddled with the Internet and writing. Woe is I. I still have my eject button. If I really wanted to, I could make a call and hot food would show up at my door. It’s all a choice for me and mine. I’m trying to stay in character, though — no speed dial. No fast food. Eat what we have, because it’s what we have to eat. Onward…

I didn’t do a “big shopping” today, as I usually do on Tuesday, because of saving towards BBQ food for Sunday.  I did go to the farmers’ market for fresh fruit, veggies and eggs, for a total of $31. I brought home 20 extra large brown eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, nectarines and peaches, cherries, Persian cucumbers, and mushrooms. I also brought home 6 bottles of homemade Sonoma cabernet and zinfandel as a gift from my friend, Colin Reed, from high school days. That was a sweet meet!
The other exciting bit of information I learned today is that the Alameda Farmers’ Market is now accepting food stamps — the SNAP card I discussed the other day. In fact, to promote the use of the farmers’ market for FS users, the market is offering $5 of produce free when the customer purchases $10 worth of produce. Total of $15 of good stuff to take home — and everything at the market, from healthy baked goods, cheeses, honey, produce and potting plants, is FS-friendly, except the hot food items. Wonderful news for local hungry people.The same market association also runs the farmers’ markets at Jack London Square, San Leandro, Pleasanton, Union City, Irvington, San Lorenzo and Livermore. It’s all great news. Check out the flyer at the main kiosk at the farmers’ market for more information, or call (925) 825-9090 for information. There are outreach events happening now to teach local FS recipients how to use the farmers’ market. It’s all good news, very good, to me.
And something that many people don’t know is that leftovers from the farmers’ market generally end up at the Alameda Food Bank for more hungry people. The farmers may not want to take home fruits and vegetables to store for a few days, and fresh produce that isn’t pesticide-sprayed or packaged may not survive until the Saturday market. Local people eat it, and food does not go to waste. Again, good news abounding.

With all this good news, I’m starting to feel less sorry for myself and more cheerful about Tuesday Hash.

Tuesday’s Menu
Breakfast: Coffee, cereal and milk.
Snack: Iced tea (beverage purchased for me), nectarine (60 cents)
Lunch: Patrick: Frittata and green salad. Simone: Pasta salad, carrots and celery. Julia: Pasta salad. Ana: Frittata.
Snack: Cherries, hot tea
Dinner: “Tuesday Hash” — leftover ham, boiled potatoes, onion, fried together. Carrot and celery sticks, fruit salad (home-canned), french bread (free).

*The June Food Stamp Challenge is about living on the food budget my family would receive if we qualified for food stamps. For our family of 5, our budget for the month of June is $454.50.

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Julia Park Tracey is an award-winning journalist, author, and blogger. She is the author of "Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop" and "Veronika Layne Has a Nose for News" (rep'd by Booktrope). She is the Poet Laureate of Alameda, California. She's also the conservatrix of The Doris Diaries, the diaries of her great-aunt Doris Bailey Murphy. Her articles have appeared in Thrillist, Quill, Paste, San Francisco Chronicle, and in many magazines; her latest poetry appears in The East Bay Literary review.

2 Comments

  1. noreply@blogger.com'

    gwen
    June 16, 2010

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    Just wanted to share this super easy, fast, and cheap pizza dough recipe Chad uses all the time — he’s actually making some now. It works perfectly well with the $2 6-pack beer from TJs. It’s great fun choosing toppings, a lot of times we use whatever’s left over/available.
    http://queenofsubtle.com/cm/?p=1152

  2. noreply@blogger.com'

    gwen
    June 16, 2010

    Leave a Reply

    And we don’t use nearly that much mozzarella as called for in the recipe, we use 8 oz or less, depending on the toppings.

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