Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to brainstorm some ways that you can bless others with food without compromising (too much) on your real food philosophy.
We’ve talked about donating food before and how tricky it is to find non-perishable real food that folks would actually know what to do with.
You can read that Monday Mission HERE (it’s an interesting one) and check out the real food donation printables I created, which offer a list of non-perishable foods to package together to donate to a food bank along with a simple recipe to help people be able to use and enjoy them:
- Homemade Chicken Rice-a-Roni printable
- Mexican Beans with Rice printable
- Black-Eyed Pea Casserole
- Sausage Spinach Pasta Toss
For this week, I want to encourage you to think both about donating food to the poor and also those opportunities you get to share food with friends in need – meals for the sick through your church, meals for friends who have recently had babies, or just hosting other moms in the neighborhood at your house for fellowship – and how you can integrate real food in those situations without offending (or starving) those you’re trying to help.
Not that I’m assuming your cooking is bad! I’m just saying that for people who are used to the taste of very processed foods, sometimes the meals we real foodies adore are unpalatable to them, and there is little worse than trying to help someone by giving them a gift that hits the trash.
I’m excited to share some thoughts from a reader on this subject tomorrow in a post that is both touching and thought-provoking and will challenge and conflict you.
Since my guest is going to do such a wonderful job of unpacking the art of sharing food, I’m going to explore a topic that’s been on my post list for years, literally.
Ever since I saw Food, Inc. (found on Amazon) for the first time, I keep thinking about the family who felt they had to eat at McDonald’s. Truly, every couple months, something makes me think of this situation, and I try to solve it for them.
The family are either migrant or farm workers, and their small abode has nowhere to prepare or store food, so they feel forced to eat out. They stop at McDonald’s and order from the dollar menu, I believe, spending $7 on four people for a meal.
That scene has always killed me because I just can’t believe that fast food can ever be the most economical option, even though I realize it is truly truly cheap food and it would probably be impossible to buy the same raw ingredients to make the equivalent meal for the same low price.
I wander through the grocery store and think, "Could I feed a family a satisfying meal for $7, all nourishing foods, no leftovers that have to be refrigerated and no cooking necessary?"
Whether I’m right or just deluding myself, I always think I could.
What do you think about these possibilities?
- Bread + natural peanut butter + 4 bananas + bag of baby carrots (would have some bread and PB left over for another day and could stock up on something that day)
- Avocado + tortilla chips + can refried beans + 2 cucumbers
- 8 oz. cheese + 1 lb. peanuts + crackers (are there any crackers with decent ingredients that don’t cost a ton?) or bread
- Cottage cheese + canned fruit in juice + bread + lunchmeat
- Can of beans + jar of salsa + cabbage to wrap (might be able to save half a cabbage at room temp for the very next day, well wrapped?) + 8 oz. cheese + a bit of produce
- 1-2 cans tuna fish + bread + 8 oz. cheese + bag of baby carrots + maybe even some fruit or applesauce
- $5 rotisserie chicken (just eat all of it!) + cabbage to wrap it in + a piece of fruit (apple?) to split, maybe with some mustard packets from the deli counter
Whenever I could save 50 cents or a dollar, I would, and I’d try to buy a pound of butter (can keep at room temp for a while!) for the bread, maybe a little knife to cut things up, mustard to dress up sandwiches or some nuts or sale items something that could supplement other meals with nutrient and calorie dense foods in small quantities.
If you only had $7/meal and had to buy on demand, checking the sales and saving a dollar on an item (or even 50 cents) suddenly makes a huge difference. I’d try to only buy tuna, canned fruit, cottage cheese, and regular cheese when it was on a decent sale.
If I could really save up enough, a slow cooker or a small hot plate and fry pan would change our lives. (Fried eggs! Stew and root veggies that could stay warm until morning in the crockpot – leftovers for breakfast…)
Notice I never included lettuce or a salad, even though that’s something easy to make without a stove. I just feel like most lettuce is too expensive for the amount that it will fill a belly and keep someone satiated, which is why I waxed poetic about the frugal and nourishing nature of cabbage earlier this year.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Could you spend $7 at a grocery store and feed four people without a kitchen? What could you make for $7 with a kitchen and shopping and cooking the way you do right now?
Once you’ve thought it through for yourself, here are 70 other ideas from an old conversation on Facebook, back when Facebook was still a good place for engaged conversations (one of those many times I must have thought of the issue over the past few years!) They’re such an interesting read!
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.
Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.