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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Take Away the Stone And the Timber
Posted by Tata | 9:33 PM
Poor Impulse Control - my blog - is currently hosey-hose-hosed, so here we are. Hi! Hi again! Today, I stumbled across this.
As some of you may know, I am poor. I mean dirt poor. I mean the poverty line is so far away I'd have to run an Iron Man Marathon to reach it. And due to homelessness, I now live with my very large family (9 of us, not including the pets) and they aren't much better off financially than I am. So feeding us all is an olympic effort. There are food allergies ( wheat and mushrooms and cilantro), reflux (so nothing too spicy) and one particularly picky cousin who will not touch the following: strawberries, peas, beans of any sort, or avocados and has a weird love of miracle whip. I have to humor her, because she owns the house and buys most of the food that I eat.

And they are all a bit, uhm how should I say, midwestern, in their taste. God love them, but not everything can be made with a can of creamed soup. Vegetables are either canned green beans or corn or a bag of iceberg lettuce. This is part of poverty, btw. Fresh veggies go bad fast and require more prep and are more expensive. When you're poor, the saddest sight you'll ever see is a bunch of rotted veggies in the crisper when it's the end of the month and the rest of the fridge is bare.

The more I thought about this, the lengthier my response ran, so here we are. The Red Queen has proposed a puzzle. Her rules again:

* No wheat, mushrooms, cilantro, strawberries, peas, beans or avocados.
* Not spicy.
* May include Miracle Whip.
* All ingredients must be available at the only grocery store in town, that big box monsta that is eating the world.

A few other considerations:

* Her son is learning to bake bread.
* The family is starting a garden.
* Cream soups provide a fatty mouth feel, making even a lackluster meal seem richer. Remember that.
* Out on the internetz, there are websites working out meals for 4 for $10. Feel free to crib and adjust.

Can you feed 10 people a nutritious dinner for $10? With careful planning and a wild imagination, you can. It can be done.

For many of us, having nothing to eat is incomprehensible. It simply does not compute, so as human problems go, it is not solvable. For me, this is a little more personal: I've lived on one meal a day of mashed potatoes. This is not abstract. It is a puzzle you can help solve, one meal at a time. I'll go first.

Sweet Potato-Carrot Soup

2 Sweet potatoes
1 bag of carrots
2 chicken bullion cubes
1 pint light or heavy cream
1 teaspoon olive oil
spices on hand, including pepper

Peel sweet potatoes and carrots, cut into even size pieces, coat in olive oil and spices and roast at 325 until fork tender. Mash vegetables and place in large pot. Add 2 quarts of water, bullion cubes; simmer 20 minutes. Add cream. Add salt, pepper and herbs to taste. Serve with bread and either butter or herbed olive oil.

If sweet potatoes and carrots happen to be on sale that week, this soup could also start with sauteed diced onions. An acorn or butternut squash could also be added. Potatoes would also add a nice heft to the texture, especially if left in chunks. Do not be afraid to toss in bay leaves or sage, basil or paprika.

Now it's your turn. What's your solution?
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Blogger Bob said...
Hi tata

Anonymous tata said...
Hi Bob!

Blogger Fun times. said...

I bailed from the United States during the Bush coup.

I live in a third world portion of a second world country.

The farmers who provide the basics are too poor to use chemicals. The food is truly "organic."

The food was in the fields yesterday, in the mercado this morning and in me by night fall.

Sometimes North American or European canned goods drift into the mercado. I eat them out of nostalgia. Every time I get what I call chemical after burn.

I am allergic to an enormous number of chemicals. I cannot go into any place that has any chemicals.

Returning to the United States is pure torture. I can't eat the food, I can't drink the water.

The last time that I was there, I lived on cheese, an offbrand of crackers and distilled water. I lost 5 pounds in less than a week.

I had an appendix burst. No choice,I had to go to a hospital.

Within 45 minutes of coming out of anesthesia, I was standing on the curb waiting for a cab to take me to the airport.

Hospitals are the worst sinkholes of toxic chemicals in the country.

I almost died on the flights home but I knew that the United States would kill me. When I got on the plane in Miami, I knew that I had over a 75 per cent chance of dying on the flight.

Anonymous joel hanes said...
In the days when our family of seven was living from paycheck to paycheck, that picky cousin would have been firmly advised that (s)he could eat what's on the table, or starve.

Peas, beans, and rice are foundational in a low-income diet. Lentil stew (with beef chuck), bean soup (with ham hock), bean/cheese on corn tortillas, red beans and rice. Oatmeal. A dozen eggs for three bucks is a lot of protein. Whole chickens on sale for $0.99/lb plus two eggs makes chicken fried rice.

Blogger missy said...
Ratatouille over pasta with zucchini bread. Zucchini, especially in summer, are ridiculously cheap (and if your neighbors are growing them they'll gladly part with a few pounds). Slice 4-5 lbs very thin, along with one big onion and a couple of garlic cloves (less garlic if you need to keep the refluxer happy). If you grow oregano or basil throw in some chopped leaves at the end - if not, use whatever Italian dried herbs you have on hand and add them to the pan with the first handfuls of zucchini.

Start a pot of water boiling for spaghetti.

Heat a bit of olive or vegetable oil over medium high heat in the biggest frying pan you have, and add the thin sliced onions and zucchini a couple of handfuls at a time; when what's in the pan has started to sweat and go limp add the next couple of handfuls. Throw in a teaspoon of salt with the first handful.

When everything is in the pan, just let it cook, stirring it every two minutes or so, so everything has its chance to caramelize on the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve heaped over spaghetti.

I could eat ratatouille every day for the rest of my life and be wholly content.

Earlier in the day you can use a few of your zucchini, 2 eggs, vegetable oil, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda to make your zucchini bread - recipes abound on the internets.

Yummmmmm. I know what I'm having for dinner tonight.

Anonymous mandt said...
"Now it's your turn. What's your solution?" One patata, two patata, three patata, four.....

Blogger The Sailor said...
Industrial size can(s) of baked beans, (or buy the beans raw and soak em and cook em), baked potatoes. After baking potatoes mash them and cover w/ beans.

Very filling very cheap. Margarine, when I could afford it, helps.

wait for sale days and buy chicken and freeze. chicken goes with almost everything, and you can tell people it's anything. After all, 'it tastes like chicken.' Also Tuna, sometimes it's very cheap, the Miracle Whip comes in here.

Lots of times the meat counter has really cheap cuts that are near inedible, except for soup.(see below.)

Fresh veggies aren't really that expensive, and with a family that size something is wrong if they go to waste.

Watermelons go at sacrifice prices many times. A family that big can eat one in a night. Great source of vitamins.

Large economy rolled oats. Good breakfast, good filler for other meals when you run short.

Large economy size peanut butter, (I didn't see a peanut allergy.)

Day old bread. Toasted it is just fine, and a Miracle Whip sandwich has been very welcome at times.

There are lots of things you can do with fresh vegetables that aren't fresh anymore. Tomatoes make great mild salsa with a little imagination.

Anything you cook, drain the juices, combine and freeze. Ready made base for when you score the occasional chicken you haven't had to barter to your doctor.

It's a shame the homeowner is the pickiest one, because I agree with the 'if you can't eat it, you're not hungry enough' except for allergies, of course.

I've been hungry, and I've been homeless, the 2 together seem insurmountable. And as god is my witless, I'll never [strike]go hungry[/strike] eat peanut butter again