Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Challenge - Early Morning Musings

As I read through the other bloggers that are participating this week I get all sorts of excited and inspired about how everyone is taking their own approach to this very worthwhile effort. Some are looking at it from how much can we save and still eat well (Henry and I are in this camp) while others are looking at how they can continue to cook the same way they usually do and do it while maintaining a tight budget.

As I thought about another comment from my Mum regarding baking bread vs. perhaps finding a bakery thrift store or picking up that gallon of no name milk at the gas station for $2 a thought came to me. Now those of you that know me understand that a thought of any kind coming to me is always a rarity and also a somewhat momentous occasion so readers, my apologies but I must expound...

At first I thought the challenge was about teaching others how to feed their families in a healthy manner on the cheap, then I thought it was to help raise awareness (stated by our own Yuri at the United Way). I also pondered if this might or might not help anyone out there as a PC and Internet connection would probably be one of the first things to go in a very tight, perhaps even unemployed family environment. There is a solution there as well as the libraries have free Internet but I wonder, is reading about how to cook what an unemployed or broke person would do? I think that person would probably be waiting on line for the vastly backed up Unemployment office to help get benefits or looking for a job.

Anyway, for us here at Casa Hunger (yes it really is our last name, not something contrived for the challenge) I see this as a couple of things...

Getting back to the basics of food - Henry is learning that a simple grilled chicken leg with veg and spuds can be delicious as well as budget friendly but mostly delicious. I have been quite enamored with the most recent recipes and cooking shows from Jamie Oliver in the UK where his food has returned to the most basic - little manipulation of the freshest ingredients combined in interesting and tasty ways and cooked simply.

Facilitation of good habits - Henry is 10 and I continue to point out. His enthusiasm for this (any many others don't get me wrong) project is something to behold and even one of his teachers asked if he could share his thoughts on the week after it is done. Delicious, healthy food while still spending within our means regardless of the status of those means is a valuable lesson.
Food makes people happy - Henry and I talk about the challenge, how we are eating well and getting plenty of what we eat while not overeating (which is my downfall with the evening meal) but we're spending quality time in the kitchen (w/o the TV), at the dinner table and even blogging together (sort of since there is only 1 keyboard) and you know what, all the while we're smiling and happy and laughing as good food should make us do.

But most important - I think this is giving us some empathy for others. Not just others that perhaps don't have the abundance that we do, or that don't have the same skills that all my years as a chef, bartender and sommelier gave me, or even the different ways that others feel they "must" cook or the traditions we all have in the kitchen. What I am taking away from all this while we shop, cook, plan, talk, read, etc is how different we all are yet how we can all come together like this with a goal isn't the right word... searching... perhaps "feeling" is where I'm trying to go and I guess that feeling sums up the idea of the empathy. Ramble, ramble, ramble but I just wanted to get this down as I was thinking about it so that was my musing for this morning.

Anyway, thanks for including us in this. Thanks to all the people that are participating, it is so very interesting. Most of all, thank you all for reading and actually THINKING about this whole thing.

Here's the real reason for everything I do...


  1. hmm..even I thought I was doing this excercise for various reasons at various point of time. I think all of them hold good! But the best learning that I have got is that from now on I will never take even a morsel of food for granted!!!

  2. What a beautiful written post. Its funny before the challenge I was wondering what my motivation would be. Since the challenge has started I am discovering and pondering so many things daily to the point that I am disturbed.