Today is when reality met the rubber which was on the road that bites. Or something. It was Day 1.5 of the SNAP Challenge.
You see, everyone else started this morning, but I, in my usual Occupy Pantry Street sort of way, started last night, so that my final SNAP Challenge meal will be next Saturday’s lunch. I would try to explain it, but it’s a combination of Kabbalist theology and quantum mechanics, and you wouldn’t understand.
Anyway, this SNAP challenge thing is really pretty easy. As long as you don’t like to eat food that actually tastes good or is good for you.
Here (courtesy of the South Carolina Department of Social Services) is the list of what you might buy if you were shopping using a SNAP EBT card (which has replaced the old food stamps):
· Any food or food product except for ready-to-eat hot foods
· Baby formula, goat's milk, Pedialyte and Pediasure (Goat’s Milk???? It’s $3.50 a quart at Wal-Mart!! Are you freaking kidding me?? Why not Russian Caviar? It’s food, right?)
· Seeds and plants used to grow foods including fruit trees (Excellent, I will just wait until May to eat while my tomatoes grow.)
· Fresh produce items from authorized vendors (Don’t remind me. I saw a little kid today eating a banana. I would have stolen it, but his dad was bigger than me.)
· Meals prepared and delivered by a meal delivery service such as Meals on Wheels
· Meals at congregate meal sites such as soup kitchens (Soup kitchens charge? I told you a GOP majority was a bad idea.)
· Nutritional supplements such as Ensure, Isomil, Boost and Sustacal (“Sustacal,” now that sounds yummy.)
· Weight loss products such as Dynatrim, Slim Fast, Cambridge Diet and Nutrisystem (Seriously? Slim Fast? I can’t even satirize that.)
· Artificial Sweeteners (Tastes like chemicals because it’s made from chemicals. Definitely not food.)
· Distilled Water (Why distilled water and not mineral water?)
· Ice (Ice made from distilled water, apparently.)
· Lactaid caplets and Lactaid milk (Try the goat milk instead.)
· Cooking Sprays, such as Never Stik and Pam (Sorry, I need the margarine to make stuff taste slightly edible.)
· Prepared cold sandwiches or salads that will not be eaten in the store (As if I could afford one of those $4.95 sandwiches…)
Okay: on to the challenge. Breakfast today was oatmeal (store brand of course). But I couldn’t afford milk from any mammal, or even sugar, so it was plain. I tried it with Blue Bonnet. Cost: $.15 It didn’t taste bad, but it looked ferocious. Dr. Johnson, in his 1755 Dictionary of the English Language, defined oats thusly: "A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people." The irony of an Englishman asserting that his native cuisine was superior to anyone else’s is delicious. After all, beyond fish and chips, what do the English have to eat anyway? But maybe Samuel Johnson once tried oatmeal with Blue Bonnet on it.
Lunch was rice and beans left over from dinner last night. Cost: $0 because I already charged it off last night.
So, tonight, I was faced with a repellent mash of rice and beans and leftover oatmeal. I had already taken an antacid and thought better of trying either. So I took two slices of my store brand white bread ($.05 ea.) and some peanut butter instead. Total: $.25 Maybe by Wednesday, I will have saved enough to buy a head of lettuce and a tomato. By Thursday, I will probably being willing to kill for a Honeycrisp apple. They are, after all, $1 each.