It is my understanding that Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, may be doing a Food Stamp Challenge. If that is the case, I have plenty of experience and would like offer some advice and a shopping list that may be useful.
Cory Booker is a vegetarian which makes it very easy for me to make this list.
There are many different reasons for wanting to experience what it might be like to be in the position of needing food stamps. Some, after a week of no planning and eating lots of ramen noodles claim to be starving – not really a surprise . While it’s not a good thing to have to experience this, it may help someone like Mr. Booker better understand peoples’ daily worries and where their points of view are coming from so he can better help. Helping from an intelligent standpoint is to really take a look by standing in someone else’s shoes – actually feeling it.
Buy from the bulk section –
1 pound lentils .90
2 pounds brown rice 3.00
1 pound oatmeal 1.00
1 pound beans, black or pinto 1.50
Buy from the produce section –
1 pound bananas, 4 or 5 .85
1 pound apples, medium size, about 4 2.50
2 or 3 yellow onions 1.25
1 small bunch celery 1.25
Carrots, in bulk 4 or 5 1.25
1 clove garlic .50
Buy from the dairy section –
1/2 gallon lowfat milk 2.00
Cottage cheese or tofu 2.00
Miscellaneous items –
1 loaf of bread, whole grain the best you can get 3.00
1 jar peanut butter, store brand 3.00
1 pound pasta 1.29
1 can diced tomatoes .85
So far this is 26.14. New Jersey is exempt from sales tax for groceries which is a very good thing.
In that case I would look to see what’s on sale for remaining items.
I might add a 10 pound bag of potatoes (I just got a 10# bag on sale for 1.69).
Possibly broccoli or cauliflower or a couple of oranges – whatever is on sale.
And or 1 pound of couscous or bulgur wheat from the bulk section.
If you get lucky and can find one on sale – a bottle of Crystal hot sauce to make the week more palatable!
After shopping is very important!!
Rinse and soak the beans.
Dice the onions and put in a container in the frig.
If you bought potatoes, wash and bake about 6 of them.
To make this budge work, YOU MUST COOK. Plan ahead and cook.
Make a lentil soup. Rinse the lentils. Put the lentils in a saucepan with 1 cup of brown rice. Fill with 6 cups water. 1 rib celery chopped. 2 carrots chopped. 1 onion chopped. Bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for one hour.
Mashed bean sandwich. After the beans have soaked overnight and cooked, reserve 1 cup to mash and mix with sauteed onions and garlic, serve on toast. Any leftover vegetables can be added.
1. Oatmeal with banana and milk. A tablespoon of peanut butter can be added.
2. 2 Eggs and fried potatoes and onions. Slice a baked potato and saute with a handful of chopped onions.
3. Bulgur wheat or couscous, served as hot cereal
1. Lentil Soup over a baked potato.
2. Peanut butter sandwich, maybe 2. Celery and carrots. Cottage cheese.
3. Beans and brown rice
4. Leftover pasta. Apple with peanut butter.
5. Fried potatoes, 2 eggs and onions
6. Peanut butter sandwich. Apple.
7. Mashed bean sandwich with sauteed onions on toast
(You are going to have to eat the same thing two or three times. Get used to that.)
1. Lentil Soup
2. Baked Potato with beans and topped with cottage cheese
3. Pasta with tomatoes and garlic
4. Omelet with sauteed broccoli, onions and cottage cheese
5. Beans and brown rice. Sauteed vegetables
6. Roasted potatoes, garlic, onions and carrots (use 2 medium potatoes)
7. Whatever is Leftover 🙂
To make this budget work you have to cook ahead to have food readily available. You have to plan ahead for meals. Allow about 10 minutes longer for kitchen time in the morning to cook or prepare breakfast and lunch. Packing lunches the night before with leftovers is a big time saver.
I wish Cory Booker the best and I hope he gains a better perspective of the people he wants to help.
And if there are any questions or concerns, Mr. Booker, please feel free to email me, I’ve been doing this a long time.
Inspired Home Cooking