and Friday and Saturday . . .
long time no post, but with all the last minute details and the actual logistics of the Husky Help the Hungry Week Food Drive at all participating Husky and Mohawk retail locations I’ve been pretty much run off my feet since Friday morning.
I do want to take a moment to thank all the Husky employees who came out to participate in and support the Rock Band Wrap up on Friday and the 70 or so volunteers who braved various sorts of weather throughout the city yesterday to be at the Husky retail locations accepting donations. As Leah mentioned it started off with lightining and rain, then there was a few partially sunny hours, more rain, wind – no snow this year though
Also thanks to everyone who donated yesterday! It was amazing to see how many people took time out of their day to stop by their local station and how many people made a donation.
Friday lunch was the remainder of the tuna/curry mix as a sandwich. Then because I had been reading everyone else’s fairly positive review of the meal replacement drink that had been included in our hamper I decided to try this out after work as my HUGE batch of spaghetti was boiling (I did finally get around to having my spaghetti and tomato sauce).
Saturday was cereal and toast at far too early in the morning, then I rounded up every possible snack that came in my hamper and another meal replacement drink, because I knew the day would be spent in my car – driving to the NW for a Global interview which was then changed to the Global studios, then to the Food Bank then around all the stations to catch up with volunteers, Husky station owners, etc. So it had to be food I could eat on the go.
Today I have been very tired and lazy, regular cereal breakfast, toast, some blueberry flax cookies, some fried plantains and spaghtetti tomato sauce again for early dinner.
What’s left . . . I have a few plantains still (although I think I managed to eat 4 all on my own today alone), still enough spaghtetti and tomato sauce for another dinner , potatoes, a can of beans, a can of tomato soup, a package of hot dogs (I started with two), some bread, some hamburger buns, 4 eggs, lettuce, a can of chicken, the box of oreo cookies (too dangerous to open), only a few of the blueberry flax cookies, still a lot of crackers, most of my pudding (I did eat another cotton candy pudding on the road yesterday) two tomatoes, a green pepper, some mushrooms, milk and cereal – so still a lot.
If I were to continue relying on my hamper, I would plan for; at least another dinner and a small lunch of spaghetti and sauce. the ratio of how much sauce to how much spaghetti is left is a little light on the sauce (a whole package of spaghetti is A LOT of meals for one person), but if it came down to it I would make the sauce stretch. There would be a few more meals of hot dogs; with hashbrowns and with beans. There’s enough cereal and milk for about 5 more breakfasts, I have three meal replacements drinks and soup for lunches, I could also make a fried tomato and egg sandwich and probably a couple of sandwichs made from the canned chicken, mixed with the curry sauce (same idea as with the tuna). By this time next week things would be running pretty short I would imagine. . . and I would be pretty light on the fruit/vegetable side of things.
What’s for dinner tonight? I thought I would come home and make spaghetti and meat sauce – but then I read the blog and saw Julie’s entry and thought that the spaghetti sauce that I made last night could be substituted into her recipe (since I did want to eat some protein, but I didn’t want to eat hot dogs). It turned out really great – good idea thanks Julie! The spaghetti sauce that I had made turned out really great and I’ll look forward to eating it with spaghetti tomorrow.
I also broke into the bag of chocolate macaroons that I had been given in my hamper – I do really enjoy a chocolate macaroon and these were still fresh . . . even though the sticker on the bag says best before May 31. In taking a line from Julie it is interesting, the psychological effect that a little sticker on a product can have. . . I saw the sticker, thought May 31 – that’s a few days ago already . . . maybe I shouldn’t eat these. . . but I do enjoy a chocolate macaroon so maybe I should at least try one before writing them off and ultimately it turned out ok. Often I will find myself considering the best before date on my food – especially if it happens to be a milk product, or looking at a bag of produce that has started to go a little wilty or slimy and generally my answer is that if it’s a couple days past or if the vegetable looks even slightly wilty out it will go. It’s probably not the best way to go about things and each time it happens I do feel quite guilty that I didn’t incorporate said item into some kind of meal, but I think it also has something to do with these little best before stickers that make me feel like I shouldn’t even bother to check the item first.
Of course it makes sense as to why the best before labels are there, we live in a society where there is always a question of liability. But maybe this experience will teach me to at least try something out even if it reads best before, it could be just fine and if not then surely my sense of smell and a small taste will tell me instantly without me having to experience any serious outcome. Especially in the case of vegetables if I take the time to cut off or sort through the parts that I think may not be great to eat then there probably would still be parts that would be just fine - especially in a soup or stew or chili or some sort of thing. It might take more time to do this . . . and really I should probably use my food before it starts to turn . . . but I also know that occasionally time will not be on my side – so next time my veggies look a little wilty or my yogurt is a couple days past I will endeavour to test it before just tossing it.
Breakfast was my cereal and toast . . . somehow I still felt hungry after my bowl of Lucky Charms, not something that I usually feel after my normal Cheerios.
I was quite impressed with the lunch I made for myself, the remainder of the mushroom soup from last night and a tuna sandwich. I mixed my can of tuna with some of the curry sauce (yes sauce and not paste) that was in my hamper and diced tomatoes. I do not like mayonnaise, not at all, even thinking about it makes me squemish and don’t get me started on the smell. So actually mixing it with something like curry sauce seemed like the logical thing to do. I put hummus on my sandwiches instead of butter or mayonnaise, so this was not a stretch for me. I also put in a fruit snack and a couple of blueberry, brown sugar + flax Peek Freans (mmm Peek Freans). Seemed like a pretty good lunch to me.
Dinner was the mac and cheese, I cooked a couple of hot dogs and sliced them, sauteed a green pepper and mixed both of these things into my mac and cheese. And I started my spaghetti sauce in for tomorrow night, my can of tomato sauce, some tomatoes, green peppers and mushrooms that were included in my hamper. I added all my three spices (bay leaves, oregano and chili flakes). I have enough tuna for a sandwich tomorrow for lunch, along with a tomato and a fruit snack and tomorrow is all taken care of.
It sounds like I was pretty lucky with my mixed bag of vegetables; tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, green beans, lettuce, plaintains and potatoes. I think pretty standard vegetables. I can add tomatoes, green peppers and mushrooms to pretty much anything and be happy.
I spent some time this evening thinking about the concept of feeling full, satisfied and comfortable (stemming from my experince first thing this morning when I still felt ever so slightly hungry after the bowl of Lucky Charms). Full, satisfied and comfortable – it seems like in general we all strive to achieve our own definition of these things. If someone is full, satisfied and comfortable the assumption would likely be that they would be pretty happy. I think the assumption would be that if anyone of us could have a wish for this world is that we would all be full, satisfied and comfortable. But given that this is not the case, and when it comes to feeling empowered enough to have a choice, I have considered (and have been challenged by some people who are quite dear and inspiring to me) the choice of being hungry, restless and unsatisfied. Not in the extreme sense of course, but in the sense of taking what is personally achievable in terms of being full, satisfied and comfortable and purposefully deciding to live life outside of this ideal, to have “only” enough and to always keep some edge of hungry, restless and unsatisfied. The arguement being that if we remind ourselves to stay hungry, restless and unsatisfied (but still effective) this is where the true will to be a part of greater positive change for a greater community will come from.
Day number two – or maybe just full day number one.
Cereal for breakfast – this is nothing new, I normally eat Honey Nut Cheerios every weekday morning for breakfast and actually couldn’t be happier about it. Even on weekends when there is more time in the morning, Cheerios are my pick unless we make breakfast plans with a friend. Today it was Lucky Charms – so maybe just “a little” more sugar than I need first thing, but kind of exciting – I’ve never really eaten Lucky Charms, maybe only once or twice as a child when I happened to stay over at a friend’s place (there was a strict no sugar cereal rule in my parents home).
Lunch worked out about as well as it ever does – I’m more of a snacker than sitting down to officially eat lunch. It just seems like there is never time for lunch and today was no exception. Happily I had a package of fruit snacks, a can of V8 (yay vegetable servings) and I was very very curious about cotton candy pudding – I’m not so curious now. . . also although I had packed my ginger stir-fried green beans and wild rice leftovers these came home with me for dinner. Today would’ve been a good day for my stash of almonds, something I turn to when lunch turns into a disaster.
Although I have a plan for all my groceries for the week, I also know that this plan can be thrown off the rails depending on what time I get home from work, so as the day progessed plans started to diminish from spaghetti and sauce, to mac and cheese with hot dogs, green peppers and tomatoes mixed in to what I actually had; my leftovers that were supposed to be lunch and mushroom soup with a package of mushrooms added in and crackers. How would this meal differ from what I might normally have on an evening where I end up working late? Not much actually, it would probably be some random mix of whatever I find in my fridge and cupboards. Turns out the boy had decided to have hot dogs, since he’s leaving on work soon he’s been sort of participating, really only supplementing with things we already have here and I had purposely let our regular store of groceries run down in preparation.
So far it has been a good experience, I plan to make that spaghetti sauce tomorrow night.
First a little bit about today . . .I had the pleasure of spending the morning with some great partners who made some amazing donation pledges (Husky, Telus), students who truly did inspire me to imagine a community in which they are our leaders (Western Canada High School) and volunteers who showed an amazing capacity to help out wherever they are needed and then some (even if it means 5 mornings in a row of the 7 am volunteer shift accepting donations at Husky – really,” thank-you Shari” isn’t even close to covering it).
Hamper pick up probably wasn’t a fully honest experience for me – I know these volunteers, they know me and they know that when I picked up my hamper today it was out of a choice I had made, not a necessity. I’m fortunate that this experience is a choice but even if it wasn’t I do think they would still have made the experience as informative and pleasant as possible. In terms of the clients who were there today the experience felt a little bit dishonest. I’m not truly in the same situation as they are; I have compassion and empathy and I am participating to gain a better appreciation of the challenges our clients face, but I cannot say that at the end I will fully understand everything they will go through in a week.
Getting my hamper home was easy in the car I’m fortunate enough to own (even if I forget that sometimes),it would have taken quite a bit more planning if I needed to take transit. It is a lot of food, definitely more than I would buy for myself for a week and quite a few snack items that don’t normally make it onto my list. My hamper has pasta, whole wheat bread and lots of veggies to name just a few things. Not so much fruit, and hot dogs are not necessarily my favourite thing, but I know that the perishable items are donation based, it’s what we have available and vegetables fit the same nutrition guideline as fruit in this case.
After taking a look at everything I feel like I should be able to make some pretty good meals for myself . In fact dinner tonight turned out pretty good I think; with the contents of my hamper I was able to make sautéed green beans with ginger (yes there was ginger root in my hamper – grated with a little bit of the margarine and then sautee the beans it turns out pretty good), a wild rice instant mix and open face hot dog sandwiches (hot dog, BBQ sauce and tomato). As I predicted my partner had the same dinner as I did and I think “this is pretty good” sums it up. It’s true that maybe the items are a little bit mis-matched, but they were donated as a result of someone’s generosity and overall there were some really good food options provided.
I work for the Calgary Food Bank and will be participating as a single – my partner is out of town most of the week anyway, but I’m sure whatever I decide to make for dinner tonight with my hamper contents, that he will be more than happy to have a sample.
I’m actually looking forward to participating in “A Week in Their Kitchen”, I’m probably more nervous about blogging, since writing about my personal experience is not something I usually feel compelled to do. This is an opportunity that I had committed to doing quietly for myself when the idea came up, an experience that I thought I should have to gain some insight and perspective.
When people ask me what it’s like to work for the Food Bank and if it is difficult to see the need in our community, my response has always been that I feel we provide the best possible service, from the items we provide in the hampers to the compassion our volunteers show for our clients. I have the opportunity to see the effort we put in each day and I truly believe we are bringing some positive into people’s lives. I also always say that if I were to ever find myself needing a hand up, I couldn’t think of a better place to turn to. This is not to say that it’s not difficult to be reminded of the need in our community – it is and there are days when the need truly astonishes me.
At this point I have a plan because I have the advantage on knowing (more or less) what I will be going home with for groceries for the week. I guess I’ll see how far this plan will take me.