May 31, 2010 at 5:44 am 2 comments

So here I sit on the eve of my “A Week in Their Kitchen” experience, and what I’m about to embark on is just starting to sink in. For the past week I’ve been vacationing in the Boston, eating everything I could get my hands on and catching up with my best childhood friend who is currently studying there. I agreed to participate in “A Week in Their Kitchen” only a few days before leaving for the U.S. and between getting ready to go and enjoying my time away I’ve had little time to consider the week ahead. But now it’s back to the reality of my life as well as trying out a new reality – the reality of having to rely on a not-for-profit organization for my food – one that thousands of Calgarians must face each day.

In addition to blogging here, I will be writing about my experience for the Calgary Herald. My day job is as a online journalist for the Calgary Herald, and I will hopefully bring awareness to Husky Help the Hungry week by writing both an article for the Life section (in print on Wednesday) as well as on the “Calgary Cooks” blog. The Herald already has amazing fundraising efforts in place for many not-for-profit organizations in the Calgary area through annual events like the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund and the Calgary Book Drive and Sale, and hopefully my experiences will add to  those efforts. If you are of the Twitter persuasion, you can also catch me tweeting about the experience. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with as many Calgarians as I can reach, and hope that I can raise awareness of the work of the Food Bank as well as put into context some of the challenges those eating from the Food Bank might face.

Right now I’m feeling a little bit nervous. I’m nervous about tomorrow (Monday), the day when I go to the Calgary Food Bank to pick up my emergency hamper and find out what I’ll be eating for the next week. I expect there will be a lot of basic, non-perishable foods like pasta, rice and canned food, but beyond that I have no idea. I’m what you would consider a grazer – I like to eat little snacks throughout the day, much of it being fresh fruit and veggies. About once a week I will make a casserole, soup or stew so I can bring at least one hot meal to work everyday. I usually spend about $50-$60 a week on food from the grocery store, maybe a little more if I go out to eat with friends or order-in lunch on the weekend with co-workers. I don’t expect to have much fresh food in my hamper, but I consider myself to be a resourceful cook and am armed with the Internet and a bulk-food cookbook to help me come up with recipe ideas. My main concern, health-wise, is not having enough energy to keep me going through work, workouts and a post-vacation errands that need doing. I’m hypoglycemic, but nothing a little starchy food won’t fix, so I should be fine if my hamper contains the levels of carbs I’m expecting.

As far as other people’s reactions to my week ahead, most have been very supportive. Although I’m sure my boyfriend is disappointed he won’t be invited over for a home-cooked meal this week, and I’m sure I won’t be making batches of cookies for my roommates (yes, I’m the best roommate ever), they’ll be cheering me on and holding me to the contents of the hamper. I’ll also have to avoid the treats that are constantly moving throught the newsroom, not an easy feat considering a true journalist will NEVER EVER pass up on free newsroom food.

There have been a few people I’ve spoken with who have the idea that the Food Bank is only for homeless people. Although I have never had to eat from the Calgary Food Bank, nor has anyone I know (as far as I know), I realize that people from all walks of life could easily be put in a position where ends just don’t meet and might need a hand feeding themselves and their families, whether it be for a week or longer. When I was younger and living in Halifax my Mom and I used to lend our hands on Sunday afternoons to help feed those who needed a warm meal, and often they were students, young professionals or families – not just those without a place to live.

I’m sure the week will be challenging and I’m excited to share with with my fellow bloggers, the Food Bank and everyone reading.


Entry filed under: Michelle. Tags: .

Erin & Mark Darren and Jen – Our week ahead

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. bob  |  June 1, 2010 at 3:51 am

    Sounds interesting but Roomates??
    What about the rules?- “2.Participants, and all household members, will live on only the contents of the Emergency Food Hamper…”

  • 2. michellebutterfield  |  May 31, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I’ve ok’d it with the folks over at the food bank. One roommate is leaving tomorrow to move back to Vancouver and the other has been filled in on what my week entails.

    I don’t see it being a problem. We eat seperately, buy our own groceries and anything that may cause confusion (same brand of milk, for instance) has been clearly marked.

    Also, I would not want to disturb her eating habits. We don’t make decisions together about food in our home, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable if I were to impose on her a project that I’m solely interested in.


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