Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

(Photo of kitchen courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Week one is pretty much in the books.  I was "within my Lenten food budget" but I also didn't run out of anything important.

I did, however, have a really big realization.  In short, I have "more kitchen" than most people.

I have a 4 burner full size gas cookstove with a broiler.
I have a microwave that does more than "poke and nuke."
I have a full-size deep freeze which enabled me to buy meat in bulk and the amount I'm counting off for a daily meat ration is cheaper than if I had to buy meat at the store.
I have gizmos--crock pots, blenders, etc.
I have a dishwasher that enables me to not have to wash a single dish after I've made a culinary mess, so I don't think about the extra time and energy to wash dishes or leave things sitting long enough to attract bugs.
I have a fridge big enough to store leftovers.

I'm certain the average person who has to live on this food budget wishes their family could have any of these things.  I'm betting the average person who has to live on this food budget puts in more hours at difficult, manual, or mentally tedious labor, and coming home to cook and clean dishes does not find this "fun."

I'm remembering cooking wasn't "fun" for me when I had very little income.  Back when my days consisted of being in class (or on the hospital floors) for hours on end, nights on call, etc., cooking was something that kept me from more important things, like studying, vegging out in front of the TV, or sleeping.  Cooking was only fun when I had a little free time, and friends to share it with, play cards, yard games, etc.  Cooking only became "fun" for me when I got a little income and could experiment.

When I was in Lui, South Sudan, cooking was more communal.  The kitchen crew who fed us worked plenty, but they worked together, shared stories and time.  In the US, we all go home to our insular little worlds, and it's pretty easy to see cooking as thankless, boring, and hindering us from spending our time on more meaningful things.  The temptation is to do as little as one can to do what one has to do and be done with it.  Cooking is messy, and if one doesn't want bugs, mice, rats, roaches, etc., cleaning is a must.

Wow.  It's not just about the food.  It's about quality of life, of which food is just a tiny part.

(photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

...and I've already had to make some choices about where I purchase food.

For starters, I decided to fast on Ash Wednesday up to the time of our evening service at 7 p.m.  "Ah, though, I probably need a pint of milk, a little juice, and a couple of protein drinks..." I thought to myself.

Now, normally I'd run into the Casey's on Osteopathy Street to do that, since it's on my usual route to work.  However, those items would each be anywhere up to 80 or 90 cents cheaper at the Hy-Vee.  I have to make my food money last till next Wednesday (when I put another $86 in there and start with a new week.  As it was, the things I got at the store came to $10.55.

I realized that, at this stage of my life, I pretty much buy whatever grocery item I want, wherever that's handiest to purchase.  Yet doing this as my Lenten discipline has reminded me it wasn't always that way, and this is the way it is for many people EVERY day.

I also realized a staple in my life at Lent is going over to Mary Immaculate's fish fry on Fridays in Lent, right after we've done Stations of the Cross at Trinity.  That's $7.50 right there.  I realized that will be my "splurge" for the week during this project.

I am remembering.  Remembering the days when every penny for food needed to be accounted for.  Remembering that part of how we got by in the winter, when my dad was laid off, was because he hunted, and because we'd occasionally get a calf or a pig to raise up and butcher.  Remembering we'd buy the "pieces and ends" of the bacon instead of the strips...things like that.  Remembering there were a few days that biscuits and gravy were the main course.

How did I forget so much?



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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