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Food Stamp Challenge: Day 1

November 25, 2012 | Repairing the World


Submitted by Cantor Buchdahl

Yesterday I prepared for our family’s taking the Food Stamp Challenge by grocery shopping with my son Gabriel, age 12.  I admit it felt a little like cheating that I did my shopping at a Shaw’s in Vermont, near my in-laws’ house, where the prices are definitely cheaper than in Manhattan.

Staples for the week included:

  • 3 loaves bread
  • 5lb sack of potatoes
  • Banana bunch
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • 2 dozen eggs
  • Bag of black beans
  • Tortillas
  • 1 bag shredded cheese
  • 2lbs carrots
  • 2lbs onions
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 3 boxes of cereal, all on sale
  • 3 cans of tomatoes
  • 2 cans of kidney beans
  • 2 cans tuna
  • 2 lbs of ground beef on sale


A few things I noticed while shopping:

Gabriel pointed out that sugar cereals are a lot cheaper than “healthy” cereal, and always on sale. I caved and bought sugar cereal for my kids this week (savings = $5.30).

I’m going to eat a lot of carbs this week. They’re inexpensive and filling.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are truly a luxury on this budget. I had to stick to mostly “white-ish” fruits and veggies, like potatoes, bananas, onions, and cabbage for my fill.

Organic produce, milk and eggs are nearly 2–3 times as expensive as conventional products. It’s not even a choice for the vast majority of our nation’s families. Why is there not more of an uproar about the hormones that fill our milk, and produce that is genetically modified and filled with harmful pesticides?

My breakfast this morning consisted of oatmeal and bananas. I was generous with the cinnamon since I can use unlimited spices. It was a bit much this morning, as you can see…

And for dinner tonight, cabbage soup. I now understand why our Eastern European ancestors liked to make cabbage soup—it’s filling, healthy, and the ingredients don’t break the bank.  It tastes better than it looks!

Cantor Buchdahl's cabbage soup
Cantor Buchdahl’s cabbage soup

Listen to Cantor Buchdahl’s recent sermon about the challenge.
Read more clergy and congregant posts about this challenge

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