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$42 Emergency Menu

June 22nd, 2007


It was many moons ago, but will admit that I do know first hand what it is like to experience hunger and food insecurity. Hearing about the Food Stamp Challenge both online and in the media has brought back a flood of memories for me and a deep sense of gratefulness that there is always hope. It is in remembering the struggles of poverty and my own humble past that I have set the foundation for this menu. It has been created to feed 2 people for a week with no more then $1.00 per meal, but elements of the menu and grocery list can be tweaked to accommodate a family of 4 for less then $84 if extra or larger (family sized) items are bought at the store. $42 0r $84 may seem like quite a bit of money to many people trying to pare down expenses or exist on a shoe string budget. However, this amount can easily be reduced by taking the time and energy to clip coupons, shop grocery sales, and preparing meals from scratch (including baking your own bread.) As a matter of fact, The Hillbilly Housewife offers an excellent solution for stretching a limited budget in order to feed a family of 4-6 for $45 an entire week if you can find the time and energy to devote to meal preparation. By following her menu plan, you can easily begin to stock an empty pantry and still provide your family with a good variety of food. Rebecca’s Pocket has also set an awesome example on how it is possible for two people to eat organic for $74 a week for a month, by utilizing the benefits of belonging to a local CSA and food coop. If you have access to the same type of resources and time to cook/bake you may be very interested in trying her plan. Also worth mentioning is The Baklava Queen’s participation(Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7) in April’s Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge. Her local and sustainable approach to eating well on a budget is a bit more costly, but thought provoking and is great source of inspiration for anyone wishing to preserve the local bounty of the seasons while at peak in quality and least expensive.

My $42 Emergency Menu differs in that it has been created assuming nothing as not everyone needing to stretch their grocery budget has time or energy to devote to meal preparation, a garden/green space to grow their own food, a kitchen full of small appliances/gadgets, access to CSAs, farm markets, a food coop, health food store, gas money to shop at multiple locations, or access to them with public transportation. As a matter of fact, looking at the food I have purchased and the menu I have planned, I am not even sure that it is ideal. I was unable to afford and lean meats, very many fresh fruits/vegetables, and there is a considerable reliance on beans and high fat protein sources. However, in considering the need that many American’s (on a Food Stamp Budget/or other low income budget of $1 or less per meal each day) have to survive each week, I think I was able to provide a fairly healthy way to stave off hunger. Of course this would be considerable more difficult if attempting to create a menu for 1 person as there would be no one else in which to pool resources with allowing a bit more variety.

$42 Emergency Grocery List for this menu

Breakfast for Two
(Enough for 7 Days)

1 (8 oz.) Glass of Orange Juice

1 Slice of Lightly Buttered Whole Wheat Toast (High fiber)

2 Scrambled Eggs and 1 Tablespoon of cheese

2 Tablespoons of Thick and Chunky Salsa

Lunch for Two
(Enough for 7 Days)

1/2 of a Banana

1/2 of a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (Made with 1 slice of bread, 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter, and 2 Tablespoons of Jelly)

Snacks for Two
(2 a day for each person to help stave off hunger between meals)

1/4 Cup of Trail Mix

1 (8 oz.) Glass of Milk

Dinners for Two
(Cooking for 2 people can be difficult as many ingredients are sold in 4 serving portions. The first 2 dinners mentioned provide enough to serve a family of 4 or 2 people with leftovers for the following night. )

*Whole Wheat Pasta with Kidney Beans, Red Sauce, and Garlic Toasts (Serves 6 or 2 or People for 2 nights with leftovers that can easily be frozen for a meal in the future)

*Taco Soup (Serves 4-6 or 2 People for 2 nights)

*No Electricity Dinner (Serves 2)

*Depression Era Corn Soup and Garlic Toasts (Serves 2)

*Totinos Frozen Pizza and a Simple Salad or Frozen Vegetable (Serves 2)

Grocery List For This Menu

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