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The Hunger Challenge

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In the garden

For the second year in a row, I've failed! Last year I was just an airhead and this year I had to fly to New York and participate in the opposite of the Hunger Challenge. It was four debauched days of rich, reduced sauces and expensive wines.

The challenge involves living on $4 for food. That's the average amount a Californian on food stamps has to spend on a day's meals. The point is of course to put yourself in another man's (or woman's) shoes and the point is it's darn near impossible. You're encouraged to try it for a week or even a day. It's not going to be pretty.

My idea was to make beans as even Rancho Gordo beans are about 50 cents a serving. And buy a sack of masa harina for corn tortillas. I also thought it would be interesting to forage. This time of year you can find neighbors with fig trees, some wild greens (although the very good miners lettuce is long gone), cactus paddles and maybe even some prickly pears. I'm not clever enough to hunt for mushrooms but I do think I spied some stinging nettles on our property and I know where to find some wild epazote down by the railroad tracks to flavor the beans. I probably can do it but it would still take my upper middle class free time and someone who is limited to $4 a day might say that's a luxury they don't have.

Whatever level you participate, even if it's just thinking seriously about modern Americans being hungry, I think it's great.

The Hunger Challenge.



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