My most stressful shopping experience ever

Myself and several other taking the Welfare Food Challenge did our shopping at Buy-Low Foods before today’s media launch at noon. I arrived at 11:15 hoping to give myself plenty of time to scour the aisles and make sure I was getting the best value. I assumed that would allow me to finish with some time to spare, but what I didn’t expect was the most stressful shopping experience of my life. The tensions and dilemmas of what to choose abounded, even with a rough idea of a meal plan in my head. As someone who loves to cook one of the most troubling challenges was how to incorporate flavour without sacrificing calories. I was worried about making sure the food I made had some semblance of tastiness, but at the same time I wanted to make sure I was still eating on the last few days of the Challenge. I made the decision to buy 4 onions, 3 sad looking garlic bulbs and a bunch of cilantro. After barely completing my shopping before noon I had in my basket what looked to me to be enough food for two or three days. I had already made my peace with the likelihood of eating peanut butter sandwiches for some meals, but really didn’t expect how little I had, even if there was a fair amount of rice and oatmeal, which I hope would hold the hunger at bay. There were many things I had hoped for that I have had to do without, including oil, more spices, and seasoning for a soup.

So for my first dinner I used my first onion and half a bulb of garlic to make red lentils with spinach served on what I was surprised to discover was sticky rice. It was about half the price of any other rice at the store so maybe I should have been suspicious. It didn’t taste all that bad, but I ended up burning some on the bottom of the pot. I will have to do some research to make sure I don’t waste any next time. It was all topped off with a little bit of fresh cilantro, which, at least for tonight, seemed like a good idea.
I know this is only an experience that I will be living for a week, so do not want to trivialize the experience of those who are stuck with living this reality day after day and month after month, but after my experience today can’t imagine the anxiety that having to sustain oneself, and one’s love ones, on so little would bring. In a province and a country that has so much things should not be this way.

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