Even during my lean times, when I didn't have money for new clothes or books, when I bought all my daughter and my clothes and shoes and gifts at garage sales. When I couponed like crazy and washed my hair with baking soda. When I made nearly everything by scratch (which seems like a dream now...never discount the luxury of time), I never went hungry. My daughter never went hungry. We always had enough.
I could pay the rent and the heating bill, and while it was a small budget for food, we made do. We always had enough. Enough. Enough. Enough. Saying it a few times and even the word itself sounds full.
If ever there came a time when money was too tight, I could always borrow money or food from my family if it came to that. I was lucky it didn't. There was always enough. Now I was resourceful, I'll give you that. I knew how to budget, the basics of cooking, and I didn't have champagne tastes (or if I did I could handle not having my heart's desire). I had enough money to build a good pantry for cooking staples. I watched every penny because if I didn't spend them wisely, there wouldn't be enough.
I was raising a child on less than $20,000/year for a time in a high cost of living area and do you know how lucky I was to have the resources of a supportive family and friends, the ability to cook and to budget, and if I had ever felt I had needed them, the ability to contact a social service agency? I had safety nets. Plural. I had enough.
I wasn't a moocher. I wasn't afraid of work. I was a single mother with a small child trying to make the best decisions for my kid. I couldn't have afforded full time day care and living in an apartment. I was able to get a low paying job as a nanny and bring my daughter to work with me. That along with child support covered our needs.
Now I'm more comfortable financially. Not rich, not even close, but comfortable. Continually adding to my savings is of paramount importance. I'ts another important safety net that I have had to use, and even live off of at times. Thank god for that.
I've been reading a lot more about hunger and food politics lately. Those topics that are easy to slip by when you have enough. The punishment of the poor. The hardworking poor who are no better or worse as people, just people like me doing there best to get by - often in worse circumstances than I ever was. There are people going hungry in this world. Not just in underdeveloped countries far away, but in cities like mine.
Every broccoli crown I've tossed in the trash, every lonely apricot that's rolled to the back of the fridge until it's unrecognizable...It makes me sick to think about the amount of food I've wasted. Not only because it's like ripping up money and throwing it into the toilet, but I feel it's a slap in the face to every person who went to bed hungry last night.
I've had enough. I will not waste another damn piece of food if I can help it.
This week's no-waste fare so far:
Overripe plums became a delicious base for Moroccan chicken and vegetables.
Not quite right lemon rice became sweet kefir lemon and apricot rice pudding.
Roasted potatoes that needed eating went into a Spanish Tortilla.