LORD HAVE MERCY!
Its true, the discipline I feel the Lord has compelled me to this Lenten season is to cook. A meal. EVERY DAY. That's 40 days of cooking...IN A ROW.
Many of you who know me (via my other blog, "Paula's Palace of AltAred Art") have read of the Great Thanksgiving Debacle (as it has come to be known). Go here and read. I'll wait.
Now, whenever your eyes clear up from the many TEARS of laughter, please continue to read on:
The whole point of Lenten disciplines is to "give up" or "take on" something that you in and of yourself are not able to accomplish on your own. One year I gave up drinking my beloved fountain Cokes. With God's help I did it. One year God called me to a 40-day Bread and Water fast. (I KNOW...) but with God's help I accomplished it...one year I gave up television. Completely. (No big deal now since I hardly watch anyway) In addition to this "giving up" I always "take on" creating/presiding over liturgical services at Grace...Ash Wednesday, Lenten Studies (This year an EVENING study using this book...looking SO forward to it!) a Lenten Art Project, prayer meetings, etc. soup drives, blanket drives, etc.
Well, in addition to cooking at least one meal a day (as if this weren't terrifying enough) I decided to add on a "challenge"...it's called the Mutunga Challenge. It is a voluntary "awareness exercise" that allows us to live the way a good part of the world lives...on $2 a day. This challenge is usually taken on for a week, and the money saved is donated to the poor in Africa, Latin America, or another part of the world where hunger is a real and ever-present difficulty. I decided to take on the challenge for the 40 days of Lent. (The hubs has a great deal of mixed emotion about this whole thing...HUZZAH! for me cooking 40 meals in 40 days. It will be a bonafide miracle if/when it happens) but WHAAAAAAAA?!?!? to my doing it on $2 a day. WHAT IN THE WORLD WILL WE BE EATING?!?! he asks.)
Thus the reason for this blog post. :-) I will be posting my meals here (typically only the evening meal, since that's the only one I really HAVE to cook...however, I will be sticking to the $2 a day challenge for the meals during the rest of the day as well.
DISCLAIMER: Again, the point is not the recipes, the simplicity of the meals, or even the fact that I have to cook from scratch...the point is that we learn (rather quickly) that $2 a day is FAR LESS food and calories than we are typically used to consuming. It makes us aware also that we are CHOOSING the $2 a day way of life, where many millions of people do NOT have that choice. Again, the point of the exercise is awareness, not sharpening of ones culinary prowess or mercenary use of coupons. :-)
Here are some suggestions on how to begin the challenge...Tomorrow I will be back with a suggested shopping list and/or a recipe or two! WOOT!
1.Make sure that everyone in the family participates in the negotiations revolving around how to spend your week’s budget.
2.Discuss the sacrifices you will need to make and reflect on how to construct a suitable menu. Obviously we will all need to give up expensive food options like dining out, buying prepared and packaged meals and lattes. Fruit juice, milk and other beverages may need to be restricted, but then we all need to drink more water anyway. We may also need to give up time that we usually use for other activities in order to have time to cook meals from scratch.
3.Construct a menu and develop a budget for the whole week before you go shopping.
4.Estimate the value of food you already have in your food cupboard that you plan to use during the week as and subtract that from your week’s budget. The only food that does not need to be included in your budget is fruit and vegetables that you have grown yourself. One of the reasons that rural poverty is often not as devastating nutritionally as urban poverty is because people are able to grow some of their own food to supplement what they need to buy.
By the way...last night's meal? LEFTOVER SURPRISE...lol