Exactly a year ago, my husband was laid off. Even though unemployment numbers were a constant part of the news cycle, it was completely unexpected when it happened to us. It’s pretty amazing that in an apologetic ten minute conversation in someone’s office, an entire household’s income can be sliced by more than half, and all of a sudden you’re a statistic. A lot of my friends became statistics this year.
A lot can happen in a year. Many lessons were learned. Some good. Some bad. What I do know is this: One can still eat well during a recession. It helps if you don’t eat a lot of meat. And having a well-stocked pantry is key. And I know how lucky I, as an American, am, considering how much of our income we spend on food vs. the rest of the world.
And while I may have missed my artisanal cheeses and imported olives, I knew they were there waiting for me when we got back on our feet. The rest of the world isn’t as lucky. Food riots have proliferated in the past few years, from Argentina to Egypt, and food security has become a real topic of concern for the United Nations.
Of course, one doesn’t need to look to a far-off country to discuss food insecurity. Many inner-cities are food deserts, missing real grocery stores with fresh dairy and produce, but are studded with corner bodegas, where sugary rainbow-colored drinks are much cheaper than a gallon of milk. My sister, a middle school librarian in Northeast DC, wrote me yesterday. She was very excited that all her kids would be getting breakfast every morning this year. If the school didn’t provide it, then her kids just wouldn’t have that meal.
What I hope to do with this blog is help people cook delicious food for not a lot of money. If you are in Boston, I hope to offer suggestions on where to find cheap, good produce, meal deals, and other tips I have developed. Of course, this often precludes buying locally and sustainably. If you do have the means, I highly encourage you to do just that. And please keep in mind that buying the organic pineapple at Whole Foods may not be the best option, once you consider how that pineapple got to your plate.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these ideas and the recipes I will offer, and I look forward to your own insights as I move ahead with this. I don’t plan on blogging every day. I am doing this for enjoyment. I hope you enjoy it too.