Thoughts on Food, Food Insecurity, and Thanksgiving

A couple of weeks ago, I sent in the paperwork to renew my food stamps.  I knew that I was likely to have them cut due to increased income, but they were almost stopped entirely.  The lady I spoke to on the phone said that I was lucky to get my $16 / month, because it means that my case hasn’t closed, so when my income decreases I can ask them to update my file.  But going from $170-ish to $16 was a pretty big shock.

I know that there are people out in the world who have it a LOT worse than I do.  I know that there are resources I could tap into if things got desperate, which I’m not using now.  That doesn’t stop me from being concerned about my next meal.  Worried that I’ll have multiple meals of beans and rice.  Concerned about my health and overall nutrition if my resources for good food decrease.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been worried about food.  It’s got me wondering about the long-term psychological effects of food insecurity on young adults;  Who hasn’t heard of the “poor college student” and how we / they will attend any function or meeting if there’s going to be free food?  Am I imagining the flipped switch in my head that tells me food is more scarce, making it harder for me to lose weight and improve my health?  Thinking about food makes me feel different than it did before that phone call.

This all is especially relevant, considering that today is a feast-day.  Thanksgiving is generally celebrated by stuffing ourselves stupid on delicious food and then napping off the food coma that follows.  I’m taking a dish of roasted veggies over a friend’s house, which is great because it’s kinda potluck-ish; it’s not so great because I don’t know if I’ll be able to bring any leftovers home.  Leftovers are important.

I got a whole frozen turkey from work last week; it’s staying in the freezer, likely until January when my stash of food is running low and I desperately need protein.  And then it will feed me for at least a week, more if you count soup from the carcass.

This brings my train of thought to my pantry.  When I have my own place, I am going to build a food stash that will carry me through Ragnarok.  I am going to can fruits and veggies, and freeze things, and have a pyramid of store-bought canned food.  Eventually I want to work up to homesteading, wherein I grow and make as much of my food as possible, and only buy things like meat and staples (flour, sugar, etc.).  I really want to have chickens for fresh eggs.  (Have you SEEN the price of eggs at the grocery store lately?!?)

Food is one of those hospitality things, like offering a guest something to drink.  I want to be in a place where I don’t have to worry about food or a roof over my head, where I’m comfortable enough with what I have to share it.

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