Thursday, September 8, 2011


definition: the act of renouncing: to formally declare one's abandonment of (a claim, right, or possession).
Have you ever thought: oh my god i need to go for a run otherwise i might get a muffin top and need new to buy new jeans, how embarrassing.
Try the Hunger Challenge (ahem starts this Sunday, September 11th. sign up for the hunger challenge HERE). I won’t even get into all of the good fortune that thought conveys. Psych: I will: 
1) the obvious: you’re well fed
2) you can afford running shoes, jeans, and new jeans
3) your schedule, stresses and lifestyle includes time to exercise and focus on your physical well being
4) you have time to focus on your physical appearance
I started my blog in order to increase awareness and support the SF Food Bank 2009 Hunger Challenge. It’s a week of eating/drinking on the same amount of money that people who require assistance from the SFFB and Food Stamps use.
I live for food. You know how some people think about what they want for dinner, right after lunch? or even breakfast? I’m days ahead.
 This has become increasingly more apparent since I’ve moved to Nicaragua and often need to plan in advance (sometimes by 2 weeks) to get groceries in a rural/island community. But this is not just for work:I can tell you right now that I have a Trader Joe’s Panang Tuna Tasty Bite and I am going to save until Sunday night so I don’t have to share it with my brother because he’ll be out of town (sorry, Mateo). 
gluttony knows no bounds:
 it takes 2 servers to bring out
a double order of our already huge nachos
(pictured: 1 lb. beef) to the bar
I waver. I volunteer with my community but I work in high end restaurants. I want to cook gastronomically but I also want to save the world. It’s a tough balance. I remember cooking at Google, with all of the included snacks, like Vitamin Water, Lara Bars, things that were free at work at we’d take advantage of (as in, take home), because, these treats were expensive, and, we deserve them ALL the time, not just during working hours, right? Eesh. But not everyone said this, anyway, I don’t remember one dishwasher I worked with sharing this thought with me. And FYI, there’s no limit to the type of people that Hunger affects:  kids, senior citizens, families; and one heartbreaking story after another affirms that there is such a thing as bad luck ((see: they should just... no, it's not that simple)). Not bad luck, like, 'oh, I'll take a staycation to save more money, or wait to get an iphone 4 because things are pretty tight...
So. Hunger Challenge (sign up for the hunger challenge HERE).Give it a shot, eh? What!!! No way. A whole week?! But I already have dinner plans on Tuesday! (Guess what, cancel them. Say no. Withhold. Besides the great conversation piece of, Oh, I can’t because I am on the Hunger Challenge, yada yada ... is the deeper, more influential feeling of having to say No to something that you want. Bienvenidos al Mundo Injusto!  Aha... awareness comes in...
Okay, I’m not convincing. And you don’t even live in San Francisco and don’t want to google your own city and participate in a local challenge.
how about ONE MEAL.
When I participated in the Hunger Challenge in 2009, the hardest part for me was being social on $4/day. September 17 is a nationwide awareness event that you can host in your own home- with friends! Show that slow food can be inexpensive, too; and sign up for the slow food $5 potluck challenge HERE
for yous guyz up for the challenge ( sign up for the hunger challenge HERE), here be:
my tips for the week:
Utilize legumes! (mix with grains: rice/bread/corn tortillas for a whole protein meal)
I am talking more than beans, here. I have nightmares reminding me of bloggers that forget to presoak the beans and end up without dinner... but what about others?
why? healthy, tasty, variety, inexpensive, and no need to pre-soak! can be cooked in under 30 minutes! Leftover legumes make great patties to fry up as you would a meatball! It’s less expensive to eat vegetarian, and these offer color, texture and variety.
* split pea soup with chopped ham
* garlicky green lentils with hardboiled egg
* golden lentils simmered with carrot and pepper chicken thighs (bone-in)
* PS: pinto beans are delicate and don’t need a presoak! Boil ‘em up!
I hope you eat pork! Sausage, bacon and ham are a great way to add a little flavor and protein to any meal. If you can swing it, poultry substitutes can have the same effect.
If you’re going to go the pasta/canned sauce route: here’s how to jazz it up and make it super tasty:
*in saute pan over medium heat, warm about 2 Tbs. of oil (any kind will do). 
*add 2 chopped garlic cloves, cook for about 30 seconds, then:
*add can of tomato sauce, stir and cook for about 1 minute
 *frying the sauce will help get rid of a tinny flavor and the garlic will punch out some freshness!

in general: cook in bulk, but not too much bulk. Say, no more than 2 meals worth of food at once. It's a great concept: BUT you are probably trying new recipes that you've never made and making weird modifications because of budget, and don't want to get stuck eating gluey potatoes for 4 days (or throwing them away at the end of the week when you go back to 'real life').
buena suerte, and let me know if you need an extra push or any advice!

Mark Bittman can do it. click here.

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