I'm working on a new project that has actually been on my heart and mind for over a year now. Back in October of 2009, my hubby and I watched the movie Food Inc. with two other couples. One part of the movie profiled a low-income family that was struggling with food and health issues. The father was on several very expensive medications related to diabetes and hypertension. This family shared the fact that due to their low income, they were often forced to eat off the dollar menu at fast food restaurants. To prove the point, they went to a grocery store and showed how expensive fresh produce was. At this point, I almost jumped to my feet to shout "foul." What about frozen foods? Or even canned? What about beans and rice? Certainly, there had to be a middle way! I also calculated that if the family of four each purchased three items off the dollar menu (drink, burger, fries), that would result in a family meal costing $12. I was sure a family of four could eat cheaply (and healthfully) for much less than that. One of the couples watching the movie with us was on a very tight budget, so I asked if my thinking was unreasonable. I was assured that it was entirely possible to eat well on little money.
I also pondered the thought that the father in the movie, who was overweight and possibly in the obese range, could reduce his dependence on pharmaceuticals by losing weight. Not only would he experience improved health and reduce the risk of suffering from other degenerative diseases, but it would help the family pocketbook. A win-win situation in my mind.
Thus I began my quest to find a way to help low-income families learn to eat better and to experience optimum health. The result is a cookbook that will be made available to low-income families through our local food bank. I approached the director of the food bank with the idea and she told me to "run with it." A group of lovely, civic-minded, and hardworking ladies are now helping me with this project. We're in the process of gathering facts and ideas to help make it a success. We're looking into recipes, pantry lists, money, cooking, and eating tips, and community resources to include in the cookbook. We have lots of ideas we're exploring right now, but would welcome any input into this project.