About this Blog

Welcome! Thanks for checking out On Food Stamps.

I created this blog in 2009 when I began working at the Los Angeles Regional Foodbank. My work at this organization opened my eyes to food justice issues in America, and I had a strong desire to better understand the difficulties many people face when trying to access healthy food on a limited budget. So, I embarked on my own Food Stamp Challenge, living on $31/week as a vegan. I used this blog to chronicle my experience.

While my Food Stamp Challenge project has come to an end, you can see what I learned from it by reading the Greatest Hits posts linked to the right side of the page. Please excuse any out-of-date links, as I am no longer updating this blog on a regular basis.

Stay Hungry,


Thursday, June 4, 2009


The bottom line of eating for $31/week, vegan or not, is that you have to cook.

You've heard me grumble a bit about just how much time it takes me to cook everything from scratch. You have witnessed my discovery that cooking, and the time and skills it requires, is turning out to be a major obstacle in the quest for a sustainable, healthful and affordable diet.

This week I have actually started keeping track of just how long it takes me to cook and clean up each day, because I am increasingly aware of the role that time plays in facilitating or sabotaging healthy food choices.

My own experience thus far has illustrated how hard it can be to find the time to cook nutritious food everyday, but a recent New York Times op-ed makes a strong case for it.

In her piece, Amanda Hesser calls on Michelle Obama to take her statement about locally grown foods - marked by her ceremonial White House vegetable garden- one step further. Hesser hits the nail right on the head when she calls cooking a crucial yet neglected aspect of the food discussion. I agree. I've even neglected to discuss it a bit in this blog. Hesser goes on:

Because terrific local ingredients aren’t much use if people are cooking less and less; cooking is to gardening what parenting is to childbirth. Research by the NPD Group showed that Americans ate takeout meals an average of 125 times a year in 2008, up from 72 a year in 1983. And a recent U.C.L.A. study of 32 working families found that the subjects viewed cooking from scratch as a kind of rarefied hobby.

The article isn't long. It took me exactly 3 minutes to read. I timed it.


  1. I just started reading your blog and find it really interesting. I don't mind the cooking part, as much as the doing the dishes.

  2. Robyn - agreed. I have posted a bit about the fact that living in a pretty cheap apartment, I have to battle it out with cockroaches. It doesn't seem directly related to food issues at first, but I will tell you that knowing I have to do my dishes IMMEDIATELY after cooking every single time without fail is a major deterrent to cooking sometimes.