From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Food stamps help millions of Americans feed themselves and their families, but they also help major companies boost their bottom lines. The CEO of Kraft has said he opposes cuts to SNAP benefits. Altruistic? Empathetic? Hardly. Snap purchases make up one-sixth of the company's revenue and an even greater share of its total sales. While food manufacturers give lip service to nutritional awareness, they privately lobby for the addition of sugar rich food and beverages to the list of items that SNAP will pay for. They are not alone. Other major food manufacturers such as Coca-Cola and Mars also benefit from SNAP. So do food retailers like Walmart and Kroger. In the state of Oklahoma alone, Walmart, which controls 22 to 24 percent of food retail nationwide, made $506 million for participation in the SNAP program over the course of two years. The third group of SNAP beneficiaries are the banks, such as J.P. Morgan Chase, who handle fund transfers and the administration of EBT systems throughout the states. A major contradiction of the times in which we live, is the fact that while states are seeing unexpected cost increases, banks are reaping significant windfalls from the economic downturn and increasing SNAP participation.
More Americans than ever before have to rely on SNAP dollars to help make ends meet. The recession has put forty-six million people in the program and that number is expected to climb higher still, at least through 2014. The rapid expansion of the program has made it an easy target for politicians who are proposing drastic cuts over a ten year period of time. Any cuts to this vital program will only hurt millions of American families. Clear thinking is needed now. We need to develop policies that ensure SNAP resources are used to reduce food insecurity and promote healthier diets, not to subsidize the profits of the food industry or banks.
As for Bob and me, we've made it through the challenge. It was an exercise for us, but one we took very seriously. I think we've shown it can be done, but it is important to remember that our situation is unique. I am retired and have no baby on my hip or toddlers pulling at my skirt. I have the gift of time and came to the challenge with years of kitchen experience and a background in logistics and planning. And despite my bravado, I always knew there would be a next meal. There was so much more I wanted to share with you. I wanted to answer questions and pose them as well. How do you build a functioning pantry? Why don't you buy in bulk? How do you shop if there is no car? How do you explain all this to children who want in a land of plenty? Why did you do this? I can answer that last one for you now. I am enraged by the proposed cuts to SNAP program. I was raised by parents and surrounded by neighbors who taught me that there are two kinds of people in this world. Those who see the world as it is, and those who see the world as it should be. The 5,000 of you who visit here each day have given me a platform and allowed me to share my vision of the world as it should be. I thank you for that. Please do what you can to highlight the problem of hunger in America. Allocations for SNAP are included in the U.S. Farm Bill, a five-year agricultural policy omnibus bill that's up for renewal and revision this year. This is the bill that should be watched. Hunger in our country is a problem that has an all too human face. Let's not make their problems worse.
Menu for SNAP Challenge Day Seven
Pancakes with Maple-Flavored Syrup
Leftover Rice Cakes
Small Chopped Salads with Boiled Dressing
Stovetop Smoked Sausage Casserole
Stovetop Smoked Sausage Casserole
3 green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch dice
1 large onion, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 large carrot, cut in 1/2-inch dice
12 to 16-ounces smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup milk
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley or basil
1) Combine peppers, onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots, sausage, oil and spices in a large skillet with a lid. Mix well.
2) Cover. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are cooked through. Stir in milk. Cover and cook another 2 minutes. Spoon into 4 soup bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve. Yield: 4 servings.
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