From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...While the face of hunger has changed with time, programs to assist those in need have been in place for years. I thought you might like to quick-step through that history. If you'd like to see a more detailed timeline, one can be found here. The first Food Stamp Program began in 1939. The original program allowed people on relief to buy orange stamps equal in value to amount of their normal food costs. For every orange stamp that was purchased, a blue stamp, worth an additional fifty cents, was also issued. The orange stamps could be used to purchase any type of food, while blue stamps could only be used purchase government surplus food items. The program ended in 1943 when employment improved and unmarketable food surpluses no longer existed.
The program remained inactive until President Kennedy signed an Executive Order that called for a program to expand food distribution. In 1961, the creation of a food stamp pilot program was announced. The new program still required the purchase of food stamps, but the concept of special stamps for the purchase of surplus stores was eliminated. In 1964, President Johnson requested that Congress pass legislation that would make the program permanent. The bill, whose purpose was to strengthen the agricultural economy and improve the nutrition of low-income families, became law in 1964.
Huge changes have been made to the program in intervening years. Food stamps have been replaced by an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system that moves authorized funds from an individual's Federal account to that of a grocer in payment for food. Once a recipient has an approved account, a plastic card, similar to a bank debit card, is issued and benefit deposits are made to that account each month. In October of 2008, the name of the Federal Food Stamp Program was changed to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to reflect a focus on nutrition as well as increased benefit amounts.
I spent some time tonight pondering how I'll spend the 65 cents I have left in my allotment for the week. We've cut it very close, but I have a certainty that we'll successfully complete the challenge. It hasn't been easy, because challenge participants are required to purchase all food from their allotment. In the real world, SNAP benefits are meant to supplement other funds. I suspect that most of us can do anything we set our minds to for a week, but the day in and day out of this must really wear on those for whom it is not an exercise. We ate well today. Our food was sufficient for the day. Here are the recipes and the menu I used for the fifth day of the SNAP challenge.
Menu for SNAP Challenge Day Five
Carrot and Celery Sticks
* Savory Vegetable and Rice Cakes with Boiled Dressing
Small Chopped Salad with Oil and Vinegar Dressing
* Scalloped Ham and Potatoes with Cheese
Recipes for Day Five
Scalloped Ham and Potatoes with Cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 large)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/4 cups milk
4 cups (about 1 pound) thinly sliced potatoes
12 ounces cubed or shredded ham
1 cup shredded cheese (I use Monterey Jack)
1) To make sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Add cheese and stir until melted. Set aside.
2) Place half of sliced potatoes in a greased 1-1/2 quart rectangular dish. Top with ham and half of sauce. Top with remaining half of potatoes and sauce.
3) Bake, covered, in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 40 to 50 minutes more or until potatoes are tender. Let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 4 to 5 servings.
Savory Vegetable and Rice Cakes
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups unsalted cooked rice at room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
Boiled dressing or thin mayonnaise
1) Cook scallions, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until carrot is softened, about 8 minutes.
2) Stir together rice, eggs, bread crumbs, and vegetable mixture in a bowl. Form into 8 (2 1/2- by 1/2-inch) patties, pressing mixture so cakes will hold together (mixture will be loose). Transfer to wax paper as formed. Cook 4 rice cakes in 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over moderately high heat, gently turning over once, until browned, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a plate and keep warm, loosely covered with foil. Cook remaining 4 cakes in remaining tablespoon oil. Serve with boiled dressing or a thin room temperature mayonnaise. Yield: 8 rice cakes.
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