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Thoughts about Poverty and Food Hoarding

alec vanderboom

Read Part One Here: A Shocking Confession--I only use a mini-fridge to feed seven people.

Here are some more random thoughts I came up with this morning.

Switching to a mini-fridge in an example of the hidden blessing of involuntary poverty. I did not do this switch as a well thought out "plan" to improve my family's eating habits.We bought the house that was "cute and cheap." We did not buy the one the home with a turn-key ready kitchen filled with gleaming stainless steel appliances. I certainly saw pictures of "perfect for us" kitchens on our realtor's website. Yet my grounded husband was right there at my elbow saying "those houses are not in our price range!"

Here's where I give poverty its due. If we had a little more money to spend in mortgage payments, I could have easily convinced my husband that I "needed" a house with a nice kitchen. I cook. Daily. For lots of people. I think I could have easily convinced both him and myself that a kitchen with a nice stove, a nice fridge, and proper counter space was a "need" and not a "want" for our family.

We're crunchy people. We live in an area with actual farms and are part of the "buy local", and "farm to table" movement. Never, ever had I heard about or read anyone talking about "less refrigerator space for a large family is beneficial." In fact, I heard the opposite. Large families need "bigger" refrigerator space and an extra freezer in their basement.

I've got a grocery budget that lower than average. When I grocery shopped before, I did so in with a poor mindset. I looked for what was on sale in the meat department. I bought as much as I could at a cheap price. I gleefully pulled out my "extra" 5 week old frozen pork chops whenever we had a lean money month. I patted myself on the back for my thrift and my resourcefulness. "Look what a great homemaker I am. I feeding us well with less."

I constantly felt this pressure to make our meals "normal" while having far less money than my friends and my family.

Now that I'm pushed into this weird anti-cultural constraint, "I've got the fridge space of a college student living in a dorm room but I've got an adult nurtritional mindset and 5 young growing bodies to feed" it a juicy design challenge. It's a problem. But it's a healthy problem. It's sort of an invigorating "what are me and God going to do today" sort of thing.

The small fridge got me over hoarding. I can not food "hoard." Food hoarding was how I dealt with the anxiety that we live with very little left over pay check to pay check--and it also contributed to our poverty. I could not buy enough "frozen meat" on sale to make up for my guilt about not working while having high student loan debt. I had to deal with that anxiety that I wasn't a good wife because my husband wasn't smothering a steak with A 1 steak sauce every Friday night like my father did during my childhood.

My kids don't eat the way I did as a child--but thank goodness!

I prefer to live in the moment with our diet. We shop. We cook. We eat. We repeat the process. I'm not the perfect French chef who shops every three days for fresh meal ingredients from the Farmers Market--but I'm a better than I used to be. I like how God guides us to make better choices with constraints and fasting.