Sunday, March 22, 2009

Day 22- $1 a day - Revision of the Rules

I’m reaping lessons from my experiment, but at the half way mark I can see that there is something seriously wrong. I still have access to too much food.

In the past 22 days, I have been to 3 potlucks related to my faith community, I’ve had 3 meals or significant snacks provided by my work places, I’ve had access to good food and drink on 2 social occasions, and I’ve been fed breakfast at a non-profit board meeting.

American culture is centered on food. That’s not to say that other cultures--like Italian, French, and Filipino cultures—do not revolve around food, but my specific community and the activities we do together are overflowing with edible options. Too many options. Oh sure, I’ve been hungry a handful of times these past 3 weeks, and I am already growing weary of black beans and peanut butter sandwiches. But I wouldn’t say I am suffering from hunger. Food is so readily available that I need to purify my experiment because to be honest, the abundance of food makes it impossible for me to identify with the worlds poor and hungry.

So I’m revising my Rules.

Current rule: If I attend a potluck, I have to contribute something to eat.
Revised rule: I will attend potlucks for socializing but will only eat what I bring.

Current rule: I can eat food that is leftover from work meetings.
Revised rule: No food from work events or meetings.

I’m surprised at the number of times food has been offered to me in the course of my ordinary days. Usually I am oblivious to it. One way to deal with the over-abundance would be to just stay home and not go out all month, but I don’t want to isolate myself. I want to participate in my community. I wonder how many low-income people isolate themselves so as not to feel embarrassed at the little food they have to contribute to potlucks and community meals? At any rate, I am going to hunker down and reject all food that comes my way for the last half of my experiment. It’s time to up the ante. Time to stack the deck. It’s time to make sure that my original intentions are not hijacked by the cornucopia of cuisine in my world.


  1. So how many food items have you turned down since you wrote this?

  2. I only wrote it last night, but there are some brownie bites sitting 10 feet from my desk. Pure torture.

  3. Brownie bites are from hell. So I have to say, that I think American culture is much less food centric that most other cultures I have visited. Other cultures actually slow down on a much more regular basis to prepare and share food. We don't do that as much here. We may have breakfast at meetings, but how often do we actually bring people together to eat what we have cooked. Sometimes... but I think it pales in comparison to most places I have visited, including very very poor places.