Friday, March 31, 2023

March Food Thoughts

The American Food Situation 

“It should shock the American conscience that in the wealthiest and one of the most agriculturally productive countries — awash in cheap food, no less — one in 10 households still live with food insecurity, a grim reality with which we’ve become startlingly comfortable. But hunger, as we learned during the pandemic and in its aftermath, is a policy choice.” (Source: VOX)

Whose policy? That of the Republicans in Congress, who refuse to renew the SNAP benefits that keep more than 30 million Americans from going hungry each day. Some benefits were discontinued earlier, but March, 2023, was the end of this program that’s essential for so many American families.

“The lapse in the additional benefits will reduce Snap allotments for the average recipient by $90 a month, with some households losing $250 a month or more. Older adults at the minimum benefit level will see their monthly Snap benefits drop from $281 a month to $23.” (Source: The Guardian

And along with the cancellation of the SNAP program, many states and cities have discontinued programs that provided lunch and sometimes breakfast to school children, regardless of need. The school lunch programs were cost-effective because of the reduction in complex record-keeping. Furthermore, they resulted in better learning by the school children, as measured by better test scores! 

To put it bluntly: March was a very bad month for hunger in America, and there may be further cuts if the Republicans in congress implement their policies. Charitable food banks are stepping in, but the cancellation of government programs will fall heavily on those in need. Globally there are many more issues of hunger and want, but I can only focus on one at a time!

In My Kitchen in March

From my California trip: fridge magnets and a menu from a lovely cafe.
I’m hoping the menu will help me with ideas for lunches.

Pad Thai: Another Asian Food Challenge

Condiments for Pad Thai. The “Sour Soup Base” (a new ingredient in our kitchen).
This is essential for the correct flavor, according to the recipe.
Len’s resulting Pad Thai was great.

Ingredients for the Pad Thai.

Rice noodles for Pad Thai.

A Sweet Breakfast Treat

A Few Simple Meals

Lunch: a tortilla and bean casserole and a
fruit and vegetable salad.

Turkey meatballs, cheese, and asian slaw on sourdough bread.
I made the meatballs with aquafaba from a can of chickpeas
instead of the usual raw egg in the meat mixture.

New ingredient: TJ’s Pepper Flakes.
Used in stir-fried Brussels Sprouts (recipe here)

The main course for this dinner was potato chips with Tzatziki!
Side dishes: green salad and fruit salad.

New ingredients to try soon: coconut oil and coconut water.
To be used in making some Thai recipes.

New Kitchen Cabinet: A Work in Progress

Installed this month: a new custom-built cabinet, still waiting for handles.
The added space is enabling us to organize our kitchen equipment much better.
When the handles are in and the reorganization is done, I’ll post more photos.

Shared with In My Kitchen at Sherry’s blog.
Blog post and photos © 2023 mae sander.


David M. Gascoigne, said...

If only Americans would stop electing Republicans.......

eileeninmd said...


The Republicans are not into helping anyone, they only care about profit.
Your meals all look delicious, I am into adding the pepper flakes to many of my meals. The Thai recipes using the coconut oil and water sound yummy.
Your new cabinet looks nice, it will help with the organizing your kitchen.
Take care, enjoy your day and happy weekend!

Lori said...

All of your food looks delicious! Pad Thai is one of my favorites. Organizing the kitchen is always nice.

DVArtist said...

Repubicans have always wanted to keep the American people in poverty and hunger. Now, with the evil bills they are trying to pass to further impoverous people, I just don't understand why they still get elected. The rich, will get richer but don't they realize they need all of us to stay that way? Greed and hate is what their party is about. Enough of that. All of your food looks amazing as always. I do like the new cabanet too. Have a very nice day today.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

You eat so well, Mae. Your meals are well balanced and always fun to see, too. After all, the visual is the first thing we experience when we see food. I know food insecurity is a big problem, but eating properly, especially people who live alone, can be a problem, too. Nutrition and food insecurity go hand in hand, I think.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Ironically, I bought coconut oil to make soap!

Iris Flavia said...

Sad about how some have to make bad choices in the food sector. A friend of mine traveled Florida and said fresh food is so expensive, yet fast food so cheap. Sad, is it.
Your food looks very yummy.

Tina said...

That bread!!! I love the looks of all your meals but the bread is indeed a masterpiece.

Let's hope people get to the polls and vote!!

anno said...

Politics these days fill me with dismay. Feels like there's some fundamental disconnect between the politicians and the constituents they are intended to serve.

Your pad thai, however, fills me with the desire to try this myself! It looks fabulous! Also, I kind of love the idea of a dinner made of potato chips and tzatziki... or maybe any meal that features potato chips. Kudos to you for adding the salads, though, if only for providing the level of contrast needed to keep people eating.

Velva- Evening with a Sandwich said...

I can't even get started about the cheap processed foods we feed our citizens. Yes, most powerful and richest country in the world, and this is the best we can do (sigh).

Your kitchen has been rocking in March.


Marg said...

It seems crazy to me that there are so many economic challenges for people and yet there is a reduction in the help that they can receive. It surely only leads to more issues.

I do like a good Thai meal. I think this month we are going to try making either Pad Thai or Pad See Ew.

Harvee said...

My husband grew up in Thailand so we don't visit many Thai restaurants, as he also cooks! Crushed peanuts are an important ingredient for pad thai, he says.

Tandy | Lavender and Lime ( said...

Food insecurity happens more often than we think it does. I have just heard of a young child who is getting one meal a day at home, and they live in what is considered an affluent area. So to cut school meals is a tragedy imo. Enjoy using the coconut oil. I love using it for mushrooms :)

Sherry's Pickings said...

I enjoy Pad Thai; love that the noodles are of rice :) Always great to have extra cupboard space. I don't know what SNAP is, but it's a shame if more people go hungry without it. Sour soup base sounds useful. And turkey meatballs ... yum! Love Brussels Sprouts but it's a no from me for coconut oil (I read that it has the bad stuff in it, and that was a nutritionist saying).
thanks for joining in this month. Have a great April.

Happy Retiree's Kitchen said...

We hear about American politics every day on our Australian news channels, but don't hear about all of the consequences of Republican policies such as the food banks being cancelled. I am still amazed to hear some Aussies say that they prefer the Republicans. There are more and more charity food banks doing great work in our Aussie cities as well, and some schools offering food programs. Your Pad Thai looks delicious Mae,one of my favourite Thai dishes, I make one that is gluten free which is a bonus if needed. Such an interesting post.

Unknown said...

I'm intrigued by the way those brioche rolls are turned on the side so you can really see the layers, I usually put them the other way so the top is more domed but I'm going to try it that way next time :) your pad thai looks really cool too

xx Nancy from

francesca said...

I was shocked to read about the cancellation of assistance programmes in the States. In a time like this, with a recession looming, interest rates rising and inflation, it's very short sighted, mean and inhumane to even consider such cuts. But I'm also pleased that you included this information, as we rarely get to read that kind of detail about poverty in the USA. And it's also good to read, as I often feel a little guilty about my own relatively secure situation, as well as that of those who participate in this monthly series. Having said that, I absolutely love Len's mastery of Pad Thai and his baking. Might have to whip up a Pad Thai for lunch now. regards F.

Liz said...

Your pantry looks very organized, and I am impressed. That new cabinet should give you lots more storage.

Liz said...

Mae, I didn't respond to your writings about the callousness of Republicans because I have been so angry over the last few years. My thoughts can easily start a rant. Their increasing craziness has me speechless. What gives me hope is that younger voters (at least 2 generations) are leaning heavily progressive and are coming out in droves to vote. There is hope. My daughter, who is a transgender female, is afraid to leave the Bay Area of California because of intolerance and violence against the LGBTQ community.