Monday, October 6, 2008

KD &The Food Bank Debate

Last week I read an interesting observation on FB's blog. She had read an article regarding KD and whether or not its a suitable food bank donation or not.

You can read FB's thoughts here.

You can read the article here.

I've decided to write my own post on this matter as I have a deep, personal relationship with the food myself.

KD and I have had a long standing relationship. As a child growing up in a single parent, low income family KD was definitely a household term and was always a staple food. My mother always had some on hand and finding a case deal on it was always a good money saver.

To give my mother credit she did try to add some nutrition to the meal by adding slices of cheese, some home canned beats and pickles on the side. I loved eating this and thought it was great. I never had a problem eating it and I considered it normal because every other kid was eating it too. I never felt poor eating it because it everyone else did it and they weren't low income like us.

Every second weekend when we visited our father he also would serve it occasionally and he was much better off than my mother. It was just the norm.

In my teen years I lived on my own a lot. Starting at age 14-15 I started renting rooms in houses because living conditions in either of my parents home were not ideal. I had very little money to get by on. I would mostly babysit and do small jobs for money. After I paid for the room I was renting it was hard to buy food. I would often buy cases of Mr.Noodles and KD. Mr.Noodles was an every day food for me, with KD being reserved for "special" occasions. During that time period of my life it really was a treat. The trick was keeping a small 250ml milk and some margarine around to make it.

Now in my life I still eat it from time to time. I actually enjoy KD. I don't know what my attraction is too it but after all these years I've become a master at making it just right. I really like trying new kids. For example, the three cheese variety is pretty good. I like KD even though BF will hardly touch it. I know its not a great nutritional source but neither are a lot of other foods these days. I can eat a whole box of the stuff in one sitting.

As for whether to give foods like this to food banks I would have to say- DON'T.

I have visited many food banks in my life and I know my mother used food banks from time to time to help us get by. In a typical food bank bag you will always find: KD, Mr.Noodle, pasta, spaghetti sauce, a can of tuna and a few other items. The ones I've listed are the most common. Then at some banks you'll get tickets to pick a few other items such as a box of crackers. Milk is usually reserved for families. (In Edmonton this was not the case, we still got the same usual things but then another 4 bags full of food. Amazing job!) Milk and butter are required to make KD.

Food banks rely on your generosity so they can help people who need it. Nobody enjoys going to a food bank. You have to give out some personal info, stand in lines and its not that comfortable. If you are able to give, think about what you would like to receive.

I had a teacher who taught us a lot about life. He told us once : When you donate food, don't go into your cupboards and pull out all the food you would never eat. Go to the store, buy your favorite food and donate that instead. If you were on the receiving end which would you prefer?

I ask you, readers, what you would prefer?


Nathaniel said...

Kraft Dinner is a bad poverty stereotype... *shudder* Some people like it, but when you have to eat it, that's a totally different story.

I remember in university learning that there are more food bank locations in Canada than McDonald's.

Poverty is a growing issue here, and I really wish that instead of working on charity appeals we would make the effort to eliminate the need food food banks.

Perhaps people will keep this in mind when they vote next week.

Fabulously Broke said...

Thanks for the great link back and your thoughts on KD

I agree - it's a bad stereotype and I'm glad to have never been forced to eat it

Shevy said...

It was pretty funny to read this because we just had Wacky Mac for dinner tonight! (Wacky Mac is a kosher mac & cheese with the macaroni in a variety of shapes.)

It costs a little more than KD. (KD=$1.25 to $1.99, WM=$2.39) However, buying whole wheat macaroni and mozzarella or cheddar cheese isn't cheap. I paid $2.89 for pasta and the cheese is $7.99. That's $10.88 and makes enough for 2 meals for the 3 of us, so $5.44 per meal. The Wacky Mac is $2.39 plus about $0.76 for the milk and butter, or a total of $3.15 for a meal.

Verdict: the homemade Mac & Cheese tastes best but costs $2.29 more, almost the cost of another package of the Wacky Mac!