Guest post by Assemblymember Yamada: When I returned from the single-payer, universal healthcare forum in Woodland about 10 p.m. on Monday evening, I was feeling a little hungry. I had last eaten about 4 p.m. (a turkey-burger with lettuce and tomato). I decided to make a package of ramen noodles, adding a handful of fresh green beans and about a quarter of the tofu block. I used very little of the high-sodium content seasoning packet (not healthy).
Looking through my mail, I noticed a number of fast-food ads for chicken and pizza, hamburgers and burritos. On a $4.44 daily budget, chicken and pizza were not an option; hamburgers and burritos were somewhat more affordable, but if I had chosen to do a “fast food day”, such a purchase would have only covered one or two of my daily meals. As I settled into my home office chair, I noticed the number of online ads from restaurants whose menu items were out-of-reach. What occurred to me is that food ads are all around, but for millions of Californians, going out to eat is unaffordable.
Tuesday – Caucus Day
I skipped breakfast, as I customarily do, and drank half-a-thermos of home-brewed coffee this morning.
Tuesdays at noon, the Members of the Legislature gather for their respective weekly noon caucuses, at which lunch is provided (again, Members pay a monthly fee for this privilege). This is my third year participating in the Food Stamp Challenge as a state legislator, but still taking one’s modest lunch into caucus requires some humor. News of the 2011 Hunger Challenge had published in what is known as the “Capitol Morning Report”, a must-read subscription news compilation of all that’s happening in and outside the Capitol, so news of my challenge had “filtered out”.
A few members asked me, “How are you doing?” One committed to joining me next year. What I brought for lunch was a half-turkey sandwich, lettuce and tomato salad, and a blueberry yogurt. As a confirmed dessert-fiend, I looked longingly at the trays of rich brownie treats that was put out for the members, but remained disciplined and did not succumb to the sugary temptation!
After an afternoon of meetings, media interviews, and review and editing of various letters and bill communications, I will be heading to an evening reception at which there will once again be an abundance of food. I will pay my respects and then leave for home and prepare a stir-fry turkey dish with black beans and noodles.