Two weeks ago, I quit my job. I did so with $15 in my purse and no new job lined up. I made my decision at 4.50pm after a particularly nasty day – by 5.15 I had cleared my desk, taken down photos of my kids, packed up my coffee cup, box of earl grey tea and some two minute noodles out of a drawer and cleared the computer cache of all my private emails and a bunch of recipes I had drafted.
I am a foodie from way back. I cook so well, people have moved to the other side of the world to live with me so they can eat my food ( this is true). I am the one my friends ask for a recipe when they don’t have one. I write about food elsewhere, I study new recipes, I share my meals with those I love.
But, I had $15 in my purse and an empty pantry and fridge. My last payday was two weeks ago, and my immediate needs were to pay the rent. So, with a heavy heart, and still no job lined up, I went to Centrelink, as mendacious and Kafkaesque as any bureaucracy in the world, and signed up for social security, or as it is known in Australia, a Newstart Allowance.
It became quickly apparent that the allowance was barely enough to cover my rent and utilities. It left me with just $120 per fortnight with which to feed my family.
And with that, this project was borne. The Challenge is a straightforward one – I must feed a family for 14 days and nights for $120. I refuse to resort to frozen meals, highly processed foods or calorie-dense, nutritionally poor meals. I don’t do margarine.
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