How do you stretch your food dollars?
November 18th, 2013
04:00 PM ET
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Cuts to SNAP benefits in November 2013 have left 47 million people with $36 a month less to spend on food. That cut (based on a family of four) is a 5% reduction to an already stretched budget.

The February 2014 presidential approval of the Farm Bill entails an $8 billion cut from SNAP over the next 10 years. This means 850,000 families will see an average $90 monthly drop in their food budget.

Millions of others who don't qualify for benefits, but who still struggle to feed their families, are finding the aisles of their local food banks more crowded with fellow shoppers than ever before.

We asked our readers, via our comments and Facebook, to share their strategies for making the most of their limited food funds. Here's what they had to say.
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Filed under: Buzz • From the Comments • Hunger • Shopping • SNAP


'We are servers not servants!'
April 10th, 2013
04:30 PM ET
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His name is The Bitchy Waiter and he'll be taking care of you folks this evening. Earlier this week, the popular blogger served up five ways that customers get in the way of their food arriving in a timely fashion.

And a whole lot of folks bit back, with more than 1100 comments about the role of waitstaff in getting meals to people in a timely fashion - and even their value in society. Here's a sampling menu of some of the most popular sentiments.
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Filed under: Buzz • From the Comments • Restaurants • Service • Tipping


Autism, dining out and a side of kindness
April 1st, 2013
03:00 PM ET
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Editor's note: April 2, 2014 is World Autism Awareness Day, and we're sharing this story to continue the conversation about autism in public spaces.

Things are not always as they appear to be. Our recent story "The waitress, the autistic girl and the broken hamburger" shared the experiences of Anna Kaye MacLean, a young woman who was deeply touched by the kindness of a Chili's server to her seven-year-old sister Arianna, who has autism.

While many people interpret Arianna's behavior - sometimes involving violent tantrums and grunting - as uncontrolled brattiness, her older sister will take the time to explain the condition if asked. Occasionally, fellow restaurant patrons will ask to be moved to other tables, give dirty looks, or criticize MacLean's handling of the situation. While the family has never been asked to leave a restaurant, they're keenly aware of other patrons' comfort and will leave of their own accord.

Scenes like this play out in public every day, as evidenced by the over 650 comments that poured in when we posted the story. In observance of National Autism Awareness Month and April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, we're sharing insight from some of our commenters who have experience weathering the minefield that is a restaurant meal.
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This Thanksgiving, gather up the strays and orphans
November 13th, 2012
11:00 AM ET
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Even the most adventurous eaters often give their inner food warrior the day off on Thanksgiving – nothing but the same turkey, stuffing (or dressing!), cranberries, green bean casserole and pumpkin pie they've been eating since childhood. If one of those dishes goes missing, the whole meal just doesn't feel right.

Other families stray away from the standards (some friends of ours have to have collard greens, whiskey sours and banana pudding for the day to feel right, while another family dives into duck) and develop their own must-indulge traditions.

And for some, like our commenter traveldoc, it's less about what's on the table than who's gathered around it.
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