I am not sure, but I don't *think* that most people starting on food stamps begin with only spices and condiments. I think using what I already have after the date we begin is fair, especially if I count its cost toward the allotment. I would like to be able to participate but given that I live in about three different places right now, it's not reasonable for me to not use food that is already available to me (otherwise I'd be toting a cupboard with me everywhere).
By the way, what figures are we using? I saw the $26.90 (women) and $29-something (men) weekly figures that Sarah mentioned, is that what we are using?
Lately it's been very hard for me to gauge how much I am spending on food. I share a lot of food. I'm not sure how I will be able to keep track of expenditures, but I'll need to figure it out in short order.