Everyone is talking about Gwyneth Paltrow and her decision to bring attention the difficulties faced by families living on food stamps — but not necessarily for the reasons she intended.
The 42-year-old actress, regularly ridiculed for her oft pretentious GOOP lifestyle brand, decided last week to take part in celebrity chef Mario Batali's Food Bank Challenge, which encourages people to try and live on $29 of food stamps for seven days. The campaign is meant to highlight both the difficulties of families living with such limited means and to challenge recent cuts by Congress to food stamp programs.
"For one week, walk in someone else's shoes," Batali says on the campaign site. "Knowledge is power, and by truly understanding what our friends and neighbors are going through, we will be better equipped to find solutions."
In announcing his participation, Batali nominated Sting, Deborah Harry and Paltrow to join him. And kudos to Paltrow, she took up the cause. What she chose for her $29 worth of ingredients, however, collectively made the Internet groan.
Hooray for tacos! But hooray for tacos all week? The problem with Paltrow's menu, as pointed out by many in social media, is that it's rather unrealistic from both a caloric and meal possibilities point of view. There's definitely a GOOP vibe here — from the all-plants to the picture layout — it's definitely not a window into the meal choices most on food stamps would choose.
Gwyneth Paltrow's version of the food stamp challenge is perfect for GOOP, but not so much for the working poor http://t.co/xfd7vRoo7L— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) April 13, 2015
Even Rosie Perez on the popular talk show "The View" had harsh words for Paltrow's involvement.
To be fair, it would take a bit of trial and error for most of us to downsize our regular shopping habits, but I have to agree this first attempt is ill-conceived. As The Frisky points out, the total calories in this shot would amount to a little over 7,000 — or about 1,000 calories per day for the week. A more realistic shopping list, they say, would include high-caloric foods like a bag of potatoes ($2 and about 1,800 calories), jar of peanut butter ($2, 2,650 calories), and a bag of rice ($1.50, 2,800 calories).
Personally, I commend Paltrow for raising awareness on the issue. I just wish her choices had been a bit more realistic for the everyday family. That said, as others have pointed out, Paltrow could have selected bags upon bags of rice, and the Internet would still come down hard on her. Such is the bane of a woman who the world continues to love to hate, no matter her good intentions.
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- Alternatives to food stamps at farmers markets