Gwyneth Paltrow GOOPs Up Food Stamps

Ah, the celebrity food stamp challenge. We just can’t stop politicians, journalists, and actors from trying to see what it’s like to limit food costs to the benefits allowed by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

You can even predict how the story will go: there’s the scene in the checkout line where the celeb has to put back half of his or her food while exclaiming “I just didn’t know food cost so much!” and then there’s the scene where the celeb discovers that you can add spices to beans, and then there’s the final scene where the celeb says “This was an interesting experiment, but I’m just glad I don’t have to do this every week.”

Gwyneth Paltrow is the latest celebrity to publicly play the food stamp game, and here’s her haul photo:

I am a bit confused as to why there are more limes in that photo than yams. What is she planning to make with this assortment of food, and how is she going to make it last for a full week? Is she just feeding herself, or is she also feeding her two children? What is she eating for breakfast? Why did she buy one ear of corn instead of a bag of frozen corn, especially since she had to be in the frozen foods section to buy that bag of peas?

When I went to GOOP to see if Paltrow had posted a recipe for Food Stamp Scrambled Eggs and Peas (which is pretty good, actually, especially with a little ketchup), I didn’t see any indication that she was trying to turn her SNAP purchases into actual meals. Instead, she offers readers a recipe for a DIY Portable Lunch: Kye’s Rolls, which includes organic goji berries, free-range organic chicken, and sucanat:

Sucanat stands for “SUcre de CAnne NATurel” and is a minimally processed pure cane sugar with a high percentage of molasses. Look for it at any health food store or Whole Foods.

I’ve been on food stamps, and it isn’t great. People who are raising families on food stamps have it even harder. I am amused and not particularly offended when celebs do food stamp challenges, but they have to take it all the way through. We need a photograph of Paltrow eating scrambled eggs and peas, or serving her kids ramen noodles, or — at least — realizing that buying a single yam and seven limes is probably the wrong choice to make when you’re on a $29 weekly food budget.

On the other hand, when Ester and I were chatting about Gwyneth Paltrow’s SNAP Challenge, Ester reminded me that we food-shame and grocery-shame people on limited incomes all the time, sharing this tweet:

And, of course, there’s always The Onion’s “Woman a Leading Authority on What Shouldn’t Be in Poor People’s Grocery Carts.” My publicly commenting on Paltrow’s limes is much the same thing. Maybe it isn’t the wrong choice. Maybe she’ll be putting lime slices in tap water, or — as the Washington Post predicted — making a lot of tacos. Finely diced tomatoes, beans, rice, cilantro… it could work. Maybe even for a whole week.

Or maybe she’ll end up like I did, mashing rice and peas together because that’s all you’ve got left before your next grocery day.

I hope she shares what happens.

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