Food Stamps

The Tribune had a piece yesterday about a food writer who fed her family for a week using only food stamps. (More here.) This post is not about food stamps, although I will point out that with some effort and planning the author was able to feed her family comfortably with them.

No, what I have to comment on is the article's almost compulsive need to brag about the writer's normally elite food choices and, apparently, attitudes.

Were two references to "artisan bread" really necessary? Oh my goodness! "No more hormone-free local milk in a glass bottle." For shame!

The author first chose to shop at Aldi, "an international retailer specializing in a limited assortment of private label, high-quality products at the lowest possible prices."

She couldn't find the chicken she wanted, so "we headed to Wal-Mart, where the majority of Americans are reported to shop." Oh the poor thing. But gosh, even at Wal-Mart all they had was "boneless, skinless chicken breasts." Color me skeptical.

Since she couldn't afford "artisan bread" on food stamps, her son "argued for spongy, no-nutrition white bread — the kind he really liked — by insisting that it was more typical of what a food stamp recipient might be able to afford." Hey, cool, she's even teaching her kids to be elitist!

"But for a food writer, nutrition was not a totally negotiable point, even if money was tight. We compromised on a honey-wheat loaf, which both kids wolfed down in record time." Um, actually, plenty of families survive just fine without "artisan breads."

And you know what? "Accepting food stamps forces you to cook." No way! We need restaurant food stamps. Yeah, McDonald's food stamps. No, wait, then our poor starving people will all be fat. Can't have that.

According to the writer, she "could see the home stretch, but I can only imagine what it feels like to run out of food before the end of the week. And I hope I never have to worry that my kids are truly hungry."

Yeah, she can only imagine what it feels like to run out of food, because she fed her family on food stamps for a week with six bucks left over!

I'm sorry. I actually read some of the writer's stuff, and it's pretty good. I shouldn't be so sarcastic, but something about the whole "artisan bread" thing really stuck in my teeth (oops!).


Anonymous said...

"plenty of families survive just fine without 'artisan breads.'"

Hmmm, maybe she thinks The Little Red Hen a faery tale.

Anonymous said...

I thought it hysterical it took her three hours to shop for groceries. But then frugal and provident living are a mindset, not merely an experiment. No doubt she could get significantly faster if she lived frugally for a period of time.

Donnie said...

My daughter who has kids 1 and 7, and married spent 425 last month on food. The story does not include food stamp recepents get food bank benefits and WIC, which my daughter does not recieve. If that person would have figured it out thae welfare person recieves about $530.00 in food stamps, plus the other benefits.

Treasure State Jew said...

I also found the article to be elitist, and more than a little elitist.

A few criticisms of the article;

a) 'artisan' bread. My family eats 'artisan' breads almost every day, and we spend about 10¢/loaf. That is because bread is an easy thing to MIX AND BAKE YOURSELF. What is so hard about kneading flour, yeast, water, sugar and salt? If you bake it on some cheap bricks or stone tiles from the hardware store, you will have the same crusty loaf. $3/loaf indeed!

b) Processed chicken parts. I regularly shop at Wal-Mart. I only buy whole chickens. Three hours is apparently not enough time to look through the poultry case. By the way, cutting up chickens yourself and freezing the unused parts saves dollars per pound.

I don't mean to imply that I live frugally. However, it isn't nearly as hard as she implies to eat well on less money.