Today’s Outrageous Trend: Foodies on Food Stamps


The Times and other outlets have reported on the recent explosion of food stamps, but Salon gives the phenomenon a more memorable face by pointing out that as a result of changes to what’s now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, brought about by the stimulus package, “young urbanites with a taste for ciabatta” are using their stamps to buy “wild-caught fish, organic asparagus and triple-crème cheese.” After many other such inflammatory lines (one foodie hipster even cooks rabbit and sweet potatoes — which of course would qualify as peasant food in any other age), the article, subtly titled “Hipsters on Food Stamps,” goes on to concede that after all, this is what the Michael Pollan ilk has rallied for: government subsidies for food that isn’t junk.

But it can’t help concluding the piece with more incendiary food porn: “Savory aromas wafted through the kitchen as a table was set with a heaping plate of Thai yellow curry with coconut milk and lemongrass, Chinese gourd sautéed in hot chile sauce and sweet clementine juice, all of it courtesy of government assistance.” Sure, but you can score those ingredients in Chinatown (and for that matter, order the dish at a Thai place) for a pittance. We refuse to be outraged until a food-stamp foodie grills a Wagyu steak, or makes one of these dishes out of the $325 Big Fat Duck Cookbook. Needless to say, the 100 comments that the article has already drawn are worth a read.

Hipsters on food stamps [Salon]