Opinion: Paltrow’s no role model for food stamp challenge

Carley Hull is a senior news major. Contact her at chull9@kent.edu. 

Carley Hull is a senior news major. Contact her at [email protected] 

Carley Hull

After just four days actress Gwyneth Paltrow failed the $29 weekly food challenge prompting some media outlets to applaud her advocacy or condemn her intentions. Her failure wasn’t surprising. A $29 budget is not much to pay for groceries, especially in high-price cities like New York or Los Angeles. But, the real problem with Paltrow’s attempt isn’t her failure, but that she was the wrong person to take up this challenge from the start.

Paltrow started the challenge proposed by Chef Mario Batali and the Food Bank For New York City in an effort to bring awareness to family’s living on food stamps. According to the Food Bank For New York City, roughly 2.6 million people have had trouble affording food for themselves and their families in New York. In the U.S., more than 14 percent of households have had the same problem, according the United States Department of Agriculture.

In an effort to bring awareness to this issue, I would like to think Paltrow did the challenge with good intentions and not solely to promote herself and her blog, “Goop.” But Paltrow is so out of touch with reality that she didn’t even approach the challenge realistically to show the hardships of those on food stamps.

On Instagram, Paltrow shared her grocery hall, which had surprising items for someone supposed to represent groceries on a budget. Yes she had some staples like eggs, frozen peas, black beans and rice, but then she had one jalapeno, scallions, a head of romaine lettuce, an onion, kale, corn tortillas, an ear of corn, a head of garlic, a sweet potato, a tomato, an avocado and fresh cilantro. Keep in mind she is also going to feed her children. Really? 

MSNBC had it right when they compared her purchases to ingredients for a juice cleanse or smoothie and reported her purchases “not only glaringly insufficient to cover three meals a day for seven days, but calorically impractical for sustaining a typical human diet.” 

To further this problem, Paltrow made herself look even more ignorant by posting budget friendly meals like black bean taquitos, black bean cakes with grilled corn salsa and brown rice, kale and roasted sweet potato sauté with poached eggs. Who makes these meals for a family in the first place? Although the recipes look delicious, a family struggling to pay for groceries is most likely also struggling to find time to cook, not taking the time to make black bean patties and sauté kale. 

It is obvious Paltrow has no idea what low-income families actually eat. Where are the canned foods? Where is the bread? Where is the cheese? And, how the heck does she get her kids to eat her strange recipes? She had no chance to practically represent families struggling to afford groceries because she didn’t buy what they would have to buy to make it work. 

While I think she meant well in the beginning, her lack of practical knowledge for the challenge didn’t show the reality of what low-income Americans have to eat in order to survive. In the future, I hope more celebrities with more realistic taste can complete the challenge, not a woman who put a $4,735 gold juicer on her blog’s Christmas shopping guide.

Contact Carley Hull at [email protected]