A new class of food stamp recipients has emerged from the ongoing recession, writes Jennifer Bleyer at Salon.com. College educated, out-of-work, foodie hipsters in their twenties and thirties “are shaking off old taboos about who should get government assistance,” while discovering that food stamps can be used for almost all edibles, “including wild-caught fish, organic asparagus and triple-crème cheese.”
31-year-old Gerry Mak — a University of Chicago grad with a part-time job and no other employment prospects — qualifies for $200 a month in food stamps, some of which he recently used to buy the ingredients for a dinner of roasted rabbit with butter, tarragon, and sweet potatoes. “I used to think that you could only get processed food and government cheese on food stamps,” Mak said, “but it’s great that you can get anything.”
Changes to the food stamp program last year, Bleyer says, made it easier for “able-bodied adults without dependents” to qualify for aid. But not without provoking “a special strain of ire” from some critics who see “laziness and irresponsibility” where others see help buying quality food — “including yes, Perrier,” Breyer reports. In sharp contrast to past complaints about food stamps subsidizing primarily junk food, says Breyer, “food stamp-using foodies might be applauded” for eating healthily on a recessionary budget.
Should certain foods be off limits for food stamp redemption? If so, which ones