Did anyone really think Gwyneth Paltrow could feed her family on a $29 budget?
"Last week, chef (and great man) Mario Batali challenged me to raise awareness and money for the NYC Food Bank by trying to live on $29 dollars for the week (what low income families on SNAP are trying to survive on)," the actress wrote in her goop newsletter. "Dubious that I could complete the week, I donated to the Food Bank at the outset, and all of us at the goop office began the challenge."
Paltrow spent $24.40 on "things like avocados and limes," which "are cheap."
Noble as her intentions were, the New York Times best-selling cookbook author didn't last long. "As I suspected, we only made it through about four days, when I personally broke and had some chicken and fresh vegetables (and in full transparency, half a bag of black licorice)," Paltrow, 42, confessed. "My perspective has been forever altered by how difficult it was to eat wholesome, nutritious food on that budget, even for just a few days—a challenge that 47 million Americans face every day, week, and year."
(So that explains why she attended an $80 prix fixe menu event at L.A.'s Animal.)
Still, she learned something. "A few takeaways from the week were that vegetarian staples liked dried beans and rice go a long way, and we were able to come up with a few recipes on a super tight budget."
"After trying to complete this challenge (I would give myself a C-), I am even more outraged that there is still not equal pay in the workplace," said Paltrow, who included food photos. "Sorry to go on a tangent, but many hardworking mothers are being asked to do the impossible: Feed their families on a budget which can only support food businesses that provide low-quality food. The food system in our beautiful country needs to be subjected to a heavy revision—it is a cyclical problem, with repercussions that we all feel. I'm not suggesting everyone eat organic food from some high horse in the sky. I'm saying everyone should be able to afford fresh, real food. And if women were paid an equal wage, families might have more of a choice in the grocery aisles, not to mention in the rest of their lives."
After sharing some White House statistics highlighting the gap in men and women's earnings, the Mortdecai star reminded her newsletter subscribers that NYC Food Bank provides more than 63 million free meals per year. "I know hunger doesn't always touch us all directly—but it does touch us all indirectly. After this week, I am even more grateful that I am able to provide high-quality food for my kids."
"Let's all do what we can to make this a basic human right and not a privilege."