Celeb Chef Mario Batali Takes the Food Stamp Challenge
Celebrity chef and TV personality Mario Batali partnered with the New York City Food Bank and publicly took a challenge that, for a short period of time, mirrors the lives of millions of poor Americans. To raise awareness about potential cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps), Batali and his family took the "food stamp challenge": eat on $4/day per person for a whole week.
A challenge that 49 million of Americans must face every day to feed their families, the "food stamp challenge" aims to put people in the shoes of today's poor Americans and emphasize the importance of the program to stretching the safety net through government programs. 75 percent of the families who rely on SNAP today have children.
Making his challenge public, Batali received both praise and criticism for his week-long flirtation with hunger. To help bring the experience to light to his audience and fans on the food-focused talk show The Chew, Batali shared his grocery list and recipes that fed his family for a week while staying within their budget of $120 total.
While some may criticize that Batali's guidance doesn't give the challenge and the need for food stamps enough credit, we can only hope that his discussion in the limelight will continue to bring awareness to the issue of hunger in the United States.
Backstage at The Chew on some personal videos, Batali shared more about how he and his family fared on the severly decreased budget and how his desire to feed his family a healthy, well-balanced meal was somewhat compromised and demanded him extra trips to a few different stores to find what he wanted.
He and his family survived the challenge, but learned a ton in the process. “It’s easy for us because we all know that next week we are going back to whatever we do," he says in the video below. "But it’s an interesting conversation every day to think about what hunger is, what food is, what nutrition is -- in a way that really makes us think about it on a much more personal level.”
Check out what Batali had to say about the experience below: