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October 13 2011

Hipster Foodies Occupying Wall Street

Julie Gunlock

Over on NRO’s the Corner, Patrick Brennen writes about the Occupy Wall Street nitwits’ eating habits. 

What’s really keeping a thousand or so young protesters in Lower Manhattan? Apparently, a ready supply of vegan pizza, hot quiches, and organic carrots.

Their food system does seem to encapsulate, quite neatly, their vision for how the world should work: Free, high-quality stuff should appear for their consumption. Our intrepid reporter Charles C.W. Cooke has been desperately searching for what, exactly, the protesters want, and whether these demands represent the grievances of 99 percent of America. Free food from Blue Hill and Katz’s seems more likely to be the key desire of the privileged, overeducated, and underemployed twenty-somethings of New York.

Brennen’s write up reminded me of this fantastic 2010 piece in Salon appropriately titled “Hipsters on Food Stamps” explaining how white, affluent, yet perpetually un- or under-employed twenty-somethings are using food stamps to help supplement their high taste in food.   

Mak, 31, grew up in Westchester, graduated from the University of Chicago and toiled in publishing in New York during his 20s before moving to Baltimore last year with a meager part-time blogging job and prospects for little else. About half of his friends in Baltimore have been getting food stamps since the economy toppled, so he decided to give it a try; to his delight, he qualified for $200 a month.

“I’m sort of a foodie, and I’m not going to do the ‘living off ramen’ thing,” he said, fondly remembering a recent meal he’d prepared 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, but it’s great that you can get anything.”

Think of it as the effect of a grinding recession crossed with the epicurean tastes of young people as obsessed with food as previous generations were with music and sex. Faced with lingering unemployment, 20- and 30-somethings with college degrees and foodie standards are shaking off old taboos about who should get government assistance and discovering that government benefits can indeed be used for just about anything edible, including wild-caught fish, organic asparagus and triple-crème cheese.

Ah yes, the brave hipster protesters of today—with their I-Pads, Rolex watches, Nike trainers and organic carrots….how do they do it?

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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