You know, we say a lot of not-so-nice stuff about New York Times‘ strange, scattershot cultural coverage around here, but sometimes, you have to commend them. Even when selecting no more than two people to represent and justify any given “what young people are up to” trend piece, they do manage to find the very worst, most quotable ones possible. That is no easy feat! For instance, as a young person in Brooklyn, I’m not sure I have ever met anyone who would say of their grocery shopping “I don’t think about what anything costs,” as one definitely financially independent low-level publishing assistant does in this piece on an entire generation’s propensity for blowing all our cash on food (and not the natural alternative, cocaine, as the Times points out).
I also, to my knowledge, don’t know anyone like 23-year-old MTV production assistant Yaffa Fredrick, who told the Times she burns through nearly half of her $30,000-after-taxes salary spending roughly $350 per week on meals in “good restaurants,” along with “cooking classes, wine tastings and cheese pairings.” Even though that seems like surprisingly good pay for a PA, this still seems excessive and fiscally unwise, particularly given that Frederick spends the other half of her salary on rent, and thus has to work extra hours to supplement her frenetic “foodie” lifestyle. It seems like a lot more work than just cutting back and occasionally opting for the cheapo brunch method I like to call “deli feast” (patent pending), in which you can select as many side dishes as you want (Funyuns, those gummy hamburger things) and a full juice-seltzer-coffee-Michelada beverage array, all while clocking in under $10.
Which is not to say that I’m a budgeting genius (nope) or an expert on the kooky goings-on of my loosely-defined generation (definitely not). It is totally possible I’m a broke culinary philistine and I just don’t get it. But you know who is, I hear, “a voice of a generation” and also doesn’t get it? Lena Dunham.