Category: Food

Open Letter to Michelle Obama: Cutting Calories at the Women’s History Museum

Dear Mrs. Obama,

I wrote to you several years ago when you first announced your anti-childhood-obesity campaign, stating my opinion that opposition to childhood obesity both focuses on a red herring instead of a problem and encourages low self-esteem in all children (and people) who perceive themselves to be fat. I was sorry never to get an answer.

Fighting bad health, not obesity

In the Guardian this week I’m writing about how advocates for healthy food and journalists covering addictive junk food should focus on the bad health outcomes of that food instead of body size. I differ with much of the Feministe commentariat on a lot of food issues, especially insofar as I think the government should absolutely incentivize healthy eating and exercise, and I’m fine with limiting sizes of nutritionally useless, almost-entirely-bad-for-you processed items like soda (I’m also fine leveling taxes on products like soda, alcohol, cigarettes, etc). I prefer positive incentives — letting food stamps count double at farmers’ markets, for example — but I’m fine with doing both. That’s because at a basic level, it is the government’s job to promote the public health. How we eat is central to our health. My issue comes in with the obesity justification. Promote everyone’s health, whether we’re fat or thin or somewhere in between — because bad food is damaging to all bodies, not just fat ones. A piece of the column:

Tip your servers

Laura Beck is right — if you’re budgeting to go out to eat, you need to include a tip in that. And you need to tip even if your waitress isn’t as pleasant as you’d like, and even if the service is imperfect. It is a gender issue, and servers (who are disproportionately female) need tips to make a living wage. I also suspect that female servers are more often on the receiving end of a bad tip for not adequately stroking a diner’s ego — not laughing enough at his jokes, not flirting back, not smiling. So tip! Yes, 20%, even if the service was mediocre.

More reasons not to eat at Applebees, Papa Johns or Denny’s

Just in case you weren’t aware that the owners of some big-chain restaurants and huge jerks, check out this piece by Matt Yglesias highlighting the temper-tantrums being thrown by the owners of Applebees, Denny’s and Papa Johns over Obamacare. Their problem? Under Obamacare, small businesses don’t incur any additional tax burden; businesses that already provide health insurance are also in the clear; and so are businesses that pay their employees a living wage. But businesses that both employ more than 25 people and pay extremely low wages have to put some money into the health care system. The multi-millionaires who pay their employees pennies and are the beneficiaries of Republican tax breaks don’t like that, and they’re throwing fits:

The Meat We Eat

True story: I was mostly vegetarian (technically pescetarian) for 11 years. Then I moved to Sardinia to be a nanny for an Italian family. After a few weeks of not eating any meat, I started to feel bad about the fact that the family always had to make a different dish for me, so I abandoned my vegetarianism. The first piece of meat that I tucked into was a tough little hockey puck with some garlic and butter on top. I figured it was over-cooked beef until, after polishing it off, the father of the family asked me if I enjoyed the cavallo.

Two pieces I love

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these two pieces over the last week or so: A Woman’s Guide to Hasidic Street Harassment by Lilit Marcus over at Heeb Magazine and The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater by…

Owning my food crazy

Trigger warning for discussion of dieting and food restriction. I have a confession to make. Over the last six months or so, I’ve lost a significant amount of weight. It’s my first time that my weight has gone down since…