Let’s just start this post by saying that i’m eating this as I write. It is arguably the best breakfast i’ve ever made in my entire life. Homemade migas with leftover carnitas.

image(1)

Disclaimer: This is my personal, not self-aggrandizing, account of what it’s been like to become a slightly less fat person.

1. Nothing to Wear – I have really great clothes, and I love them. I spend my free time organizing The Big Fat Flea, because I think that access to great, affordable, plus size clothing is really important politically and personally.  I treasure my clothes because finding fantastic pieces at my size is a challenge. Like Johnny Cash, i’ve put this wardrobe together one piece at a time (ok, actually none of the clothes are stolen). I’ve painstakingly peicemealed together a closet full of fringe and faux-leather and men’s sweaters and crushed velvet and non-mom denim. And now, a lot of it doesn’t fit. I never would have guessed that the feeling of putting on too-tight jeans is just as bad as too-loose jeans.  As a quick fix, i’ve started putting together bags of my best clothes for a clothing swap at my place next month. I want someone great to love on these clothes like I have, and maybe i’ll walk away with another pair of pants that fits so I can give these poor jeans a rest.

photo 1

 

2. Proud? – On Friday I hit a big milestone number of pounds down. My nutritionist asked me if I was proud of myself. I kind of just stammered. I didn’t feel especially proud. It’s kind of like when Bubs is getting clean on the last season of The Wire and he’s like, “I don’t know why i’m getting rewarded for doing the shit I should have done all along”. But then I found myself tearing up at dance class that night. I am proud that i’ve gotten to a place where i’m at a dance class on Friday night and not at a bar or eating a whole pizza (I actually still love those things, and i’m sure there will be times that’s what I need). I feel proud that I can make it through two hours of crunches, jumping, and shaking my ass so hard without dying. I feel proud that i’m in a place where I know what I need, and I prioritize that. The REALLY complicated part is whether or not it’s “okay” to be proud of the scale number. My value is so much more than a weight, and I believe that for me, and for you, and for everyone else. But what if it felt kind of good to see that number dip? Would that mean I was a less of a fat activist? Or less body-positive? Or less of myself? Or is is just my literal mass that is less? I don’t really have an answer to any of those questions except to say I feel more like myself than I have in a long time.

 

3. Control + Body Love – Did you know that weight loss is in no way like photo shop? I basically have no say as to how my body changes as i’m loosing weight. The body that i’ve been in all my life is changing a lot, and pretty quickly, and that is weird. Every day is another chance to be psyched about my body or not that psyched about my body. I jumped really high (relatively, for me) and I watched it happened in a full length mirror and I was like, “HAY LOOK AT THAT! GREAT JOB BODY”. But I also noticed the other day that my arms look kind of deflated and not like my regular arms and that made me feel weird. This is a big deal, because fat arm acceptance was a big moment for me. I know that this is a narrative that is not just mine, and is a big deal for lots of awesome fat broads.  I wore cardigans all summer long over my dresses until I was 22. And then I worked outside in fields all the time and it was too hot to do that so I cut all the sleeves off of all my shirts because I couldn’t keep giving a fuck. And then I got a huge tattoo on my big fat upper arm because I wanted to and I needed to so that I wouldn’t ever go back to covering them up. I’ve realized that I get to say how my body looks and how I feel about it. I even met with a personal trainer so that I could gain some kind of control about how this goes. (I knew it was a good fit because I told him my goal weight was still FAT and he understood.) I want my ass to stay big so i’m doing squats. I want an upper body that feels (and looks) strong so i’m learning my way around a weight room. My body my choice, na’meen?

Photo on 2015-01-25 at 16.00 #2

 

Come back next time to hear about food policing, identity, me feeling like a weirdo in restaurants.

 

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Oh My GOODness

April 5, 2011

New post over at GOOD.

Can I take a minute to say how awesome and encouraging my editor there has been? There, I just did.

 

READ ON KIDS.

 

In an old life, I helped slaughter and process 50 chickens a week. I also fed and moved them over pasture every day. I also picked them up from the post office as chicks and put them in their little incubators. I also kind of hated them. Given all the room they needed they still trampled all over each other. They were dumb, and ugly. They paled in comparison to the adorably awkward baby turkeys who cooed all the time, and somehow maintained some kind of dignity (until they were mostly eaten by coyotes.)

I really thought that the slaughter process would bother me, effect me on some kind of moral or emotional level. It didn’t. The smell of hot wet feathers is pretty gross, but aside from that, I almost kind of liked the whole deal. (Morbid?) I liked the teamwork, and how quickly they turned from looking like animals to looking like food. I liked seeing and participating in a process that is so cloaked in secrecy in so many ways. I liked eating what I grew.

Now that I am not so hands-on with my chicken, I rarely eat it. Partly because it kind of grosses me out because i’ve seen how yuckster of animals they are even in the best conditions. Also, it doesn’t even taste good.

But really, occasionally, what is better than the perfect-Sunday-buttery-crisp-skinned-roasted-chicken-that-tastes-like-chicken?

Ferreal.

So, I am going to give you my perfect roast chicken recipe, but first we should get Footloose.

Feet.

This awesome local farm-chicken I got at the Park Slope Food Coop after being snuck-in. I didn’t notice that it still had the feet attached because they were tucked ever-so-gingerly inside. Most people would have been taken-aback maybe, everyone in my family was grossed out. I was happy to do any kind of at-home butchery because i’m a weirdo. They don’t want to see that a chicken is a real animal that walked around on feet. Really, the fact that the feet are on this chicken and in such good condition, is a testament to the animal’s healthy raising.

Ok, on to the recipe.

Seriously Perfect Roast Chicken

(in a country French accent)

1 5-ish lb free range chicken from your favorite farm market

2 lemons

1/4 stick of goooood butter

5 cloves garlique

4-5 stems of thyme

1 onion

s + p

1. Preheat oven to 425. Rinse and dry your chicken well. Place butter in a bowl on stove to soften.

2. When the butter is soft, zest a lemon into ze butter. Squeeze ze garlic through a press into ze butter. Gingerly remove ze delicate thyme leaves from zeir fibery stem. Incorporate well. Spread this all up under the skin on ze breasts, and over the remainder of the chicken. Stuff ze halved onions, ze lemons and garlic inside.

3. Roast ze bird at 425 degrees F for an hour and a half uncovered.

4. Let rest for about half an hour before carving.

 

You may have noticed that it’s kind of a love-fest over here the past few posts. I just really think that it’s important to take a minute to recognize people who are doing something rad. Otherwise, how will they know that you appreciate what they work so hard to do. That may seem a little sappy coming from a generally hard-edged person like myself, but I’m feeling really softy over these spice girls. I am totally not shilling for them!

Jackie and Becky of Savory Spice, Westfield

(ZOMG SPICE GIRLS – LET ME GET ALL SPICE UP YOUR LIFE JOKES OUT OF THE WAY NOW.)

I am totally in love with Savory Spice in Westfield, NJ. I would move in if they would let me. Here is a brief rundown of why I am obsessed.

1. THE WORLD’S BEST SMELL. The smell draws you in from the busy main drag. It smells simultaneously like home and the exotic, smoky and sweet. It somehow manages to smell like everything you love about cooking. It’s inspiring and makes my mouth water.

 

Pink Peppercorns

 

 

2. EVERY SPICE YOU COULD EVER WANT, FRESH AND IN BULK. They have everything. From Pink Peppercorns, to Fumee du Sel (aged in Chardonnay barrels!!!). From Ras el Hanout to the world’s best Cumin (you know i’m a cumin buff). From the gorgeous Black Onyx Cocoa to Grains of Paradise. Bakers and cooks will be equally psyched on their selection. Everything is in big glass jars, with smaller testers for smelling and tasting. I smelled their myriad curry blends for what felt like forever. There is attention not only to quantity but quality here, because they sell in bulk, they grind fresh batches of most everything each week. There are never any fillers, MSG, gluten, or anti-clumping agents used because there is no need. You can buy an ounce, or a jar. Their baller Tikka Masala blend and their Parmesan Pesto (THIS ON POPCORN 4-E) are their biggest sellers.

 

Hot Sauce

3. They are a lady family operated store that is party of a small family-owned franchise. The sisters didn’t have a background in retail, but they knew they wanted to work in food. They were tired of the hours of restaurant work, but also on the necessary dependence on so many other people, from chefs to staff. They are quick to point out the benefits of working with family, most importantly, trust.  That is so awesome to me.

HOT

4. They are helping to build an awesome community of small food business owners. They are helping to show average shoppers that shopping for food can be more than a one-stop hurry-up ordeal. You can build a relationship with a shop owner and coming in to refill your spice containers. They are working with local restaurants to wholesale spices. They are networking with other local small business owners to create a real community. For example,  Jackie and Becky do spicy wine-pairing talks at a local wine shop, Cool Vines, and that is rad.

Recyclin'

5. They know their jazz. There are awesome recipes all over the store. Recipes submitted by customers and created by shop owner. They are easy to make without feeling dumbed down – recipes for Harissa Spiced Green Beans and Grilled Pinchitos with Yogurt Lime Sauce. They can tell you their favorite recipes, how to grind peppercorns, or why they love a certain salt most. Their customers range from first timers, to would-be chefs, and they have the expertise to help them all.

DIY

So, in short, check them out. If you are within an hour, I would say you should drive there.

Tell them you saw them here!

138 E.Broad Street

Westfield, NJ, 07090

If not, you can order online or hit them up on Facebook.

 

On Grief + Ginger

March 3, 2011

 

Cara from Yummy-Books.com

I’ve written about Cara before. Her blog, Yummybooks, is literally one of my favorite in the whole wide interwebs, because it combines my two favorite things: books and snacks. I am disappointed in myself that I didn’t take advantage of the time I had class with her to become her bff. I get anxious and kind of grumpy when she doesn’t post for an extended period of time.

I totally just sat at my desk at work with eyes welling up with tears at her latest post (I like her so much I don’t even care how it looks to reblog this  literally moments after it’s posted). It’s personal; about grief and eating, vis-a-vis my favorite author, Joan Didion. It’s also about the East Coast/West Coast pull.

I am in the middle of an, as Cara puts it, “am-I-still-in-love-with-New-York” pity hole”. One that I think if I reread  Slouching Towards Bethlehem in this moment I would pack up and haul out to the West Coast.

As Joan put it,

It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the exact place on the page where the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was.

Instead of packing up, Cara made ginger scallion soup, and kept on keeping on. It’s no surprise the ginger worked, with it’s gentle heat and ancient stomach-settling properties.

Leaving me to ask myself, “Can I cook myself into staying?”

On Good

March 1, 2011

Check me out over at Good, y’all!

It’s really exciting to be part of a publication that I truly dig! Looking forward to posts to come that center on all things Food Studies.

On Rush

February 22, 2011

So we all know Rush Limbaugh is a huge dick.  Lots of smart ladies and gents are talking about this gem of a video. What they are not talking about is how delicious this supposed “unhealthy” meal sounds. I will add my own personal WTF, but really I just like snacks.

USA Today reports that she ate, “pickled pumpkin salad with arugula and a braised ancho-chile short rib with hominy wild mushrooms and sauteed kale” from Kelly Linken in Vail. ALSO THE KALE WAS GROWN AT A LOCAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S GARDEN. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THE RADNESS OF THIS?

This sounds like the ballerest dinner ever, especially after a day of skiing. Did she have a lovely glass of red wine? Or a Hot Toddy?

On Fatness

February 17, 2011

 

I am fat.

You knew that, right?

Writing about Fatness is difficult for me because I live my life every day in the body of a fat woman, stuffing myself into the seats of a graduate program that dedicates much of its academic energy and rhetoric towards eradicating THE AMERICAN OBESITY EPIDEMIC.

My closest friends know that I had some hesitancy in entering a Food Studies program, even though it is 100% where my heart lies, just for this reason. Luckily, I can talk my way out of anything, so in my more academic-leaning classes, I feel like I combat any fat-hate side-eye with wit and even occasionally intellect. But in my new nutrition class, I feel genuinely uncomfortable in an-elephant-in-the-room (I went there) kind of way.

I don’t wish to be seen as a hypocrite, and most of the time, I don’t feel like one.

I guess I want to boldly say a few things, maybe mostly for my own affirmation. (Isn’t that why anyone blogs?)

1. It is possible to be fat and healthy. I know because I am. I just got a great call from my brand new doctor to tell me that my blood sugar is perfect, my blood pressure looks great, and my cholesterol is actually low.

2. It is possible to be fat and enjoy exercise. I have hiked in Haleakala National Park in Maui and up Sunrise Mountain near the Appalachian Trail. I like camping. I like ocean kayaking. I love yoga. I even am growing to like jogging.

3. My weight doesn’t really effect my life in a negative way. I date (read: I get laid). I do well in school. I am mostly happy.My weight has only ever impeded me in living up to my full fashion potential, and made for a few uncomfortable flights. Really. Most days, I do not think about my weight.

4. I understand that the food crisis in America is real. There is a complete dearth of real nutritional education across the country. There is lack of access to and understanding of real healthy food. I understand that I am in the minority as a white privileged reasonably healthy fat person who knows the consequences of what I eat, both on my body, and the planet, with the financial standing to be as picky as I am about what and how I eat.  (Full disclosure: Sometimes I eat hot wings.) I understand that for many people, extra weight and create or exacerbate existing health problems.

5. I agree with everyone who encourages Americans to eat less. To eat mostly plants. To eat together as families and communities. To exercise. To care about what they eat. To cook at home. Not because I want to make Americans thinner – but because I want them to be healthier, better adjusted, happier, and with a cleaner environment.

Even with all this said, it should be fully disclosed that I am currently working on dropping a few pounds because my knees have been bothering me. I have no dreams or aspirations of being Thin. After working on a farm for a year where I basically did squats for a living, it took a toll on my knees, and if shedding some weight is what I need to do to make exercise and general motion more comfortable, than fine. I can eat less and move more, without feeling like I’m betraying the HAES movement. Like anyone else, my body has a weight it’s more comfortable at, and if my weight creeps up around the Holidays, or for any other reason, I notice.

I am not attached to my weight. My weight is not shield or a badge of emotional eating or any other kind of symbol.

It’s just my fat body and I live in it.

You can read lots about Health at Every Size and Fat Acceptance elsewhere.

You can ask me anything you want.

Douche Cupcakes.

August 12, 2010

 

This article from The Awl is kind of awesome, in that it points out the foodie-drawn in the sand between “real” junk food and ” fake” junk food, and the bougie moral high ground we are apt to take when it comes to such.

Claire Zulkey writes, “Many of us wouldn’t be caught dead eating a Twinkie: we’ve all been told that Twinkies never age because they’re made of wicked unnatural ingredients, Twinkies are filled with whale blubber, Twinkies will give you cancer. Yet you’d pay $12 for the honor of eating the {expensive bakery} “Twinkie,” even though they both may have the same amount of calories.”

I mean, I have literally done this. The Whoopie Pie from Le Patisserie is insanely delicious, and costs about $4. Chances are, I am not eating Whoopie Pies out of a box from a truck stop, partly because they don’t taste good, and party because they are scientifically gross. It really doesn’t have anything to do with calories, for me at least.

I think Zulkey kind of misses the point that it very well might take $12 dollars to make an ethically sourced, delicious indulgent Twinkie, and that it is, just that, an indulgence. It’s a once a month treat, it’s an option. And if you split it with a friend it’s only $6 and you won’t feel gross afterwards. (Icing makes me gag. I’d rather eat a loaf of warm crusty bread than a fucking Magnolia Cupcake any day.)

And isn’t there something to be said for supporting local businesses, who make choices about food that you agree with?

Does it assuage your guilt to make them at home? Baking is a workout! It’s hot!

Eating is about more than calorie content, right? It’s about satisfaction and experience. It’s about company and culture.

Anyway, who needs more guilt about food?!?

First-World Problems.

Discuss.

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