I wrote this for the Huffington Post, but I wanted to share it here, too:
I am at a point in my life where I can order pasta.
I know, I know: there are bigger things. There are people starving in the world, and you want a pat on the back for eating some spaghetti? I can practically hear my Austrian great grandmother, who worked in a sweatshop, say it.
But still. Little victories. And the way we women sometimes punish ourselves, deprive ourselves, and criticize ourselves is a big thing. It’s bigger than us—it is as big as a whole culture.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because of the food, of course. And I’m Jewish, so I have a lot of holidays to pick from. My second favorite is Yom Kippur, which has no food at all, only fasting. I think they balance each other out.
My dad, a diabetic who can’t eat it himself, makes an amazing moist stuffing. He makes an amazing turkey, too. One of my grandmothers makes a magical dish we’ve always called “green rice,” which has just a tiny bit of broccoli mixed into rice and a lot of what appears to be and probably is Cheez Whiz. My other grandmother is family-famous for her scrumptious plum cake. My mom, along with providing a host of somewhat less exciting but healthy veggie dishes, makes this decadent pasta casserole: penne with melted gruyere and caramelized onions and green beans. Oh my god, it is heaven.
Four years ago, when I moved to New York, I stopped ordering carbs when I went out to eat. I was always too “full” for dessert, too. It’s normal, this pattern—you see it everywhere.
I wasn’t overweight, but I didn’t feel thin enough. It’s not always clear where thin enough is, where to draw the line. Especially when, like me, you are struggling with other aspects of your appearance. You think, “If I was just thinner the rest wouldn’t matter as much.”
Somewhere along the way, we learn that food is out to get us. It’s dangerously seductive, like a young, buxom woman in a red dress when you’re a married man with two kids and a senate seat. We women are always cheating on our thinner selves with food. We’re always apologizing for eating, making excuses, laughing at ourselves.
“Oh you know me, I can’t help myself when there’s chocolate around! I’m a bad girl!”
“Straight to my thighs…” we mutter as we bite into something mouthwateringly good.
We live deep inside a culture that is always yelling at us to diet. That assumes we all, every single one of us, want to be thinner.
And you know what they say about people—if you tell them enough times how they should feel, they might just start feeling that way.
Continue Reading »
Kate on November 21st 2012 in beauty, body, food