Archive for the 'food' Category

eat that ice cream!

A reader named Jackie sent me some photos of herself eating ice cream, along with this note. I asked her if I could publish it, because I wanted to share her story.

As a long-time lurker of Eat the Damn Cake, I’ve always admired the women who sent in pictures of themselves eating that cake. They looked so happy and carefree. There was once a time when I never thought I’d feel that way about cake–I had an eating disorder for nine long years. It came and went in terms of intensity and form, but it was always there. Big family events were always punctuated by trips to the bathroom or serious food gymnastics to avoid the calories. I wasted a sad amount of time during my teenage years hating myself and being scared and anxious.

But this is me, eating ice cream, exactly two years after the last time I purged. I look happy and carefree. I don’t feel that way all the time, but today, I definitely do. And I feel proud. I’ve got that recovery swagger now, and it makes eating cake no longer daunting. For anyone out there struggling—recovery is totally possible (for me, it took admitting myself into treatment)! And it will happen, if you’re ready for it and you deeply want it. Eat the damn (metaphorical and literal) cake and work for what you want.

Continue Reading »


Kate on February 11th 2012 in food, guest post

the upper middle class made me eat it

Dana, I tried to respond to your comment with this post, but it sort of veered off in another direction. I’ll try again later!

I think what you eat has a lot to do with your social class. I mean, it’s not just me– all of the people who do the studies about these things agree. Are you living in an upper middle class, multi-degreed, white collar community? (You don’t have to be upper middle class yourself– you just have to live there.) There are probably a lot of whole wheat options. There are probably a lot of fresh vegetables. Some people might think you’re being ironic if you eat PB&J on white.

Class is interesting. It’s something I think about a lot these days. I just took Charles Murray’s little class test. It’s from his new book Coming Apart. I actually didn’t realize when I first read about it that it was exclusively about white people. Oops. He says the upper middle class is totally out of touch with the majority of Americans– that the cultures are totally different at this point. That basically, if you have two degrees, like me, and live in Brooklyn, like I do, and are not an evangelical Christian, as I am not, then there’s a decent chance you’re in an elite bubble and have no idea what the rest of the country is up to. Personally, I don’t like Charles Murray’s tone. He’s just itching to call people snobs. I can imagine him using the term “Opera lover!” as a slur.

(A popular restaurant in the city. source)

Anyway, I took the test, and waited for Charles to sneer at me and say mockingly, in a snooty liberal voice, “It’s a lovely day for some croquet in Turks & Caicos, after we finish up these vegan cracked spout smoothies and our conversation about Derrida and the politics of identity marginalization.”

My score said that I’m a “first generation upper middle class person with middle class parents.

Which is true in some ways, but there’s a little more to the story. Like, I went to college and grad school, and my parents didn’t. When I was little, we lived in a pretty rural area, surrounded by farms and a smattering of neo nazis, where we learned all the different kinds of hunting seasons so as to avoid being shot by various projectiles (everyone thought an arrow would be the worst). There were years when my dad did not draw a salary– he was running a business out of the basement. I wasn’t isolated from poor kids or even evangelical Christian kids (shocking! I know!). But my parents were self-educated and cocky about it, we weren’t allowed to watch TV, and my mom grew a giant vegetable garden and bought chickens from the Amish market down the road.  No one watched Nascar. No one ate Denny’s. We didn’t eat out at all


And now here I am– in the big city, where many of the people I know take it as a sign of weakness to cook with spices you didn’t grind yourself (my father also grinds his own spices). Where it feels like an act of rebellion to eat a donut. Where health is on everyone’s minds, at every moment. I am always the only one in the room who doesn’t belong to a gym (I tried it briefly). I am usually the only one to take a second helping of dessert.

Continue Reading »


Kate on February 6th 2012 in food, new york

grilled cheese and soul-destroying rejection

This post was inspired by this comment, from Erin

Grilled cheese. This is how I impress people and make friends. It’s also, apparently, the centerpiece of the most boring scene ever written.

A couple years ago, a family friend mentioned that she lived next door to this big-shot book agent. He specialized in fantasy and sci fi. He had four other houses. The books he represented got turned into movies starring Tom Cruise.

(I’d be OK with this being a character from a book I wrote. source)

“You’re writing a book– right, Kate?” the family friend asked.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” I said. Or something to that effect.

She put me in touch with him. He offered to read my manuscript. I died of fear and joy and then fear again. And then joy. This is it, I thought. This is my big break. Kate, girl, this is the best thing that will ever happen to you.

I was not exactly putting all of my eggs in one basket. I had just started grad school. Just moved to NYC. And it was more about offering up my entire soul than anything to do with eggs, I think.

I sent him the book I’d worked on in college. It was the story of a dangerously powerful young woman named Sanla who is attending an all-girls boarding school at the edge of an enormous jungle, when suddenly she is selected by the Master Mage– the most powerful man in the world– a mysteriously blind, surprisingly young man with long curly black hair, to become his apprentice. But Sanla has the wrong kind of magic. She is a dark mage. And dark magic has long ago been outlawed. It is the magic of dirt and instinct and poverty. The ruling class practices a magic based on memorization, and words, and levels. Could it be that the Master Mage is experimenting with the dark? Could it be that the world is about to change, because of one little orphan girl?

Well, yeah.

Continue Reading »


Kate on February 3rd 2012 in fear, food, writing

my heaviest weight is back

I don’t own a scale. I do own a bright turquoise bath mat that I refuse to put in the bathroom because it’s too pretty.  I recently ordered it from Crate and Barrel with a gift card someone got us a year ago. Getting married is good for Crate and Barrel gift cards. I am bad at remembering where I put them.

My parents own a scale, and, with its dark powers of seduction, it drew me to it and suggested in a sly, beguiling whisper that I should put my feet on its smooth surface. So I did. And then I came back the next day, for more. And again, the day after that. And over the course of that time, which happened to be the long weekend of Thanksgiving, I watched the numbers gently rise.

I pretended that I didn’t remember my heaviest weight. I don’t want to be the kind of person who thinks about this kind of thing. I want to have records in my head of important stuff. The periodic table, maybe. A detailed map of lower Manhattan. All of the best words of the English language and a bunch of useful phrases in Spanish. Instead, it seems like the stuff that got priority is a catalogue of American dog breeds (memorized when I was ten), a little over half the state capitals, a litany of Most Embarrassing Moments, including the time I said “‘wroten’ instead of ‘written’” into a microphone in front of a hundred people, and blatantly unhelpful information about my body, like my heaviest weight.

“Heaviest weight!” bellowed an evilly gleeful voice in my head, the moment I stepped onto the scale on the third day. “HEAVIEST! BAM. You’re at it again. How’s it feel, being the HEAVIEST? Whatcha think about that?”

“Hmm,” I said aloud, tilting my head thoughtfully. “That number looks familiar…Where have I seen it before? It can’t be my heaviest weight, can it? I can barely even remember…” I stepped daintily off the scale. “Nope. It’s completely slipped my mind!”




Continue Reading »


Kate on November 28th 2011 in beauty, body, food

weird list of thankfulness

A friend of mine was saying, “No one seems very thankful around Thanksgiving. Everyone just seems grumpy. Maybe it’s a bad holiday. Maybe it’s got this negativity because the settlers ate dinner with the Native Americans and then killed them all. Bad vibes.”

“Also,” I said, “It’s not really a harvest festival, because everything’s already gone. Like, the vegetables in the grocery store are already starting to get mealy.”

I’ve been eating a lot of butternut squash. Which is not mealy. I’m gonna stop talking about harvesting and vegetable growing, because I really don’t know what I’m talking about.

But when I thought about it, I liked the idea of trying to think about what I’m thankful for. But I wanted to think of  some of the non-obvious stuff, because that’s more of a challenge (note: I’mfirstlythankfulformyfamilyandBearandmyfriendsandbeingabletowritealotandbeinghealthyandthepeopleIlovebeing,forthemostpart,healthy. There). Ready? Here goes:

I’m thankful for the occasional juicy pimple. They are really fun to pop.

I’m thankful for not getting into that grad school that I thought was the only school for me, even though I sat on the floor by my bed and cried for two days when I got that rejection letter and wrote a sad song on guitar even though I’m bad at playing guitar just because I literally couldn’t get up and go to the keyboard. Because if I had gone to that school, I wouldn’t have come to NYC and I wouldn’t have met Bear. And I wouldn’t be living between two enormous bridges on a cobblestoned street in Brooklyn.

Continue Reading »


Kate on November 23rd 2011 in beauty, being different, body, food

Stephen Hawking told me it’s OK if I don’t exercise

Occasionally, I like being reminded of how unimportant I am. Because otherwise, I start to think I’m really important.

And then I start to think that other people are probably paying pretty close attention to me, because I’m really important. They are definitely judging me. They are thinking things like “How come she doesn’t have a normal job?” They are thinking, “Wait, that girl got plastic surgery? How come her nose is still so big?” And they might also think, “Why is it that that girl can’t move her leg in one direction while her arm is going in the other direction?”

This is true, and it’s embarrassing. I know, because I once took a Zumba class with my bonus mom (MIL). She is training to be an instructor. As in, she is awesome at it. I am out of shape. In addition to having to sit down between dances, wheezing and gulping water, I think I hit the woman next to me at some point, with an incorrect and overenthusiastic leg motion. “Was she OK?” asked Bear, when I told him. “I don’t know!” I said. “I had to try to catch up with the next move!”

But because I’m beginning to suspect that I’ll die a young, terrible death if I don’t get some exercise soon, I tried to follow one of those dance exercise DVD routines on Netflix last night.

You know, the ones where the really fun woman in half a shirt and tight pants is doing fifty things at once while she chirps, “You’ve got it, ladies! Shake that booty! Here we go now! Four, three, two, one! To the left! And back! And front and right! And now left and front and back and right and arms up! You’ve got it now! When your legs go left your arms go right! When your legs go back your arms go front! Alright now! Turn it up! It’s gonna get a little hotter now!”


Continue Reading »


Kate on November 21st 2011 in exercise, food

A beautiful little story about a really big sandwich

So I had this job interview thing back in the town I went to college in. It was the first time in years that I’d been back there.

College was not an amazing experience for me. It wasn’t a really bad experience either. I have some really fond memories of sitting in my dorm, with the white cinderblock walls covered in print-out photos I’d taken of flowers and boys and my friends, writing music and eating dining hall takeout. I didn’t have one of those epic college experiences that people seem to always be having, where I made the best friends I’ll ever make, got so drunk that hilarious things happened, found myself, discovered what inspired me most, and earned the right to forever reference all that as the “best time of my life.” Which I think is good, really. Because it would be sad to get the best time of my life out of my system so young.

In college, I was pretty sure I’d like whatever came next better. I couldn’t wait to be out in the world. I knew I’d like it. And I was right. There was only ever one thing that I missed about college:

Fat sandwiches.


I can’t get them out of my head. Actually, this is my second post about them. Because they are that amazing. They are the extreme sport version of the regular sandwich. I’m bad at analogies today. They are gross. They have everything you can imagine on them. I build my own– with cheesesteak, mozzarella sticks, french fries, lettuce, gyro, hot sauce, and white sauce. I am not ashamed. I am not exactly proud, either, because I think that makes me sound like I’m trying to kill myself.

Continue Reading »


Kate on November 10th 2011 in food