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In Praise of Food | Manolo for the Big Girl

In Praise of Food

As a fat woman, I’m often admonished by my television, my newspaper, the local clothing stores that don’t carry my size, and even random people on the street that I should be ashamed of myself for wanting to eat. Bad Twistie! Don’t I know that eating food made me fat and therefore less than a person?

Yeah, because it couldn’t have anything to do with genetics, such as the fact that both of my parents were fat, too. And it probably is all about the fact that people haven’t told me I’m fat, therefore since I don’t have any mirrors and I never look down to my own belly, it’s clear that I simply don’t know I’m fat. Thank you to everyone who has bravely pointed out this incredibly useful information to me. I’ll get right on hating myself for eating.

Or maybe I won’t.

Maybe I’ll take some time today and love me some food.


As it happens, I love to eat. Shocking, I know, but it’s true and I see no need to be ashamed of it. I love green vegetables and whole grains and yes, even (gasp!) pies and cakes. The fact is the human body needs fuel and the fuel we use is food.

I love to cook. Slicing, sauteing, baking, mixing…seeing how different raw materials change with different techniques, making something scrumptious from the humblest of ingredients. I am endlessly fascinated with how heat and resizing and combining one thing with another alters flavor . I love to watch my dough rise as the yeast does its magic. I love to hear the crispy crackle as I bite into a perfectly roasted potato. I love the feel of a perfectly blanched broccoli floret on my tongue as much as the soft slide of a good egg custard down my throat.

Food is not the enemy. It is the way we build the energy to live.

I believe in eating a pretty balanced diet. I love my veggies. I love my whole grains. I find them tasty and feel good when I eat them. I enjoy a good, lean piece of fish or chicken, too. I also happen to like ice cream as well as yoghurt, hamburgers as well as sole, and fruit pie in a proper, butter-laden short crust as well as berries sliced in a bowl with a tiny sprinkle of sugar. I will not give these treats up without a damn good reason. I will not eat the heavy, fatty, sweet things every day, but I will not fear to eat them when I want them. I will not even fear to eat them in public in front of those who object on the principal that my fat is caused entirely by eating nothing else and that this somehow makes me unworthy to ever touch a sweet treat again.

Even if I did eat nothing all day but cookies, candy, and cakes that would not excuse the stares or the rude comments inflicted on fat people every day. Random strangers have no way of knowing whether I’ve already downed six cartons of Chunky Monkey today or whether this is the first time in seven years that I’ve eaten refined sugar. They don’t know whether I’ve been fat all my life or whether I recently started a medication that has made me suddenly gain fifty pounds.

Most of all, my life choices are not their business.

So I will continue to love my food, love my body and sing the praises of both. This body is capable of walking for several miles at a stretch, of carrying a fairly heavy load without complaint, of cradling a child in its arms, of making lace and typing words, of having good sex, and of making delicious food. That food is the reason my body can do all these things and so many more.

Thank you, food. You are truly my friend.

14 Responses to “In Praise of Food”

  1. Mel April 13, 2008 at 1:57 pm #

    I’m with you 100%. I absolutely love to be in my kitchen (Cuban pork in the oven as we speak) and I refuse to be ashamed of this pleasure. I’m working on a cookbook now – Never Trust the Skinny Chef.

  2. Nanette April 13, 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    Personally, I think good food shared with good company is one of the great joys in life. I see so many people eating processed diet foods and being miserable trying to maintain unrealistically thin bodies. They fill their body with all sorts of processed additives and poison their bodies. They focus so much on each little bulge or ripple that they create a tiny world focused on guilt over eating everything and running in one place to no where. They have no room in their lives for other people.

    I have been living a narrow life the last few years because of some perfessional reversals and family responsibilites but I am slowly working to build a richer life for myself. That life will include food. Crisp, crunchy vegetables, sweet succulent fruit, delicious pefectly cooked meats……..red and white…….warm, fragrant breads…….all the bounties of the kitchen. And it will include long walks in the sunshine and afternoons in the pool. I may be fat but I pan to live well and enjoy my life. I’m sorry if it is an issue for other people if I choose to live an enjoyable abundant life.

  3. Never teh Bride April 13, 2008 at 5:50 pm #

    I hate (HATE HATE HATE) those “helpful” people who feel it’s their duty to point out people to themselves. Because, you know, the fat gal was just so in the dark until Ms. Buttinsky came along. And the skinny gal wasn’t aware that she could stand to gain a few until Mr. Footinmouth let her know. Substitute “bent nose,” “big feet,” and other HELLO OBVIOUS so-called problems for fat and skinny.

    Because, gee, we didn’t know until someone was “helpful” enough to point it out, right? UGH.

  4. Jennie April 13, 2008 at 11:57 pm #

    My friend with benefits felt the need to point out that I needed to loose weight while we showering in preparation to, well, TMI. Needless to say this really made me fell super sexy and want to get down with all that. When I explained that this was NOT the key to making me incoherent with ecstacy, he let me know that his concern was “about my health” I had not been body conscience around him until this time. I would really rather have been left in the dark. I told him that since he was not happy with my size that it wold be best if we didn’t see each other until I lost 50 lbs. I hope he is holding his breath……

  5. shiloh April 14, 2008 at 12:29 am #

    There’s nothing that spoils my day more than folks that offer unsolicited comments of “You’ve such a pretty face, you should lose 10/20/30/40/50 pounds”. Hate them, hate them, hate them! What’s wrong with the way I look now – am I any less for not having huge hollows under my cheek bones, or sunken eyes or jutting bones?

    I love my food too – not just the quantity but the taste and flavor, but I’m a lousy cook. I’m in awe of anyone who can whip up a great meal without using a cook book.

  6. Toby Wollin April 14, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    I’m going to paraphrase my dear old mother’s favorite saying: Don’t Eat Crappy Food. Everything you put in your mouth should be something that tastes great, looks great and that you absolutely love. Eating cottage cheese and salads out of guilt is as bad as not eating anything at all. Guilt is not a good sauce for meals. Yesterday, we had roast turkey, baked sweet potatoes, a salad and a new invention: baked peaches with the crisp topping that you use for apple crisp. I froze the peaches, whole, last summer, took them out, zapped them in the microwave for 2.5 min. sliced them in half(they are still a little frozen and the pit just pops out), sprinkled the stuff on them and wa-la — instant dessert. Yum.

  7. dcsurfergirl April 14, 2008 at 9:59 am #

    Who ARE these people anyway?

  8. Twistie April 14, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    Okay, I think I need to get into my TARDIS and have dinner last night with both Mel and Toby Wollin. Those meals sound fabulous.

    I do eat cottage cheese sometimes, and salad often…but only because I like them. I can’t imagine eating them out of guilt.

    And yes! NtB and Shiloh! I hate it when people ‘helpfully’ point out things like that I’m short, I’m fat, I have long hair, and then expect it to be news to me somehow. I do own several mirrors, and have been known to look in them on a fairly regular basis.

    I think I may have to bake myself some scones today. It was too hot over the weekend and I had a kitchen full of stuff that didn’t belong there (temporarily while Mr. Twistie does some serious reorganizing on another room), so now that the temperature has gone down a few notches and I don’t have a kitchen full of guitars and amps I feel a need to do something for me. Mmmm…scones. I think I may fill them with blueberries. Then nobody else in this house will want any and they’ll be mine all mine! MWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!

  9. daisyj April 14, 2008 at 1:55 pm #

    I’m a big believer in the principle of “calories per unit happiness.” That is, that there should be little guilt in eating rich foods that are delicious (within reason, of course), but bland, goopy, or otherwise unfantastic junk is best left unconsumed. (I came up with this one after a few weeks of eating in the lousy cafeteria at work, where tons of lard and gallons of frying oil go into making a whole lot of nothing you want to eat. And the portions are huge.) But if a thing gives you pleasure, then you should enjoy it, because that’s what pleasure is for.

    After all, the whole point is to be happy, right?

  10. Monica P. Smight April 14, 2008 at 5:06 pm #

    No one tells me I need to lose weight.

    They’re afraid of me.

    I like it that way.

  11. bonnie-ann black April 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm #

    at a bar one time, a man said to me, “you know, if you lost some weight and wore contacts, you might be gorgeous.” i responded by saying, “if you were six inches taller and had a full head of hair, you might be gorgeous too.” he immediately told me “the wasn’t nice…” he honestly didn’t get his non-right to say anything to me. it seems most people think if they’re telling you something for “your own good” they are entitled to speak about anything from religion to weight with impunity. i have long ago learned to brush these people off.

  12. Rabia April 16, 2008 at 8:20 pm #

    Dude, Shiloh, I’m in the same boat as you, but it’s not random people who tell me that I’d be so pretty IF I lost X number of pounds. It’s my own parents with Daddy Dearest having a near obsession with keeping track of who’s fat and who’s thin. I am so SO sick of hearing that.

    I cannot tell you what a state I was in the morning of my best friend’s wedding when my Dad proceeded to, in short, call me fat and incapable of taking care of myself. I was seriously thisclose to not going to the wedding, but I’m so glad I did. Why? Because one completely random lady went out of her way to come up to me and tell me that I looked absolutely beautiful and the colour I was wearing was gorgeous. My dad’s friend gave me a similar compliment, and I half-jokingly said, “Can you please tell my dad?” Since then, I try to carry those two moments around in my head rather than my dad’s comments.

  13. QuiteLight April 25, 2008 at 5:59 pm #

    Thank you, I needed to hear someone talk this confidently & proudly today.

  14. www.engel-bedeutung.de December 3, 2008 at 12:51 pm #

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