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Can We Just Enjoy the Party, Please? | Manolo for the Big Girl

Can We Just Enjoy the Party, Please?

Yesterday was the annual block party on my street.

It was a great time, overall. There were games and a bouncy house for the kids, Mr. Twistie’s band played for the adults, though several toddlers were quite fascinated, too. Everyone came out of their houses and chatted with neighbors they hadn’t gotten to know well, yet. Mr. Twistie and I met the newest family on the block, who were quite charming people with an adorable small daughter and great taste in music. What? They loved Mr. Twistie’s band!

I spent the entire week prepping for this shindig in the kitchen. If you’ve read more than one of my missives here on this blog, then you know how I love to cook and especially bake. I pulled out all the stops. For this year’s party I made: apricot scones, a sweet ricotta galette, a white chocolate layer cake filled with homemade lemon curd and frosted with lemon buttercream, and a malted milk ball tart. I hasten to add that last one isn’t made from malted milk balls. It just tastes like one. Yes, I love to make desserts. Also, I make amazing desserts.

There were oohs and ahs as I brought out goodie after goodie. And yes, I oohed and ahed over many of the fabulous savory dishes on the table. BTW, if the creator of that incredible cucumber avocado salad with the ginger vinaigrette is reading this, I will not rest until I have the recipe. I could eat that endlessly.

So what’s the problem? Well, as I brought out my desserts, amid the gasps of wonder and delight, it seems I brought an unintentional passenger along to the table: body shame.

Yep, faced with lots of delicious sweet options, many people just could not deal with the situation without informing me that they couldn’t have any of them because they might ZOMG! get fat. Or fail to lose weight. One bite of cake might turn them into the Goodyear Blimp. And every single one of them chose to tell me how fattening my desserts were.

It’s not like I cared if someone chose not to eat one of my desserts. There were a lot of options on the table, both sweet and savory. All I wanted was to provide something delicious for people who enjoy delicious food. I don’t know who’s on a diet or who has a gluten sensitivity, or even who just isn’t big on sweet things. Eat it, don’t eat it, we’re cool. It’s not like I could have tasted everything out there, either. It was a truly table-straining repast. I tried a little of a lot of things, but I was full before I could eat some of everything, and there were things I passed on because they didn’t appeal to me.

But as my desserts were disappearing at record rate, I heard plenty of clucking about how eating desserts is a bad thing. I actually had a woman tell me that the reason her son is thin is because he stops eating when he’s full. I leveled a stare at her and said: “So do I. I just come from a long line of fat people. That’s why I’m fat.”

In the end, I brought about two slices of cake back… and three dishes that bore only crumbs and a trace or two of whipped cream. Since I hadn’t gotten a slice of cake at the party, I had one as a midnight snack. I’ll probably finish off the other slice for dessert tonight. Chances are high that I won’t be making another layer cake for weeks, maybe even a couple months.

And next year I will spend another week in the kitchen baking my heart out because I enjoy doing it and because there are people who have no problem enjoying what I bring out.

But to those who had to tell me how fat they are (and they were – to a woman and to a man – a hell of a lot thinner than I am), please don’t lay your guilt on me. Eat the cake, don’t eat the cake, it’s up to you. You’re all grown up and get to make these decisions for yourselves. But if you make the decision not to eat my desserts, don’t tell me it’s all about how it will make you fat.

I’ll be too busy enjoying all the food – savory and sweet – to give a damn about your waistline.

18 Responses to “Can We Just Enjoy the Party, Please?”

  1. Lisa September 23, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    (Picking Jaw up off Ground )
    I think that if someone had told me they wouldn’t eat what I had made because it would make them fat I would snatch it away, say in my most saccarine voice ” OH no, We can’t have that!” and walk away. (They would never get my christmas cookie platter again.) Really! The Nerve! Please post the malted milk ball tart recipe it sounds marvelous!

  2. Lisa September 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    Oh and the White chocolate cake recipe?

  3. Lisa in SoCal September 23, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    I think one of the worst things about the public health discourse on obesity, obesity, obesity is how UNRELENTINGLY BORING so much of our conversation has become, and how narcissism gets to masquerade as “health consciousness” rather than the straight up me-centerednes that it is. If my diet interests you, or your own diet interests you to an excessive degree, chance are, you don’t interest me very much. I’d rather spend my time talking about books and music and the national election and foreign policy and that fabulous pair of shoes that Plumcake is wearing and what you need to do to get your roses to bloom like Mrs. Cashner’s and where you can find that killer pink lipstick and who is the best electrician ever……etc….not listening to you cluck about calories or grams of fat or what you do an do not eat. BO-RING. And in Twisties’ case, ungrateful. Good for you for not letting spoil your time. Silly people.

  4. Erin September 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Don’t suppose you’d care to share the recipe for that sweet ricotta galette?

  5. Whitney September 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    We had the ever-popular Monthly Birthday Cake a week or so ago at work. Everyone else around me had some, I didn’t. Everyone around me knows that I am, in fact, in the process of losing a significant amount of weight for health reasons. And yes, it did come up – but as a “damn, it looks but but I can’t” joke manner. SOmeone brings somethingin I can’t have I don’t run right over an make a specatacle about how it’s off my “can have” list – until someone starts insisting and practically shoving a forkful in my face and then it’s a gentle reminder.

    That’s a whole lotta difference.

  6. RHCD September 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    There is a difference between asking if something has “x” in it because of allergies. But to not make you fat. Don’t eat it or hell just have a smaller piece and indulge or not. I’m with you I dont’ want to hear your lament on it making you fat.

  7. Sarah (with an H) September 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    People, for the most part, are so boring and self-centered. I know, being selfish is inherent to be human, but all this diet talk is for the birds. It was a special party and you pulled out some stops, it’s not like you’re force-feeding them Crisco. I just hate this stupid notion that you have to punish yourself to be a good person…my office mate is a big dude, and he’s always talking diet talk, but then scarfing Cheetos, Rueben sandwiches, etc. then talking about it…so annoying. I wonder if those people would have gone on and on about the desserts if Twistie was a thin lady? People like to be jerks too…they always think they’re being subtle.

  8. BasiL September 24, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    I’m not even a little surprised. I work as a cashier at a store that sells mostly food and of course the lovely delicious baked goods are always on the counter and I seriously get that all day. I just want to be like, “Look, I’m just trying to get paid barely above minimum wage here! I’m not judging what you eat. I don’t care! Just buy your stuff and leave your guilt at home!” Besides, they are of course always thinner than me. I’ve considered before when someone says “I’ll get so fat if I eat that”, retorting “Oh, yea? Like me?”

  9. Sonia September 24, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    You are strumming my pain with your fingers, lady. I have this same problem at work. I love to bake. I love to share. About once a month or so, I bake and bring to work. Most people are appreciative. But then there is The Diet Faction — the ones who have to make a special trip to my desk just to tell me that a) they’re not eating it; b) they are just having a teeny, tiny bit; c) I am a horrible person for ruining their diet; d) they are going to have to run an extra mile at the gym tonight. As if I’d held a gun to all of their self-obsessed, fat-fearind heads and tried to force cake down their throats. Idiots.

  10. Rebelle September 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    As Scarlett reminded Mammy while getting dressed for the barbecue, “Ashley said he liked to see a girl with a healthy appetite.”

    Me too.

  11. Twistie September 24, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    To all of you who have asked for recipes, stay tuned. Next week I shall reveal my sooper sekrit sorses and tell you where to find them.

  12. ChaChaHeels September 25, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    We bakers/food makers who share what we love to make with other people (and then have to listen to some yammer on about their own food obsessions and how they somehow reflect on us, the “fatties” who feed people) simply have to learn how to say, “How sad for you!” in response to their litany.

  13. Mallory September 25, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    I agree on all fronts.

    Me and one of my best friends from childhood both love food and trying new things – and it’s always a positive experience because never, not ONCE does all the food-shaming and weight talk get in the way. It’s one of the many reasons I so love and appreciate her.

    As a 22-year-old, not-so-tiny college student, you hear that crap from self-absorbed girls all the time, who are often much smaller than I am. And yeah, though I know that they probably aren’t thinking of me specifically, you can’t help but think…they’re trying to avoid becoming like me.

    And what’s so wrong with being me?

  14. Karin September 26, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    I have taken to copying this note (http://www.passiveaggressivenotes.com/2011/10/14/optional-candy/) and placing it next to cakes or whatever treats I bring to the office. Most people already know that I have zero tolerance for diet talk, but this cements it.

  15. April D September 27, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    Okay, first I’m sooper excited to see those recipe sources soon. Secondly, I just have to shake my head at people who insist on trying to put the onus of “blame” for their food insecurities at the foot of people being kind enough to bake/cook/offer up scrumptious treats! When I worked at a rather large and bustling company near DC I put up a mid-sized stocking at my cubicle near the end-of-year holidays, filled it with chocolates, and put a sign to the effect of “Leave the guilt at home, relieve a moment of stress with some chocolate”. Free to all to have (or not) as they wanted. I noticed I filled it a LOT in just a few weeks.

    Still, despite most people being thankful or happy to share, there were a few who told me I was horrible for doing that, wrecking peoples diets or self control over the holidays. Seriously??? We’re all adults here. I’m offering to SHARE CANDY. That’s it. I’m not deviously placing a piece on everyone’s desk with a note “Eat it or you’ll be fired. I’ll be watching”. Food hang-ups just…gah. Make me so angry and sad for people at the same time!

    I am definitely glad that you got to enjoy some good time with neighbors (for the most part) and that Mr. Twistie’s band was a hit :)

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