Food! You need it. No getting around it. But it’s such a loaded subject, rife with guilt and pleasure and morality and… more guilt. In this episode we talk about it.

[NB: We had chronic connection problems during this recording, which is why it’s taken so long to edit and post, but I didn’t want to hold it back any longer trying to fix thing lest folks come after me with pitchforks and torches. I haven’t actually listened to it all the way through so I apologize for any other little surprises therein.]

Links mentioned in this episode:

Michael Pollan’s many books

Perfection Salad

The music heard in this episode is by Alo Django.

18 Responses to “Food-isode”

  1. Tweets that mention Two Whole Cakes Fatcast» Blog Archive » Food-isode -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lesley Kinzel and Maggie Deegan, Taueret. Taueret said: New Fatcast! I love Fatcast! […]

  2. car Says:

    Yea! And more Yea! And some more yea! I’ve been so missing the fatcast, but didn’t want to ask about it and sound all entitled and demandy. 🙂 Very glad to know you’re still doing them.

  3. Monjaloca Says:


  4. Deb Says:

    My son is 15 and very tall and thin. When he was 10 or 11 he was a little pudgy. At his yearly check-up his pediatrician said “Your body is getting ready for a big growth spurt which will be followed by puberty, so it’s storing fat. Don’t go on a diet. You don’t want to interfere.” I swear I wanted to hug the man.
    I was put on my first diet at 9 years old. I’m so glad my son hasn’t gone through that bs.

  5. P G Says:

    Thanks for the update! I’ll admit, I was readying my pitchfork.

    I too am still very possessive about my food even though I’m no longer dieting. For me it isn’t that people never trusted me with my food it was that when someone took (or I gave someone) my food, that was a portion of my already limited food. Like if I allowed myself a bag of popcorn for a snack (or a meal. . .) and my father swooped a handful of it, that was a handful I wasn’t going to get back and I could never make up. Just more food out of my grasp, I suppose.

  6. Quisp Says:

    I’m listening right now to the section about how diets fuck up kids, and thinking I should call my mom and thank her for never making me diet.

  7. nancy smith Says:

    where are the last 17 or so minutes? it stopped at about minute 73.

  8. Jess Says:

    Love ya’ll, and felt that the food discussion was very informed. As a vegan, though, my hackles were raised for the whole Pollan/ethical eating discussion. I think Pollan has done a lot of good research, but his conclusions are a little hypocritical given his wide span of knowledge about industrial treatment of animals in a factory farming system. In case anyone is interested:

    “Food” for thought, regarding Kosher standards for butchering meat —>
    (Warning: I believe this video may have been commissioned by fat-phobic Peta, an organization that I try to distance myself from as a chubby vegan.)

    Also highly recommended, the anti-Pollan “Eating Animals,” written by Jonathan Safran Foer, for anyone interested in a more compassionate take on the subject.

  9. Nicole Says:

    Thank you for addressing the “You just want to give up and eat bon bons all day” criticism. I’m pretty new to fat acceptance, and that’s been the most common criticism I’ve heard from friends and family when I talk to them about it. I didn’t have the words to give them a convincing response, but now I do. Awesome!

    Love the podcast! You ladies rock.

  10. Heather Says:

    My food and eating heroes are Michelle, the Fat Nutritionist, and HER hero Ellyn Satter. They both promote a philosophy of eating based on respect and trust for yourself and your food. Satter calls it “eating competence.” It’s similar to the HAES ideal of “intuitive eating,” but I like the term “competence” better than “intuition”.

    I think Michael Pollan’s work is useful and eloquent, and I appreciate his policy work, BUT he does come across as fatphobic. He constantly invokes Visible Fatties as proof of social/cultural/industrial dysfunction (agribusiness, food subsidies, health insurance industry, engineered foods). I like his motto “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants,” even though the “not too much” kind of rubs me the wrong way… Still sounds food police-y.

  11. Heather Says:

    In a more personal aspect of the food topic… I have some colleagues who are “foodies”. Both slim men, with slim wives. 80% of their conversation is about restaurants and meals and farm market finds. Their leisure time seems to revolve around food. And they are Super Cool Dudes in our workplace. Their food-love is endearing and admirable. But as a Large Lady, I feel really uncomfortable around them. I feel uncomfortable participating in their foodie conversations and recreational eating, because I feel like MY enthusiasm for food would not be endearing or admirable… it would be shameful and pathological, the answer to the question “Why is she fat?”

  12. Maia Says:

    I found this podcast really interesting. Because it was the first one where I was all “Oh yeah, I have very different politics from Marianne and Lesley.”

    I really disagree with the construction of an ‘ethical diet’. It is impossible to eat under capitalism without it involving exploitation. And to construct a particular survival strategy within that as a single ‘ethical diet’, is problematic and exclusive (which still involves a shit load of exploitation, I’ve worked as a union organiser and I know a reasonable amount about labour exploitation in so-called ‘ethical’ sectors of hte economy).

    I also disagree with ‘awareness’ as a responsibility. I think it’s fine if peopele . But it’s just as fine if people are like “Fuck it, I don’t have any spare energy to stress about what conditions my food is made in. I’m going to worry primarily about what I can afford, and what I like.”

    I think there is an individualism in fat acceptance that is really important – only you can figure out what is right for your body. But I think the solution to structural problems, such as the way our food is produced, is collective action, not individual action.

  13. Heather Says:

    Yet another thought. I was just browsing through Amazon reviews of Pollan’s latest, a handbook of 64 rules for what and how to eat. Just reading the rules quoted in the reviews made me want to go to Jack in the Box drive-thru.

    Being scolded and given Food Rules just makes me feel so defiant! Even when I agree with the content of the rule, I hate being preached at. Especially in Pollan’s terse, common-sense-verging-on-condescension tone.

    I had a similar reaction to Super-Size Me: after the initial revulsion, an urge for a burger and fries.

  14. Amy Says:

    Though Pollan does say in his Food Rules book that if you just take a few of rules and put them in practice that’s okay too. It’s not like you must follow each and every one of these rules. I love Michele’s rules- Eat food, stuff you like, as much as you want!
    What’s funny is that after watching Super-Size Me I never bought anything from McD’s again, not even a salad. One of the bonus features on the DVD had a classic science experiment- left the those french fries in glass jar and the fact that they never decomposed (after many months) grossed me out so much that I never ate fast food fries again. I do however still eat lots of french fries 🙂

  15. JonelB Says:
    This is the comic, one of SMBC’s every time, that I think of during the “disassociation” of where our food comes from.
    I grew up in the country, eating deer, chicken eggs from local places, local butcher’s beef, as much food as we could get locally(from friends who grew veggies and farmer’s markets and our own garden), we got it, and ate it, and it makes food that is just so much better than the supermarket. So I’ve always been well-connected with my food, but the comic of someone who sort of sees food that way…it’s kind of sad, but it cracks me up at the same time.(and I’m pretty sure there’s someone who sees food that way)

  16. Carahe Says:

    A very intriguing topic, and very nice basic coverage of it, but one thing that I think could be much more thoroughly covered is the issue of food and money, specifically poverty. I appreciated that you were both careful to mention that your particular approaches to food choice and consumption require the monetary freedom to make more expensive choices, but I found myself wanting to hear more about your takes on the way public attitudes about food affect specifically people living at, around, or below poverty level (as well as how that income level affects people’s ability to make effective food choices), because I suspect that that is a very different conversation, and one that is particularly relevant to ‘de-ickifying’ fatness as a concept.

    Again, however, for those of us with the privilege of using disposable income to make food choices (and even growing up with the extremely dubious ‘privilege’ of dieting as children), this was a great conversation to have, so thank you!

  17. arcane_scholar Says:

    This is such a hard postcast to listen to. I think have such anxiety and knee-jerk reactions because our society is sooo judgmental about food. Lesley says American cheese is disgusting and I get defensive (lol) because it is the only cheese I like. Y’all say fast food is no good, when I actually prefer to eat it, and I get frustrated. It is so hard to talk to people about food, and to hear people talk about food. Even though y’all say “to each their own” and “if you like it” and make it known you’re not judging other people’s choices, it still /feels/ like a judgement. I don’t know. Maybe that’s just me.

    I am happy to try eating more socially-conscience whole foods, if someone else wants to do the shopping, cooking, research, etc., etc., etc. I’m still busy just trying to figure out how to survive in this world without losing myself and my beliefs and my dreams. I’m trying to figure out how to secure a place to live, and how to get any food to eat, and how to pay bills, and how to heal from abuse and neglect and not view the world as dangerous. I’m still working out how to combat gender-roles and racism and homophobia, and how to make a life which I’m happy with. I’m trying to figure our my bliss and evolve as a person. I just don’t find that kind of thing to be an important subject in my life. Yes, I can never stop eating (without dying), and thus is /already/ takes up a large chunk of my time. Combine that with sleeping and 2/3rds of my life is spent. Other things are just more important.

    And, I don’t want to connect a chicken breast with a chicken, because if I do then I can’t eat it. My body rejects it, I throw it back up. Don’t get me wrong, /not/ associating doesn’t mean I’m unaware of animal farming or the abuse of animals due to food consumption. It just means that I get to engaged in an activity that my survival requires without unnecessary drama and pain. I do try to eat stuff without meat as much as possible; however, I can’t always not eat it. Like I said, I’m just trying to do what I can do to get through life with as much happiness and contentment as I can. That doesn’t mean that I think we should over-consume or not give /any/ consideration to the ecosystem and stuff like it. I don’t know if I’m expressing myself properly.

    I’m sure y’all know this, and I think you’ve really tried to express that. It is just /so hard/ for me to have this conversation without feeling defensive.

  18. Gillian Says:

    Hi guys. I know it’s been a few months since you posted this, but I’ve been slowly working my way through these podcasts (and I think they’re fabulous, and that you two are amazing, incredibly clever, and inspirational) and feel I need to comment on this one.
    Yeah, I’m another of the fat kids that got shoved on her first diet (that I remember, anyway) when I was seven, and since then childhood was all about my weight and losing weight and and all of this malarkey. I got all of the “you’ll be so pretty when you lose all of this weight” etc. And I absolutely agree with what both of you say: It fucks. kids. up. My relationship with food is now utterly ridiculous, and God, how I wish it was not. I’m trying to work on it, to stop being so obsessed with it and learn how to truly love it again and everything, but it’s not happening so far. And of course, I’m fatter than ever, so they don’t work anyway.
    I remember being quite small (like, around 9) and not wanting to eat a single goldfish cracker a friend had given me, because it was a “bad” food. I think back on that moment and have to facepalm, because it was so silly, and I’m angry that I was programmed to think that way from such a young age. I’m angry that I was being so disciplined at that age while my brothers got to eat nicer foods. I get that people were trying to help me, but… they didn’t. They made me worse.
    I think about my brother, who also was chubby then shot up, and wonder how bad it would have been if he had dieted when he was chubby. Sadly, he’s kind of concerned about his weight now, and yeah… I wish he wasn’t. I’m working on him.

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