Recent posts

Comparing “Real Food” And “Real Women” Rhetoric

We’ve all seen the “real women” memes: “Real women have curves,” and so on. There’s been some pushing back against these ideas, which I think is useful, since holding up one category of womanhood as more “real” than another is ultimately essentializing and harmful. This intriguing blog post, Real Food, draws a parallel between the “real women” meme and arguments about “real food,” arguing that this logic is problematic on several levels. First, the “real food” rhetoric tends to be very judgmental: I’ve met very few people who make personal choices of the “real food” persuasion without also pressuring those around them…without also proclaiming that the foods most people rely on to survive are inherently inferior…without also implying that the reason the rest of us are fat, or poor, or don’t have shiny hair, or don’t walk around perpetually bathed in magical sunbeams of happiness, is entirely because we eat the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad food — the food that is not Real. The same thing goes for femininity and “real” women. Continue Reading →

HIV Awareness Through Dessert

Public health campaigns take all kinds of forms, whether it be billboards, public service announcements, or kitschy jingles. But Alvin Leung, head chef at Bo Innovation restaurant in Hong Kong, China has taken a whole new approach. According to this article from, Chef Leung has created a dessert called “Sex on the Beach,” which features an edible pink condom over edible sand. The condom, made of a “kappa and konjac” mixture and shaped around a cigar, also features a “white gooey substance” inside, made of mixture of honey and ham. Sounds appetizing! Continue Reading →

Family Meals As Relationship Maintenance

I wrote in an earlier post, Love At The Dinner Table, about how food underlies many of our formative emotional experiences, ranging from family interactions to occasions with lovers. This was mostly based on my intuition and my life experiences as a child of foodies. Now, research from Indiana University backs up this claim, as studies have demonstrated that “Family meal time has been shown to help kids do better in school, makes them less likely to use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and results in less depression and lower levels of obesity.” The site linked above also gives tips for increasing face-to-face time at family meal events, ranging from scheduling ideas (if dinner doesn’t work, try brunch on the weekends) to interaction tips (such as asking for the highpoint of someone’s day and focusing on the positive rather than the negative). However, I have to disagree with the writer’s assessment that nowadays “the family meal is practically folklore” since folklore doesn’t automatically mean falsehood or old relic. Continue Reading →

Love At The Dinner Table

While I was visiting my family in Los Angeles over the winter holidays, we enjoyed a number of fabulous meals together. These meals ranged from home-cooked simplicity to gourmet restaurant affairs that lasted four hours. During an instance of the latter–a deliciously decadent meal at Providence–I began reflecting on how the meals we eat with our families influence how we fall in love and how we express our love. Home is where we learn what a meal consists of: is it mac ‘n’ cheese or a five-course meal? Pizza or grilled salmon with a spinach salad? Continue Reading →

Genitals in the Wild: Yucca and Cucumbers

Last year, David Hammond interviewed me for a radio piece about food as aphrodisiacs. To record it, we strolled through the aisles of a Whole Foods in Chicago while we talked about food, sex, romance and the history of aphrodisiacs. He snapped these two photos of me (above and below). You can listen to the audio interview on WBEZ – it’s called “Love Bites: Eros in a Shopping Cart.” Do you see genital-looking things out in the wild, too? Continue Reading →