Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ruminations on food, Part 1

Since I write for a living, I find it hard sometimes to make the time and mental energy to keep up my blog posts, but that doesn't keep my mind from percolating away. For some time now I've been meaning to post about my interest in food. In response to queries from several friends and acquaintances, here are some thoughts about why I'm focusing on food instead of music as I look for full-time work.

Note that in the last paragraph I didn't say "new-found interest." Food is something that has dominated my thoughts for as long as I can remember, in both positive and negative ways. But perhaps it seems odd that a professional music nerd should be making a career switch to a field so unrelated as food sustainability and food security. I don't think there's any real connection between music and food, other than my interest in both, and this is not an attempt to find one. It's just some thoughts I've been ruminating on regarding my 40-year relationship with food.

Like most women, I have struggled with negative body image issues since I was a child. Over time I've come to understand the factors that went into my warped sense of physical self. I won't bore you (or me, for that matter) with an exhaustive exploration, though. Suffice it to say that I grew up brunette, smart and not anorexically thin in southern California. Not being blond, skinny and vapidly stupid was a negative, as I saw it, until I hit my teens and realized there were better things to aspire to.

The most indelible memories I have of food as a child centered on my mother's well-intentioned but totally misguided decision to take me to a nutritionist when I was nine. I was chubby, not obese, and miserable, and she thought I'd feel better about myself if I "took control" of my eating habits. This was a time when people were made to feel guilty and ashamed of their weight, as if it was some kind of moral failure to be larger than normal. And of course in sunny SoCal, "normal" was a pretty skewed concept. Anyway, I was under strict instructions to weigh and measure everything I ate with a food scale and keep a food journal. You can imagine how this went down for a nine-year-old. Nuf ced.

More later.

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