During the "quiet time" we've been having recently, while so many bloggers are busy LIVING instead of writing, I started reading Dana Carpender's blog archive.
I have NO IDEA why I didn't do this before: she is, after all, my favorite living cookbook-author! Since I started reading blogs so much (which started while my husband worked out-of-town, and I had gobs of time to call my own) and ultimately discovered her work, she hasn't been as prolific a writer as she was six or seven years ago, and I didn't have a chance to get hooked on her "voice."
I'm making up for it, now. :-) Enjoying it, too! I became acquainted with her in real life, on the low-carb cruises, and I really like her and her husband both. My daughter observed that Dana reminded her of my eldest sister, and she's right -- D and S have similar personalities which I find entertaining and stimulating.
Some of her blog-posts recount what she eats on a daily basis -- well, she creates and publishes recipes, so she has a lot of "experiments" to "dispose of" and is too frugal a person to want to let any food go to waste. If her mother was like mine, who grew up during the Great Depression, she comes by it naturally....
Once when she asked for reader input, someone "accused" her of having a small appetite, saying that some days she seemed to eat not much more than a chicken-thigh during the course of half a day; Dana responded that on the contrary, her reader had been mistaken, and elaborated on the sort of meal and its preparation, which the reader had misinterpreted. Further, in the comments, another reader agreed with Dana having a decent-sized appetite -- she herself ate similarly and had been accused of "eating like a lumberjack."
This is what spurred me to write today. It aggrieves me to hear people passing judgement on not only WHAT other people choose to eat but HOW MUCH ... especially right in their faces ... and most especially to women. And as we see daily, online, much waspishness goes on and much conclusion-jumping too. So-and-so MUST eat less (or more) than they claim to, because they're losing (or gaining) weight on what a NORMAL PERSON would not! Or -- and this is the perennial annoyance -- SHE eats like a lumberjack ... with the underlying, unspoken condemnation that such a woman is gross and unfeminine.
For millennia, "Neolithic" culture has been up-in-arms about anybody having a good time, and it's a particular crime for women. Women should be delicate and pure, abstemious, chaste and sober, and "eat like a bird." For a woman to enjoy her food (or, god forbid! SEX) has long been considered just appalling. All a woman SHOULD enjoy is service to others. :-P
Though this attitude began to relax a bit during the 20th century, it is still going strong now. Want to cast aspersions on some woman? Say things like she's strong as an ox (implying "fat cow"), or flaunts herself (dresses for warm weather and exhibits joye de vivre), or EATS LIKE A LUMBERJACK (the shameless hedonist!)....
Appetite is driven by powerful biochemical processes. Anybody with experience of the world sees that repressing appetite for food (ie, on a calorie-deficient diet) can only last so long before one's hormones take charge and Nature's protective directives MAKE them give up and EAT. If we are burning a good deal of energy, a symphony of biochemicals is turned loose within us, demanding that we replenish our resources. If, thanks to insulin, we can't access our stored resources and we have to take in nourishment though we're still over-weight, the howling chorus screams "lumberjack."
It is STILL Nature's Way that we enjoy food ... despite the puritanical forces which condemn hedonism for purely unhealthy (psychopathic) reasons. It is Nature's Way that we have a drive to remain alive, even if our hormonal balance as been thrown off by our unnatural modern foods and lifestyles. We're wired to obey Nature in a way that puritanical entities (religions and cultural mores) find infuriatingly enviable. They WANT us to obey them as we must obey Nature, and Nature says NO because those puritanical forces are antithetical to Life Success.
Nature seems to have made women's biology to evolve during our lifetimes, so we can more effectively shape society for the better. When we're young we're more prey to our female hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin -- we're softer and more placating. When we reach midlife, we're less estrogenic on the one hand, and more dopamine-motivated on the other -- we care less about how others like us, and are more driven to do something about conditions we find intolerable. As I say -- female humans are different from other mammals which do not lose their reproductive capabilities two-thirds of the way through life as we do.
WE need to be a driving force for improving the world ... and one of the easiest ways we can do this is to stop supporting the kind of culture that thinks it's okay to backhandedly insult those who are only obeying Nature. She's eating like a lumberjack, is she? ... Gee, I wonder why -- must be something about her biology. Flaunting herself? Maybe something about the summer weather, her energy level, her youth and vibrancy.... Cattiness and eating like a bird SHOULD have gone out of fashion a LOOOONG time ago!