The Girl Called Rachel


The best thing I ever ate?

I’m sitting here on the floor of my living room watching Food Network’s new series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”, which features FN stars talking about… you know. These men and women are so passionate about food: cooking it, eating it, describing what makes it delicious. This episode is all about deep fried food. Doughnuts, hot dogs, french fries, bacon, pork rinds. Nothing gourmet, absolutely guilty pleasures. But really celebrated and worthy of the calories because of the joy it brings to the customers’ lives.

I am a woman who has had an eating disorder for as long as I can remember, but realistically, absolutely more than half of my life. I have trouble classifying it because I, along with most other people in the world, are just beginning to acknowledge disordered eating that does not involve binging and purging or starvation. I graze, I binge, I sit around hating myself for the food I ate, the money I spent and the isolation I enforce on myself.

For all of the time I spend thinking about food and eating it, I barely ever enjoy it. I can’t even call the bad food that I eat “guilty pleasures” because the way I feel before, during and afterward is hardly pleasurable.

When I was younger, the first thing I ever wanted to be was a chef. I can’t remember ever helping out in the kitchen, or being a particularly daring eater, but at eight years old I knew I wanted to go to Cornell to be a culinary arts major. (I think I heard my dad say once that Cornell was a good school for aspiring chefs, so it’s an idea that I clung to blindly.) Today, I wonder why I wanted to cook in the future, but had no desire to practice it as a kid or teenager. Did I want to surround myself with food all day long? Or did I watch my parents (mostly Mom) cook dinner and make the meal special every single night until I went to college, and I wanted to continue the tradition of spending time with the people I love eating delicious food? Maybe I just met a chef when I was a kid and thought working in a restaurant would be fun. I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that after 12 years of wasting calories and time on food that has done nothing for me except make me hate my body, I really want to learn how to cook. I want to spend the time on myself to create something simple and nutritional and satisfying. I don’t believe that diets work and I don’t want to restrict the kinds of food I eat. I just can’t continue to use food to avoid living and feeling the natural ups and downs of being an adult.

Now, when I cook for myself, I feel like I am wasting time because the result isn’t what I excepted and the meal is over much faster than it took to make it. I want to learn to enjoy the time I spend in the kitchen, appreciating myself as someone who doesn’t deserve to eat processed shit and garbage ingredients. I want it to be an activity that I will look foward to every day, because I know that it will encourage a turning point in how I feel about myself and what my life is all about. Let’s do this.

1/12/09


Handshakefulness, Playhard, and Nicknameification

At Wooster I took a class called Black Women’s Health, which revolved around… You guessed it. We learned to recognize the disparity of education about specifically and historically black health issues and this weeks episode of 30 Rock really sparked my memory of the class.

Dr. Spaceman has just told Tracy he may be pre-diabetic:

Kenneth: Morning, Mr. Jordan. What’s that on your foot, sir?

Tracy: It’s a practice wheel for when I lose my foot to diabetes.

Kenneth: You can’t eat candy if you have diabetes!

Tracy: There’s no link between diabetes and diet! That’s a white myth, Ken. Like Larry Bird or Colorado.

Kenneth: It’s not a myth! Gentlemen, back me up here.

Dot Com: I don’t know. My dad had diabetes and he ate whatever he wanted, until he died the day I was born.

Kenneth: How do you not see the connection?

Toofer: You know, there’s a conspiracy theory that after the Civil War the US government spread false information about diabetes to keep the newly freed slaves sluggish and docile. Which is why, to this date, most African-Americans don’t understand that diabetes is caused by sleeping on your back.

Kenneths devotion to NBC

Kenneth's devotion to NBC

******************

Say what you will about Alanis Morissette, but I was listening to her almost exclusively when I was in 5th grade. I was nine and I knew Jagged Little Pill backward and forward, but was still instructed by a friend’s mother to mute the volume every time we were about to hear the word “fuck”. What was the point of that? I don’t remember why I bought the cd or what I thought the first time I listened to it, but it quickly replaced Ace of Base in my Discman.

That is why I can and can’t understand my 5 year olds’ obsession with Hannah Montana.

Due to my constant playing of this album (and this being the first song on it) I will forever remember the lyrics to All I Really Want (although this is not from memory):

Do I stress you out
My sweater is on backwards and inside out
And you say how appropriate
I don’t want to dissect everything today
I don’t mean to pick you apart you see
But I can’t help it
There I go jumping before the gunshot has gone off
Slap me with a splintered ruler
And it would knock me to the floor if I wasn’t there already
If only I could hunt the hunter

And all I really want is some patience
A way to calm the angry voice
And all I really want is deliverance
Do I wear you out
You must wonder why I’m so relentless and all strung out
I’m consumed by the chill of solitary
I’m like Estella
I like to reel it in and then spit it out
I’m frustrated by your apathy
And I am frightened by the corrupted ways of this land
If only I could meet the Maker

And I am fascinated by the spiritual man
I am humbled by his humble nature
What I wouldn’t give to find a soulmate
Someone else to catch this drift
And what I wouldn’t give to meet a kindred
Enough about me, let’s talk about you for a minute
Enough about you, let’s talk about life for a while
The conflicts, the craziness and the sound of pretenses
Falling all around…all around
Why are you so petrified of silence
Here can you handle this?

Did you think about your bills, your ex, your deadlines
Or when you think you’re gonna die
Or did you long for the next distraction
And all I need now is intellectual intercourse
A soul to dig the hole much deeper
And I have no concept of time other than it is flying
If only I could kill the killer

All I really want is some peace man
a place to find a common ground
And all I really want is a wavelength
All I really want is some comfort
A way to get my hands untied
And all I really want is some justice…

Read that from the angle of a child. What did I think this meant, before I had even turned 10?! Maybe I just had a feeling that I should be listening to a woman who was screaming about something. She had passion that I thought deserved to be listened to, even if I didn’t have the life experiences to relate to it…