One of the most powerful forms of fat activism is to reclaim your right to eat and enjoy food. Fat people have their food choices and eating policed constantly, from the constant barrage of marketing and media that labels food as either bad/sinful/unhealthy or good/virtuous/healthy, to the passing comments on what you are eating. I could write volumes on comments that have been made to me about my food and eating from both people who I know and complete strangers. A few of my favourites include:
- the elderly woman who didn’t bother to lower her voice as she walked past me eating a fruit salad outside a cafe and said in a disgusted tone “People like that should just not eat, ever.”
- The colleague years ago who tried to take my Slurpee off me in the elevator because he decided that it was bad for me. He wasn’t joking.
- The colleague who used to stalk me at lunch time and stare intently at me while I ate my lunch, her eyes travelling from my plate to my mouth with each bite and then say “I couldn’t eat that, it has too many calories.”
- The two women who loudly said “Oh God, how disgusting is she?” while I sat eating a chicken and salad meal with my then boyfriend (who was very thin) who was eating a steak-burger, chips, a meat pie and a large thickshake AND was picking food off my plate.
- The woman who thought I couldn’t hear her in the supermarket because I had my earbuds in, who looked in my shopping basket (that particular day only contained yoghurt, toilet paper and toothpaste) and said to her daughter “That’s what happens when you eat too much rubbish food.”
- The old boss that said “You need to stop thinking about food” when I worriedly asked my visibly tired, stressed colleague when he was going to go take his lunch break, which he clearly needed.
I’m sure many of you can supply your own examples of the douchey, insensitive, invasive things people do and say to you as a fat person, on the topic of food and eating.
But that is not what this post is about.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram (username FatHeffalump) may have noticed that I use the #freefatty hashtag a lot, when I post pictures of food. My aim is to reclaim my freedom to eat, to enjoy food, to share and celebrate food, without allowing anyone to shame or lecture me for my choices. Sadly, that constitutes a radical act these days, when it really shouldn’t. I mean other than to enjoy “breaking bread” with someone, or to share food experiences, who gives a fuck what other people eat right? But our entire culture is geared to load shame and moral value to what people eat (or don’t eat). I refuse to buy into that. I’m not going to justify what I eat. I’m not going to make excuses for eating things that are considered “unhealthy” or “sinful” or “junk”. Nor am I going to crow or brag about eating something considered “healthy” or “virtuous”. I’m going to share my food choices either because they look good, taste amazing, are celebratory or are just interesting for whatever reason. It might just be because it’s part of my day and I like sharing my life with my friends and fellow Tweeters/Tumblrers/Instagrammers.
So today, I’m going to dedicate this blog post to sharing some photos of food I’ve eaten over the past few months (since I got into Instagram and have the photos to share) and talk about what I was doing when I ate them. I encourage you to talk about this food, and food you’ve eaten recently in the comments. Tell me about the most delicious thing you’ve eaten recently. Talk about one of the photos below. Tell your own story about food. Let’s be radical and reclaim our right to food and eating Heffalumpies!
I often take snacks with me when I ride my bike, I particularly like cheese, crackers and dried fruit. They’re easy to pack, tasty and don’t create any rubbish I have to bring home with me.
French toast is one of my easy meals when I get home from work after a hard day. How do you have your French toast? When I was a kid it was always a savoury thing, served with salt and vinegar. I still eat it that way if I cook it for myself, but I do love to have it as a sweet dish with maple syrup or lemon syrup if I go out for brunch or something.
It was a really intense time at work so my colleague brought along a box of chocs for us to share in our team meeting. I’m not a big fan of Favourites, but I have been known to pick out the Flake or Moro minis from them. If I buy boxed chocolates for the team at work, I usually buy Darrell Lea soft centres.
We have farmer’s markets outside my office building every Wednesday, and I’ve got into the habit of getting a sour cherry danish from the Italian bakery stall each Wednesday morning, which I have with my regular cup of coffee. Yes, I drink my coffee black – at least I do when it’s instant or plunger coffee. I don’t mind a latte (made on lactose free or skim milk – I don’t drink a lot of milk) if I am getting espresso coffee. These danish are amazing – so tangy!
This was a salad I made myself for dinner one night. It was mixed greens, roasted capsicum, shredded carrot and beetroot and crunchy noodles with a mango dressing. It was sooooo good. I want one now in fact!
I went out for brunch with some friends at the Lagoon Coffee Lounge here at Sandgate, and ordered this amazing breakfast. Brunch is one of my favourite meals. Especially if it involves mushrooms.
Yes, this fatty loves ice-cream. Particularly rum and raisin. There is a gelateria on the waterfront here at Sandgate and I’ve only ever been there twice since I moved here. I picked this up one Sunday afternoon on my way back from a walk along the waterfront. It was SO GOOD!
Also purchased from the Wednesday farmer’s markets are these gorgeous strawberries from Kandara farm. They are so much better than any of the supermarket stuff.
My friend Gina makes THE most amazing pastizzi. She worked in our office for a month and spoiled us by bringing in a huge container of these.
Decent Mexican food has been nigh on impossible to find in Australia, but now that Guzman Y Gomez stores are popping up all over the place, it has got so much better. It’s not very often I get to go to one, but I was in the Wintergarden for something a few weeks ago, so I had to stop there for lunch.
My friends Di, Kerri and I went to the Beaudesert show (like a carnival or fair for you non-Aussies) and the big food tradition at Beaudesert show is pavlova with strawberries and cream from the Jimboomba scout association. They’ve been doing that stand at the Beaudesert show for as long as I can remember, and it’s always a massive hit every year. This was a small serve!
I don’t really need to say anything about this photo do I? Except that you can see the magnet I got from Weta Caves in New Zealand (Frodo’s sword, Sting) and one from Colombia that my friend’s Roberto and Elena brought back for me.
I keep this rice cracker stuff in a Tupperware container at work for snacks. It’s great for when I want something a bit crunchy. It’s cheap too, I pick it up from the Golden Circle outlet when I can in big 2kg bags that last me forever.
Bangers and mash with onion gravy. Is there anything more comforting? While the weather was cold I’d have this about once a week, it’s easy to cook, the leftovers are delicious and it tastes great.
I had a day out with some ladies I met through Bookcrossing a few weeks ago. We went to the Mummy exhibit and the Queensland Museum, and also had a look at the Gwen Gillam (local fashion designer from the 50’s/60’s/70’s) exhibit, and then had lunch at the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) Bistro. I had this AMAZING hazelnut crusted pork cutlet on roasted kumara and onions. WOW.
It’s lovely when a colleague shows appreciation. One of the fab library folk brought in a container of these for me a couple of weeks ago. These are Neenish tarts. I have know idea where Neen is or how Neenish tarts came about, so let’s ask Wikipedia.
These two go together. My lovely friend Vonnie and her husband Callum and their son Ewan were visiting Queensland a couple of weeks ago on holidays, and we met up for dinner. Vonnie is one of the first friends I made on the internet – we met through a SeaChange (Australian TV show) mailing list a LONG time ago, and I visited her in Melbourne 9 years ago when she invited me to her wedding after having only met me once before when she and Callum were visiting Brisbane. Their wedding was one of the most beautifully relaxed and truly special events I have ever been to. As Vonnie is a vegetarian, Callum is a meat-eating truck driver and Ewan is a small boy with the usual small boy dietary requirements, I took them to Jo-Jo’s here in Brisbane because they have a really broad variety of meals, and are kid friendly. I almost always have their Thai prawn stirfry with cashews and jasmine rice when I go there, it’s that good and has been on their menu for at least 20 years. I had a wonderful evening with them all, I wish we lived closer together so I could see them more often.
This is yakisoba. It is usually what I have for lunch on the day I don’t bring it in from home. I love Japanese food, it’s so tasty and chock full of veges.
At least once on a weekend I try to take my lunch and a book down to the waterfront for a couple of hours relaxed reading. This is last Saturday’s fare – Tom Cho and peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
Every now and then my team at work take time out together to have breakfast before work. We particularly like the Java Coast Cafe on George Street. I cannot tell you how good that wilted spinach (under the grilled tomato) is! The mushrooms are amazing too. It’s good for us, we get some time to talk about something other than work, and remember that we are all people outside of work. It keeps us a tight, strong team.
Last one! This was my breakfast/brunch this morning. Pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, and a latte. A couple of times per month I take myself (and my book of course) off for brunch on a weekend. I like the aforementioned Lagoon Coffee Lounge – you can see why by this delicious breakfast!
Ok, so over to you. Tell me about a meal or dish you’ve had, something you’ve cooked, or a tasty snack you love. Please remember that there will be no moralising about food, no deeming it good/bad and no judgement of what other people eat. And most importantly NO DIET TALK!