Happy Sunday, readers.
My computer crapped out a few weeks ago, so I’m on borrowed digital space when away from the office these days. (Thanks, Ian, for letting me use your computer! I promise to not leave greasy fingerprints on your keyboard.)
It’s kind of nice to have one less screen to pull my attention away from all the wonderful offline parts of life right now. Avery is way beyond just walking at this point, and Julian is right on the verge of actually reading the books he brings home from school. My sister is about to become a momma, and Ian is about ready to re-enter the workforce.
On my to-do list today is to rent “Because I Said So,” the movie for this month’s Feminist Kitchen book club + film series on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at Thrice, but I’m already scouring magazines for November’s meeting.
The idea is this: As you’re flipping through magazines over the next few weeks — any magazines, they don’t necessarily have to be food magazines — look for interesting ways that women and food are portrayed. It could be an ad for yogurt in the latest Cosmo, a letter to the editor about female-flavored gum in Harper’s or a textbook example of DIPE, documented instance of public eating, one of the oldest tricks in a magazine writer’s handbook.
Even Skip Hollandsworth, an executive editor for Texas Monthly whose writing I usually quite enjoy, is not immune. (Hell, I’ve probably done it, too, so I probably shouldn’t cast stones. So, instead of stones, we’ll just throw wads of paper.)
In this month’s cover story about Miranda Lambert, Hollandsworth goes straight for the chicken breast:
Four hours before Miranda Lambert is scheduled to perform in front of five thousand fans in Corbin, Kentucky, she’s making a beeline for the commissary that has just been set up by her road crew. “I’m sorry, but if I don’t start eating right now, I’m literally going to die of starvation,” she says to no one in particular as she fills up a plate of food. She sits down at a table, spears an entire chicken breast with her fork, lifts it toward her mouth, and then notices me sitting across the table, notebook in hand, ready to write down what will happen next. For several seconds the chicken breast hangs in the air, quivering on her fork. Miranda tosses back her magnificent mane of blond hair and stares at me with one eyebrow raised.
I bet you are just dying, literally, of course, to know what happens next, aren’t you? Well, not to spoil it, but she “rips into the chicken” and “after a few seconds of high-speed chewing, she takes another equally giant bite.”
Shocking. Just shocking, I tell you.
In an online Q&A, Hollandsworth says that her eating so voraciously was a sign of her “openness” and that it dispelled some preconceived ideas of what she’d be like:
You probably had some preconceived ideas of what Lambert would be like in person. When you finally met her, were you right on, surprised, or a little shocked?
I loved her openness. Read the first scene in the article, about her letting me watch her wolf down a giant piece of chicken. And how she let me wander around and watch her throw down a drink before she hit the stage. You think Carrie Underwood or Taylor Swift’s handlers would let me watch that? Not for a minute. And let’s be honest: She’s a spark plug, just a heck of a lot of fun to be around, outspoken—sort of like that pretty but feisty girl in high school you always wanted to date but you found just a little intimidating. Blake told me that he thinks a lot of guys secretly have a crush on her, and I think he’s right.
That’s like saying Gretchen Wilson wouldn’t take a shot of whiskey in front of a reporter for fear of how she’d be perceived. Miranda Lambert has created a public image of being a “rebel,” and apparently, devouring a chicken breast — Hollandsworth doesn’t specify, but I’m presuming the chicken breast was grilled and not fried or else that detail would have made it into the story to really challenge our notion of what and how women eat — and not caring if it undermines her “ladylike image” is what rebels do. (“Well, crap, there goes my ladylike image,” is Lambert’s first quote of the story.)
Anyway, this is one of the articles I’ll be bringing to November’s meeting (Nov. 8, mark your calendar). Be on the lookout for goodies to share, too.