posted by meowser
Let me make one thing perfectly clear. Dairy-related digestive iss-yews notwithstanding, I absolutely loathe cream cheese. I despise pimentos. Mayonnaise rivals ipecac syrup for me in the anti-emetic department. So suffice it to say that Paula Deen’s recipes, for the most part, do not appeal to me at all. I do make a GF/CF version of her cornbread dressing, though, and it rules. I just swap out Earth Balance for the butter and use gluten-free breadstuffs, and also use mushrooms, onion greens, and chestnuts in lieu of the celery and white onion. Yummers.
But you see, I am fat. Fatter than Paula Deen, even. A lot fatter than her, in fact. I’m never supposed to eat that stuff. Ever. At all. Not even for a holiday treat. I shouldn’t even think about it, lest I incur some sort of phantom pancreatic stressor solely from imagining the taste. Paula and I, and maybe you if you are female and have any visible flesh whatsoever, are supposed to pick at salads full of rubber bands with the merest hint of olive oil and lemon while sipping Diet Coke like good girls, day after day after day, even on our birthdays, because if we don’t, we will be punished. We will not have earned the ultimate Upper-Class Good Girl Prize of getting to live to be 100 years old with no health problems whatsoever, which would have been ours if only we had no hipster-disapproved vices of any kind. (Alcohol, coffee, and marijuana don’t count as vices in Hipster Land, not even in mass quantities.) Uh huh. You betcha. Because thin people in their 60s never, ever get type 2 diabetes. Nope, not ever.
For all anyone knows who doesn’t watch her eat every single meal, Ms. Deen does eat more rubber band salads than chicken-fried steaks. But it doesn’t matter. She might as well eat a pound of batter-fried butter cubes every day and wash it down with a gallon of Pepsi laced with a quart of cherry syrup, because that’s what everyone wants to believe she eats. Only bad, bad people get this bad, bad disease, and if you are a woman and you indulge in high-fat goodies and you’re any heftier than, say, Alison Brie, oh boy are you bad. It’s a notion with about as much basis in science as “step on a crack, break your mother’s back” (or for that matter, “don’t drink or wear miniskirts and you’ll never get raped”), and yet, people fall for it. They want to believe. It never ceases to astonish me how quickly certain hipster atheists (regardless of gender) morph instantly into finger-waggling church ladies the minute food gets mentioned. Drink like a man, fuck like a man, oh fuck yes…but never, ever, ever eat like a man. Unless you’re very, very thin — and even then, you’d better watch that intake, missy. Youthful metabolism doesn’t last forever, you know.
There’s a young chef in Portland by the name of Gabriel Rucker. He founded a couple of fancy-schmancy restaurants here in town that I’ve never been to, that specialize in things like maple ice cream with bacon and foie gras brulee and cauliflower crepes with Mornay sauce. People drool at the very mention of his food. The New York frigging Times can’t get enough of him, and they’re 3000 miles away! You don’t go to one his restaurants expecting diet food; they’d laugh in your face. And nobody ever accuses Gabriel Rucker of leading people down the primrose path to pancreatic destruction. Hasn’t happened once. You see, Gabriel Rucker is a man, and he’s thin. Nobody gives a shit if he eats that kind of stuff for every meal; in fact, nobody would ever think to ask him if he does. (I’m guessing no celebrity chef eats stuff all that fancy for every single meal; the cleanup alone would be a massive headache.) And if he announced he had T2d tomorrow, do you think there’d be the over-the-top outrage we see about Deen? Hah. Oh, and also, Gabriel Rucker cooks mostly for rich people. That probably has more than a little to do with it.
I’m getting to think the most radical statement a woman can possibly make these days is, “I eat what I love, as much as I want, and if anyone doesn’t like how I look because of it, they can sit and spin.” Saying “I enjoy inviting entire football teams in with their pet ocelots for a nightly gang-bang with fire rings and crotchless asbestos suits” will be a total yawn by comparison. Look, I do think there are legitimate moral issues surrounding Deen’s endorsement of a diabetes drug. If you want to argue the ethics of celebrity pharmaceutical endorsements, I can’t really object; all of them make me a little queasy. If you want to argue that non-insulin treatments for diabetes have limited efficacy — hey, we can talk about that too. Interesting and compelling arguments can be made either way. But those are separate issues from whether or not she was obligated to open her medical file and her pantry to the whole world, and put a Webcam on herself every time she sat down to eat, the very second she was diagnosed. She was not. Period.
And you know what? Even if she was, and still is, on the fried-butter-and-cherry-Pepsi diet, and even if her health would have been perfect if she’d been a good girl and eaten like she was told, maybe she’d rather not live to be 100 years old if it means office product salads and aspartame for every goddamn meal. Me, I don’t like the taste of rubber bands any more than I like pimentos. Pass the gluten-free skillet-fried pie, please.