thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Posts Tagged ‘food’

Food Network Star, Branding, and Ethnic Entrapment

In Food, race, reality TV, Television on May 16, 2012 at 8:38 am

Chelsea H.

I love the Food Network, and I watch a lot of their shows. I use their website for recipes and for inspiration, and I am hooked on many of their brands of “reality” TV. I can’t get enough of “Chopped,” I am a devoted fan of both The Next Food Network Star and The Next Iron Chef, and recently Taylor and I watched Worst Cooks in America together. In the past year or two, I have been delighted to see new types of food show up on the Food Network website (i.e. more than grilled sandwiches, Italian specialties, and Emeril’s mix of Cajun/French/Louisiana fare). I am excited to try these new styles of food: Mexican food, Indian food, even some gluten free options. Things I’ve never made before but have eaten with utter gusto in restaurants.

But then I started looking at who was making these foods, and I noticed something that bothers me: the way the network seems, in the cases of non-white and non-black chefs, to match the ethnicity of food with the ethnicity of the host preparing it. This tickled me with significance on and off, and I’d almost forgotten about it, in fact, until Melissa’s post on the problems with ANTM’s representations of racial/ethnic identity (given the approaching end of my graduate studies and impending dissertation defense, this post has been in production for a while now…). Like ANTM’s racial stereotyping, the Food Network seems to be pigeon-holing its “ethnic” stars.

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GLG Responds to the Hunger Games: Without Hunger, It’s Only Games

In dystopian literature, Food, Hunger Games on March 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Like many of you out there, the GLG folks could not wait to see The Hunger Games on the big screen. And this last weekend, we did! Given our serious fandom of The Hunger Games more generally, and Katniss specifically, we thought we would do a little HG response fun. So we asked the GLG folks to pick a particular topic from the film and respond to it. This week, read on for thoughts on HG and violence, terrifying technology, Hunger Games fashion, and much more! And, if you have a topic you want to discuss, post away in the comments or send us a question at girlslikegiants@gmail.com.

Guest Contributor Jeni R.

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for survival stories. Starting with homesteading in Little House on the Prairie and the lost-in-the-wilderness Hatchet, I’ve been intrigued by the way they force us to reexamine the tools of power and privilege in our own lives. Perhaps that background is why I loved reading The Hunger Games series so much, and it also might be one of the reasons why the movie adaptation left me so disappointed. In the books, the problem of hunger is a primary concern. It determines relationships: Katniss and Gale become friends while hunting to feed their families; Katniss differentiates herself from Peeta who grew up with “the smell of baked bread”; Katniss dismisses Prim’s cat Buttercup as “another mouth to feed.” What the characters eat is described in sensory, specific detail: eating an egg-sized portion of lamb stew with prunes sent by parachute; learning to dip bread in mugs of hot chocolate on the train; sharing strawberries, goat cheese, and bakery bread in the woods; admiring Greasy Sae’s latest soup concoction. Katniss’s “hollow days” in the Seam are an asset in the arena, and a stark contrast to the on-demand decadence of food in the Capitol. Food metaphors pervade even seemingly unrelated aspects of the story, such as the arena’s “cornucopia” of weapons, naming conventions (“katniss” root and “Panem” itself), and the description of sexual desire as a kind of hunger. At various times throughout the books, food is power, currency, privilege, barter, control, temptation, celebration, art, and connection.

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Internet Writers Who Make Us Leap for Joy

In Uncategorized on February 29, 2012 at 11:42 am

In honor of Leap Day, Girls Like Giants is taking a cue from xoJane’s internet positivity initiative and celebrating a few of the internet writers and bloggers we admire. Which writers make your browser windows shine a bit brighter? Let us know in the comments. – Sarah T.

Chelsea H: One of my favorite internet writers right now is Deb from Smitten Kitchen.  As has surely become clear from my (infrequent) posts here on GLG, and is crystalline if you’ve ever read my other blog at shornrapunzel.wordpress.com, I’m kind of interested in food.  Deb is an incredible cook and a great photographer (and she has an adorable child whose photo she links to in every one of her posts).  But that’s not the only reason I like her.  I like her because she is a great storyteller.  She talks about the mechanics and the pleasures of food, yes, using measurements and specifics but also words like nutty and rich and complex – those words that alternate between sounding snobby and perfectly apropos – but she also tells us where her inspirations came from.  She shares her trials and her successes, and she shares collapses and almost-failures.  She talks about being a mom, being a cookbook author, being a woman, all under the multi-colored, multi-faceted umbrella of food writing.

This is the kind of food writer I would like to be.  In addition to admiring her recipe developer skills (I’m really good at following a recipe, but I haven’t dipped into the mysterious, wonderful-and-frightening world of making them up myself), I love her ability to share just enough about herself.  Through her words I feel I know her, though I suspect the person I know is her internet persona.  But that’s okay, because that persona she has created is so genuine and so human–complete with kindness, with snark, with gluttony, with desperation–that she feels round and whole and someone I want in my kitchen cooking with me.  And that, for me, is a big deal.

Sarah T: I look forward to each Thursday because of Dear Sugar, a Rumpus advice column written by author Cheryl Strayed. It’s unlike any advice column I’ve ever read. Strayed practices what the Rumpus calls “radical empathy,” responding to letter-writers with limitless compassion, humor, and honesty. She’s shocked by nothing, judges no one, and writes with a combination of polish and emotional rawness that’s physically shake-inducing. Strayed is also a deeply personal writer, often drawing from her own experience in order to illuminate the situation the letter-writer describes. Dramatic as it may sound, I think I’m a better person for reading her work. Here are a few of my favorite Sugar columns. Warning: you may want to have a box of tissues handy.

“We Are All Savages Inside”: On jealousy

“The Dark Cocoon”: On love, marriage, and change

“The Obliterated Place”: On loss and grief

“The Future Has An Ancient Heart”: Sugar’s graduation speech

“Write Like a Motherf—–“: On the power and pain of writing

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