All posts tagged: literature

Food & Chefs as Sexual Metaphor in Romance Novels

My days before starting at Brown are numbered, so while I’ve done some fun things (#rhodetripping) and productive things (proofreading chapters in the forthcoming Food Activism (Counihan and Siniscalchi, eds., 2014) and peer reviewing papers submitted to The Graduate Journal of Food Studies), when I’m not binging on Netflix, I’ve been reading perhaps more than my fair share of romance novels. The most recent of these saccharine literary indulgences employed a food theme. While there are literal connections between food and sex—from aphrodisiacs cooked up throughout history to food foreplay à la 9 1/2 Weeks or Tampopo (coincidentally the king of all food films in my opinion) or the entertaining comparisons put forth in Porn Sex vs. Real Sex: The Differences Explained with Food—food can also be used as a sensual metaphor and literary device. While employed far more successfully and with greater sophistication in other novels, such as Like Water for Chocolate or in this interesting analysis even in Alice in Wonderland, food is, at a minimum, a consistent literal and metaphorical sexual theme in Kate Perry’s All for You, which when I (perhaps foolishly) …

Food & Fat as Metaphor in ‘The Middlesteins’

When NPR included Jami Attenberg’s The Middlesteins as a foodie summer read, I had forgotten that it was on my request list at the library. When it came available with its fast food inspired red and yellow cover, I excitedly carried it home, ready to dig in. Late last year, Hannah Rosefield wrote an incredibly insightful piece on the use of obesity as metaphor in not only The Middlesteins, but also in Michael Kimball’s Big Ray, Heft by Liz Moore, and Erin Lange’s young adult novel Butter. She argues: An obese body is never, any longer, just an obese body, in life or in fiction, but an embodiment of an epidemic, an image of our society…It is true that although 70 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, a relatively small number is super obese. But these novels show Ray, Arthur, Butter, and Edie not at one end of a continuum, but as existing in a separate category, divided from their “normal” friends and family. We see the various societal factors that contribute to obesity, but …

Literature: A Novel Foundation for Symmetrical Dialogue in the Successful Physician-Patient Relationship

While I most often blog about food, I’ve been thinking a lot about doctors lately for family reasons. Thus, the energy that I usually so easily channel into my professional and academic life is at the moment uncontrollably directed into worrying. I’ve been attempting to cope by watching way too much television on Netflix, which has likely exacerbated the situation. In any event, the state of things has caused me to want to share with you a bit about a medical humanities course I once took as an undergraduate at the University of Oklahoma. The course, Literature and Medicine, was co-taught by an English professor, Ronald Schleifer, and a physician / Medical School professor, Jerry Vannatta, MD. As Vannatta shares in a Sooner Magazine article (2005): The course examines the relationship of the humanistic study of literature and language with the art and science of medicine through literary and non-literary descriptions and narratives and examines somatic, psychological, scientific and social conceptions of illness and health. Here is where the double meaning of this post’s title comes in. Within the …

Chewing on the ‘Last Supper’ in “Drive” -OR- Viewing Ryan Gosling Through a Food Studies Lens

Today is Labor Day, marking a transition in the year and the pace of my life. The fall semester starts tomorrow, which means I’m equally excited to start my study of Food Anthropology with Carole Counihan and US Food History with Warren Belasco — and fearful that I might be crushed beneath the weight of my academic course load, working full time, studying for the cursed GRE, and applying to PhD programs. What this means for you is that I’ll happily continue blogging, but likely only once a week. So please do continue to visit me, but know I’ll only be posting new content on Mondays — like today!  Drive (2011), directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, turned out to be a film that viewers either adored or loathed. My husband and I were in the adoring camp — and not just because we both have huge crushes on the Gosling. After seeing the film, we read James Sallis’ novel by the same name on which the film is based. As is always the case, the novel …