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What Would You Eat If You Weren’t Afraid?

It’s Thanksgiving again, that one day of the year where we used to loosen our belts to enjoy a glut of buttery foods. But things have gotten more complicated. In the current gastronomic climate we inhabit, even if we do loosen our physical belts, we tighten the moral ones. Whether it’s nutritionally clean or ethically sourced, Thanksgiving now provides us with a chance to be worthy of our own gratitude. Gluten-free stuffing? Vegan creamed corn? Quinoa sweet potatoes? One by one, our peerlessly tasteful G.M.O.s leave our tables, leaving us thankful for, well, other things. What gives?!

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In an article in the Times Magazine, Alex Halberstadt tells the story of his own moral search for the right turkey–a search which landed him with a heritage bird from a small farm in Pennsylvania:

For weeks we watched the turkey — our turkey — on the farmer’s webcam, a cluster of pixels frolicking inside a chicken-wire enclosure. It was butchered and shipped overnight (the FedEx shipping cost nearly as much as the bird) and when it emerged from the oven, mari­nated and basted decadently in butter, the turkey tasted so unspeakably bland that much of it was left on our friends’ plates, camouflaged awkwardly under brussels sprouts. The feel-good narrative of our lovingly raised, hormone-antibiotic-and-G.M.O.-free certified-organic turkey became supplanted with a more ambiguous one. We felt both duped and morally abject: Not only were we out nearly $200, but our ethical gambit put an end to the bird’s bucolic life.

I’m sure you’ve had no such experience. The rest of Halberstadt’s article is a love letter about the joys and complexities of, you guessed it, Frito-Lay’s Sour Cream and Cheddar Ruffles.

Which made me think, just in time for The Food & Drink Issue (out in January), ENOUGH! Let’s do something about this! Mary Karr once asked us a similar question, but this Thanksgiving, we put it to your gut: What would you eat if you weren’t afraid? Seriously, this is not rhetorical: what would you? What would you allow yourself to indulge were it not for the consequences–bodily and ethical and otherwise? Were it not for your self-consciousness?

We want to know! Leave a comment below or email us here, and tell us what heavenly nosh you so diligently (or not so diligently) avoid. And we’ll publish the answers (anonymously) in our upcoming issue! 

Happy Thanksgiving, whatever grub you’re pining for!

Generosity Devoid of Expectations

Generosity Devoid of Expectations

As we approach Thanksgiving, we enter the season when a lot of us start to think about volunteer opportunities for our family. Perhaps we’re trying to inoculate our children from the entitlement that can creep in with all those holiday gifts. Or perhaps we’re trying to give back in a spirit of gratitude for all we’ve been given. Or perhaps we’re trying to put some muscle where our money is, as we dole out charitable gifts before the end of the tax year. Whatever our reasons, this time of year seems to be when a lot of us look to…

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Five Things You Probably Didn’t Expect Your Waiter to Blog About

Five Things You Probably Didn’t Expect Your Waiter to Blog About

1. The futility of control and the experience of freedom: Anyone who has eaten out at a sit-down restaurant knows that when you arrive you will be escorted to your seat by a host/hostess (although you would be shocked by how many people seem to forget this day to day). Let’s say the hostess is a nice twenty-something named Claire. Claire will take the elderly, well-dressed Mr. Anderson to the best seat in the house–I promise that 99.9% of the time she knows better than he does where the best seat is, because it’s her job to know. She’ll take him there, pull out…

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This Blog Was Bound for Failure

This Blog Was Bound for Failure

In the summer of 2009, my family participated in a Community Supported Agriculture farm share for the first time. We “subscribed” to a crop share with a local farm, and each week, we planned our meals based on whatever variety of organic vegetables came in that week’s farm box. I (kind of) gave up my tight-clenched first of control over our weekly menu, breezily mentioning to friends that we “ate with the seasons,” lah-dee-dah, so whatever showed up in the box each week is what we ate. I read Michael Pollan and Barbara Kingsolver, watched “Food, Inc.” while my husband cringed…

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The Great British Baking Show: It’s Just a Cake

The Great British Baking Show: It’s Just a Cake

The following contains a spoiler in Episode 301 (Cakes) of the Great British Baking Show.

In the early 2000s and in the early years of our marriage, my husband and I gathered around a television set with friends on Sunday nights to watch Sex and the City, or Six Feet Under, or whatever HBO series was headlining that year. But at home, when we got tired of the news or didn’t have anything better to entertain us while we folded the laundry, we’d settle in to cooking shows on the Food Network or PBS, and numb our brains to the strains…

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Our Daily Liturgies: An Excerpt from Bed and Board

Our Daily Liturgies: An Excerpt from Bed and Board

Returning to an Episcopal Church during college after some years worshiping in different traditions, I was surprised that the various creeds and dictums came back to me quickly. It was so assuring to hear the words that I had been so familiar with growing up, finding them still there in the recesses of memory. When the pastor said, “Hear these comfortable words” after the Confession and the Prayers of the People, the scripture then, and also the familiar liturgy throughout, really were that to me: comfortable words. Dwelling on them in content was important, no doubt, and a few teaching series I’d…

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Whole30 and Holiness: Spiritual Cleanliness, Eating Disorders, and Bodily Damages Wrought By Cheetos

Whole30 and Holiness: Spiritual Cleanliness, Eating Disorders, and Bodily Damages Wrought By Cheetos

This one comes to us from Charlotte Donlon. 

My friend Jen is telling me about the Whole30 eating plan. We’re sitting in lounge chairs by the pool on a hot and humid afternoon while our kids are swimming and engaging each other in water gun battles. She rattles off everything that’s not allowed on Whole30: “No sugars or artificial sweeteners. No alcohol. No grains. No legumes including beans, soy, and peanuts. And no dairy.” When our kids come ask us for snacks, she hands out baggies of grapes to her two boys. Her kids are doing it, too. I give my…

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On #Adulting and Mail-Order Food

On #Adulting and Mail-Order Food

This post comes to us from real-life grown-up, Ben Maddison.

A friend of mine, a Gen-Xer if you’re into imprecise but incredibly accurate labels, asked me the other day why Millennials (myself included) have so much difficulty becoming adults.

From Girls to Awkward to The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to pretty much any media depiction of 20-somethings, Millennials seem incapable of getting their lives together. Maybe they are overly-coddled, prone to engaging in social drama, or kept in a bunker for fifteen years by a guy who claims he started the “Buy the World a Coke” advertising campaign. Whatever the reason, there seems…

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Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Paul Reubens, John Levenstein, Gray Eubank- Photo Credit: Augusta Quirk/IFC

Fearing “the Other” in November 2016

On Monday, NPR did a story on a newish vocabulary word making the rounds this election cycle, one that touches on last week’s thoughts on attempts to define an “Evangelical.” The word is “Otherize,” and if you have three minutes and want to hear more, check the story below:

Generally, to “otherize” someone is to label them as different and suggest they are against you in a zero-sum competition. Although it is a term often used to describe a method of victimization, it’s also a strategy that anyone, including victims, can employ. In the election context, “otherizing” becomes a political game…

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Programme Name: The Great British Bake Off Christmas Masterclass - TX: 16/12/2014 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: (L-R) at Rockley Manor  Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Andy Devonshire

Tis the Season to Eat Our Feelings

The next person who corrects me about eating (or not eating) a Christmas cookie is gonna get it. I’m done with the Rules about Food during the Holidays Conversation. Yesterday, a perfectly lovely acquaintance of mine warned me off of some Christmas-themed brownies and I almost went full blown Julia Sugarbaker on her. Don’t make me pull out the That Was the Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia speech.

Alas, this well-meaning soul is just struggling with the same consumptive anxiety that everyone deals with this time of year. We are all obsessed with what can and cannot put into…

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Check, Please!

Check, Please!

Being a college student means asking for separate checks at restaurants. Generally, my friends and I wait until the end of the meal to say, “Oh yea, could you split those up by the way? Yeah that’d be great, thanks,” as if it was an afterthought and the waiter/waitress had no idea what was coming all along. In truth, splitting up checks is pretty annoying. It means more buttons pressed and cards swiped and pens gathered, and I do often feel pangs of guilt asking servers to do it. But generally they’re accommodating, and they know what to expect when…

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From The New Yorker

cleanse