When it was lunch time at the university, I used to buy ready-made salad and sit by myself in one of the window-holes of the cathedral. I wanted to be unseen during those few minutes when the the field of view changed and the whole world became a big plate. Then when I looked up again, the campus was different. Sleepier, tougher, the day fell flat and white.
My view of food as opposed to culture, a too primitive pleasure for indulging in with others, perhaps stemmed from all the semi-public school meals one was forced into earlier in life. From high school, “The model diet” (breakfast: coffee, lunch: 1 egg, dinner: 1 egg) is one of the few meals I remember from that time. It’s not something I had very often but it’s a memory, so it worked itself on the mind and I probably share this with other post-ana women. A way of saying no to all shared meals. You binge alone, you fast alone.
Once I moved away from home at the beginning of the last decade, I remember chicken and smoked salmon straight out of the package, mozzarella that I put in my pocket inside the Sainsbury’s and once outside tore up and ate with my hands, I remember donuts (8 pcs for 2 pounds). There was a freedom. The charm of the hot girl food is that it does not try to own a room.
Perhaps those who prefer porn over their partner do so because the animal impulses that take over are quite antisocial, similar to the loss of control you can get during a meal. The language disappears when everyone bends their backs over the food. You are vulnerable, you can not eat it without letting it touch you. It’s the same tactile experience as sex, warm animal parts and juices being secreted.
Writing about food is quite similar to writing about sex, but less so when it’s vegan or healthy. Maybe because it’s not very exciting or enjoyable to be completely clean, saying no to our origin, the depraved in man. Does evil reside in the depraved and bloody, and can labelling something “cruelty-free” keep the evil away? I don’t know, but I do know that you need creativity and care, planning and imagination to make carcasses edible.
There’s something to the tension between what you see on the plate and the sensory eating experience. Eating animals together could be a way of recognising and accepting evil within ourselves. Just like sex, eating feels completely different than it looks.
Text and image: Fredrika Flinta
Oxtail soup: Zola