The Garden of Eating: Food, Sex, and the Hunger for Meaning

By Jeremy Iggers | Go to book overview

Introduction

If life is like a box of chocolates, why have the pleasures of eating become so bittersweet? These days the proffered box of bonbons isn't just an invitation to sample life's unpredictable pleasures; it has become yet another battleground in the struggle between discipline and desire. "No, really, I shouldn't," is the predictable reply—and then you do.

When the snake enticed Eve in the Garden of Eden, the only food she was forbidden to eat was the apple. Today virtually every element of the American diet has become problematic for one reason or another. In the fifties it was sex that inspired feelings of guilt, anxiety, or shame; in the nineties it is food.

We have become a nation obsessed with eating. This preoccupation with food and diet isn't limited to the estimated thirty million Americans who are at risk for hunger and malnutrition, or to the estimated eight million Americans who suffer from anorexia and bulimia. Nor is it restricted to the estimated eighty million Americans who are clinically obese, or the nearly three out of four who are merely overweight. These statistics are merely evidence of an obsession with food so deeply embedded in our culture that it touches nearly every one of us.

This obsession manifests itself in the millions of men and women * who many times a day berate themselves for

____________________
*
The reasons that issues such as diet and body image seem to affect women more than men will be explored in the course of this book. In essence, it is a consequence of differences in the ways in which our culture shapes women's and men's sense of identity.

-xi-

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The Garden of Eating: Food, Sex, and the Hunger for Meaning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - The Paradox of Plenty 1
  • 2 - The Foodie Revolution 23
  • 3 - Frapped Inside the Magic Kingdom 51
  • 4 - We Are What We Eat 81
  • 5 - Food, Sex, and the New Morality 107
  • 6 - The Gospel According to Weight Watchers 129
  • 7 - Making Peace with Food 149
  • 8 - Planting a Garden, Changing the World 167
  • Notes 187
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 197
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