Carnal Appetites: Foodsexidentities

Carnal Appetites: Foodsexidentities

Carnal Appetites: Foodsexidentities

Carnal Appetites: Foodsexidentities

Synopsis

In Carnal Appetites , Elspeth Probyn charts the explosion of interest in food - from the cults that spring up around celebrity chefs, to our love/hate relationship with fast food, our fetishization of food and sex, and the impact of our modes of consumption on our identities. 'You are what you eat' the saying goes, but is the tenet truer than ever? As the range of food options proliferates in the West, our food choices become inextricably linked with our lives and lifestyles. Probyn also tackles issues that trouble society, asking questions about the nature of appetite, desire, greed and pleasure, and shedding light on subjects including: fast food, vegetarianism, food sex, cannibalism, forced feeding, and fat politics.

Excerpt

FEEDING McWORLD, EATING IDEOLOGIES

When I was a child, the world seemed very far away. With no cable, not much television, none of it foreign and certainly no Internet, the world appeared to my friends and me as something beyond our reach. That didn’t stop us worrying about it, in fact its very unknown qualities may have enhanced our capacities to care about that which we did not know. We especially cared about the world not having enough to eat. We went on countless walkathons for charity, the solid sons and daughters of farmers marching through the drizzle with eyes set firmly on the horizon of doing something good for those people in far-off places. Later, many of us became vegetarians in the hope that food resources could be more adequately distributed if we all ate vegetable protein. As we made our own (indigestible) bread, and calculated the different kinds of legumes that should go together, we wore our stomachs on our sleeves. For children and teenagers now, of course, the world is much closer. Or so it must seem with access to images from across the planet and even the possibility of falling in love in cyberspace. However, as a general statement, forms of close-in relationships may be more fragile, or at least have become publicly worried over. At my rural high school, many came from unhappy homes, but marriages and families were almost without exception intact.

If in Chapter 1 I examined some spectacular forms of eating identities, here I want to focus on more mundane articulations of food and place. In particular, I consider the thematics of eating and caring in a world where the local and global are intermeshed, and the family and close bonds of caring are rendered ‘glocal’. At a very general level, the family is where we are supposed to learn about care through eating together (the early experience of commensality), as we also learn about micro practices of power. What are the effects on the family and food when the family eating together is broadcast as a global figure? Here I am drawn to McDonald’s as the most obvious instance of glocalism, and as an instance of a multinational’s appeal to a family

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