For Sundae Theory reading February 3rd 2016, a gathering hosted in West Olympia for which readers were given the prompt “What Will the New Body Be?”
Like medicine, academic study is expensive and institutional, though it requires little in the way of equipment or a fixed physical location, as least to address the most surface-level maladies. We do occasionally permeate its membranes, though we are often left outside, looking elsewhere, while carrying small fragments of traditionalism.
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Sarah Britton. My New Roots. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2015.
A highly-stylized and comprehensive presentation of a synthesis between slightly contradictory tendencies of veganism and the ancestral diet, carried through tales of local-food celebration with a slight nod to grain-free cuisine and its creative applications of chia seeds.
A design-school graduate-cum-holistic health coach re-locates from New York City to Coppenhagen and finds work at a vegetarian restaurant upon discovery that her American nutrition certificate will not get her a job in Denmark. With continued blogging about her creative successes in the kitchen, “requests for cooking classes and lectures started pouring in.” (7-8) Of the tendency which suggests eating healthy, whole foods is a sure-fire way towards health, as she states an inspiring anathema for health calibrated by the pleasure of eating wholesome and carefully-constructed foods: “I get many emails from readers asking for the nutritional breakdown of my recipes, and I can happily tell them that it doesn’t matter because every one of those calories is good for them. Health is the natural consequence of using whole foods, organic ingredients, and conscious cooking techniques. What you eat becomes something to celebrate, instead of something to scrutinize. For me that means abandoning diets and embracing this way of eating as a lifestyle, because that is exactly what it is. It is quite simply the most liberating way of eating and living.” (11) This expression of the incidental nature of eating well is respectably inclusive, though subject to the foibles of false claims of ideological neutrality. “It’s not about what the food is or isn’t. The bottom line is, it’s delicious and it just so happens to be good for you.” (11)
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Beginning with a field trip to a campus cafeteria and then taking a hair-pin turn into some contemporary cultural lifestyle trends, I try to examine what a trifecta of neon fitness gear, artistanal donuts, and bone broth can tell us about how the redemption of “happiness” is represented in the ethereal space of popular culture and public expression.
As the connection between physical and emotional health are simultaneously hyperbolized and distorted, food stands as a talismanic escape from abjection in ways that are more and less fulfilling: pseudo-nostalgia and misleading entry-points into an escape from the bodily degradation which proliferates in our present moment. I linger a bit in the trends themselves, visiting some staunch ice-age ideologues and contemporaries. And then yet another hair-pin turn into aesthetics, letting Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin be like puppets for the promise that seems more compelling than a totally distorted commodity-primitivism, while also attempting to complicate the boundary between their proposals.
Click the link below for a June 2015 iteration of this ongoing project, complete with typos: