by Jen Mizgata
by Jessica Guilfoyle
Men and women like different things. Sure. Sometimes. Men and women like different foods. Maybe? Not really. No.
However, when it comes to the way food is marketed to the masses, it’s sure as fuck marketed differently towards men and women. According to advertisers, men are just hungry. For anything, basically. But mostly for meat products. Stews. Things that are hearty! Things that will fill them up even though they’ll still be hungry for more! Because they’re men! And they used to hunt! Or something.
And we gather. Yogurt. And thinly sliced turkey. And salad. And light. And free. And non. For women, it’s all about ingesting food that isn’t actually food. And if it has to be actual food, please make it food that does something for us! If it doesn’t make us thinner, make our bones stronger, or make us regular, it’s not worth our goddamn time.
Occasionally, though, and only if we’re lucky, advertisers take sexist marketing to a whole new level, blatantly excluding an entire gender from their products. In 2001, the “Yorkie” chocolate bar was given the wrapper tagline “it’s not for girls.” Larger and chunkier than its girly counterpart, Cadbury Dairy Milk, the “Yorkie” campaign was apparently created to “reclaim” chocolate for men.
Okay, so I know this is all about money and accessing what’s considered to be an untapped market, but men are not allowed to reclaim anything from women. Ever. And the only “claim” we have to chocolate is the stereotype that if you’re on the rag, that’s what you like to eat. In my case, that just happens to be true.
But I don’t eat it slowly and delicately, smiling at no one and savoring every bite like they do on TV. And I don’t rip into a chocolate bar like some crazed wolverine either. I eat it like a normal person. I eat it like a sandwich.
Another more recent attempt to reclaim a product that is typically viewed as feminine for the male consumer is the diet soda, Dr. Pepper 10. So far, it’s only being test-marketed in a few areas, so advertising is limited. All I’ve seen is a 30-second ad spot which takes place on the set of an action movie. “Hey ladies,” the douche on screen smirks, “enjoying the film? Of course not.” Ugh. Advertisers please try harder. Anyway. The commercial continues pretty much how you would expect. Many more offensive gender stereotypes are made. The phrase “10 manly calories” is uttered. And lastly, we are told that the product is “not for women.”
Again, I know. Untapped market. Money. Cars. Clothes. Hoes. Bullshit. Whatever. I get what you clever advertisers are trying to do. But here’s the thing: when you make food about gender, you make it that much harder for people to just enjoy it.
Certainly, what you eat and how you eat it is intensely personal. And yes, I am a woman and I am a feminist woman and those things are very personal to me. But when I eat, I’m not thinking about those things. I eat because I love myself. And that love deserves to be fed.
by Christie Young
by Shani O. Hilton
1997: My mom went on a dried fruit kick (she still hasn’t really stopped with the dried fruit) and came home with a bag of dried apricots. I -refused to eat them because they looked gross, they smelled weird, and they had a funny texture, both kind of hairy and squishy. I was having none of it. Then one day she cut them up and put them in my cereal. And they were delicious. And since then, I have never stopped eating them. ADVANTAGE: Mom.
2004: I came home from college with a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos that I bought at the airport. I didn’t even like them that much—they are too hot to eat a whole bag at once!—but I left them on the kitchen counter because I planned to finish them later. Mom tossed them out, but in an effort to push boundaries, I took them out of the trash (still in the bag, duh) and put them back on the counter. Without saying anything to me, she emptied the bag out into the trash bin. ADVANTAGE: Mom.
2010: Grocery shopping with mom, we lingered in the produce aisle, deciding what snacks to get. She wanted oranges, I wanted baby carrots. But I didn’t really even want baby carrots. I just wanted to thwart her. She bought oranges. I got a cold and ended up eating the whole bag. Then I bought another bag and ate those, too. ADVANTAGE: Mom.
by Nicole Kern
an ex of mine asked me not to eat queso after 11 pm.
A compilation by Mercedes Kraus
“Snaxx define you. You don’t define snaxx.” –Ann Friedman
We’re not attempting to define snaxx, only some things that surround the Snaxx game.
Floorsnaxx: when snaxx fall on the floor and you eat them
Boobsnaxx: when snaxx fall down your shirt and you eat them
Buttsnaxx: when you are working and eating at a desk and snaxx fall between your legs to the back of your chair. These snaxx are discovered upon standing up; sometimes they are discarded, sometimes they are savored
Bedsnaxx: when you fall asleep with the bag of tortilla chips and and find them stale in your bed the next day or week
Bellybuttonsnaxx: edible if found within a span of 1 - 24 hours
There are two types of lovers in the snaxx game, and it’s important that you recognize the difference. People who are snaxx haters (“antisnaxx”), are unable to fully grasp the snaxx world. They actually attempt to narrowly define snaxx and are sometimes considered snaxxbigots. These people say stupid things, like, “Raisins are basically flies with their wings pulled off.”
Those who are lovers of snaxx regularly have some genius insight into snaxx, like, “A snack is a snack when it turns a snack into a banquet.” These people may also create haikus for their favorite snaxx, like:
Powdered Cheese Rises
Cuts for Truth, Cuts for Readers
There is yet hunger.
You need to nail it down with this type of person.
Untitled by Molly Washam
Like them in theory
But always end up as meals
Fave snack is curry.
by Mercedes Kraus
The Grand Wagoneer and the Advent of Window Snaxx
by Mercedes Kraus
A few years before I was born, and after ridding himself of a Datsun pickup truck, my father bought his first Jeep Grand Wagoneer: used and navy blue, with wood grain paneling. Seven years later, he bought the exact same vehicle; still navy, still with the wood grain paneling, only the model was two years older than the first. “The Jeep,” as we called it, defined not only much of my childhood but also my perception of my father. I could write volumes about my dad’s immature and completely entertaining behavior, but suffice it to say that he was—and still is—a child in a man’s body.
The Jeep had three main areas: the Front, whose padded center console housed an early, corded mobile phone; the Back, which, being junior to my sister Kate, was my regular spot, and the Way Back, where Kate and I carried out various schemes and acts of rebellion, although not against my father, as he, in fact, regularly put us up to mischief.
Once, for at least ten minutes, he drove in tiny circles in an empty grocery store parking lot, and when stopped and asked by a cop what he was doing, my father sassily responded, “Well, driving around.” Another time, he toted us around the local university campus while we, armed with Nerf Super Soakers, crouched in the Way Back and water gunned-down defenseless college students just for the hell of it.
At some point it became clear that doing unconventional things—generally, but especially out of car windows—was a Kraus habit. A few illustrations: As an eight-year-old, I always wanted to be counted as a front-seat denizen, so I would put my feet up on the Jeep’s center console as a reminder of my presence and importance. Because my little canvas Keds would get the upholstery dirty, my father once threatened to throw my shoes out the window if I did not take my feet off the console. I challenged him. Before I knew it, a Ked was on the road, abandoned to the fate of traffic. I freaked, cried. We eventually turned around and recovered it, though by that point I had learned that the Jeep’s windows were fair game for discipline. In 1996, shortly after the death of Tupac Shakur, I went with my dad to the movie theater to pick up 13-year-old Kate and her friend Kristi. As we approached their teenage social group at the entrance, my father yelled, “TUSHACK LIVES!” Kate, naturally, was mortified.
Being that we lived in Texas, and a trip of 100 miles was like a trip to the grocery store, we spent a good deal of time in the Jeep. After my parents’ divorce (I was five), bonding activities with my dad usually revolved around road trips: he drove Kate and I to Houston Space Center, Battleship Texas and the San Jacinto monument, Austin (to visit his strange hippie artist friend), Fort Worth (once, to see his stuffy and kid-adverse parents who were visiting the state on business), the lake to go sailing (these trips are the stuff of memoirs), and around my home town, on errands or home from gymnastics classes. It happened that my coach’s name was Jim, and for years, I sincerely thought he and his wife were named Jim and Julie Nastics.
A non-exclusive definition of snaxx also includes candy. Some favorite candy snaxx are:
If you were to live in a sorority house with all your modern women friends, these items should be in steady supply in the oversized pantry you keep:
It was during these especially banal trips around town that I discovered Window Snaxx (hence defined as any snack that can be thrown out a window without damaging the natural environment). My father has always had a soft spot for Car Snaxx, and at that time his favorites were shelled peanuts and oranges. To this day, the man carries pieces of fruit around in his car; how they last in the Texas heat, I have no idea.
Shelling peanuts or oranges was especially difficult for me considering my tiny kid hands, but oranges were my responsibility to peel and divvy up so that my dad could drive. He always kept some sort of trash container for the shells and peels in the Jeep, but at some point, I disregarded trash cans once I learned about biodegradability. Apparently, it was big at my Montessori school, and I began seeing all objects on a scale of how quickly they could break down outside and therefore whether or not I could pitch them out the window. My sister, only a few years older, realized that this was not a justifiable criteria for “pitching things out the window,” but of course my dad encouraged my actions. And thus Car Snaxx birthed Window Snaxx.
Not only orange peels, but I remember guiltlessly throwing apple cores, fries, gum, drinks, tomato slices, even paper (biodegradable!) out of the window. I was always a bit of a bare-footed hippie, but this was the first time I really integrated environmentally conscious practices into my life—or so I believed. Also during this early “green” period, I asked my dad if Truman, our cat, was biodegradable. We had just buried him in the yard, and I was trying to figure out how long it would take for him to become one with the earth.
It always puzzled me that oranges should be Car Snaxx because we never had any napkins. I could not get my hands clean, despite all efforts of wiping them on my jean shorts. And so, of course, they would be covered in the sweet, sticky, strong-smelling juice for the rest of the afternoon. To this day, the smell of a peeled orange takes me right back to the Jeep with my dad, my sister, and the windows rolled down.
by Sarah Wambold
It used to start out in your old white Cadillac and you would drive me around, waiting for something to take place. I didn’t know what I wanted and you didn’t know what it was, either.
You tried the movies, then a restaurant and then running naked across a football field because no one ate their dinner anyway.
Later it would begin on your living room couch with the TV on and the curtains open. Your mother would always interrupt us, but you had a way of making her feel welcome and she knew how to seem. Not intruding but offering, the way she would sneak over and whisper in your ear to ask you if you wanted something to eat. She would wait for you to nod yes and then pat your shoulder in acknowledgement.
If Noah was there, the snacks would be vegan.
If I was there, you got them more often. I don’t remember your mother asking me what I wanted because you decided for us. Though sometimes I would get a dinner invitation, I never did eat a full meal with your parents. We just took whatever was available right then to satisfy us.
Back in your Cadillac, the doors had one giant window each. When rolled down, they let in a large gap of breeze that was filled with the laughter from your friends that I could hear when lying down in the backseat.
The first time you came to my house you brought Noah and together we decided that there was nothing he could eat. We drove around my town in your Cadillac, surrounded by its interior scent that I can still conjure when I want to. We drove past my high school, which was a monumental joke to you and when I said you could eat lunch with me there sometime, you scoffed. What you wanted was more than just lunch, you could eat that by yourself. With me, you were fine to keep snacking until the meal you felt you deserved was ready. I thought mine was ready.
Over the phone, you said you’d always had trouble controlling your cravings and had been trying to enact some restraint. By the end of that year it was obvious you had gained some weight. I watched closely what I put into my mouth after that: the cones from Tropical Snow after we lit firecrakers, the fortune cookie that made your eyes lock with mine, your leftover graduation cake that you couldn’t wait for me to try. And I went to your house more often than you came to mine, sometimes when you weren’t even there. Cravings can be hard to ignore when you’re sixteen and can be mistaken for pain, the taste of which I grew accustom to.
Then there was that moment in your bedroom, which was difficult to understand and even Jim Morrison only caught a glimpse of it from his mugshot. You compared doing it to the way Jell-O feels, saying it only sounded gross until you’ve tried it. I thought about the liver and onions you ordered at my birthday dinner while everyone else just ordered appetizers. You said the same thing then, knowing one day I would agree.
by Christie Young
by Nicole Kern
went to the mall and did a double-pass by the chinese food sample guys for double the free samples.
by Rebecca Armendariz
When I was a young teenager, I ate yogurt sweetened with aspartame for breakfast. Its taste was plastic-coated black raspberry. For snacks I’d have chemical-laden Lay’s Wow! Chips, which contained a substitute for high-fat oils that caused abdominal cramping and diarrhea. Lunch was usually an apple and an orange and a sandwich made with Oscar Meyer shaved turkey breast—only 60 calories per serving. I drank Diet Dr. Pepper and sugar-free iced tea.
I didn’t care what I put into my body as long as its caloric content was minimal. I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy a meal without deconstructing it, narrowing every bite down to numbers and percentages instead of flavors and nutrients. I swapped in artificial versions of foods that my body didn’t even crave. I thought I wanted the foods because I’d told myself I couldn’t have their alternatives.
This type of restrictive behavior could only lead to unhappy rebellion, binges stuffed with Pop Tarts and Coca Cola.
by Stephanie Mercado
Three Stories of Snaxx
Two individual, one shared
by Ann Friedman
My freshman year of high school I had a friend named Heather. She was short and fat. I was tall and skinny. My mom called us Mutt and Jeff, which now sounds just as terrible and cruel as it surely was back then. I didn’t give it much thought at the time.
Heather, who lived 20 minutes away in Peosta, would come over after school while she waited for her mom to get off work at the travel agency. We would sit cross-legged on the floor of my basement bedroom and eat Funyons and Twix bars and drink Dr. Pepper. My mom always bought snacks like these. Our pantry was the pantry of a family metabolically disposed to lankiness—a satellite location of the 7-11 snack aisle.
I have never been on a diet. I have never tallied up the number of calories I’ve eaten in a day. When I snack, I think about crispness and creaminess, balancing sweet with salty, ratios of cheese to cracker. I do not think about the curve of my stomach and the fit of my pants and the movement of my thighs when I walk. Food is not a guilt trap waiting to be sprung.
In my bedroom after school, Twix were cookie and caramel and chocolate. Unwrap, bite, swallow, forget.
Pretty sure that’s not how it went down for Heather.
Vending Machine Delight
by Jess Lee
Crunchy. Salty. Kettle Cooked.
Enemy of my hips.
Can’t cut the habit. Totally hooked.
It’s just one bag. It’s not that bad.
Counting calories. I wish I had.
Bag empty. Conscience full.
Tomorrow’s another day for that push and pull.
by Christine Keith
I am the person who pulls her sleeve over her hand before grabbing a subway pole. And holds her breath when driving past a cemetery so as not to inhale any malignant ghost-souls.
So smoking’s definitely out. I can’t muster up enough courage, moxie, coolness—whatever it takes to start. Because becoming a smoker requires hearing all about how it can kill you, and being assaulted by graphic PSAs starring plaque-hardened arteries with rotting tissue in the supporting role, and still thinking, “That sounds like a hobby I want to pick up.” This is an impossibility for someone with my blood type (A) and disposition (Type A). Instead, I stick to less lethal vices like baked goods. I figure it’ll take longer for them to kill me.
However, I admire smokers, and not just because malcontents are sexy. They have it a lot harder than people give them credit for. In addition to health dangers and expense, these stoics must live in a society whose laws persecute them. A diaspora forced to light up and drag in somewhere on the risk-laden sidewalks of our callous city. Not only could they catch a cold out there, or be poked in the eyeball by a $5.99 Duane Reade umbrella, a crane could collapse on their head. It would seem an exaggeration, but history has demonstrated that cranes literally fall out of the sky and kill people in NYC. And guess who spends an above-average amount of time on sidewalks? How cruel that the one spot they have left, where they camp in concentration, could kill them in such a violent manner! Especially when we factor in that smokers are a compromised species already. We don’t ask a giant panda to hold our toaster while they’re soaking in the tub. Shouldn’t we show the same respect for smokers?
Galvanized by the glaring unfairness of it all, I, indignant, went to find my friend the smoker and vent. She drips with the malcontent coolness I find so impossible to replicate, yet tolerates my tepid, straight-edge company like a decadent cookie paired with weak tea.
I told her (too earnestly) how much I admire her courage. “I just think it’s an outrage that with everything you’re up against, you guys don’t even get an awareness month. All the other marginalized groups do. Like women and black historians.” I took a deep breath. “So I want to give you a month.”
Not knowing the protocol, I gingerly ripped a page off of my Labrador retriever puppy calendar, folded it into a crane (how else do you gift wrap a piece of glossy paper stock?), and placed it in front of her.
March! Why did I pick such a lame month? “Well, I thought maybe you’d be looking for something to do while you’re waiting to take your winter coat off.”
She picked up the flightless creature and flipped open her nicked Zippo without looking at me. Then she waved the flame under its right wing. And, once the fire had grown fat and strong from devouring right up to the first fold (somewhere around the Ides of March), lit her cigarette off it. “Thanks,” she said, exhaling through the side of her mouth. “It’s delicious.”
Collage and definition by Lesley Clayton
“put it in me”; used predominately by women in an online or IRL setting in reference to the penis of an attractive male or an equally delicious-looking food item (see: fig. 1).
“Did you see that barista?”
“OMG. PIIM. Are you seeing this everything bagel?”
by Jen Mizgata
by Christie Young
chips, cookies, candy, chick-fil-a, nerds, popcorn, beer, crackers, skittles, oreos, free samples, cheese, french fries, pizza, swiss cake rolls, bugles, goldfish, chex mix, chocolate, churros, tacos, nachos, peanut butter sandwiches, bloody marys, fruit roll ups, fruit, sweet treats, cake, cliff bars, donuts, nacho cheese doritos, pistachios, pocky, dum dums, black bottom cupcakes, leftovers, pie, fun dip, yucca chips, tots, sonic, queso, dumplings, krinkle cut fries with mayo/ketchup mixed
by Molly Washam
Like them in theory
But always end up as meals
Fave snack is curry.
“I thought I would just go to the store and buy a bunch of tomatoes and some good cheese and bread, plus I have some super spicy arugula from the market. And we can just eat a snackfeast. I have 2 bottles of red wine and the ingredients to make manhattans.”
“Ladies, tonight I am making a nectarine pizza with fresh basil and reduced balsamic. The dough is already made and waiting in the fridge. I’ll be home from work on the early side (4:30? 5?), so you’re all welcome to come over whenevs. I do not have: wine. I do have: everything else.”
“My house. Roasted tomatoes + okra. The Banger Sisters.”
“Roasted broccoli soup and weed and wine at my place?”
“Let’s meet at my house. I will pump the a/c and the jamz. I have one bottle of rose and lots of delicious produce. Bring MORE BOOZE and your sweet selves. Any time after 5.”
Excerpts from emails exchanged by a group of women friends, 2010
by Nicole Kern
last night i went to taco cabana. at 3pm today, i found a piece of a tortilla chip in my belly button.