Autobiography post 1

October 29th, 2010

Prospectus and Annotated Bibliography

Posted by Tricia Zephyr in Uncategorized

My paper will be about the relationship the authors of food memoirs and the food they cook. Somehow the food they cooked was a way of solidifying their salvation from drugs, capitalism, and from themselves. In all three text that I have chosen to write about, they look at food as a way out- a way to be different from their former selves, a way to be better. I thought it would be interesting to look at gender norms within all three texts, because their revelations of who they are and who they ought are always around food. Although there has not been a lot of literary criticism has been  done with food memoirs, I am certain it will be done soon. There genre of Food memoirs is constantly expanding.

            It is in Asia while eating Laksa  that Tony Bourdain in”Medium Raw”, doesn’t necessarily regret his past but looks to his past as a way of not being. Although Anthony Bourdain is a middle aged man, this memoir could also be looked at as a coming of age story where he determines what it means to be a man, and defines it for himself. In Cathy Erway’s “The Art of Eating In”,  she realizes that eating out so often was more than just a way to support capitalism. It was a way for her to run away from herself- to be out of herself.  Forcing herself to eat in centralizes her main problems, and it is through cooking at home where she focus and alleviates concerns.  In Spoonfed, Kim Severson is on a culinary adventure to find herself. It is through food she is able to fully be comfortable with the title of her being a  lesbian, and it is also through food that her mother begins to understand.

            Annotated Bibliography

1. ^ Butler, Judith (1999) [1990]. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Subversive bodily acts, IV Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions). New York: Routledge. p. 179.

Here, Judith Butler adresses the idea of Gender as a performance. This correlates to my thesis because I will scope out the ways that one “acts like a man” or “acts like a woman” around food. Food is inanimate object, therefore gender neutral, but  I would find it interesting to see how feminity and masculinity is determined around food. ( Tony Bourdain rarely cooks in the novel, but the other two women do)

2. Counihan, Carole. “Food Rules in the United States: Individualism, Control, and Hierarchy.” Anthropological Quarterly 65.2 (1992): 55-66. Print.

This Journal article speaks to how food can be a way of self-expression, therefore determining indivisualism.

3. Bloom, Lynn Z.  ”Consuming Prose: The Delectable Rhetoric of Food Writing”. College English: 70.4 (2008 Mar.), pp. 346-362.

Food writing emphasizes its human contexts. The most succulent food

writing puts the subject in a social setting.“, says Lynn Bloom in the article.  This article makes food memoirs a little bit more literary. Just as snow and winter may mean death in literature, eating with family means community and eating alone may  mean isolationism.

4.  Counihan, Carole. “Female Identity, Food, and Power in Contemporary Florence.” Anthropological Journal 61.2 (1988): 51-62. Print.

I was thinking about using this article to reflect Counihan’s previous article about people finding indentity with food, but here it is limited to women


Ehrhard, Julia C. “Food and Foodways,.” Towards Queering Food Studies: Foodways, Heteronormativity, and Hungry Women in Chicana Lesbian Writing 12.2 (2006): 91-109. Print.

“Literature by Chicana lesbians not only invites scholars to question heteronormative assumptions about food, gender, and identity, but also demonstrates the potential of queer studies to enrich a variety of topics in food scholarship.”, says author Julia C. Ehrhardt. Although Kim Severson is not chicana, she still shares a struggle- being a woman, and being queer, in a heteronormative industry that food has become.

October 20th, 2010

Research Paper Topic/Thesis

Posted by Tricia Zephyr in Uncategorized

Food is an important part of any celebration. Whether there is plenty of food, or lack thereof it is certainly centric to certain celebrations or cultures.  One can make an argument that food is spiritual. The Bacchanal (feast in honor of Bacchus (Dionysus, the God of wine) revolves around spring festival of fertility and agriculture. That suggests that food is spiritual. Food is divine. Food is healing, which is something that many authors of food memoirs share. Kim Serverson’s Spoon-fed how 8 cooks saved my life, speaks to how she overcame drug addiction, and found solace in food. Food did not become her new addiction, but an outlet for her to relieve her anxiety and stress in which she fueled her drug addiction. Anthony Bourdain’s “Medium Raw” is a follow up to his forever famous book and any aspiring Chef’s manifesto “Kitchen Confidential”. At times in this memoir, Tony Bourdain renounces his title as the “culinary bad boy” as Medium Raw takes us on the journey in which he acknowledges his responsibility not only to himself, but to the family that he has made, and his position as a father.  His adventures through culinary meccas allowed him to resolve the issues he had been having which has made him financially successful, but not spiritually. He realizes that his rebellious acts were good in the time being as it reflected that current emotional state, but as he evolved both his palette and emotional state of being, it is realized that he is starting to embody the motto that discipline may give you more freedom.

In Cathy Erway’s memoir, “The art of Eating In”, she too uses food as an escape. Looking for some sort of freedom and independence in which she was not receiving at work nor in her relationship, she looked to food as way for her to reclaim power.  She realized that eating out was also limited her, so Cathy decided to take on the challenge of eating in and making her own food for 2 years. Living in a city where food is convenient because it is “grab and go”, she had to make a conscious effort to focus on the food she was making for herself, which in turn made her focus inwardly on herself.


Although these food memoirs display that food is healing, it also demonstrates that food somehow reverts foodies back to gender norms. Although Kim Severson is a lesbian, it is through food, her role of being in the kitchen, that her mother begins to try and understand her sexuality.  Cathy Erway’s memoir also illustrates the notion of her finding herself by spending more time in the kitchen. Anthony Bourdain is known for being notorious, but it is through his last culinary adventure in the book he begins to re-evaluate his life as a Foodie, as a husband, but most importantly as a father.

Motives: Why is this topic important?

Food writing is becoming a really popular genre that needs to be explored. Food and the relationship to food is always seen as something that is “feminine”, or gives off “feminine energy”, but studies have chosen that it is men that dominate the culinary scene. I would like to explore and see if the genre that has the sense of neutrality ( since everybody eats food, and most people love it) actually places rigidity back into gender.

Scholarly Resources:

  1. ^ Butler, Judith (1999) [1990]. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (Subversive bodily acts, IV Bodily Inscriptions, Performative Subversions). New York: Routledge. p. 179.
  Title: Consumption, food and taste : culinary antinomies and commodity culture / Alan Warde. JSTOR. 20 October 2010.

Carole M. Counihan

Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 2 (Apr., 1988), pp. 51-62

JSTOR. 20 October 2010.

Carole M. Counihan

Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Apr., 1992), pp. 55-66JSTOR. 20 October 2010.

Title: Towards Queering Food Studies: Foodways, Heteronormativity, and Hungry Women in Chicana Lesbian Writing JSTOR. 20 October 2010.

Citation: Ehrhardt, Julia C.  “Towards Queering Food Studies: Foodways, Heteronormativity, and Hungry Women in Chicana Lesbian Writing”. Food and Foodways: 14.2 ( 2006 Apr-June), pp. 91-109.

Title: Consuming Prose: The Delectable Rhetoric of Food Writing

Citation: Bloom, Lynn Z.  “Consuming Prose: The Delectable Rhetoric of Food Writing”. College English: 70.4 (2008 Mar.), pp. 346-362.

Document Type: Bibliographic citation; journal article

October 13th, 2010


Posted by Tricia Zephyr in Uncategorized

“” Bless me father, for I have sinned. My last confession was.. I can’t remember when… These are my sins.”  I am making up the sins. For the guarantee of absolution. In the beginning again, at zero. Before Heaven even. Before the Fall. All previous wrongs erased. Reduced to spotless. Pure. When I receive God, all pure. Totally. For the Dwelling of God housed in my body and soul must be clean. free of sin. Any sin. Mortal sin. “( p. 16-17)

This passage really spoke to me, specifically when this particular woman said that she was making up sins, because she knew that she would be forgiven. When reading this passage, the pains of colonization and forced imperialism ran through me. The words in French speak to this. I found this book to be quite confusing, so I would love clarification on this if possible.  That passage just resonated with me.

October 13th, 2010

Research Paper Topic

Posted by Tricia Zephyr in Uncategorized

For my Research Paper I was thinking about writing about Food Memoirs. Everyone has a connection to food. As we humans, we need it to live, and there is not only a necessity for it but an intimacy with it that I find interesting. The intimacy with food has manifested into the genre of memoirs by authors such as Frank Bruni, Anthony Bourdain, Alice Waters, and known chefs writing about their experiences with food.

I think food writing is a combination between memoirs and creative non-ficiton and I really want to explore that notion within this paper.

Books I plan on choosing are :

Born Round: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite- Frank Bruni

Medium Raw- Anthony Bourdain

Spoon Fed- Kim Severson

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen- Jacque Pepin

The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove- Cathy Erway

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard

October 13th, 2010

David Sedaris Essay

Posted by Tricia Zephyr in Uncategorized

David Sedaris

“Your life, your privacy, your occasional sorrow- it’s not like you’re going to do anything with it. Is this the brother I always was, or the brother I have become?”  (p. 155)

This quote makes me think of the autobiographical process of writing the self because it is realized that the cliché ” that no man is an island”, is true. David Sedaris is using other people’s experiences and he is more than re-transcribing, but rather retelling the story- making it his story.  One must wonder if autobiography is mainly about the ownership of the story, meaning that the story teller is able take a story and because he/she is telling it, it is theirs. People often like genre of autobiography because of then validity of it. We feel as if it is not fiction. ” … Not that it is insincere but we have a different knowledge today than yesterday; such knowledge can be summarized as follows: What I write about myself is never truly the last word: the more sincere I am, the more interpretable I am, under the eye of other examples than those of the old authors who believed they were required to submit themselves to but one law: authenticity. ( Barthes, 1977:120) This quote states that for some, the “law of authenticity” is something that should be adhered to for something to be a true autobiography, but offered in the book Autobiography in which the previous quote was extrapolated from, offers a contradictory statement. “… Recognizing that a coherent self is a fiction, that it must always involve being seen from a distance, through the perspective of the Other”, writes Barthes by Barthes. These two quotes display the duality and the complexity of autobiography. The juxtaposition between these two quotes goes back to owning the story. It makes one question what is reality and what is actuality, but quite frankly it doesn’t matter. When one takes ownership of a story, even though it may be altered,  we see that story through their lens, and the validity of the story is automatically assumed.

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