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Food and Sex

September 4, 2012

I just started another book which looks really relevant to my current interests… and possibly relevant to Alison Wong’s As the Earth Turns Silver… (especially with the overlap between race and romance, national identity, food and language that’s in that novel…)

The summary that serves as a kind of blurb just inside the cover pretty much sums it up:

“What’s eating us? Investigating the current explosion of interest in food and eating, Elspeth Probyn’s book uncovers some of the deep and dark themes underlying our craving for the culinary. Popular representations of eating depict food as the last area of authenticity, of what is really real, testifying to a desire for something visceral. If sexuality has been the privileged arena for our understanding of truth and identity, the question of who we are and want to be is now being debated in the pages of gourmet magazines and in sexy food programmes.

Is eating better than sex? The answer is that it depends on what you eat. While the book revels in the gloriously sexy intersections of the sexual and the alimentary, it also explores issues that trouble society, issues that are still not quite digestible: appetite, desire, greed, and pleasure. Going beyond a celebration of identity, either in terms of food or of sex, Probyn offers a different model of identity, and details the ways in which we digest ourselves now. We are ‘mouth machines’ that ingest and spit out bits of the local and the global, the familiar and the strange. Across a number of sites – funk food, McDonald’s, vegetarianism and ‘ethical eating’, food-sex, cannibalism, anorexia, bulimia, and fat politics – the book constantly jostles debates about identity. Neither celebratory nor nihilistic, what emerges is the deep affect of eating.”

Ref: Elspeth Probyn (2000) Carnal Appetites: FoodSexIdentities. Routledge: London and New York

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