Junkfood Science: The Hollywood Diet

November 11, 2007

The Hollywood Diet

A writer in New York Times Magazine points out the absurdity of today’s food aversions and beliefs. Refusing to eat and enjoy food has become a way to project discipline and power, she writes. Not wanting to be “out-restrained” by someone appearing to be eating more virtuously than themselves, diners are taking eating fears to ridiculous heights.

Food: The Way We Eat

Nothing over the course of many years of having dinner parties prepared me for the list, provided without request, by the couple I invited to my new Los Angeles home. It contained the items they would not consume: no red meat; no dairy; fish only if grilled, but no salmon; and please, no button mushrooms. Once at my table to eat their prenegotiated meal of grilled tuna and dry couscous, the husband spotted flecks of garlic in the mango salsa and recoiled, demanding to know if he had indeed spied a mote of cheese.

Food issues — a sign of weakness in many parts of our nation — are celebrated personality traits in Hollywood. Raw-almond obsessions, self-diagnosed lactose intolerance, carbophobia, demands on chefs to grill and desauce menu items that are meant to be pan-fried in mounds of butter — these tactics are employed by everyone from the talent to their lawyers to the wives of the lawyers, whose principal form of activity seems to be planning lunches that do not actually include consuming food….

“People in this town have a terrible definition of what they are,” says Eric Greenspan, the owner and chef of the Foundry on Melrose in Hollywood. “They spend their whole lives obsessing over a healthy body, so they come to a restaurant like mine and order their salmon steamed and then wake up at 2 a.m. and go to Tommy’s and get chili cheese fries.”

Jennifer Steinhauer concludes her article with wonderful recipes, one for Peanut Butter Cupcakes With Milk Chocolate Frosting and another for Braised Pork Belly. A lot of neglected ovens may be turned on today.

[Photo source: BakingBites.com and the Cupcake pages. Recipes included!]

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