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About Fat Girl Foodie

 

My name is Shira and I’m a fat girl turned foodie. I’ve always had a relationship with food, it just wasn’t always a healthy one. As a child, food was the enemy. It was the reason for all my unhappiness. As a chubby child, I was placed on a very strict diet by my parents. While my friends at school enjoyed pretzels, cookies and potato chips during recess, I clutched my bags of celery and carrot sticks with dismay. At home, I would sneak food to my room and devour whatever wasn’t good for me: frozen pizza, onion and garlic potato chips, even cold cheese blintzes! While at school, I was paying classmates an inflated amount of money to go out and buy me boxes of Drakes cakes and pies. I would hide them in a gym bag at the bottom of my closet and would eat entire boxes in one sitting. My pre-teen years were really miserable and, once my parents caught on to the stealing and sneaking, my junk food supply disappeared. As the years went on, I developed an eating disorder that you can read all about here.

I moved out of my parents house before my 21st birthday and, with the freedom of being on my own and making my own money, I spent thousands of dollars on junk food. I didn’t appreciate what I was eating, I was just mindlessly eating the foods that were not available to me all those years. My weight ballooned, my eating disorder intensified, and my sense of self worth took a serious hit. I was a closet eater with a horrible self image.

As an overweight adult, I would eat in secret. At weddings, parties and office functions, I would circulate with a drink in hand and ignore the food. Starving after hours of refusing to eat in public, I would go home and gorge on anything I could find in my refrigerator. I felt that overweight people shouldn’t eat in public, that I didn’t have the right to hold a plate of food in my hand. That people would look at me and inspect whatever I was consuming, as if a plate of cocktail wieners were the reason I was fat. You would never find me walking down the street, licking an ice cream cone. I was too ashamed of what other people would think, and for the most part, what other people thought was really all in my head.

And during all this time, my unhealthy obsession with food came to a complete head. I realized that I had no reason to be ashamed of myself. I liked who I was, although I certainly did not like having an eating disorder or being afraid to eat in public. You can imagine how difficult that little quirk made my dating life, especially when my date insisted we go out to dinner.

I also realized that it was okay to love food. So I turned my unhealthy obsession into something more productive. I decided to educate myself about food, to learn about different cooking techniques, to research and try new and exotic ingredients, to stock my shelves with different cookbooks, and to follow some of today’s most celebrated Chef’s. I would spend hours after work watching The Food Network, and attribute a lot of my early knowledge to Chef’s like Emeril Lagasse and Paula Dean.

It was time to refine my palate and replace my usual carrot and celery sticks with hearts of palm and roasted asparagus, to not fear the sear of a beautiful piece of red tuna instead of opening a can and adding heaping spoonfuls of mayo. You can’t imagine the joy I felt when I finally figured out how not to overcook a mustard glazed lamb chop, it was such an accomplishment and a far cry from the fast food burgers and fries that had once been my staples.

A couple of years ago, I moved from Manhattan to Israel, and my eyes were opened to a new way of eating. The food culture in this Country is like nothing I’ve ever seen, with the diversity of culture and ingredients creating an absolutely culinary treasure trove. And I went from being a single gal to a married Mom who makes her own baby food and is constantly striving to ensure that the members of my family develop a healthy relationship with food. It pleases me to no end that my eldest child knows how to eat a steamed artichoke and will get excited over slices of nori.

And thus this blog was born. It’s a way for me to chronicle the new and exciting ingredients that are available to me each and every day. This blog is a place to review some of the kosher food I’ve sampled across the globe. A living diary of my hits and misses in the kitchen (and I’ve had plenty of misses!), and interviews and Q&A’s with some of the amazing culinary folks I’ve met throughout the years. If you came here hoping for a diet blog, I fear you’ll be sorely disappointed. I am, and will always be, a fat girl. But now, I’m a fat girl who’s also a foodie, and I look forward to sharing my knowledge, experience and experiments with you all!

Betayavon!