Tag Archives: New York Times

[On Reading]

This week, I’ve been reading Bee Wilson’s First Bite, which is the fairly masterful book everybody asks “have you read…?” when I say I’m writing a book about how we learn to eat. This is actually a reread and I am once again dazzled by how poetically Wilson writes about scientific findings. Anyone who has to read medical journals on a regular basis knows that scientific studies are mostly written in the least exciting language possible, but Wilson has a real talent for turning those dense nuggets of research into accessible stories. She also tracks down some of the most incredible early research, like a 1926 study by Dr. Clara Davis, a pediatrician from Chicago, who “borrowed a number of infants” (mostly orphans) and fed them in controlled laboratory conditions for six years, in order to understand how our appetites and food preferences develop.

Read more...

Filed under Eating Instinct, Health, On Eating and Writing

Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Learning to eat on food stamps.

By now, you may have read about last week’s USDA report on what low-income families buy with their food stamps (officially known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP benefits). Or more accurately, you may have read the initial media coverage which wrung hands over the amount of soda poor people are buying. (Not actually grocery carts full, as the photo suggested, but 5 percent of their food dollars!)

Hopefully that means you’ve now also read responses from various reputable corners (including the NYT’s own public editor) pointing out how that was a blatant mischaracterization of the report, which found virtually no difference in the soda spending habits of SNAP and non-SNAP households (who put, um, 4 percent of their food dollars towards soda). In both kinds of households, about 40 cents of every food purchase dollar was spent on kitchen staples like meat, fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and bread. In both households, another 20 cents was spent on soda, juice, candy, salty snacks and sugar. (The rest was frittered away on rice, beans, and other cooking ingredients.) It’s not the sexiest graphic, but I’m including the chart below straight from the USDA’s report summary because I think it’s really worth parsing. (Click the image to enlarge it in your browser.) If you do, you’ll notice the only significant difference in how poor people and rich people buy groceries is that poor people buy a lot more baby food. They do persist in feeding their children.

Read more...

Filed under Government Watch, On Eating and Writing

Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

New year, not so new diet trends.

A Mighty Girl

Ah, the first week of January. When my inbox overflows with press releases from weight loss companies, fitness experts and diet gurus, and even sober and reputable media outlets, like the New York Times, propose we all go on crash diets. (This year it’s op-ed columnist David Leonhardt telling us to go cold turkey on sugar for 30 days). It always sounds so possible, and even downright sensible, after the weeks of holiday excess. I know at my house, we’ve had a constantly refilling tray of cookies and a bowl of candy on the kitchen counter for much of the past month, and it was with no small relief that I dumped the last six stale cookies in the trash yesterday, after realizing I wasn’t morally obligated to finish them just because they were there.

Read more...

Filed under Health, On Eating and Writing

Tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

When Your Baby Won’t Eat (The New York Times Magazine)

I’m telling the story of how Violet learned to eat (again) in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine. The piece went online yesterday, and I’ve already heard from so many families struggling with the full gamut of pediatric feeding issues. I’ll respond individually to as many notes as I can, but I thought it might be helpful if I did a post of some the resources that were most helpful for us, and may help you too.

Advice for Feeding Any Kid:

  • Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility in Feeding is now gospel in my house. It’s both brilliantly simple and sometimes, very hard to execute. (Can you really trust your child to self-regulate when they’re ignoring their entire dinner, or conversely, eating their body weight in grapes?) But whenever I start to waver on something related to feeding, I come back here and find clarity.

Read more...

Filed under Freelance Life

Tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Pinning Things Down

Virginia on Pinterest

Hi, my name is Virginia and I’m addicted to Pinterest. (If you’re already confused, click here to find out what it’s all about.)

My friend Amy got me hooked way back in September 2010. I’m fairly sure it’s the only thing we’ve ever early adopted! Since then, she’s pinned a reasonable 268 items. Meanwhile I’ve pinned 839 things.

Ahem. That total actually went up to 845 pins since I wrote the first draft of this post.

Read more...

Filed under Beauty Standards, For Extra Credit, Happenings

Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 Comments

[Never Say Diet] Obesity, Custody Battles and the Good Divorce

iVillage Never Say Diet Obesity Custody Battles

Only everything, if you ask a certain class of divorce lawyers. Which the Wall Street Journal did. I’m finding the whole thing infuriating over on Never Say Diet today, and it’s not just because it’s offensive to fat people — and thus, to everyone with a body. To be honest, I’ve been riled up ever since I read Susan Gregory Thomas’s piece in the Sunday New York Times about whether “The Good Divorce” is really all that good for kids. She ultimately concludes that it can be, but along the way she cites research finding “children of divorce score worse in math and social skills, and suffer from lower self-esteem than those from non-divorce households, period.” And if you check out the comments over on Peggy Orenstein’s Motherlode post on the story, it’s clear that plenty of readers are skeptical of the concept as well.

Read more...

Filed under Never Say Diet

Tagged as , , , , , , , ,

9 Comments

[Never Say Diet] Stop Trying to Make Cleavage Wrinkles a Thing

iVillage Never Say Diet Virginia Sole-Smith Cleavage Wrinkles

Well, maybe not you personally. But definitely the New York Times and the makers of all these wacky boob pillow products that I can’t even wrap my mind around, let alone my cleavage.

I am beginning to think somebody needs to be in charge of an Official List of Fake Body Parts Created To Make You Crazy. Someone official. And archival. Like the Library of Congress. Or Tim Gunn. (He’s still a professor, right?) Because this sh*t needs to be cataloged for the ages, so seven generations from now, they can look back and say, “Oh that’s when our ancestors forged the first boob pillow. Can you believe they used to be made out of polyester?”

Read more...

Filed under Never Say Diet

Tagged as , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments

Pretty Price Check, plus Fun New Thing! (07.15.11)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of how much we paid for beauty this week.

Nail Art Awesomeness

  • The New York Times has 10 interesting takes on why wild nail polish has gone mainstream, including an awesome one on why no more formaldehyde helped. Can I just say how much I heart nail art? Happy sigh.
  • Tom Hanks is 11 years older than Julia Roberts, his love interest in Larry Crowne — and Amanda Marcotte is noticing he’s not the only dude getting to rob the cradle on the big screen right now. Which is not to hate on May-December relationships, but more to ask we we can’t see older actresses getting these parts and even — wait for it! — looking their actual age?

Read more...

Filed under Pretty Price Check

Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Pretty Price Check (06.03.11)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of how much we paid for beauty this week.

Beauty Myth Naomi Wolf Virginia Sole-Smith Beauty Schooled

  • It’s been 20 years since Naomi Wolf published The Beauty Myth. And from where she’s sitting now, it’s mostly good news. I’m not so sure — but then again, I’m 16 years younger and she’s talking about how women feel about their bodies at midlife. More fully-formed thoughts on this to come next week after I’ve mulled. In the meantime, there is this:

Read more...

Filed under Pretty Price Check

Tagged as , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

Pretty Price Check (05.27.11)

The Pretty Price Check: Your Friday round-up of how much we paid for beauty this week.

Hair on 125th Street by SpecialKRB

  • If you’ve ever wanted to see 12 models without professional makeup or retouching, now you can. Phew.

Read more...

Filed under Pretty Price Check

Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment