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Talking Activism and Food

From the Editor: Eating Out Loud with Jessica Valenti

This post originally appeared on March 3, 2018, in Amanda Kludt’s newsletter “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world each week. Read the archives and subscribe now.

Last week, we launched an exciting new video project with feminist writer Jessica Valenti. Valenti, a bestselling author, columnist, and speaker, approached us last year about a series that would center on conversations with political figures over food. She wanted to try to humanize people who are often flattened in the media and on Twitter — people who are thought of as simply the issues they fight for, but nothing beyond that.

We said sure! I’m a longtime fan of Jessica’s column on The Toast (RIP) and was mostly curious to see who she could bring to the table, what they would end up discussing, and how our audience would respond to conversations that weren’t directly connected to restaurants or dishes.

The concept went through a few different iterations, but we eventually landed on a very straightforward, pared-down format — just Jessica, her subject, and a conversation that has a link to food. A few of the episodes open with intimate monologues connecting Jessica’s personal experience to the issue at hand.

We narrowed the show down to five episodes: author Lindy West talking about performative eating and fat shaming; author and culinary historian Michael Twitty talking about racism and food; reporter Shane Bauer on the power of food on both sides of the prison bars; TV host, professor, and writer Melissa Harris-Perry on the impact of hunger on education; and Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards on reproductive rights and her all-butter pie crust.

We’ve long believed our mission reaches beyond straightforward restaurant coverage, and we love to talk about politics and culture through the lens of food — but even for us, this was a big departure.

I hope you enjoy it.

On Eater

Yakitori at Torishin
Eater Video

Last week on the Upsell

Last week we had a special double header of the Upsell podcast. The first part was a conversation with Dan Barber (of “best restaurant in America” fame) about the new, potentially revolutionary seed company he’s starting that will connect seed breeders to chefs. Episode two was a roundup of the best food stories in February, including our takes on Peter Rabbit’s allergy controversy, Queer Eye’s food guy Antoni, and Olive Garden’s Italian nachos. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Off Eater

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