Food writer Ruby Tandoh on the relationship between what we eat and who we love
Hunger has fuzzy edges. A couple of years ago, my hunger took me to the west coast of the US. I went there for Portland: honey lavender ice cream, fat doughnuts heavy with jam and cream, waffles, and countless other things that I’d read about so many times online from so far away. I crafted a long list of things to eat while I was there, and planned to travel onwards to Seattle for coffee and the market, San Francisco for Tartine’s famous croissants and down through San Diego, where I’d feast on fish tacos with the Pacific tide rising between my toes.
But it wasn’t a coincidence that my journey started in the unofficial American capital for queer women, or that I’d only really found out it existed by gorging on Carrie Brownstein’s hit comedy series Portlandia. Nor was it a coincidence that my trip snaked down through the host town for the United States’ biggest Pride festival, and concluded near the sun-drenched ocean coasts I recognised from furtive viewings of The L Word. Between ice creams and nervous walks past queer party bars, I realised that my hunger had yanked at the puppet strings of my body long before my mind really knew the score. I’d come all the way here because I was hungry for more than the grey, closeted life I’d been living in London. The whole holiday, my belly swelled with food, hope and pride.
The synchrony between queerness and food is so deep-rooted that I can scarcely understand my queerness without thinking about the pure pleasure of lemon meringue tart, or make sense of my appetite without thinking of But I’m A Cheerleader, my first Pride or formative TV crushes.
Read the rest of this article in the February issue of DIVA, available to buy in print or digitally here.
Ruby Tandoh’s third book, Eat Up, £12.99, is out now.
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