New Recipe: Cookbook author suggests adding potato chips to recipes to avoid ‘fatphobia’

The Washington Post published a piece that oddly suggested readers should put potato chips in their food to avoid being “being fat-phobic.”

The Post published a recipe from author Julia Turshen’s cookbook Tuesday headlined, “Crush some chips into your fish cakes: Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean being fat-phobic,” turned instructions on preparing “ricotta and potato chip fish cakes with peas” into a lengthy tale about social and cultural issues related to weight loss.

“In their familiar guise, cookbooks have a powerful way of normalizing cultural messages. As someone who has worked on cookbooks for well over a decade, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of how ‘healthy’ cookbooks normalize cultural messages about disordered eating and fatphobia,” Turshen wrote.

“Cookbooks can affirm things without ever needing to be direct. Many don’t overtly say ‘you should restrict this so you don’t get fat,’ but they suggest it by talking about ways to, for example, substitute zucchini for pasta,” Turshen added. “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but zucchini will never be pasta.”

The author declared “passive-aggressive suggestions” such as replacing carbs with veggies impact people’s everyday lives.

“Remember that cookbooks aren’t just things we read — they’re manuals for what we put into our bodies,” she wrote. “That’s why I intentionally don’t champion weight loss in my new healthy cookbook.”

"Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food" by Julia Turshen.
“Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food” by Julia Turshen.

Turshen boasted her book “does not conflate healthy with skinny,” which she feels “are so frequently interchanged, it’s easy to forget that they’re not the same thing.”

The author then detailed how much soda she drank as a kid, her own weight loss regimens and when she penned an essay for Vogue about maintaining weight loss. She apologized to both herself and readers for the “damaging” Vogue essay and declared she now defines “healthy as encompassing not just what I cook and eat, but also how I feel when I cook and eat.”

“I no longer see meals as chances to fail, to test my willpower or restraint, but as opportunities for pleasure and connection. The only time I make any calculations about food is when I am figuring out measurements for recipes,” she wrote. “And then, the butter is real, the milk is whole and I’m trying to be, too.”

After nearly 1,000 words about why she doesn’t champion weight loss, she got to the recipe for potato chip-filled fish cakes.

“While nutritionists and dietitians might tell you the crushed potato chips that bind the fish cakes add too much salt and fat, I say they add flavor and fun,” she wrote. “And aren’t those qualities important?”

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