'Femivores': Stay-at-home moms embrace sustainable eating

Published: Monday, May 6 2013 4:06 p.m. MDT

Stay-at-home moms are embracing what Los Angeles Times columnist Alexandra Le Tellier calls a "foodie" culture as part of a solution to social ills. Can "femivores" feed their families well and save the planet, too?

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Stay-at-home moms are embracing what Los Angeles Times columnist Alexandra Le Tellier calls a "foodie" culture as part of a solution to social ills. Can "femivores" feed their families well and save the planet, too?

"In her book 'Homeward Bound,' excerpted on Salon, author Emily Matchar points to food writers and experts who’ve pinned the problem of obesity on feminism. In driving women out of the kitchen and into the office in the 1970s, they contend, women no longer had as much time to cook, so the convenience of pre-made junk, packaged goods and fast food restaurants won out. Fast forward to present day: Obesity has reached epidemic levels and its related diseases, such as diabetes and heart diseases, are killing people," Le Tellier wrote.

Then she disputes it, pointing out that there are many factors and that men can cook, too. "What’s interesting," Le Tellier says, "is that this return to the homestead has dovetailed with the rise of foodie culture."

In her excerpt, Matchar explained the origins of femivore, a word coined by writer Peggy Orenstein three years ago. "Femivorism is grounded in the very principles of self-sufficiency, autonomy and personal fulfillment that drove women into the work force in the first place. Given how conscious (not to say obsessive) everyone has become about the source of their food — who these days can’t wax poetic about compost? — it also confers instant legitimacy. Rather than embodying the limits of one movement, femivores expand those of another: feeding their families clean, flavorful food; reducing their carbon footprints; producing sustainably instead of consuming rampantly. What could be more vital, more gratifying, more morally defensible?" she wrote.

The discussion is part of a much-larger debate about work-life decisions and trade-offs for women and, consequently, for families.

EMAIL: lois@desnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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