Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Here I go, bragging again

I just turned in draft #2 of my book. I ran down the clock without actually getting everything in perfect order and it was very hard to turn in work with so many obvious problems still to fix.

Question: Is this a variant of the "humble brag" where, by announcing that it is hard for me to turn in imperfect work, I am actually pointing out that I have very high standards and usually turn in perfect work? I've become preoccupied with humble brags lately, as they are rife on Facebook and Twitter. The other day I realized that if I ruthlessly edited out all humble brags, I would have to shut down Tipsy Baker. As in, I write a story about a fight with my kids, but the point is not the fight but the fact that I've made it sound funny because I'm funny. Could that be construed as a humble brag? Possibly!

But this way lies madness. I like writing my blog and will proceed as usual with my bragging, humble and otherwise.

As to the manuscript issue, it reminds me of how I present myself in public. I don't usually look all that great, but never do I go out with both slip and bra strap showing and the back of my hair uncombed. I like to think my manuscript has inner beauty, and I will continue untangling her hair  over the next few days and weeks.

Speaking of how I go out in public. I recently saw a picture of myself holding my handsome 1-year-old nephew, Ben. I am wearing a long-sleeved dress, but even under clingy jersey knit one might suspect that I am a professional swimmer, hurler, or shot putter. Never has a baby looked more secure than Ben does, supported by those burly arms. Hay-baling arms. Steer-wrestling arms. Big, solid, baby-holding arms. And I don't even work out!

It's sort of wonderful, watching ancestral genes express themselves in your physique. Someone long, long ago in Wales or Switzerland or England or Spain had such arms and I hope they were very useful to that someone. They are not so useful in my life. They are not my ally in a sun dress. Or, lately, any dress.

But I am much fonder of them than I used to be. I seem to be as incapable of truly disliking my body now as I used to be incapable of truly liking my body. Something changed when I watched my mother dying. I realized that any healthy body is a perfect body. Chubby legs that walk are perfect legs. Hefty arms that can hold a baby are perfect arms.

The upside of thinking this way: Inner peace.

The downside: Weight gain. What is the motivation to eat undressed salad for dinner when you have a perfect body?

But while my body may be perfect, I still really need to lose some weight. For my long-term health and so I can wear my clothes. I've gained seventeen pounds in the last year.

While I do realize this is an unpopular topic and a downer on a food blog, I am going on a diet. I haven't figured out how this will feature in the cookbook reviews, but I wanted to get it out there.


  1. We all humble brag. Unless we are just plain bragging. So don't worry about it.
    I'm so happy to hear about your manuscript! Congratulations.
    As to bodies and such: one thing in Little Bee that stuck with me was her assertion that scars are beautiful, because they mean you lived. I'm not sure the same can be said for seventeen extra pounds. And if I had great ideas for disappearing them, I would use them myself, so I will watch with interest to see what works.
    And thanks for the hat tip to the Armagnac chicken. It has been a huge, huge hit here with everyone lucky enough to get near it!

  2. What an interesting, bracing, risk-taking, entertaining, honest post. Nice one, Tipsy! When your book is done (or you are done with it), send this post to your publisher and ask him/her/it to pick your next book topic from it.

  3. Wonderful post. Your attitude towards your body is wondeful & refreshing. Maybe 17 lbs isn't a big deal? Did you ask your doctor? After gaining weight, I was surprised that my doctor called me "perfect."

    In any case, if you do diet, I'm sure you will do it right, not deprive yourself, & keep cooking!

  4. Go ahead and balance being healthy with enjoying food! That's what makes life challenging and also fun. I have managed to lose 25 lbs Verrrrryyyyy slllloowwwly over the last year, and I would welcome your trying and critiquing recipes that taste good and are low-fat, or desserts that are terrifically yummy and yet still good for you. The occasional indulgent recipe - also good. I say go for it. There's lots of us out here with the same challenge and we'd love to hear your thoughts...

  5. I think a dose of self-deprecation is the key, or at least a balance of happy posts and down-but-not-out ones.

    I have strong arms, too and am convinced I have maids in my family tree, who lugged pails of water, scrubbed floors and ironed fiercely.

  6. Beth Melucci2/1/11, 2:29 PM

    Have you ever read, "French Women Don't Get Fat?" It's a great book, with a healthy attitude toward being able to lose weight without depriving yourself of good food. Diets are counterproductive. So are scales. We (as in most Americans) just need to practice moderation. Just don't give up cooking!

  7. The Welsh/English genes may have contributed to the arms but they also gave you a razor sharp dry wit. Great photo of the veggies!

  8. I have recently cut out a cartoon to post on the fridge or paste in my journal. It reads: "Who wants to live longer if you have to live without cookies?"

    The question is: how to enjoy eating - because it is a pleasure and an important social pleasure - and yet stay feeling good about oneself and one's shape...

  9. Diet + recipe book = Mayo Clinic Diet. There is a book that explains the Plan and a cookbook.

  10. I agree on the diet book idea. Or maybe you work on lightening some of your favorite recipes that have too many calories or fat to eat on a regular basis?

    I'm sure whatever you do will be interesting to read about.

  11. We went on a Mexican cruise over Christmas. I gained 4 pounds in 7 days!! My husband, who is the same height as me, gained 0 pounds. Men!

    I'm definitely hoping you will review a low cal cookbook.

    I also have this Ellie Kreiger book from the Food Network:


  12. You compared your arms to a hurler's! I'm from the Milwaukee area, my husband and son play, and this is definitely the first time I've encountered a hurling reference when reading one of my favorite food blogs.

    PS. Please humble brag away - I love your blog!

  13. Beautiful, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing your words --a healthy body is a beautiful body. Here's to strong arms to hug with and legs to take us exploring.