SALAD GETS SKEWERED ON STAGE
The old adage is that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. (We know, in those ugly ancient days, it meant dutiful women had to slave away in the kitchen making his dinner.) Let’s be serious, the way to all of our hearts is through our stomach. Though lately, this path has been sabotaged by good intentions.
This all became clear in the recent Women’s Voices Theater Festival in DC, when playwright Sheila Callaghan took on food and body image in the world premiere of Women Laughing Alone with Salad. Washington Post critic Peter Marks sums up this tasty morsel perfectly: “The eating of salad…is a metaphor for all of the unpleasant activities women undertake in service of some unattainable ideal of feminine physical perfection.” As lettuce leaves literally fall from above, the women portray what we all know: if I just eat this kale, my life will be oh so perfect. He sums up the evening, noting the moment when the star is devouring “mushy red vegetable as if it were a hot fudge sundae” with a cherry on top: “That level of comic energy really does take the cake.”
Truth is, I actually like kale, though cooking it still scares me. But this fun romp does remind us of the underlying fear of food that infuses all of our lives. In my twenties, a chip or fry never passed me by. But, my 22-year-old daughter—and many millennials—relish protein infused smoothies with a dash of turmeric. Healthy gut girl that she is! She reminds me to get rid of the Splenda and opt for agave instead. I no longer worry about having the flat stomach she has but follow her helpings of advice—most of the time.
A beautifully cooked fish and side of grilled vegetables, and yes, even finely dressed kale is a wonderful thing. Will it give us our idealized bodies? Nah. But it may just find its way to our heart through our stomach after all.