The Food of Love

Photo Credit: Raphael Pinto

According to Jane Austen speaking through Mr. Darcy, it’s poetry. I believe many others, myself included, would disagree and think of a saucy retort that includes chocolate—that deep, satisfying, melt-in-your-mouth taste. Whichever side you claim, this week provides an opportunity to partake of either one, or both if you are supremely special.

Since I’m a sucker for well-crafted words, I decided to help myself to a smorgasboard of love before the main attraction later this week. And boy, were my eyes bigger than my stomach. My mother always told me not to go to people’s houses and invite myself into their refrigerator like I own the place, but your refrigerator really outdid itself and I say you, meaning people who have poetry up over at the main site. I gorged myself and the following is my first foray into that chaotic world.

But first, here’s what prompted it:

I was doing some research for my novel and realized that I was in over my head. My god and faerie were a little closer than I wanted them to be. The complicated relationship had to seem authentic, had to move people and make them stay on the edge of their seat. I didn’t want to write a romance
1. Because I am a realist and don’t claim to be a romance writer.
2. I feel like it’s been done over and over and so much that we get desensitized in literature to what love actually is. So many books have a kiss, or a guy stalking a girl for a couple of months and suddenly, she is in DEEP life-altering, sky-diving, death-defying love.  Very simplistic and dare I say, a bit much?

I needed an expert opinion. I unwittingly stumbled upon one after reading an excerpt of the book What’s Love Got To Do With It: The Emotional World of Popular Songs. Mainly I clicked on the article because I thought Tina Turner was going to make an appearance, but the excerpt was so compelling, it made me buy the book. And pounce on my laptop like a knowledge-starved cheetah in search of sustenance to immediately email the professor.
In the excerpt, Professor Thomas Scheff discusses attraction, attachment, and attunement, the magical three ingredients that make up love, with attunement being the special sauce. He also goes over the six different kinds of love (or crazy) many people think are the “happily ever after” type.

Needless to say, I was fascinated. My question to him had to do with types 2 and 5 in the grid he provides. I wanted a dark combination of them both. He kindly responded to my over-excited email and told me to vary the level of attunement. It makes sense–without attunement love isn’t really there. It’s just an echo.

And if you have no idea what attunement is, read the article. Hopefully you’ll be as fascinated as I was, or I’ll settle for intrigued.

Now guarded with this ancient truth, I sallied forth into that tumultuous and reckless oblivion. And later, I renewed my  faith in man (and woman) to adequately portray it. To feel strains of the phantom echoes reverberating in my mind, soft words running through my veins.

Thank you, for renewing that. Yes, you and your refrigerator of food. But without further ado, here are the poems that brought me back to life:

Poem: A Love Not Allowed by Uniquely Dysfunctional. Burning, the mind, and the imagery was fantastic.

Poem: You Are by Ten X’s (the x’s are spelled out ten times). This poem really combines the good and bad, the sticking through it through the tough times in a really simply but elegant way. It was fabulous.

Poem: Cocaine Sun by Vangoman. This blew me away. It’s that Candy movie kind of love, the insanely good but horribly wrong kind.

Poem: The Lack of Understanding by ErinHea. This is definitely relatable. I couldn’t get enough of the pacing in this.

Poem: The Autumn Victorian by Luciddreamer1973. Love growing older, the concept of love growing older, love in the twilight of people’s lives—I see it all there.

Poem: Self Persuasion
That last line packed a major punch and I really enjoyed this poem.

If you’re not from the main site and you want to read these fabulous poems, head on over and put the titles in the search box. And poke around a bit! These were my favorites so far, but I’m excited to explore more of them.

Treat yourself with some words or chocolate this week, but most importantly, make sure your choice is love.


I Want Candy

By Alexandria Harris

It’s a cream puff…it’s a fried oreo…IT’S PICA?

Not in my household (the strangest thing I’ve been craving this past week is the hot peppers from Potbelly’s) but apparently, the staff at the Wall Street Journal had junk food on their minds. I don’t know if you saw either of the pieces, but let me give you a recap.

I stumbled across the video in disbelief. Since companies can’t market junk food to kids on television, they’re using smartphone applications to do it. I kid you not, there’s a free game called ‘Icee Maker’. What is the genius plan behind this application, to take over the world?

No, basically to show kids how to make their own Icee. And this ignites their brain synapses and makes them want one. Literally all the application does is let you choose a flavor and make a virtual icee for you.

Dum-Dums has a game where one just taps the screen and the dum-dum goes away little by little until it’s gone. Super pretzel factory, cookie dough factory, and companies like Kraft and Mars are also making food games.

When I was three, I had better things to do than plug away in my own virtual pretzel factory. And even if I did own my own pretzel factory, it wouldn’t make me want one, just the opposite. First, because I dislike pretzels (I didn’t eat them until they came out with honey coated ones). Second, it goes against every principle of working in a food establishment. You eventually get sick of eating the food unless A) you just want to eat something or B) you actually like eating the same things every day.

But the virtual world takes care of this problem, and kids are craving junk food after playing these games that aren’t actually games. I say they aren’t actually games because real games have some kind of meaningful objective.

The second was a bundle containing an article, video, and interactive graphic about food cravings. Food cravings are a mix of social, cultural and psychological factors, heavily influenced by environmental cues. Chocolate is the most-craved food in America (no surprise there) but other cultures don’t seem to have a word for craving. For example, Japanese women are more likely to crave sushi.

I might be part Japanese.

However, the big solution this study and article presents? Don’t fight the feeling. The more people resist their cravings, the more they want them.

And exercise helps. Or sniff on some jasmine or peppermint.

Personally, I looked at the infographic and found it intriguing. For my meat-loving friends, did you know the rich, mouth-feel of meat actually has a name? It’s called ‘umami.’ Other facts explained why we crave salty foods in times of stress and the chemicals each food had in them.

I personally don’t use crunchy food as an outlet for anger, but I’m always in the mood for chocolate, especially my nightly pinch of Ghirardelli Semi-sweet chocolate chips (while they last in my house).

Alexandria Harris is a writer and former reporter on WSUM 91.7. When she isn’t watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on repeat, she tweets regularly as @_ALHarris. Alexandria lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.