Author/blogger Wendy McClure reminds the Bite Club of really, really nasty food. That's because for the past few years McClure has delighted and disgusted Web surfers with her gruesome, Technicolor online gallery of 1974 Weight Watchers Recipe Cards, a treasure the author discovered in her parents' basement.
She takes acidic pleasure in questioning the faulty logic behind "Fluffy Mackerel Pudding" and "Jellied Tomato Refresher," calling out creations like "Frankfurter Pie" as a culinary train wreck akin to walking in on your parents doing it when you're a kid.
A legion of figure-conscious women know McClure better, though, as the inspiring woman behind Pound, the saucy, no-bullshit weight-loss weblog, which the 230-pound McClure started to record her weight-loss journey, including her own stint at Weight Watchers. Now, McClure has published a memoir, I'm Not the New Me, a ruthlessly bitchy and bittersweet chronicle of how her diet spawned her blog, pop weight-loss culture and how she got fat in the first place.
In preparation for McClure's Portland book reading, Bite Club talked to the author about scary grub, foodies and how pasta can turn you into a ho'.
Bite Club: What's it like to be vaulted into the book world?
Wendy McClure: On the weblog, you can control exactly what you say. I really didn't think about how that would play when it came to major newspapers and TV. A lot of the press is going to consist of, you know, "fat chick writing a book about being fat."
Throughout INTNM, you dropped an awful lot of weight. Have you kept it off?
Oh, no. I've gained back a bit. And I don't think it was all due to research.
How's your relationship with food these days?
Um, healthy. I mean that both euphemistically and honestly, too. Lately, I have noticed there has been a big "foodie" movement, a great way to rationalize-like, you know, "I'm a foodie, I'm a food connoisseur." But that's a late development [for me]. At the same time, I know that occasionally I will still eat the trash-stuff with butter spray on it.
So foodies are overeaters with big vocabularies?
It's tempting to say that, but I think I would get in a lot of trouble if I said that.
What are your bad-boyfriend foods?
Pasta and bread. I'm definitely a carbo-ho'.
What exactly do those Weight Watchers cards represent to you?
Maybe the joke is not just the food but just the filter of time. It's the idea that 20 years ago people took this stuff seriously and that right now we are taking all our weight-loss efforts seriously. We have the obesity epidemic that we are taking very seriously. [The cards] pull us back a bit. Once you get the perspective of a few decades, then you realize just what was a little absurd about it.
What are this decade's Weight Watchers cards?
Lunchables will be the horror food of the future.
reads from her memoir,
, at Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., 228-4651. 7:30 pm Wednesday, May 4.
Check out McClure's Weight Watchers Recipe Card gallery at www.candyboots.com or read her weblog, Pound, at www.poundy.com