Issue #8: Daisies and MommyTang

The Food Issues issue.

Simone Polanen

Another week, another newsletter!

Let’s keep the mental health theme going this week and talk about one of my favorite coping mechanisms: binge eating!

I relish the evenings when I have the apartment to myself. I get my snacks in order, get my movie/tv show/video lined up, get myself into an *ahem* altered state, and just methodically crush bag after bag of pure processed garbage.

The key to any good binge is to eat until you’re in physical pain. That’s your cue to keep going. And you can’t stop until every edible thing in your home has been consumed. Yes, including the shredded cheddar your boyfriend was saving for his breakfast tomorrow morning. You will eat it with your hands. It’s how these things go.

So let’s celebrate this glorious behavior (and marketable skill in some cultures) by looking at some capital A Art.


This week’s HIGHBROW is legit highbrow. Ready for it?

~Czech New Wave~

Are you shook? Has a rolled cigarette materialized between your lips?

But before I get to the main story, I want to tell you about a very exciting thing: Criterion launched their own streaming service! It’s called Criterion Channel and you can watch features and shorts made by some of The Greats. They are the films that “film people” have determined to be the greatest films in film history.

“But Simone,” you say, “I don’t have space in my life for another streaming platform!”

“But Simone,” you say, “I can’t justify spending $11 a month on art films I’ll never watch!”

“But Simone,” you say, “how can I trust the judgment of the Criterion Collection when their silence on Practical Magic and Drop Dead Gorgeous is deafening!”

To that I say, fine. I’m not getting paid. I truly couldn’t care less what you do.

Moving on… I want to tell you about Věra Chytilová, her film Sedmikrásky (English title: Daisies), and one of the most joyous binge eating scenes that I’ve ever come across.

The 1966 CZECH NEW WAVE film is about two women named Marie who decide to be bad. The Maries traipse about, wearing bold eye makeup and shift dresses and flower crowns. They get drunk in public, openly mock the men who try to court them, trash their apartment, and wreak havoc wherever they go.

A prominent motif in the film is food: either consuming it in excess or wasting it recklessly.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find great clips of the binging scenes online, BUT Daisies does give us the beautiful gift of the second most iconic food fight scene caught on film (the first most iconic food fight scene obviously being from notable cinematic oeuvre Max Keeble’s Big Move).

If you want to watch Daisies, it’s on Criterion Channel and Kanopy. If you don’t have either, I don’t know what to tell ya. It screens in NYC pretty regularly (it plays at BAM tonight at 9:30pm!)


Before we get into LOWBROW, I need to teach you a very important word: 먹방, usually romanized as “mukbang.”

Mukbang is a portmanteau of the words 먹다 (moekda: to eat) and 방송 (bangsong: broadcast). Put them together you get something like “eating broadcast.” Folks set up in front of a camera, usually with a massive amount of food, and they just eat. Sometimes they talk. Sometimes they don’t.

The trend started in Korea, but made its way to the US in late 2015 thanks to patron saint of American mukbang KEEMI. It really exploded in popularity when YouTube queen Trisha Paytas started chomping down on Cheesecake Factory for her millions of viewers.

But I am here to tell you about a unique gem in the mukbang universe: MommyTang.

She’s vegan, she’s a mother, she’s a chef, she’s a storyteller. She cooks up large, plant-based meals and then eats them on camera with her 4 gorgeous kids. People ask me why I enjoy watching these videos, and I’ve always had a hard time answering that question. Some of it is living vicariously through someone else’s impressive appetite. Some of it is just purely being charmed by someone’s personality. And some of it — and I can not stress enough how sad this will sound — is simulating company during mealtime. You’re not better than me so don’t even think it.

MommyTang has a warm, welcoming presence. She shares stories about her life, raising her kids, meeting her spouse, growing into her own as a Woman. She also walks you through the most delicious looking recipes that I say I will replicate at home but have yet to make even the slightest effort in that direction.

Check out MommyTang’s YouTube channel here, one of my favorite of her videos here, and her incroyable Instagram here.   


So you see? Binging is ART and COMMERCE. It is RADICAL and POLITICAL. And therefore I must keep doing it!

Yas! Womyn speaking power to TRUTH!

See you next week, sisters.