The Susan Orlean Diet, 2014 Edition

Slate's Culture Blog
June 27 2014 2:56 PM

The Susan Orlean Diet, 2014 Edition

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Susan Orlean doesn't put bleach on her food anymore.

Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images

If you wanted to know what New Yorker staff writer and acclaimed author Susan Orlean was eating in 1999, you would, of course, pick up a copy of her diet book, The Skinny: What Every Skinny Woman Knows About Dieting (And Won’t Tell You!). But what if you wanted to know what Susan Orlean is eating today, fifteen years wiser than she was when she wrote The Skinny?

You’d be in luck. Orlean is the author of this week’s edition of the Grub Street Diet, the feature in which the editors of New York magazine’s food blog convince a famous person to chronicle every bite and sip that passes their lips. Unsurprisingly, Orlean’s food diary is more subtle and eloquent than that of, say, AnnaSophia Robb. (Upon arriving at her home in the Hudson Valley for the first time in months, Orlean reports, “[M]y garden—which usually has lettuce and herbs by this time—is a case study of benign neglect and the effects of the polar vortex.”)

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If you, like Slates Rachael Maddux, were alarmed by some of the eating-disorder-ish recommendations in The Skinny—like smoking when you’re hungry, and pouring bleach on tempting food to prevent yourself from eating it—you’ll be happy to hear that Orlean’s current eating habits are quite a bit less extreme than the ones she championed in 1999.* Her favorite breakfast is yogurt with Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins. Her go-to snack is a granola bar. (“Thank you, whoever invented granola bars,” she declares after describing consuming her second bar of the day on Tuesday.) When she goes out to dinner, she often favors Italian restaurants. For the full Susan Orlean Diet Circa 2014—graham crackers, strawberries, goat cheese, and all—head over to Grub Street.

Correction, June 27, 2014: This post originally misspelled Rachael Maddux's first name.

L.V. Anderson is a Slate assistant editor. She edits Slate's food and drink sections and writes Brow Beat's recipe column, You're Doing It Wrong. 

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