July 30, 2013

I Love Women, I Love Food, & I Love the Poignant Relationship Between the Two. ~ Moira Madden

Potlucks with a Real-Life Girl Squad.

Sometimes, we fall into the trap of spending lots of time alone. Eating, though, is something that begs to be done with others. Food, especially nourishing, delicious food, not only bonds you to your own body, but to others.

I’ve written before about my own chaotic relationship with food, and so have many courageous men and women before me. Coming out of eating according to a strict routine, typically in isolation, was a huge step for me.

I fell in love with a man who adores eating, and walking or cycling around the city while munching on snacks has become a favorite pastime of ours. Vegan muffins, rich pesto, spicy hummus—these are the things we live for now that we’ve both abandoned our eating routines. Not only has it been beautiful and delicious, it has helped me so much. I’m always in search of ways to remind myself how fun eating can be.

My friends and I were labeled The Girl Squad after our wine-fueled Friday nights started with plans to go out, and ended with us giggling on the floor of my apartment at a late hour.

These are the women I have come to count on to laugh their asses off with me, sing and dance, tell secrets, spill the most raw and candid emotions at any time, and to be a support system. We talk feminism, tell the truth when someone is being an ass (even if it’s someone we love); we talk food, love, religion and anything uncomfortable. I’m comfortable sharing my whole world with them—even the parts about food, although it’s proved difficult in the past.

I love these women.

One hot Wednesday night this summer, Girl Squad got together to make some vegetarian quesadillas, decorate some cupcakes, and fill each other in on our weeks.

We went to town, and the cupcakes ended up with silly pictures and surprised faces frosted onto them, since Jen has kept a bunch of different decorative sprinkles in our cupboard. One of the cupcakes, of course, was frosted with an anatomically correct sprinkle vagina (yes, a picture reference was used).

Dinner was simple and wonderful, and the cupcakes were fluffy, funny and sweet. Passing around the black beans and cheese in our small, rapidly overheating apartment’s kitchen was fun—so fun, that we decided to do it again the next week, without the overly-sugary sangria this time.

I love women, I love food, I love the poignant relationship between the two.

Now every week, it’s nice to have a time that I’m not eating alone post-workout, pre-work, grabbing a snack to just fill up—I’m with a group of amazing, interesting girls that care about each other.

Karen and I tell run-on jokes, and she jigs around the kitchen. Mary runs in after work and cracks us up. Jen acts like a kooky suburban mama. We talk about the ethics of Miley Cyrus, birth control, we do nails, we watch instructional videos on how to shake our butts and laugh at how Becky somehow still manages to look like a princess even then.

A theme is helpful in planning a potluck—last week we just said, “make it simple.” Jen made wheat pretzels from scratch, and we dipped them in peanut butter, hummus and mustard. Karen made goat cheese and zucchini rolls, Becky made a delicious and fruity salad, and I made quinoa, as well as a simple chia seed and fruit pudding for dessert.

We stayed healthy, and we have good taste, but sometimes, you just need bad music to sing to while eating and talking. It’s a constant. Next week, the theme is Italian, so the bird house will be smelling like yummy herbs!

Having both a loving relationship with my boyfriend and an amazing friendship with the Girl Squad helps to remind me all the time that eating is fun, to share food, and to bond with myself and others. Food unites—don’t let something so wonderful cause you anxiety or make you break apart (I know it can be hard sometimes.).

I am so deeply grateful.

Elephant foodies, I think you’ll love this—so I’ll leave you with the recipe I used to make that super-healthy chia seed pudding. I recommend adding lots of berries or honey to taste, as I’d definitely like to make it sweeter the next time I try it!

Simple Chia Seed Pudding:


2 cups of vanilla soy, almond, or coconut milk (I use vanilla soymilk)

¾ cup chia seeds

Honey to taste

A liberal scoop of berries on top of each portion (I used raspberries and blueberries—delicious!)


Combine the milk and chia seeds in a large container with a lid, and stir well. Simply cover the container, and leave it in the fridge anywhere from four hours to overnight (the mixture will begin to thicken with time). When serving add honey for extra sweetness and top with the berries.

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Ed: B. Bemel

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Moira Madden