Monday, May 31, 2010

An Open Letter to Clothing Manufacturers

This is a representative example of the types of things sold to the 18+ market. For some, it might be okay? Maybe?

Dear Clothing Manufacturers:

After a day of clothes shopping, I thought it would be helpful to you if I share some of my insight. Perhaps you did not realize, since you are apparently based in China and India, but many Americans are fat. Actually, according to the news, obesity is an epidemic here. And, because of this, many people are actually larger than 0-12. I know! Crazy, but true! I just thought I'd point this out to you, because as I was shopping, I noticed that many things are only available in the 0-12 sizes.

I noticed this because I wear an 18/20 women's. From what I can tell, there are many women who also wear this size, because it's difficult to ever find anything in this size.  Other girlfriends of mine complain how hard it is to find clothes that fit, but what they don't understand is that for me, it's not even about whether it fits WELL, but whether I can actually find something sold in my size. I shudder to think about those who are in the sizes larger than mine that are not sold in stores. I don't have that problem. There is of course clothing sold in my size, but much of this clothing makes the erroneous assumption that a.) people of size are deficient in good taste b.) people of size are all over the age of 65 AND live in the 1980s. Neither of these things are true. They have taste and live right here with us!  I'm living proof!

Additionally, people of size have money. I know! I'm surprised too! And, as we know (or as I know), in retail, more selection means more buying. So, having a miniscule amount of sub-par clothing does very little to bring in revenues.Now, I understand that actually selling things to people can be embarrasing, especially people who are (come closer so I can whisper...) fat, but perhaps you could, I don't know, find a storeroom or something to sell them in so that other, thinner shoppers don't see. I know Michelle Obama is trying to make America thin, and that she is a thin and attractive woman, but the truth is, until that happens, if people feel like crap in their clothing, it does little to inspire them to treat themselves well.

I've noticed that you often carry men's sizes in larger sizes in "regular" stores or the regular men's section, where things are merely sold in larger sizes, maybe because that's less embarrasing? Because men are allowed to be bigger? I don't know, but it could work for women too if you give it a shot.

Finally, you might want to introduce new options slowly. If women of size all of a sudden have access to the same things as their smaller sisters, the choice might be too overwhelming for us and send us all into shock, so slowly but surely!Thanks for your consideration. I and other women above a size 12 will greatly appreciate your additional attention!

You're welcome for the revenues,


Sunday, May 23, 2010

American Music is in my Sou-ou-ou-oul, Babyeee...*

I was at a party last weekend with a very international crowd: the hostess was Italian along with many of her guests and there were guests from Japan, Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Peru, and probably other countries I'm forgetting. And, of course, there were Americans including me. Several of these Americans were part of Fieri, an Italian-American young professionals organization. Which brings me to my post topic.

I got in a bit of a heated discussionwith the woman from Romania who was essentially laughing at how Americans claim their heritage, such as being Italian-American. This was after I explained that I'm Italian, Polish, Slovak, and Slovenian. "You are all Americans, nothing else," she said. "You don't even speak the language."  I vehemently defended us, saying she just couldn't understand since she wasn't American.

I explained that while, yes, first and foremost, I and my fellow members of the Italian-American group were Americans, our heritage also defines us. Our families act differently, eat differently, and have other differences from, say, someone whose family came over on the Mayflower or from a Cuban American (this is in my mind now, having just come from Miami!) or a Chinese-American.

I found the funniest part to be when her partner (husband?) who was American (of Russian descent) said "Well, then, you've been here ten years. You're no longer Romanian." :)

This conversation stuck in my mind long after the party. I thought a lot about how so many people, from different cultures can come together and make a country. It makes me incredibly patriotic to think about it. There are so many cultures--both from every immigrant that has entered America hoping for a better life and that exist within our own nation now. For example, people identify as "Southern" or a "New Englander" or a "Pittsburgher" and this means something, becomes part of our being.

I just find it amazing that wave after wave of immigrants have come here against all odds, and bring the best of their culture to share, and eventually, America embraces them and makes them her own. We're tied together by belief in working hard, in belief in a better way of life, in belief of freedom and that despite the flaws, a life with freedom and justice is better than one without. We have pizza and tacos and bagels and vodka and egg rolls, among other culinary treats. American music, too, is an amalgam of every culture that has passed through, from that of those slaves brought here from Africa against their will to the salsa beat of those from Latin America.

I'm far from hearts and sunshine when I think about America--there are many problems and things that need fixing--but it's a pretty amazing experiment we have here, and one that I'm proud of despite the flaws.  

*apologies to Violent Femmes. Trying to be cutesy in post titles ends dangerously.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Greek Week

It's Greek Week in Christine's Kitchen. I typically like to pick a dish to make for lunch and one for dinner, to last me through the week. This week, through no premeditation, it just so happened to be of a Mediterranean vibe, from two yummy recipes from Cooking LIght online. Find them at the links below (don't want anyone getting legal on my butt).

Tabbouleh with Chicken and Red Pepper

Swiss Chard Spanikopita

Seriously, the flavors in these are magic. I don't know if it's the lemon or the mint or the parsley, but they sing.

The Tabbouleh...

From this:


And this...


To this:

And the spanikopita of sorts with delicious Swiss chard! From this:


To this: