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We’re Talking About Our Twenties: My First Collaboration

Today marks the first day of We’re Talking About Food’s first collaboration with a fellow friend in the blogging community!  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was meeting with Tyece Wilkins, founder of Twenties Unscripted. I was a bit anxious to work  with an award-winning blogger that’s been mentioned in xoJane and USA Today. But to my surprise, I was welcomed with open arms as we sat down for lunch and explored a pretty interesting topic that drew our blogs together: food in your 20’s.

Wilkins agreed with me when I suggested that a majority of her blog was about dating and relationships. She wasn’t sure what exactly we could collaborate on, but was willing to brainstorm some ideas. I suggested we take my blog topic (food) and her blog time period (your 20’s) and combine them to explore a new topic.

What Role Does Food Play in Our 20’s?

Wilkins made a pretty bold statement at the beginning of our meeting: “There are some people who love to eat, and those who eat to live. And honestly, I eat to live.”

It took me about seven and a half seconds to get out of my foodie mentality and realize that there are people who don’t live and breath food the way I do. They aren’t interested in new recipes, new ingredients, or the latest nutritional findings. And you know what? That’s totally okay. As a successful and hard-working professional, Wilkins admitted that she doesn’t have as much time as she would like to cook and play with food on  regular basis. Besides, who really wants to divide a recipe designed for 12 and make it for one? Last time I checked, there wasn’t a measuring cup for 3/8 a cup of flour or 1/16 a teaspoon or marjoram.

Wilkins perspective made me realize that food functions as a kind of mirror for where we are in our lives. When you’re out for your friend’s 27th birthday, food adopts a celebratory tone. When on a date, food suddenly becomes romantic and seductive. And when that date never calls the next day, food becomes a comforting blanket to wrap yourself in as you drown yourself in pints of ice cream. Not that I’m talking from personal experience or anything.

But it’s not enough to say that food adopts these roles solely in your 20’s. It’s not like you don’t celebrate your 37th or 47th birthday. Or that your significant other doesn’t take you out to dinner on your golden anniversary. What’s so different about eating in our 20’s?

What’s different is your 20’s is a whirlwind of emotions and choices and career paths and breakups and all that other crap we put ourselves through. To say your 20’s is a time of uncertainty and undulation is an understatement. And in my opinion, it is this tumult that also overflows into food and the way we eat. I can’t guarantee this, but I can humbly argue that only in your 20’s will you be wined and dined, break up and have a mini food panic attack at Five Guys, and then get wined and dined all over again by the same person three days later. In other words, we’re all over the place in our 20’s. And you can see the effects of that in what we eat, where we eat, and who we eat with.

What Role Does Food Play For Women?

Wilkins and I briefly discussed how women function in today’s kitchen and what these gender politics indicate for women in their 20’s. I couldn’t help but recall Michale Pollan’s Cooked, in which he writes, “…not that feminist rhetoric didn’t help. It did, especially when food marketers began deploying it themselves, as a clever way to align their products, and interests, with the rising feminist tide. Kentucky Fried Chicken was not the only convenience food that promised ‘women’s liberation’ from cooking. The industry was only too happy to clothe itself in feminine ideology if that would help it insinuate itself into the kitchen and onto the dinner table” (186-187).  Essentially, processed food companies saw the rise of feminism and women working outside the home as a medium to advertise their products. By portraying cooking as an oppressive behavior, it encouraged the consumption of these packaged foods. And God only knows what that’s done to our nation’s health.

Wilkins also mentioned how in a relationship, food and cooking should be a task maintained by both parties. And if one party happens to be better at it, by all means that party can take over. I guess this egalitarian view shows how we’ve evolved over the years. No longer is cooking a task completed in hiding as it has been for most of women’s history. No longer is the woman the SOLE provider of food and all the love and care that accompanies it. And I think women in their 20’s are the first generation that have been completely inebriated in this new ideology. That is, we’re the first group of women that grew up with both men and women cooking. And we realize this behavior isn’t new; it’s normal.

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20s and food retouched
A crazy Miami night in 2013. Everyone’s entitled to a little fun in their 20’s!

Overall, my first collaboration with another member of the blogging community couldn’t have gone better! Wilkins is an inspiring writer with a drive and perspective I haven’t come across in a while. If you’re interested in more Twenties Unscripted work, please check out Wilkin’s event page! She has compiled a great group of artists for an entertaining night of local talent and performance. I personally encourage you to attend!

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