How do we address the obesity epidemic?
Jennifer Rubell, 36, writer, renowned hostess, hotelier, Harvard grad and member of the illustrious Rubell clan, is poised to become the country’s newest entertaining guru. Jennifer is currently Food and Entertaining Editor of the Miami Herald’s Home & Design magazine, Former Contributing Food Editor of, the recently folded (March 2009), Condé Nast shelter magazine Domino, and her first book, Real Life Entertaining, was released in May 2006 by HarperCollins. She writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, and has appeared in, among others, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle, The New York Times, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Travel + Leisure, Ocean Drive and Food & Wine. In 2007, Paper Magazine named Jennifer one of its 30 most beautiful people.
Entertaining is in Jennifer Rubell’s blood. Her uncle, the late Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell, treated Jennifer as his own child, taking her along to parties with Halston, Calvin Klein, Liza Minelli and Bianca Jagger, and inviting her to every major event at Studio 54, starting at the age of 7. Her parents, world-renowned contemporary art collectors Donald and Mera Rubell, became famous in the ‘80s for the Whitney Biennial after-party they hosted at their Upper East Side townhouse. With artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel and Andy Warhol roaming around the house, Mera turned out bowl after bowl of spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce, with Jennifer at her side learning the Rubell family style: personal, unconventional and decidedly hands-on.
Jennifer Rubell: I have a very, I would say, alternative view of the causes of the obesity epidemic. I think a lack of home cooking is just absolutely killing America. I think it’s killing the fabric of American society, and I think it is killing people through the obesity epidemic. People just aren’t eating real food anymore. And even when they’re eating at home, they’re not eating real food because they’re eating some kind of frozen food, or processed food, or pre-prepared food. And all of that is poison. I mean it’s all really, really bad for you. It has so much more oil, and salt, and fat, and stuff you would never, never, never put into food if you were cooking it yourself. And everyone in every culture – and an American culture until more recently – understood this. You know everybody understood that when you eat in a restaurant you do it once in a while, but they’re always using more fat and more salt. It’s not as healthy as eating at home. And if you’re cooking real meals at home and people are eating real food, some people are going to get obese because some people have some issues. But that’s gonna be the same percentage that it used to be back in the day. As opposed to now when it’s like people are getting obese who have no reason to be obese. And it’s really . . . You know I can . . . I personally can eat a whole bag of Doritos, right? But how much fresh corn can I eat? Can I eat six cobs of corn? Seven cobs of corn? You know it’s like I can eat maybe two cobs of corn. So when . . . Processed food is engineered to make you eat it in an addictive way.
Recorded on 12/13/07
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