This great post comes from AmericanStomach.com's newest guest blogger, Elizabeth Beier:
People say it’s women and their bodies—that we’re so screwed up about how we look and what we consume, overlaid with the bugbear of control issues, that it’s impossible for us to be free about our bodies or, certainly, free about what goes into our stomachs. But if Fred Kaufman shows nothing else in A SHORT HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN STOMACH, he shows that the problem isn’t women and their bodies—it’s Americans and their bodies.
Just think of the typical spa experience in America: there’s much promotion of a particularly constrained and tasteful variety of luxury, and there may be actual luxury in the thread count of the towels or the sourcing of the essential oils for the aroma feature in the massage rooms. But there certainly isn’t luxury in the food department—at Manhattan’s sleek and cheeky (and co-ed) Bliss spas, where you may be famished post-90-minute Oxygen Facial or Deep Tissue Massage, you will be able to consume exactly this: tea, a glass of iced cucumber water, thin half moons of green apple, a bisected walnut, a piece of brie no larger than a vintage piece of blotter acid. It is a universally accepted equation: health = abstention.
But let’s compare the clean and scientifically-portioned Bliss spa experience to the exuberant and animal delights of King Spa Sauna in Palisades Park, New Jersey, just 5 physical--but 5,000 psychic--miles away on the other side of the Hudson River. On a recent visit (full disclosure: with author Kaufman’s non-abstemious wife, Lizzie), a delightful and sybaritic spa experience included a long and sensuous foot massage, head-to-guts-to-toes skin sloughing at the hands of a black bikini-and-bra-clad practitioner in a buzzing women-only steam and shower room, and (brace yourself): food. Glorious food. Lots of food. Hot, spicy, flavorful, messy food.