Yep, it’s a real shocker. Nathalie Dupree, a beloved Grand Dame of the food world, has more to discuss than cooking.
The rest of us do too, because we have a life that goes beyond cooking. But most of us don’t have her guts.
To be clear, Nathalie posts about lots of things on Facebook to her 7000+ friends:
- Funny signs
- Questions, such as: “Do you know Jewish people who eat Chinese food on Christmas? Tell me more!”
- Personal stories and rememberances
- Funny statements, such as “I wish I had been born later so I could wear straggled uncombed hair like the models do” and “I’d think I got up on the wrong side of the bed, except my cute husband was there.”
- Her video recipes from the Post and Courier
- Cat stories and cat videos.
But last week, this is what she wrote in connection with the #MeToo campaign and Harvey Weinstein:
“The first time I was abused was when a girl relative and I were about seven and a man came up to us where we were playing and fondled us. My parents called the police and we went to the station to tell them.
The second time was when I was ten and my father had gone to Germany, my three year old brother was in the hospital and my Mother was very distracted. My father’s best friend abused me for months and then I told my mother. She called the police and they took him to court. His sentence was he had to move out of state.
Then a man exposed himself to me when he asked me for directions. Then there were two brutal rapes before I was twenty five. I told the police both times. The first time they didn’t believe me because he hadn’t ejaculated. Could any man with a stocking around his face? The second they said there was nothing they could do. In between there was a boss in New York who chased me around the stencil machine and told me if I didn’t go away with him that weekend not to call me back. I slunk home to Virginia and cried for weeks. I remember this and much more still.”
Has there been backlash? No. Her post has more than 600 supportive comments and 30 shares. And almost 400 likes. There is now a closed #MeToo group for women to join, as a result.
So many people are afraid to reveal themselves on Facebook. But Nathalie Dupree did it anyway.
To find out why, I interviewed her:
Q. Why are you okay with disclosing personal things? The rest of us are afraid that people will judge us.
A. I think I’ve been open for so long. When you do as much television as I have you don’t have any secrets. They see the worst of you and the best of you. I don’t feel like I have a lot to hide.
I did wrestle with what I wrote about sexual abuse. It was a big relief not to wrestle with the writing. Now I feel liberated by it.
I also feel a little afraid or concerned. Whenever you tell someone you’ve been sexually abused, you feel that you will feel judged – that you were promiscuous or lesser than. That you didn’t have any value. That if someone knows, they might take advantage of you.
Q. What about the people who say you should stick to food?
A. Food writing is wider than just food.
Food is control. Food is power. People who were abused go into food to get their power back.
I wrote about food and relationships for the Atlanta Constitution. And in my book, Matters of Taste. It has things about going to the high school reunion and seeing an old boyfriend. About people who have gained weight and people who are still skinny. About how I had divorced parents and both their spouses died and I had to arrange a breakfast so they could see each other.
I like writing about food and relationships. That’s what I’m able to do on Facebook.
Q. But when you wrote about rape it wasn’t about food.
A. When I write about cats it’s not either.
Q. Touché. When did you know you loved Facebook?
A. As soon as I got on! It was a really good home for me, because I work alone so much of the time, and I have these funny thoughts or something I want to share, and it’s right there. I have friends and students and I love touching in with them. It’s a perfect vehicle for my life.
Q. Clearly, you don’t feel like you have to stick to your brand, only talking about food.
A. I’m an old lady. I didn’t come up in the time when you were supposed to brand. So I’ve decided to just post what I want. I don’t post what I fix for dinner every night. I don’t get it. It’s not the most important thing that I’ve fixed a good meal.
* * *
For more on Nathalie Dupree, read her astonishing bio and make sure you watch the video on the left-hand side.
(Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.)