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Ravenous: A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom Hardcover – February 1, 2011
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“Food as protection, comfort, pleasure, and love, a defense against deprivation, a buffer against pain—so many of us will recognize our insatiable hungers in Dayna Macy’s quest to understand her own. But the real appeal of Ravenous is Macy’s voice: her candor and humility, her curious mind and storyteller’s clarity, and the open, generous heart she brings to her tale of learning to find peace with her appetite and her body.”
— Kate Moses, author of Cakewalk
“Ravenous is among the most engaging, fun, and insightful books about appetite you’ll ever read. A wonderful mélange of memoir (what a family!), recipes (you can taste them), the exploration of food production (slow, local, artisanal, organic) topped off by uncommonly delicious writing.”
— Sue Halpern, author of Can’t Remember What I Forgot
“This rich, compelling book follows a woman’s search for balance, and ultimately, freedom, in her relationship to food. Macy’s writing is strong and beautiful, every page filled with risk and integrity. I truly loved Ravenous. It’s a real accomplishment.”
— Kim Chernin, author of In My Mother’s House
“Ravenous is the journey of a courageous, smart, beautiful woman who learned that there is no final answer—but that the inquiry itself, the work of being and growing and accepting, is the salve that heals the heart. Macy’s writing is the perfect blend of humor, irony, and wit. Her warmth and earnestness is so lovable that I found myself rooting for her all along. I couldn’t put it down!”
— Stephanie Snyder, yoga instructor and creator of Yoga for Strength and Toning
About the Author
Dayna Macy’s essays have appeared in Self, Salon, Yoga Journal, and other publications, and in several anthologies. For the last decade she has worked at Yoga Journal as Communications Director, and now also as the Managing Editor for International Editions. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband, the writer Scott Rosenberg, and their two sons.
More About the Author
I was born in Rockland County, New York. I went to college at Drew University, and then to graduate school at Brown University, where I got my degree in philosophy. I thought I wanted to teach but realized what I really wanted to do was write. I wasn't quite ready to hang out my writer's shingle, though -- so instead, I decided to get a step closer to writing by getting into book publishing.
Most people don't leave New York to start a publishing career, but that's what I did. I made my way to Berkeley in 1986 and landed my first publishing job at Ten Speed Press. The company's subversive nature appealed to my own. A job in publicity opened, and I sprinted out of that receptionist's chair as fast as I could. The first book I worked on was White Trash Cooking, a gorgeously written ode to poor Southern food that spent many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
After Ten Speed, I directed public relations for various Bay Area media companies, including Collins Publishers San Francisco, Nolo Press, and Salon.com. These jobs gave me great and weirdly diverse experiences, from working on former Black Panther Bobby Seale's cookbook, to publicizing basketball great Michael Jordan's photographic autobiography, to taking a new-media website public.
Along the way, I began studying yoga, which changed my life. In 2001, I joined the staff of Yoga Journal as communications director, and in December 2008, I also became managing editor of Yoga Journal's international editions.
I was a publicist by day, and a writer by night. I began writing articles for Self, Yoga Journal, Salon.com, and other publications, and then my essays started getting published in anthologies. I've been lucky: I have great fun bringing national exposure to wonderful companies. And I love the short form of essay writing.
But I could not forget about that book I've wanted to write since I was twelve. "Write what you know" is common advice. That makes a lot of sense, but I never followed it. Instead, I write so I can figure out what I think.
Today, I live in Northern California with my husband Scott Rosenberg, also a writer, and our two sons
Top Customer Reviews
One of the most striking and engaging aspects of Dayna Macy's writing is how unflinchingly personal it is. Her story includes vignettes from her past. Her difficult relationship with her father and its unfolding, from her childhood through his illness and death, is interwoven with memories of particular foods, traditions, and recipes. She describes time she spent with a lover in Europe, shortly after her father's death when she was still sorting out her grief and conflicted feelings. Macy openly confesses her attraction toward a meditation teacher and chef she visited during her journey in writing this book, even though she is happily married to writer Scott Rosenberg. Her visit to a humane cattle ranch and her witnessing of the slaughter leaves her deeply affected; she describes retching at the sights and smells, yet does not make a decision for vegetarianism. And, over and over again, she opens up about her inability to reconcile with the lack of control she has over food in her life.Read more ›
So, she takes us on a long journey through cheese, oranges, meat, olives, etc. All the while telling us way too much information. (Do we really need to know about her experiences tripping on mushrooms? Really? All I kept thinking was how she was going to explain that to her kid.)
I agree with another reviewer who said that she just ended up disliking the author. I found her more and more self involved and self indulgent. She goes from one quasi spiritual self taught guru to the next looking for the deep dark secret to life... A little Indian, a little Tibetan. Some of this, some of that. It is a New Age odyssey through one middle aged woman's eating disorder.
And then, after all that soul searching, her big revelation is to start going to Weight Watchers. I almost can't write this without laughing.
Finally, to add insult to injury, there was very poor editing for the Kindle edition. There were typos on almost every page.
Dayna is an admitted food lover. In this book, she goes through the process of identifying a few of her favorite foods, and then goes deeper into learning how the food is made. She visits a sausage factory, a cheese factory, and an olive grower. She visits farms and even a slaughter house. Within the stories of her visits, she explores her memories and the impact these foods have on her.
This book is an amazing reflection of some of the messages she received from food and explores some of the psychological motives for the foods she craves and what she gets from consuming them. It is going to fit nicely right next to my copy of Eat, Pray, Love because it is written in a very similar style, and has a strikingly similar voice. What it comes down to is the life lessons we can extract from our experience and the drive we have towards food obsession.
Another book that I think is somewhat similar, albeit it in a different way, is No Impact Man, because that too explores the messages we have stacked up within our soul, and how we can work around them. I'm pleased to have discovered all three of these books because I, too, am working towards the core of my experience, trying to become more grounded and thoughtful about my consumption (and in turn, waste). With similar veins of books growing in popularity, I feel like maybe I'm not alone in my quest for cognizance in this life.
I really want my partner to read this book. He is a certified chef, and a lot of his values around high quality foods are also reflected within these pages.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an entertaining book about a woman's relationship to food and her life-long battle with her weight and body image and the struggles of living in a body. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Staroffspring
Couldn't put this down. Dayna and I share the same weaknesses in food passions so her in-depth descriptions of these foods were simply enjoyable good information for me! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Brownie
Dayna Macy's Ravenous is an extraordinary book about food. She takes the reader through a journey of the most negative meanings of food to elevate food to it's most socially... Read morePublished 23 months ago by bette kiernan
I've read a lot on the topic of emotional eating and all things related, and none of it has provided the relateable, truthful, and inspiring words that I needed, quite like this... Read morePublished on July 30, 2013 by LC
In "Ravenous," Dayna Macy deftly interweaves remembrances--touching, painful and funny--of her life and her complicated relationship with food with vivid, beautifully written... Read morePublished on June 25, 2013 by cyndorf
As a self-described "foodie," I can't help but compare Dayna Macy's, Ravenous, to another one of my favorite books, The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Read morePublished on June 12, 2013 by Anonymous
I hope the author will write more about her journey. I wasn't sure she actually made it to where she wanted to be with her weight loss and would like to hear more.Published on May 19, 2013 by Annice Brown
When I saw this book I thought that it was going to be just what I needed. Like so many others, I have looked for answers about my unhealthy relationship with food. Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by jeanneserenity