In an interview with T, Roxane Gay said she’s “gone full L.A.,” which means she’s started drinking juices, doing cleanses, and going to the farmers’ market to buy “super-fresh produce.” It has been about three years since the 46-year-old multihyphenate media personality — a writer for print and broadcast media, a columnist, and a podcaster — made Los Angeles her home.
The couple eloped last year after Gay was a guest on Debbie Millman’s podcast “Design Matters,” but she still visits New York about every two months with their new puppy, Maximus Toretto Blueberry, who is a designer, branding consultant, educator, writer, and audio podcaster.
Gay was a late starter to the kitchen. She and her siblings ate only what their mother prepared when they were growing up in Omaha, Nebraska. According to Gay, she doesn’t remember food being so important in her family’s life, but she did remember her mother’s béchamel-based macaroni and cheese from Haiti and her mother’s dish of marinated pork shoulder in citrus and chiles, called griot.
She recalls being unsure of herself in her early twenties, like many young people. However, when she was hired as a professor at Eastern Illinois University in 2010, she was on her own for the first time. Vegetarians had few options back then because of the lack of meat.
The only way I could eat anything other than McDonald’s french fries and iceberg lettuce was to learn how to cook, says Gay. “Barefoot Contessa” was one of her favourite shows to watch on the Food Network when she got home from work. “Her emphasis on high-quality ingredients and her charming demeanour really appealed to me. As Gay puts it, “she just made cooking seem like such a joy.”
The process of penning her memoir “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body,” which examines her relationship with food and trauma, allowed Gay to shift her perspective on food yet again. I wanted to enjoy it and not feel guilty about doing so. It wasn’t my original intention for the book to be so transformative for me,” she says.