Say Hello to My Little Friend
Don’t Hate the Skinny Bitch because she’s thin—emulate her
Rory Freedman strides into Craft looking like a mini version of one of the models she used to represent at Ford: lightly tanned, dewy soft skin, gargantuan blue-green eyes, casually coiffed mane of dark curls—and skinny like a teenage girl before she hits college. The first—admittedly unevolved—instinct is to loathe this gorgeous creature for all her positive attributes. That is, until she talks, and you realize she has no idea she’s attractive at all. Rory playfully trashes herself (“I sweat like crazy—I have to stick socks under my arms before I go on TV), and you know immediately that this gal is all about telling the truth, no holds barred.
We walk through the restaurant to find our table, and I’m painfully aware of the power brokers present: agents, lawyers, studio heads, award-winning actors—I have performance anxiety just passing by their tables while trying to suck in my gut and keep my shoulders back. Rory has no clue who anyone is, nor does she have to suck in her gut.
Adam Rosenbaum, the svelte manager of the place, personally seats us and graciously offers us a glass of champagne on the house. His wife is a huge fan of Rory, who is the original Skinny Bitch and author of the like-named bestseller, and has ordered him to bring home a signed copy of her new book, Skinny Bastard, so he may follow her plan for healthy and conscious eating.
It dawns on me that I’m dining with the rock star of diet-book authors. (She’s been stopped twice today by people who say she changed their lives and the way they eat.) Even though I alerted the restaurant when I made the reservation to expect two vegans, I had worried they might be too busy with muckety-mucks to, um, craft some creative plant-based fare for our chick lunch—but I can see there will be no problem for the queen of vegan lean. Anthony Zappola is in the kitchen, and we are going to be treated like the rest of the superstar clientele.
One might assume a salad is a salad, but the market greens placed before us have a freshness I’ve never tasted. We’re assured this is because Craft has its own little corners of a few local farms, and 75–95 percent of everything on our plate was planted just for them (for us, really!). When they bring out the warm leek, grapefruit, Marcona almond and black–olive oil course, I decide to order a glass of chardonnay and settle in for a gourmet experience.
Just as the beignet on a white corn–and–black truffle sabayon arrives, so does Adam. He wants to assure Rory that, thanks to his wife’s awakening to the Skinny way of eating, he rarely consumes red meat anymore. (She stops him and says, “We call that cow.”) He tells her he loves cheese too much to ever give it up, and Rory quotes from Skinny Bastard, warning him that eating dairy can lead to prostate cancer. From experience, I know that whenever the P-word is mentioned to a man over the age of 30, he pays very close attention. A rapid-fire series of questions and answers ensues:
Adam: Don’t you get sick if you don’t get enough protein?
Rory: There are tons of ways to get your protein—beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, whole grains—and besides, getting enough protein is never a problem in a wealthy country like the U.S. It’s in everything.
A: But what if you just like the tradition of a big steak or some other kind of meaty, solid meal?
R: Have that same meal, but just change it up to something plant based. So instead of a steak, have a tofu steak. Use Earth Balance (vegan butter) in your mashed potatoes or almond milk on your cereal.
I can see she may have lost him with the tofu suggestion. Men often think there is something unmasculine about tofu. That’s a pity, because it’s full of lean, high-quality protein, and you can make it taste delicious by grilling, breading or adding a sauce.
A: I could never go vegan. I don’t mind that my wife is, but I just like the taste and feeling of meat.
R: Again, let’s call it what it is: pig, chicken, baby cow and so on. You get my drift. And by the way, your wife is about to have a baby. Your baby will nurse for, what, a year, maybe two? That kid won’t come back 5 or 10 years later wanting more milk. He or she will have grown out of that stage. And if you think about it, why in the world would any of us want to drink the milk of another species? Doesn’t make sense.
The market beet and cashew ravioli comes out just as Rory challenges Adam to a 30-day pinky swear not to eat any animals.
A: What about fish; I really want to not eat fish?
R: Okay, then, do everything except fish. And I promise you, something will change inside of you. You will notice a greater clarity and feel healthier, you will lose weight, and you will feel especially good knowing you haven’t added to the slaughter of sweet animals for a month. I was a garbage eater until I started to pay attention to the origins of my food.
Speaking of, out comes the socca piquillo pepper with fresh chickpeas, and we scarf down every delectable morsel, with a side of Hen of the Woods mushrooms. Chef Zappola comes out, and we enthusiastically applaud the gifted culinary artist. We barely have room for the sorbet and berries, but alas, we partake.