Please, Somebody Ask Lena Dunham What She Eats

On Chowhound, people were freaking out about it. In the February issue of Bon Appetit, which showed up in late January, that already-infamous interview with LA designer Kelly Wearstler (left), where she basically says she doesn’t eat.

The one-page Q&A shows Wearstler looking like an elf from Middle-Earth, a fey Galadriel body overwhelmed by a Missoni-esque coat and bronzy wrist cuff. And like an elf, she subsists on the 21st-century LA’s equivalent of dew drops in elf-land, antioxidant water and kale juice. Wearstler told BA she does Barry's Bootcamp seven days a week, but eats only a single daily meal that’s sort of sketchy in the particulars (“simple things," she says, "roast chicken and big salads, and beans, lentils, and hummus”). On the other hand, she’s very specific about the Miracle Reds with drops of plankton she sips when she’s not feasting on, you know: hummus.

On Chowhound, SoupRQT busted out the irony: “I am dying to try her recipe for alkaline water.” And, more seriously, found it “disturbing…to showcase someone who exhibits the traits of a person with a eating disorder. Really, in a food lover's magazine?”

What can you do? Fem site Jezebel shrugged, did an eyeroll, and seemed to say: Whatever. The Frisky admitted that you can’t diagnose somebody based on a magazine interview, then published the number for the National Eating Disorder Association’s confidential helpline. It shows how deeply uneasy we are about eating and image, especially when it comes to women, a point about as obvious as Paula Deen’s risk factor for type 2 diabetes before she self-revealed.

At exactly the same time Wearstler was slipping into America’s mailboxes, Nigella Lawson (left) was drawing attention to her own body, and in a way that made Wearstler (and Bon Appetit) look, um: lightweight.

Lawson blogged that she’d refused to let her belly poof be air-brushed off the promo art for ABC reality wrangle-show The Taste. “That tum is the truth,” she wrote.

Whatever body Kelly Wearstler is concealing under that coat is the truth, too, of course, though the daily regimen she talks about sounds seriously self-denying—she admits to being too tired, come nighttime, to let her husband enjoy her body in its “Cosabella thong”—possibly the squirmiest picture painted for a food crowd since the Wall Street Journal wrote about eating Uzbek boiled spleen.

By contrast, Lawson’s belly-pouch—midsectional evidence of roasts and puddings enjoyed—is sexy. It’s the enjoyment that makes Lawson hot, the way she takes on pleasure like it’s the packet of crisps you could eat only half of but decide to fully ravage, just 'cuz.

Maybe being English gives Lawson special dispensation in America (or more specifically, LA)—English women have unstraightened teeth and wear ridiculous hats to weddings. But what about Lena Dunham (below)?

The star of HBO’s Girls gets naked on camera more than Adam Levine, and that’s saying something. On mute, the recent episode "One Man's Trash" would've looked like nudist propaganda: Dunham’s character playing ping-pong in her panties, hanging out in the steam shower, and yeah—sexing. She has buttocks and thighs, soft shoulders, and a tummy pouch that makes Lawson’s look like the swelling you get from overhydration.

All of this has made Dunham a hero (here, here, and of course here), I suspect for the generation of women who also populate Kelly Wearstler’s intern pool, the ones tasked with fetching dry nonfat macchiatos from Urth Caffe in Santa Monica.

Far as I know, Dunham hasn’t talked about what she eats to any reporter. I think I’d like to read that, in some lifestyle-y food mag— the Veselka burgers and Da Kine pizzas-to-go from Roberta’s (I’m riffing here). Bon Appetit? Anyone?

Kelly Wearstler photo by Thomas Whiteside / Bon Appetit. The Taste cast photo from ABC / The Taste. Lena Dunham photo by Flickr member Fortune Live Media under Creative Commons.

John Birdsall is senior editor at CHOW. You can follow him on Twitter. Follow CHOW, too, and become a fan on Facebook.