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Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want
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Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,914 ratings  ·  340 reviews
Think about that first tickle of hunger in your stomach. A moment ago, you could have been thinking about anything, but now it's thickly buttered marmite toast, a frosty scoop of ice cream straight from the tub, some creamy, cheesy scrambled eggs or a fuzzy, perfectly-ripe peach.

Eating is one of life's greatest pleasures. Food nourishes our bodies, helps us celebrate our s
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published February 1st 2018 by Serpent's Tail
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  2,914 ratings  ·  340 reviews

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Sian Lile-Pastore
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wasn't sure I would like this purely based on reading the odd tweet by ruby! Was thinking she was anti-vegan, and wasn't sure about a slim person telling us that we can eat what we want. But I was completely wrong, and she addresses those issues - and she's completely fine about veganism by the way!

I really enjoyed her writing and how she discusses and examines eating disorders, classism and race in regards to eating what you want. This was way more than I thought it would be and anyone with ev
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is beautiful writing by Ruby Tandoh not just about food but bodies, culture, class, and feelings. It has been such a wake up call to struggle less with what I eat and slow down to be kinder to myself. There's a core of kindness and lack of judgment here that is so refreshing when it comes to food writing. ...more
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who knows me will know what a huge fan of food I am. I adore cooking new recipes, playing around with flavours, and visiting new restaurants. It comes as no surprise, then, that I have wanted to read Ruby Tandoh's Eat Up!: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want ever since it came out. Many will remember Tandoh from The Great British Bake Off, of which she was a contestant in 2013.

In her insightful introduction, Tandoh gives her reasoning for writing such a positive book about food; it di
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ruby Tandoh is a young queer woman of colour who epitomises the best of millennial values, like self-care and not judging other people. I adore her. Eat Up is not a recipe book or a how-to-eat guide or even the radical manifesto that the publisher, Serpent’s Tail, says it is; it’s a series of intelligent, engaged meditations on food and the role it plays in our lives, and the ways in which our relationship to food intersects with cultural narratives about power, privilege, morality, money, class ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, food
I’ve never had an easy relationship with food: I hate cooking and dislike eating. It’s a way to alleviate hunger rather than a pleasure. Ruby Tandoh is perhaps the only food writer who doesn’t make me feel guilty and inadequate for this, which I really appreciate. In this book she takes the deliberate and revolutionary approach of not telling the reader what to eat. Instead, she explores the many significances of food, her own experiences, and how we can try to feel better about eating. I can’t ...more
Kelsey Landhuis
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Please trust that it's not hyperbole when I say that I really and truly believe everyone should read this book. I feel like someone who has always had a relatively "healthy" relationship with food but the way Ruby writes about it has definitely been a game-changer in moving my thinking beyond just nutritional value/food groups/carbs/etc. to all the ways that good food can be enriching not just physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

The one caveat is that she is a UK-based writer s
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
3.5 stars

"Somehow the most elemental, easy, joyful thing we can do has become a chore and a source of anxiety, and we begrudge these blurry boundaries that encroach on us when we take the outside world inside us and make ourselves from the inside out. Food is the point where our bodies merge with the vast universe outside, and that’s scary."

an absolute delight. i picked this up on a whim--funnily enough, just as i was about to take it off my tbr list--and was immediately drawn in by tandoh's liv
Mar 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
3.5 stars that I’m rounding up because I wanted to like it more than I actually did. There’s some lovely passages in here and I admire Tandoh’s passion for her subject, but in the end I felt like this was a jumble, with many sections not fully developed and contradictory ideas from one paragraph to the next. Food and morality is a complicated subject, and I admire and support her attempt to remove stigmas from eating what you like and the idea of good v bad food (so often laden with assumptions ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a little cheesy but overall a fairly enjoyable read. I happened to be reading it while coming out of a period of bad appetite so it was nice to be reminded about the magic of food and cooking! And I appreciated her pushing back on all the different ways that we are shamed about what and how we eat.
What a wonderful, marvel of a book. Ruby talks about food — the best parts and the worst parts — and food culture — same — so beautifully, incisively, decisively. It moved me to tears multiple times. Food is complicated and terrible and wonderful and Ruby embraces it while and helps us embrace it too.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THIS BOOK IS SO IMPORTANT. It's comforting, thoughtful, and incredibly illuminating, and I can't begin to describe how glad I am that a book like this exists. Food is beautiful and it's also (as Ruby says) so fucking complicated sometimes, and especially in today's world of ubiquitous diet culture it's so essential that we look at the big picture of how the way we eat defines who we are and how we move through the world (and vice-versa how those things inform what we eat). Ruby Tandoh is so gene ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I learned a lot from this book. Its sheer scope - delving into history, religion and popular culture to articulate the complexities behind eating food - was incredibly impressive. It was an insightful and engaging read that was ultimately a celebration of food, and it helped to restore my faith in humanity.

I am so done with ‘influencers’ in the food world telling you that you should feel guilty about eating some foods, and revelling in the kind of Masterchef ‘cookery’ (I will always maintain th
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I deeply appreciate that this book exists. I don’t have a good relationship with food, sitting at the crossroads of control issues, anxieties about ethical consumption, and just being plain old picky. I think most of us would benefit from unpacking our food hang-ups at least a little and Eat Up invites us to do so enthusiastically, affirmatively, lovingly. It says a lot of good things and I hope it reaches plenty of people who need to hear these things.

I didn’t personally enjoy it mor
May 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ruby studied philosophy, and this definitely comes through in her writing and style. Although it sounds silly, I’d like to see more of her writing that isn’t about food - her commentary on social issues was really engaging and interesting.

However, I’m not the biggest food person and I quickly lost interest in reading lavish descriptions of food and each sentence using five examples instead of one. This isn’t my area of expertise, but I think it needed another round of editing at least.

Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
WOW. This is a book I really needed to read. I learned so much about food, and I can tell that some of my disordered ideas about food are shifting in a really positive way. This sort of read like an essay collection, mainly because she touched on SO many different ideas relating to food, diets, habits, etc. So well-written, and so great.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I very kindly received this book as an e-arc from Serpent's Tail and Netgalley.

Ruby Tandoh, best known as a finalist on the 2013 series of The Great British Bake Off, is a massively interesting figure, especially if you follow her Twitter, where she has increasingly been championing the joys of food and eating and discussing her dislike of fad dieting and the issues that still pertain to our culture regarding our consumption of food as a pastime. As someone who continues to struggle with her bo
Sophie (RedheadReading)
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Edit: my first reread of this and the below still stands! Thoughtful, eloquent and compassionate. This is a firm favourite for a reason.

Absolutely loved this! Really reminded me of the joy of food, whilst giving me a lot to mull over. I have a feeling I'll be rereading it for years to come...
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Make sure to buy a creme egg (or five) before reading!

I purchased my copy of this book at an event in Genesis Cinema, East London. A screening of Moonstruck in 35mm was followed by a Q&A with Ruby Tandoh, Zoe Adjonyoh and Rebecca May Johnson, and a book signing. The inscription in my copy reads, 'for Alisha, eat up! take good care of yourself,' followed by a heart and Ruby's name.

This book was a delight from beginning to end. Ruby's writing style is so warm and energetic, and occasionally sarca
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘Eat Up’ is an essay that looks at the fun and pleasure of food, as well as the morality that food and consumers are labelled with – “gluttons” and “gourmets”. Ruby Tandoh looks into the history of the food we see everywhere today. She celebrates what food we enjoy, what cheers us up, introduces us to new cultures and connects us with the people we love.

Tandoh’s book does not judge – she acknowledges time and again that the food we enjoy or that remind us of good childhood memories are able to p
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021, non-fiction
My journey to heal my relationship with food led me to this book - and it is certainly different from any of the reading I have done on intuitive eating so far. In saying that, this is the first book that has profoundly changed the way I think about food.

Ruby Tandoh writes about class, culture, feelings, ethics and science in terms of what we eat. They touch on so many things I've never even considered. For example, the way wellness culture directly relates to how "good" we perceive ourselves an
I loved this, and I knew that I would. Ruby Tandoh is excellent at writing about food and cultural norms; there were passages that positively sang! My favourites were the ode to supermarkets and the bit about the "aspirational" nature of food and fashion these days.

As soon as I finished it, I felt the urge to go and pore over the recipe books on my kitchen windowsill so I could plan my next session of comforting-yet-slightly-challenging cooking (lately I've been getting frustrated with rotating
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a joy to read. Ruby Tandoh explores the often contentious relationship food has with class, race, bodies, and wellness, and unpacks them with sensitivity and nuance. I loved that the book was also peppered with recipes from her personal collection- most of which were simple, consisted of easily accessible ingredients, and sounded absolutely delicious.
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. The last third, on food ethics, queerness and food, and a little last section on Christmas really made it for me! This was a joyous and thoughtful read by a queer woman of color in an industry where she is deeply underrepresented and while it wasn't mind-breakingly informative it was just fun and interesting. ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: land-food
I LOVE RUBY TANDOH!!! food is so many things (class, race, history, love, grief) but it's also simple survival and everyday joy. a broad sweep of stories that make me curious to find deep-dives into each topic. ruby is earnest and very good at writing and kind, reminding us to accept the messy strangeness of our bodies, to always allow ourselves the pleasure of eating up.

edit: also when she went off about great british bake-off!!! ruby tandoh is not playing around!!
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tandoh's writing is a sensory guide through the pleasures, rituals, contradictions, and compulsions of making, consuming and thinking about food and eating. She explores topics of cultural cooking, diet culture, disordered eating, love in the form of a bowl of soup, and the socioeconomic chasm which lies between the ethical vs economical consumption of food. Nuances of cultural and sociopolitical complexities and their ties to food, alongside the gendered sphere of the monitoring of consumption ...more
Jessica Kennedy
Ruby is an exquisite writer and her passion for food is infectious. Now I just want to cook and be cooked for.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, food
Great British Baking Show contestant Ruby Tandoh has presented us with an absolute treat of a book here. Her love of food, from the sublime to the banal, fast to slow, salty to umami to sweet, light to greasy, comes through like a shock of surprising flavor that's as delicious as her sensually-adjectived prose. No stranger to food shame, Ruby (can I just call her Ruby? I feel like we might be on a first-name basis after this book) is open about her recovery from an eating disorder, and adds to h ...more
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yeah, at first I was like I’m not sure I’m going to want to read this being vegan, as the author flourishes about food, but then it got into the wider message of fat positivity, food privilege, privilege in general and I was on board for it. It’s made me look at food differently and the strong morals tied up with food and hope to destroy those morals completely. Eat Up, no food is bad food.
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this! I’m a big fan of food writing and food memoirs, and while this didn’t feel overly cohesive, I liked the way Tandoh explored the cultural and personal links we have with food.
Rosie Ellen
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have been raving about this book to everyone as I've read it. It was wonderful. Part memoir, part psychology of eating, part food history, part cook book. Just a wonderfully written, thought provoking, memory stirring really really interesting read. It stirred a lot of emotion surprisingly. I cried over childhood memories of tomato soup and felt heart pangs over Cadburys creme eggs. Thoroughly recommend. ...more
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British chef who became known to television audiences as a contestant on The Great British Bake Off in 2013. She is the author of the cookbook Flavour and has contributed to Elle, Vice and The Guardian.

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Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
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“No doubt some people, probably guys, will be thrown off balance by your forthrightness. Who cares. Eat their leftovers. If they carry on judging you, eat them, too.” 3 likes
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