Jessica Amason, co-creator of This Is Why You're Fat
It's the bacon, isn't it?
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This Is Why You’re Fat is a DayGlo-colored blog covering only the unhealthiest of food items, with hardly any adornment and more than a little irreverence. Co-creators Jessica Amason and Richard Blakeley not only identified a burgeoning niche—nasty-ass foodstuffs—but they’ve proceeded to fill it with grease, pizza, hamburgers, and more bacon than is even fun to think about. Amason and Blakeley recently published a book version of This Is Why You’re Fat, complete with recipes and lots of repulsive pictures, and The A.V. Club spoke with Amason about inspiration, nuggetinis, and how fatty food is a social network unto itself.
The A.V. Club: Some of the meals in This Is Why You’re Fat come from restaurants, others are homemade creations. What’s the ratio of menu items to one-offs?
Jessica Amason: I think it’s almost 50/50. We get tons of menu items, and that’s actually why in the book we used a “Local Faves” badge, so people could find out what restaurants these dishes came from. And then we also get people that were inspired to create their own things. The Snack Stadium is a pretty amazing one, and the Pizza Burger too. People get together to make these things, it’s like a group project. It’s so bold and awesome that people make this stuff, and then consume it. Props to them.
AVC: How did you originally conceive the blog?
JA: I used to work for Urlesque, which is a web-trend blog. It was obvious that this was a trend, and that people love photographs of weird, crazy food, and that it always did well online. That was the inspiration for the site, and we kept it really simple. Just food-porn style, a funny caption, and that’s it.
AVC: Why was simplicity such a virtue?
Gilbert LongfellowJA: We worked really hard not to let it stray because we wanted everyone to be able to take what they wanted from the site. Some people see it as a “what not to do,” some people think it’s hilarious, some think it’s part of this new foodie culture. At this point, we get so many submissions that the blog could run itself.
AVC: What do you think compels people to create these platters? Is it a backlash against more recent healthy food movements?
J.A.: I think that there’s so much stress on diet books, the healthiest thing to eat, macrobiotic stuff and organic things, we’ve reached fever pitch with all that stuff. So this is refreshing to people, and I think that’s why it’s been successful. It is a new turn in food culture; Gourmet called it the “gross food” movement, and that’s great, but I feel kind of bad because not all the stuff is too gross. But it’s definitely a movement. We had no idea when we created the blog just how deep this culture goes. Things like Bacon Camp, where there are competitions based around bacon items, or various Meat Olympics. It’s cool to see that this is something people are passionate about, and it’s kind of cool social network unto itself.