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People who meet me as a food writer invariably say, "But you're skinny!" It may be my greatest accomplishment ("She ate a ton and never got fat"). But even at my thinnest postcollege depressive self, a knife blade in skinny jeans, I never lost track of the two or three pounds that would have flattened an imaginary bulge in my stomach.

As a food writer and middle-aged woman, I have rounded up a bit. (When I started reviewing restaurants, it was: "But you're so skinny!" Mostly I don't hear "so" anymore.) I exercise a lot, and I kick myself for all the mental energy I put into my weight and body parts I'd like to trade in, when I could be caring about something important. How did my body issues and my job as a food writer contribute to my daughter's anorexia? Lisa and I retreat to our own corners on this one. She sees a lot to blame on me, my job, our family's food obsession. And you know, so do I. But I wonder how much can be attributed to my career choice, my personality, or just being Mom. Hungry is not about piling on the blame. There's a lot more at work. Like mothers and daughters everywhere, when Lisa and I build up muscles of self-righteous anger and hurt, it's hard to break through. Our book is about the hungers that put us back in the ring.

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