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UP NOW Today marks the debut of an occasional column I've really been looking forward to, even if many people on the Food Channel will wonder why. It's about the flip side of thinking about food: what it feels like when what was and should be a pleasure becomes the enemy -- a threat to your psychological well-being and a very real threat to your health. The pseudonymous author, Samuel T. Stanley, tried every diet for many years, and spent large quantities of his own money and of course time and effort trying to lose weight. Finally, facing diabetes and worse long-term risks and only in his early thirties, he elected to have gastric-bypass surgery.

What we'll be reading about are the mechanics: what it's like to undergo the surgery, and more important, what life is like after it. Stories the author told me soon after surgery -- about the way he saw himself, about the way others saw him -- came as revelations to me. In the coming weeks, I think they will to you too.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, and came to The Atlantic Monthly in 1981. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.
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