LGBTQ Magazine

Interview: Jenice Armstead Discusses New Cookbook ‘Lesbians Have To Eat Too’

Posted on the 06 September 2011 by Cynisright @cynisright

09/06/2011 – by Cynthia Wright

When people think of lesbians and the joys of food preparation, a lot of images may come to mind, since eating particular types food is known to be quite the aphrodisiac – so, why can’t cooking them fall into the same category?  Well now there is a cookbook, that can help put a little spice back into your daily cooking -introducing Jenice Armstead’s inaugural book on life, love and cooking, so Rachael Ray take a seat!

Armstead’s book, Lesbians Have to Eat, too provides us with a tongue-in-cheek cookbook dishing out what Armstead does best – healthy, hearty and satisfying food. Even though, Armstead’s initial reasoning behind the cookbook was to help her wife after a horrible accident; this book is for anyone wanting to change their eating habits without compromising taste.

From one military brat to another, I salute you.

1.   This is always my first question, when did you realize that you were gay? Was it a slow or easy process?

I went back and forth on my sexuality from the age of 16yrs old until about the age of 22 yrs.  If I have to say an exact time period for which I realized I was officially a lesbian I would have to say when I fell in love with my now Domestic Partner of almost 10 years.  I have always been more attracted to women than men from a very young age. I didn’t know why or what to call it and for a long time I was worried that there was something “wrong” with me.  I finally realized that I was a Child of God and GOD don’t make no junk.Interview: Jenice Armstead Discusses New Cookbook ‘Lesbians Have To Eat Too’

The process was slow at first, I mean what teenager really knows what they like until they experience a little bit of life.  For me, I joined the Navy at the age of 17 years old and I got some huge life experiences earlier than I planned on it, so I realized that when I wasn’t allowed to share or talk about liking another woman that I was probably a lesbian.  Then I met and fell in love with my Wife at my second Naval duty station and the military’s then “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Policy was in full effect and to be a openly gay person meant losing everything from college money, to medical benefits, and your whole career in the military.  That’s how the military kept a lot of people scared and in the closet.

2.   How did you come up with the title of your book, “Lesbians have to eat too?”

It is a very simple yet funny story, when I first started writing Lesbians Have to Eat, Too I was unemployed and wanted to start a grocery budget to make food last longer with a healthy aspect to it.  I had some friends come over the house and try some of the food I had made and one of my really good friends said something that sparked an idea, he said “Man this food is good, I didn’t know lesbians could cook and fix cars” and we all laughed because my really close friends have morbid humor.  Then I said, “Well, everyone has to eat, especially lesbians.”  The whole room doubled over with laughter.  After the party was over, I was at my computer thinking of a title that would be catchy and would grab anyone’s eye.  I thought about that part of the party where my friends and I were having a great time and it hit me like soggy paper towel on the floor “J, LESBIANS HAVE TO EAT TOO!”  It was a title that could be taken in many different ways, but still in a playful way would help people realize that I was an openly gay proud woman.

3.   What type of reactions have you gotten from the cookbook, thus far? Positive, negative, mix of both?

I have received a ton of different reactions. Locally in the Tampa, FL area I have had a positive reaction to people that know me or know of my freelance article work.  Often I will be in the grocery store and some will ask me how to cook a certain item or ask me about some natural products in my buggy.  Once a conversation gets going I will bring up my book and have them check it out and let them know what a lot of my cooking is holistic and simple.

I have had one extremely negative reaction that surprised me.  My “Mom and Pop” dry cleaner attendant was having a conversation about food and I brought my book up and she asked if she could display some of my cards for the store because she thought there were customers that would love to read it.  I gave her some of my cards and the next week, I returned to pick up my dry cleaning and the owner informed me that if I was going to display my cards that my cards would have to be placed face down in a black box, since a customer had found the title of my book offensive and was going to sue if the cards were not taken down.  I thought that was a bit negative, but I thanked them for displaying my cards and didn’t argue. Especially since, I didn’t ask for them to be displayed; the attendant did.  I don’t know what happened exactly, but the service attendant doesn’t work there anymore.

I sent my Nana a copy of the book (My Mother’s Mother) and all my Nana said was “Lesbians aren’t the only ones that need to eat, Jenice!” I laughed and told her it was to grab the attention, marketing and advertising aspect.  My name is very old school and super sweet.  But, other than that my Nana was pleased with my cookbook.

4.   You wrote that you had to learn how to cook at a later age, what prompted you to start working on your culinary skills?

There were many things that motivated me to want to learn how to cook.  The first was the fact that eating out is expensive and a waste of my money.  I was tired of telling restaurants to “Hold the mushrooms or to add extra tomatoes” and getting healthy is a whole process, to include cooking your own food.  I am still working on my “skills” but I am having a blast an I go with this new learning process.

5.   Do you have an ideal client for this book? Who are they?

My cookbook was designed for people that want to be inspired.  So, I would have to say it was created with the people that need a little motivation to improve upon their already fruitful lives.  Lesbians Have To Eat, Too isn’t just for gay people, although many would think that from the title.  But, if they just opened it up to the introduction they will see – it’s for everyone and anyone.

6.   What caused you to start focusing on healthy alternatives to meals?

My Wife had three foot and ankle surgeries and caused her to gain some weight because she was bedridden for 3 – 5 months for each surgery.  I wanted to make sure that she was eating healthy since she had little to no mobility, it was hard because there were times that she wanted a pizza and I had to let her have a slice, but I made sure to keep cooking healthy food, since she was in physical therapy.  She is wonderful and I wanted to show her how much I loved her by keeping her as healthy as possible during a very difficult time in her life.

7.   Which is your favorite recipe and why?

My favorite recipe would have to be the Chicken Tamales, talk about tasty.  It is funny, I was raised in a Hispanic household and we did a ton of rice and beans and meatless dinners.  I knew about that, but I was never taught how to make tamale from scratch.  One day two of my baby cousins asked me to make tamales one day for dinner and I didn’t think much of it and agreed before I realized I didn’t have a tamale pan or corn husks and had no idea how to make it.  Let me tell you, homemade tamale gave me a run for my money but they came out great.  So, that is my favorite recipe because it was the most challenging.

8.   Outside of the book, what other projects are you working on?

I recently decided to go natural with my hair, so now I’m working on a natural hair book, as well as Lesbians Have to Eat, 2!  As a freelance writer I am also working on some articles addressing government hiring reform and how people can apply for government positions.  I have written over 60 articles on eHow and Associated Content websites on various government oriented topics..

9.   Tell the readers, where they can get the book and the price.

Lesbians Have to Eat, Too! is available on it is also available on Barnes and Noble for the Nook.  If they would like an autographed copy they can go to my website for more information.

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