So, the best pizza in Brooklyn can be found at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst – if you ask me.  I was performing in a show with the Ryan Repertory Company all weekend and it’s conveniently located in the vicinity of L&B.  On Sunday, my family from Long Island made the trip out to Brooklyn for the show, but also for a slice of pizza.

The pizza is divine because it’s unique.  Instead of sauce and then cheese layered on top of the dough, its the opposite (!), cheese THEN sauce.  The dough is completely covered with cheese (a plus) rather than it just being a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella and then the sauce just sits a top- floating and waiting to be slurped up.  Thanks to my parents roots in Brooklyn, I’ve been eating this pizza all my life.   Its basically the reason I moved to Brooklyn.  I’ve also introduced these slices to countless “Non L&Bers” over the course of my life- my husband being one of them.  There’s just nothing better than being in the car, and getting a little hungry and him saying, “You up for some L&B?”

Aside from delish pizza, L& B Spumoni Gardens also has spumoni, a sandwich counter and a sit down restaurant that isn’t half bad either.  I tend to enjoy the “Chicken Marie” dish for obvious reasons and the antipasto.  The place is typically crowded and since it has picnic tables outside for the masses to enjoy their slices it’s a “must do” on the first few spring weekends.  This weekend was definitely a rebirth for L&B as it was finally nice enough to sit outside and enjoy a slice and spumoni.

Ok, so what’s my problem with my grandmother, right?  I mean, “Marie how could you have a post about your grandmother?  Are you that insensitive?”

The answers are “I have to write about this because it’s the key to so much overweighted-ness” and “Yes”.  Grandmother Nora doesn’t have a computer, and probably won’t see this blog – but I’ve got to call her out on principle and to give the rest of us a fighting chance against Food Pushers (who often come in the form of well-meaning grandmothers).

In order for you to fully understand the magnitude of Grandmother Nora’s presence – yes she wants to be called “Grandmother” not “Grandma” – I have to clue you in to a bit of her character.  Well, she IS a character.  Larger than life, always outspoken and the life of the party.  Last time we were together at L&B she was accosting Tony Disco while he was there giving autographs.  “Tony, TONY, do you know my son BOBBY?”  Good grief!  My dad, Bob(by), was mortified and yet totally into it at the same time.  I guess after 60+ years of her accosting celebrities in his presence, he gave in eventually and decided to go for the ride.  Grandmother is also known for her biting commentary.  Ran always tells a story that even after he and I were living together, Grandmother still called him my “friend” as in, “You know Marie, you’re FRIEND didn’t come say hi to me.”  The poor guy was scared of her!  But after that comment, he never neglected to say hi to Grandmother again.  Oh and of course I can’t forget the time Grandmother came to see me in a production of the Vagina Monologues at Muhlenberg College.  She happened to attend the one performance that had a talk back afterward.  Seated in the front row, she exclaimed, “You forgot the ‘Oh my god, OH MY GOD'” in reference to the monologue about different types of orgasms.  I exclaimed “Oh my god” as I sank into my chair with embarrassment.  But then it soon turned to pride that my grandmother was hip enough to come see Vag Mons and open enough to make declarations at the talk back.  Bottom line, she embarrasses you but makes you laugh and of course, she means well.

Alright, cut back to L&B, all of us are sitting around the table eating a slice.  “Did you have enough?”  “Save a slice for Linda!” “What about Bobby?  What’s he gonna eat?”

We had 2 pizzas and more food coming.  Nobody starved, I can assure you.  When the eggplant parmigiana hit the table, Grandmother started in with me, “Marie don’t you want some?”  “Aren’t you gonna have some eggplant?”  “Have this eggplant?”  I kept saying, NO THANKS.  But it fell on deaf ears.  Naturally, Grandmother started in with someone else then.  First my uncle, then my dad – she was relentless.  She kept exclaiming, “Well we can’t just LEAVE IT??!!!??”   Why not?  Why can’t we just leave that 200 calorie portion of eggplant on the dish?  Who will know/care/report us to the Italian police?  I finally answered her, “Grandmother, we CAN leave it.  No one is going to starve.”  It was like I speaking a foreign language.  Oh well.

…The eggplant sat..UNTIL…finally Bob picked it up, put it on his plate, and dove in.

I felt compelled to say something, and let’s face it, talking to pretty much anyone about the food their eating is like walking in a mine field.

“Dad, you don’t have to eat that if you don’t want to.”

He ate.

I don’t have a quippy response to that.  All I can say is, for some reason, when you’re told over and over again that it’s NOT okay to leave a little food on your plate – you start to believe it.  And then you will just eat it even if you are full.  It’s like its on the plate friggin staring at you saying, “Why not eat me?”  instead of “Why eat me?”

Not sure if this is a triumph over food?  Sounds more like the eggplant had a triumph over the Ingrisanos.  Actually, I will count it as a triumph, becuase at least I wasn’t the one eating that damn eggplant.  Though it looked so good.

On the heels of Jessica Simpson’s new show “The Price of Beauty” where she retaliates against the media for calling her fat last year (when she claimed to be at her biggest – a whopping size 6- puh-leez) this story pops up in the NY Post.   A woman actually attempting to be 1200lbs and become the world’s fattest woman (click or scroll down for article).  She lives in New Jersey!  Which was only ranked 40 on 2008’s listing of the fattest states in the USA. I really don’t know what to make of this.  Should I be disgusted that she is eating 12,000 calories a day – ok yes.  But on what point shall I be disgusted?

1. There are people in the world with no food to eat -at all- and she is eating 600% more than the daily allowance

2. She has no regard for her health, or the health care needs she will have when reaching 1200lbs. P period S period: who is paying for this?

3. She has a daughter who reportedly keeps her thin (she’s at 600lbs now) because she runs around so much and has to be looked after.  This poor daughter has to watch her mother get around in a motorized chair because she CAN”T WALK.

4. Currently, she CAN”T WALK.

5. She supports herself with a website where men pay to watch her eat.  That’s right, men are paying to watch her eat out of some sexual deviancy that only our fat-obsessed culture could create.

Read it for yourself and then you decide, do I really need that jar of Nutella in my house?

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NJ woman attempting to become world’s fattest lady


Supersize me, please.

A New Jersey woman who already weighs a whopping 600 pounds is on a mission to double her girth in a bid to become the world’s fattest woman.

Donna Simpson, 42, said she has her sights on reaching the 1,000-pound mark over the next two years.


“My favorite food is sushi, but unlike others I can sit and eat 70 big pieces of sushi in one go,” she told London’s Daily Mail in an interview published today. “I do love cakes and sweet things, doughnuts are my favorite.”

Simpson insists she is healthy, even though she can’t walk and has to move around with the help of a motorized scooter.

James Ambler / Barcroft USADonna Simpson, who wears XXXXXXXL clothing, eats McDonald's takeout at her home in Old Bridge, NJ.

James Ambler / Barcroft USA
Donna Simpson, who wears XXXXXXXL clothing, eats McDonald’s takeout at her home in Old Bridge, NJ.

Photos: Gunning to be world’s fattest lady

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Simpson, who wears XXXXXXXL dresses, said she gobbles up lots of fast food like hamburgers and french fries. She also said she moves as little as possible each day in order to keep on the pounds.

To reach her goal, Simpson said she’s been eating up to 12,000 calories a day — although the average woman should only consume about 2,000.

To pay for her gigantic $750-a-week food bill, Simpson runs a Web site where men pay her to watch her eat.

“I love eating and people love watching me eat,’ she told the British newspaper. “It makes people happy, and I’m not harming anyone.”

Simpson already holds the Guinness World Record as the world’s fattest mother, when she gave birth in 2007 to her daughter Jacqueline.

“I’d love to be 1,000 pounds,” said Simpson. “It might be hard though. Running after my daughter keeps my weight down.”

Simpson said her boyfriend Philippe, 49, has encouraged her to eat more — even though he only weighs 150 pounds.

“I think he’d like it if I was bigger,” she added. “He’s a real belly man, and completely supports me.”

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