Category Archives: CNN

Sometimes I leave CNN and write a note to colleagues

A site called CNN Commentary shared my Facebook message, but I’m swiping a little of it back (oh, and I got the pub date of my book wrong. It’s early 2016):

Kat Kinsman leaves CNN

Kat Kinsman, the managing editor of CNN’s Eatocracy blog, has left the network, she announced on Facebook. She will be joining Tasting Tables in a few weeks as editor-in-chief.

Colleagues, friends, family – I’m winding up my time here and I’m gonna blather for a very long time.

One July afternoon in 2010, I was in a crappy mood. I had no real reason to be – Sarah LeTrent and I had just successfully launched Eatocracy, and I was living my impossible dream of writing about food for the best damn news outlet on the planet.

And that was the problem. I’d somehow crawled through a back door and stumbled into CNN. CNN! Legendarily full of the best journalists in the business: people who risk their lives, dig deep, seek the truth, speak truth to power, grill world leaders and corrupt CEOs. And I was pretty much writing about grills.

But that day, that particular day I came back to my desk, and I saw this Post-It:

I've stuck this note from @devnas on every desk I've had here. It helps sometimes.

A photo posted by Kat Kinsman (@katkinsman) on

Read the rest at CNN Commentary

Sometimes I convince my colleagues to bare their souls

I’m editing a new series of essays on CNN Living called “First Person” and thus far, I’m gobsmacked by the bravery of the writers and the response from readers. It’s an intense process and I’m grateful for their trust and candor.

Jessica Dunne: “Caught in grief’s riptide

Lisa France: “A fat girl gets naked

Cara Reedy: “My life as a little person

Sometimes I talk to the asexiest people

It’s not just a phase.

They’re not frigid, sick, repressed or broken.

Meeting the so-called “right one” isn’t going to change anything.

But for people like Sandra Mellott, the questions just keep on rolling in from friends, family and loved ones who may mean well but don’t understand what it’s like to identify as asexual.

In a society historically centered around romantic pairings and increasingly bombarded by raunchy imagery, people who don’t experience sexual attraction can often feel isolated, invisible and misunderstood. But now a growing number of asexual people are banding together in solidarity and support, finding like-hearted souls in a culture where “happily (and hornily) ever after” is the end goal.

Read the rest of “An orientation to asexuality” at CNN Living

Sometimes I write 2000 words about what counts as salad

meatloaf salad

There was a time in my life when I thought I knew a thing or two — about life, about being a reasonably functional member of society, about language, about being a food editor. That phase of my existence ended several weeks ago when the meatloaf salad showed up in my workplace cafeteria.

Several colleagues alerted me to its presence, sending pictures of the cut-up chunks of meatloaf with commentary such as “Really?!” “WTF” and “EEEWWWWW! Is this really salad?”

Seeing as I’m a journalist and all, I took it upon myself to investigate.

The dish was indeed on the salad bar, labeled “meatloaf salad” at 50 cents an ounce, and it tasted like cold chunks of decently prepared meatloaf. I posted a picture online and promptly questioned everything I have come to understand about myself and what I know about the world.

Stuff mixed with lettuce, I get that. Various materials held together with mayonnaise, I understand. Fruitstuffs tumbled about with marshmallows and cream, I don’t so much dig, but it has been codified as salad for me in the past, so I accept it as such.

But not this.

Read the rest of “Salad daze: From leafy greens to meatloaf chunks” at CNN Eatocracy

Sometimes I write eating with about my fantastic dad

Kat Kinsman

One Sunday morning in 1981, I came home from church and my soul was on fire. Not because anything exceptional had transpired during the 10:30 service, but because of the way my house smelled when I walked in the side door. My dad was making Indian dishes for the first time. Whatever was happening in that kitchen was weird and wild, and it twined into all my senses, drawing me toward the simmering pot and away from everything else I’d understood as food in my nine years on Earth thus far.

My mother had made most of our meals up to that point — dutifully, methodically and not unkindly, but as a means to an end, getting her husband and two daughters fed. Though she cares greatly for the communion of the dinner table, the artistry of its contents doesn’t especially concern her. It’s not a failing on her part at all — just a seed that had neither been planted nor encouraged to bloom by first-generation American parents who were grateful to have anything to eat at all.
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Sometimes I get all shirty when people police other people’s tastes

It’s all John Green’s fault.

I’m not just talking about the strong likelihood that I’ll be ugly-crying in public alongside fellow fans of “The Fault In Our Stars” in a theater near me this weekend — I mean the fact that I’m reading much fiction at all these days. But apparently I’m supposed to be embarrassed about my love of Green’s books.

Says who?

Says Ruth Graham, author of a recent jeremiad that proclaims: “Adults should feel embarrassed about reading literature written for children.” Graham goes on to assert that realistic (i.e. non-supernatural, non-dystopian) young-adult-targeted books are somehow supplanting works of literary fiction in adults’ reading lives and how that’s a “shame.”

It’s the “should” (Slate’s italics, not mine) here that vexes me most. It implies that someone else’s hierarchy of taste and personal experience takes precedent over your own, when in reality, letting go of that is one of the great spoils of achieving adulthood.

Let me get anecdotal here for a second.

Read — Grownups: Don’t be ashamed of your YA habit

Sometimes I write about women who step in to help

I had absolutely no right to cry over the death of Mrs. Howard. She wasn’t family, and I hadn’t seen her in more than 20 years. That didn’t stop me from crumpling onto the couch and howling like a kitten hurled from a moving car when I heard the news last year.

Between the damp, snotty sobs, I wracked my brain to figure out why word of Mrs. Howard’s death had struck me so squarely. I hadn’t kept in touch with my mother’s friend once I’d graduated from high school and fled my unhappy hometown life.

I poked at the space her loss had left, like examining the socket where a tooth was once firmly lodged. She’d had a dog, Piper, of which I was quite fond. She’d let me practice my piano lessons on her electric organ, and that was awfully nice. She’d taken me to the mother-daughter Girl Scout dinner…oh…

That was the raw nerve causing the ache. She’d filled in during at least one of many school-sanctioned mother-daughter outings when my mom was unable. It’s what lots of sisters, aunts, friends, neighbors, teachers do when they see a child in need of care and comfort. And Mrs. Howard did it for me.

Read — She wasn’t mom, but she loved us

Sometimes I write about intersex people and love

Intersex Dating

There’s a vocabulary of protection used around the intersex community — of “escape” from sex assignment surgery to normalize their genitals, of PTSD and survivorship, of guilt from some whose bodies remain intact.

There’s also a shared experience of shame, secrecy and disconnection borne of being treated like a physical mistake. They arrived in the world with genetic mutations that affect them at intimate levels, and were taught to believe, often since birth, that their very existence is a condition that needs to be corrected.

The path to romantic connection with another human can feel isolated and impassible. The risk, impossible.

But it doesn’t have to be.

ReadIntersex dating: Finding love across the intersection