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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

New Earth Eats Contributor: Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick, a sex columnist and sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, explains how she became a foodie.

debby herbenick

Photo: bernardgordillo (flickr)

Dr. Debby Herbenick is Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University where she is also a sexual health researcher and educator at The Kinsey Institute.

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During my work day, I’m a research scientist at Indiana University (I study sex), a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, a sex columnist and a book author (I wrote Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure & Satisfaction). But at heart, I’m a foodie.

Maine Blackberries

Although I grew up in Miami, Florida, my family spent our summers in Maine at an old farmhouse that’s been in our family for well over a hundred years.

There, we would put on our best protective clothes and wander off into the blackberry bushes, careful of the thorns, to pick many quarts of blackberries that my mother – who will also soon be writing for Earth Eats – would then turn into blackberry jam for us to give to our schoolteachers when we returned home.

Family Ties

We would also pick blueberries and raspberries, turning them into jam, muffins and pies (my grandmother was the pie specialist in the family). My Grampie was the one, however, who would take us around to the local farms where he had been going all his life.

And our Uncle Bob, who lived nearby, grew much of his own fruits and vegetables.

The idea of “farm to table” food wasn’t a yuppie thing to do or Stuff White People Like. It was just a way of life, there in the small towns of Maine where I was, at least in the summers, raised.

Becoming A Foodie

Back in Miami I was introduced to a slightly trendier version of the same concept. In high school, I became interested in vegetarian eating and organic foods. I read Diet for a Small Planet and 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Save The Earth. I gave up meat. For a while, I even gave up butter (in college, the butter returned).

What ended up happening is I became very interested in food.

Now, at home, we grow a small garden worth of herbs, tomatoes, berries and, for the first time, we’re growing butternut squash (so far, we have three).

Out in the world, I love to try new foods and to get lost in restaurants such as Greens in San Francisco, San Juan’s Marmalade and Jam and FARM right here in Bloomington, Indiana.

Food And Life

There are some ways in which I’m intrigued by the intersections of food, sex, sexual health, and love. I’m sure we’ll be touching on some of these curious aspects of food as we go along.

But mostly, I’m interested in writing about my love of food and the wonderful ways we as people get to play with it, indulge in it and work with it to create tasty combinations of things that make us go “mmmmmm.”


Dr. Debby Herbenick

Debby Herbenick, PhD, author of Because It Feels Good, also loves things that taste good. Among her favorite childhood memories are summers spent picking (and eating) berries in Maine.

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