Local author explores the food-money connection 

How do you recover from losing 30 years of retirement savings — nearly $1 million — in the Bernie Madoff debacle?

Deep breaths help, something Geneen Roth discovered when she and her husband found their financial world in ruin several years ago.

But Roth, a writer who lives in Marin and penned the New York Times bestseller “Women Food and God,” began to notice a curious parallel between her beliefs and behaviors surrounding money with those she once had with food.

“I had never written about money before and it was a revelation for me,” Roth says of chronicling her discoveries in the new book, “Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations About Food and Money.” She shares her journeys in a presentation and discussion Tuesday at the Jewish Community Center.

“After I got through the initial couple of days of fear and regret and shame and self loathing [from the Madoff event], it put me into a place of being curious about my behaviors around money,” Roth says. “And I think this is what people don’t allow themselves to do — just being interested. It’s never about the money. It’s about the relationship to yourself and your own mind.”

Much like she had done in previous books, which primarily revolved around food issues, Roth nudges readers to look deeper and connect the emotional and spiritual dots. “What is ‘enough?’” she asks in “Lost and Found.”

She also makes fascinating distinctions, noting the connection behind bingeing and splurging, and using money as a substitute for love.

“On the theatrical stage of your life is a relationship with food; another is a relationship with money,” she says. “That’s how we act out these internal beliefs, feelings and convictions. I saw quickly [after Madoff] that it wasn’t about money. It was about my desire to remain unconscious.

“I was one of the people that didn’t feel I had enough and completely ignored what I had, which is what people do with the food on their plate,” she adds. “They are always focused on the one bite that’s to come, instead of the bite that is in their mouth — the things that they are not allowed to eat, not the things that they are allowed to eat. So we live in a trance of depravation.”



Geneen Roth

  • Where: Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., San Francisco
  • When: 11 a.m. Tuesday
  • Tickets: Free; reservations required
  • Contact: (415) 292-1233, arts@jccsf.org, www.jccsf.org, www.geneenroth.com
  • Note: Roth also appears at 7 p.m. today at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., in Corte Madera.

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Greg Archer

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