Lena Dunham Loves Burgers for Breakfast and L.A.'s Vegan Scene
The actress and author talks Jell-O molds and the nostalgic appeal of a big diner burger for breakfast.
When we shot the pilot for Max [Dunham’s upcoming HBO series], I demanded to see several kinds of Jell-O molds. All my mom’s ’60s dinner parties revolved around that kind of food: Jell-O, clams casino. There’s Jell-O in the Max pilot. It’s very cinematic.
Burgers For Breakfast
There’s a diner in New York City called Joe Jr.’s. Sometimes my dad would let me have breakfast there before school. I’d order orange juice and a hamburger. And it wasn’t a little one. Thank you, Dad, for the freedom of letting a kid have a big burger for breakfast.
I’ve been experimenting with a plant-based diet. I’m obsessed with this amazing website, jessicamurnane.com [Murnane’s book, One Part Plant, comes out next year from HarperWave]. In L.A., I do the vegan march between Real Food Daily and Crossroads Kitchen, stuffing my body with supernutrient goodness.
I take pictures of food and send them to my writing partner, Jenni Konner, and tell her, “You need to make this.” Everyone should have someone who can cook off their Instagram feed.
My parents didn’t let us eat fast food when I was young, but on long road trips I could get chicken nuggets. So I associate them with rebellion. Last September, on the way to Allison Williams’s wedding in Wyoming, I said, “I’m going to get chicken nuggets. At McDonald’s.” They were more disgusting than I remembered; I felt a lot of darkness around those chicken nuggets.
Food Activism On Campus
There are now big conversations at Oberlin, where I went to college, about cultural appropriation and whether the dining hall sushi and banh mi disrespect certain cuisines. The press reported it as, “How crazy are Oberlin kids?” But to me, it was actually, “Right on.”