"You are how you eat" was the title of an essay on Italian cooking, which appeared in The New York Times.
The author seems to have chosen to use this title in the sense "How we eat is just as important ? if not more so ? than what we eat" as she said in the same essay.
Now, let me ask if , by the same token, I can safely say or write something like "You are how you say it rather than what you say."

YAMAOKA Michio
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"You are how you eat" was the title of an essay on Italian cooking, which appeared in The New York ... token, I can safely say or write something like "You are how you say it rather than what you say."

The reaction would be "hunh?". You can't go around inventing idioms and get away with it. "You are what you eat" doesn't make any real sense at all. You aren't rice and fish because that's a major part of your diet. You may be thin because they aren't fattening foods, but you would be thin if you ate lettuce and radishes. So, you aren't what you eat. Literally.
We have a vague idea of what it means only because it's been around a long time. When you turn the phrase around and add something to it, you don't have the history of the idiom going for you.
"You are how you eat" was the title of an essay on Italian cooking, which appeared in The New York ... same token, I can safely say or writesomething like "You are how you say it rather than what you say."

There is a French proverbial expression that goes, "Le style, c'est l'homme (la femme)* meme." (first "e" in "meme" has a circumflex accent): "The (writing) style is the man (woman) himself ( herself)." The meaning could easily be extended to speaking style, in context. CB
* The proverb is as written without the inserts, most of which I add for the sake of gender equity.
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"You are how you eat" was the title of an essay on Italian cooking, which appeared in The New York ... can safely say or write something like "You are how you say it rather than what you say." YAMAOKA Michio

You can enter the subway many times, but never twice by the same token...
"You are what you eat" is a cliche, condensing (and mutilating) gastronome Brillat-Savarin's famous aphorism, "Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you who you are."
Just in general, you can get away with one change in a well-known saying "you are how you eat" works for this reason; "you are what you read" would work (and may be closer to the truth) "you are how you say it" takes at least two steps away in import and cadence, and it's no longer so clear.

Chris Green
"You are how you eat" was the title of an essay on Italian cooking, which appeared in The New York ... is just as important ? if not more so ? than what we eat" as she said inthe same essay.

No: this is a common journalistic trick, viz.
slightly altering a familiar phrase, here "you
are what you eat," common in the 1970s
especially among people concerned about
diet and the environment. The writer just
changed it too "You are how you eat," because
the difference relates to a real nuance in the article.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
"You are how you eat" was the title of an essay on Italian cooking, which appeared in The New York ... token, I can safely say or write something like "You are how you say it rather than what you say."

You can if you then devote a whole essay to explaining it, like the author you refer to. Or at least 2 or 3 paragraphs. Unless it is or relates closely to the major point you are trying to make, it will likely be a distraction from your major point.
YAMAOKA Michio

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Brooklyn NY 12 years
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"You are how you eat" was the title of an ... you say it rather than what you say." YAMAOKA Michio

You can enter the subway many times, but never twice by the same token...

Cute. As long as Yamaoka doesn't get the impression he used the phrase wrong. He didn't.
"You are what you eat" is a cliche, condensing (and mutilating) gastronome Brillat-Savarin's famous aphorism, "Tell me what you eat, ... how you say it" takes at least two steps away in import and cadence, and it's no longer so clear.

Well put. (except I don't think it is really a mutilation. too strong)
s/ meirman If you are emailing me please
say if you are posting the same response.
Born west of Pittsburgh Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis, 7 years
Chicago, 6 years
Brooklyn NY 12 years
Baltimore 20 years
What about "The medium is the massage"? I've never gotten straight which came first and what the second one meant.
s/ meirman If you are emailing me please
say if you are posting the same response.
Born west of Pittsburgh Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis, 7 years
Chicago, 6 years
Brooklyn NY 12 years
Baltimore 20 years
(snip)
What about "The medium is the massage"? I've never gotten straight which came first and what the second one meant.

The "message" came first. McLuhan is reported to have said that the "massage" variation was a typo on the cover of the typesetter's proof, and he was so taken by it that he let it stand. If you syllabicate "massage" as "mass age", it acquires a meaning of sorts.

Chris Green
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