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What do you hunger for? Love, family, home, safety? The perfect cassoulet? Why do we focus on food in times of disaster, whether stockpiling cans in the pantry or munching on Cheetos or string cheese when stressed? Nicole Walker ponders all of this and more in Processed Meats: Essays on Food, Flesh, and Navigating Disaster.

Walker was not able to make complicated life choices, effectively change her local or global environment, or convince her body to do what she wanted—but she could concoct complicated recipes, host dinner parties, and feed a ravenous crowd, so she turned to food to stave off life’s chaos.

She made cheese and grew tomatoes as a means of coping when she failed to get pregnant. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, she cooked veggie burgers for friends and hamburgers for herself—to enjoy outside, six feet apart. Her Mormon ancestors canned peaches to prepare for the End of Days and con- gealed beef broth into aspic as a surefire cure for ailment. Throughout the richly layered essays of Pro- cessed Meats, Walker contemplates food choices and life choices, dissecting how we process disaster, repackage it, and turn it into something edible.

Nicole Walker is the author of The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet, Sustain- ability: A Love Story, A Survival Guide for Life in the Ruins and other books. Her work has been published in Orion, Boston Review, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, The Normal School, and elsewhere. Recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and noted in multiple editions of The Best American Essays, Walker is nonfiction editor at Diagram and Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Rave Reviews for Processed Meat:

“This is some brilliant, snappy, poetic, serious, hilarious stuff.” —CRAIG CHILDS, author of Virga and Bone

“Walker plays her way linguistically deep into the grotesque and marvelous realities of what it means to live in a female body and to depend on other bodies—chicken, raven, pig, veal, cougar, husband and child—for one’s sustenance. I woke from this book as from a sweet and slightly dirty dream, sex and cooking swirling in my mind, saying yes and yes to the bizarre beauty of a fleshly existence.” —ALISON HAWTHORNE DEMING, author of Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit

“Walker gathers seemingly disparate scraps of earthly experience and sniffs out their secret connections, before stitching them together into the sort of tapestry that is as colorful as it is interrogative, as disarming as it is bursting with light.” —MATTHEW GAVIN FRANK, author of The Mad Feast and Preparing the Ghost

“To think about food is to think about life, and Walker does so with brilliant complexity and insight.” —BICH MINH NGUYEN, author of Stealing Buddha’s Dinner, Pioneer Girl, and Short Girls

  • DATE

    Wednesday, July 14th

  • TIME

    7:00 – 8:30 pm

  • COST

    $10 per person

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