The Emotional Life of Eating

Nikiko Masumoto is an artist and farmer at the Masumoto Family Farm near Fresno, California.

Many of the stories we hear and tell about food are positive—food’s power to nourish, to comfort, to bring people together. But it also has the potential to cause shame, fear, disgust and a whole host of other uncomfortable emotions. Today on Gravy: personal stories around food that aren’t so sweet.

These are the kinds of stories Francis Lam wanted to explore for a presentation he gave at the Southern Foodways Alliance’s annual Symposium a few months ago. Francis is an editor at large at Clarkson Potter Publishers and a New York Times Magazine columnist. He’s also someone who’s spent a lot of time eating in the South and writing about it. (You can check out some of his SFA oral histories about Biloxi, Mississippi’s shrimping industry here.) Francis was curious about the food stories that often go untold because they deal with topics we’d prefer not to talk about.

So, he asked a handful of people: tell me about a time when you felt tension in your emotional life of eating.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Lou Mayo lives and works far away from his hometown of Chicago. 
Lou Mayo lives and works far away from his hometown of Chicago.
Jess Z. works in city planning and land use in Washington, DC.
Jess Z. works in city planning and land use in Washington, DC.
John Willoughby is a writer and editor in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 
John Willoughby is a writer and editor in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Stephen Torres is a restaurant and food media professional based wherever he happens to be at the moment. 
Stephen Torres is a restaurant and food media professional based wherever he happens to be at the moment.
Farooq Ahmed is a journalist and writer in Los Angeles.
Farooq Ahmed is a journalist and writer in Los Angeles.
Ceji Johnson is a cook in California.
Ceji Johnson is a cook in California.
Nikiko Masumoto is an artist and farmer at the Masumoto Family Farm near Fresno, California.
Nikiko Masumoto is an artist and farmer at the Masumoto Family Farm near Fresno, California.
Ganda Suthivarakom is a writer and web strategist in Los Angeles.
Ganda Suthivarakom is a writer and web strategist in Los Angeles.

Their stories were read by: Kat Kinsman, Pableaux Johnson, Randall Kenan, Glenn Duncan, Helen Rosner, and Pardis Stitt.