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Listen to 12 Short Stories that Capture the 'Emotional Life of Eating'

Race, diet, sex, and shame are all buried in meals and memories.

At this year's Southern Foodways Symposium, food writer and editor Francis Lam approached the podium to introduce the idea of food as part and parcel of emotional identity. "In cooking, we often talk about balancing taste, equalizing the sweet, salty, bitter, and sour to have a fuller flavor. But when we speak of food in our emotional lives, we so often stay in the realm of sweet... the power of food to satisfy... to unite." But as Lam notes, food also has the potential "to cause shame, fear, and other unwanted emotions." In this serious of sometimes sad, sometimes sassy readings, food writers and historians read stories from writers who reveal a time when they "found tension in their emotional life of eating." From meals at home to dinners at lavish banquets, these stories detail "people with... complex relationships with their food, their bodies..., their identity, their culture, their past and their future at the table."

Readers include Tasting Table editor-in-chief Kat Kinsman, author Randall Kenan, Eater features editor Helen Rosner, and others.

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