University Forum Lecture Series - The Dysfunction of Food: On Food That Isn’t Beautiful or Comforting or Delicious


Apr. 18, 2024, 7pm to 9pm

Office/Remote Location

Room 101


Speaker: Kim Foster, James Beard Award-winning Author of the forthcoming The Meth Lunches: The Care and Feeding of a Drug Addict, St. Martin's Press 

In this lecture, Kim Foster will examine the ways food can signify and complicate dysfunction in Las Vegas, for both individuals and communities – those with empty tables, and those with full plates.

What does food mean to people in addiction? Or psychosis? Or in jail? Or for people who don’t have kitchens? What should it mean to the rest of us?

Most of us think about food as a conduit for connection—it’s a cliché now: “Food brings us together” and “Food connects us.” The messages are everywhere. It’s all beautiful, heavily curated, intentional, and privileged. It’s a monoculture of food happiness. Foster is a contributor to this culture as a food writer.

But food is also a conduit for disconnection, stress, family trauma, and workplace abuse. In families, the table, the eating together, the passing of plates may hold discomfort, anxiety, and anger. It brings up things that can, in other environments, be let go. For others, the table holds scarcity, an annihilating reminder of their poverty. Others still have food on their table but no one sitting next to them to share it.

Food can be a way to control. And punish. And abuse. And a means to force people to conform. And, there is having no food at all. Food is often a litmus test. What we are eating and how we are eating tells us something integral about how we are doing, and what our lives are like.



Admission Information

Free to all students, faculty, staff, and the public.

Contact Information

College of Liberal Arts' Dean's Office
Sewwandi Jayakody

External Sponsor

Co-sponsored by the Black Mountain Institute


Open to All