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Processed Meats: Processed Meats: Essays on Food, Flesh, and Navigating Disaster

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Nicole Walker made cheese and grew tomatoes as a means of coping when she struggled 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 congealed beef broth into aspic as a surefire cure for ailment. Throughou Nicole Walker made cheese and grew tomatoes as a means of coping when she struggled 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 congealed beef broth into aspic as a surefire cure for ailment. Throughout the richly layered essays of Processed Meats, Walker ponders food choices and life choices, dissecting how we process disaster, repackage it, and turn it into something edible.


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Nicole Walker made cheese and grew tomatoes as a means of coping when she struggled 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 congealed beef broth into aspic as a surefire cure for ailment. Throughou Nicole Walker made cheese and grew tomatoes as a means of coping when she struggled 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 congealed beef broth into aspic as a surefire cure for ailment. Throughout the richly layered essays of Processed Meats, Walker ponders food choices and life choices, dissecting how we process disaster, repackage it, and turn it into something edible.

36 review for Processed Meats: Processed Meats: Essays on Food, Flesh, and Navigating Disaster

  1. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Gavin Frank

    Nicole Walker’s new collection of essays returns the things we only thought we understood to their innate, and so much more beautiful, complexity. In Walker’s awesome new morphology, slaughterhouse culture can dovetail with motherhood, and banana slug mucosa can contain meditations on pregnancy, and the demise of centuries-old fir trees. It’s all here, as Walker interrogates and upends—via an ever-unexpected imaginative alchemy—the beautiful and atrocious ways in which we consume, bear, rear, an Nicole Walker’s new collection of essays returns the things we only thought we understood to their innate, and so much more beautiful, complexity. In Walker’s awesome new morphology, slaughterhouse culture can dovetail with motherhood, and banana slug mucosa can contain meditations on pregnancy, and the demise of centuries-old fir trees. It’s all here, as Walker interrogates and upends—via an ever-unexpected imaginative alchemy—the beautiful and atrocious ways in which we consume, bear, rear, and decompose. This is the essay as carefully controlled kaleidoscope, as exhilarating filter through which the ornaments of transient existence are beholden to a fresh, and delicate whirling. Like a field scientist-cum-food writer-cum-oracular cartographer of the heart, 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.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Absolutely LOVED this book. Humorous,metaphorical and so relevant. I found myself nodding and laughing out loud more times than I could count. Nicole's style of writing is so appealing because it confirms perhaps some of your craziest thoughts and rationalizations that you might never admit to thinking about. You will laugh about the madness of raising kids, living through pandemics, climate change and indulging in gastronomic delights. We all need a little humor right now. Absolutely LOVED this book. Humorous,metaphorical and so relevant. I found myself nodding and laughing out loud more times than I could count. Nicole's style of writing is so appealing because it confirms perhaps some of your craziest thoughts and rationalizations that you might never admit to thinking about. You will laugh about the madness of raising kids, living through pandemics, climate change and indulging in gastronomic delights. We all need a little humor right now.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Ignore the unfortunate title. Walker's funny and profound personal essays address themes of disasters, motherhood, food and the contradictions between right-thought and right-action. They are a delight. Ignore the unfortunate title. Walker's funny and profound personal essays address themes of disasters, motherhood, food and the contradictions between right-thought and right-action. They are a delight.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

    I love this essay collection! The author is an inquisitive and intrepid guide through unsettling times. With a balance of necessary reverence, joy, and satisfying skepticism, she reminds us both of the sensuous pleasures of human living (especially food!) and the planetary prices we pay for them. She has convinced me of how the smaller aspects of experience and the large link inextricable together, no matter how I might prefer one to the other...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lesley Heiser

    Nicole Walker gives us something new. A rare new way of thinking about food, about our lives, about our choices, and about this constantly surprising world. Like my former favorite book of Nicole’s, Sustainability: A Love Story, Processed Meats never cheats us with virtue signaling or conventional wisdom. It’s the opposite of that. It’s another chance to be honest, to be vivid in this world, to be more alive.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    Nicole Walker has such an agile mind. She has written a really important and timely collection of essays--each one so well-crafted and filled with vivid writing and exciting intuitive leaps and twists. Walker writes beautifully on the sentence level; her voice is original and manages to be both laser sharp and down-to-earth. She skillfully combines powerful personal experiences with history, science, popular culture and more. I highly recommend this collection to anyone who cares about climate c Nicole Walker has such an agile mind. She has written a really important and timely collection of essays--each one so well-crafted and filled with vivid writing and exciting intuitive leaps and twists. Walker writes beautifully on the sentence level; her voice is original and manages to be both laser sharp and down-to-earth. She skillfully combines powerful personal experiences with history, science, popular culture and more. I highly recommend this collection to anyone who cares about climate change, food, parenthood, writing, other people, the pandemic and how to stay curious, funny and solution-focused in the midst of serious contemporary challenges.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Evie Hemphill

    I really enjoyed this book of essays. It's poetic, challenging and funny, and offers a searingly honest look at the moral conundrums of everyday life. I really enjoyed this book of essays. It's poetic, challenging and funny, and offers a searingly honest look at the moral conundrums of everyday life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    MacKenzie Chase

    Preparing for the end of times is nothing new for author Nicole Walker. Having grown up within a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, Utah, although never herself a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, earlier generations ingrained preparation and survival in her mind. Grow tomatoes, can peaches, boil bones to make aspic. No food product should go to waste—we’re not guaranteed more in the future. Open and conversational, her newest collection of essays explores how we prepare for and cope with Preparing for the end of times is nothing new for author Nicole Walker. Having grown up within a Mormon family in Salt Lake City, Utah, although never herself a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, earlier generations ingrained preparation and survival in her mind. Grow tomatoes, can peaches, boil bones to make aspic. No food product should go to waste—we’re not guaranteed more in the future. Open and conversational, her newest collection of essays explores how we prepare for and cope with the unexpected. Connecting fertility, community, pandemics and more back to food, her writing blends personal narrative with scientific fact, urging readers to be present in the ways they navigate and impact the world during uncertain times.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Meyer

  10. 4 out of 5

    ledelman

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Liz Prato

  13. 4 out of 5

    Torrey House Press

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Sheets

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chance Tolman

  16. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  17. 4 out of 5

    Towandajane

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Margaret

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jemiah Jefferson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Ross

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah White

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erica Wheadon

  28. 4 out of 5

    Max

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

  30. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Medendorp

  31. 5 out of 5

    Paige Fletcher

  32. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  33. 4 out of 5

    Dana Launius

  34. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  35. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

  36. 5 out of 5

    Chrys

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