If you’re on this website, chances are you think about food a lot, but what does that mean? Americans in the 21st century have more access to food than any people, anywhere, ever. We’re also the most tortured eaters who ever lived, profoundly uneasy about the political, environmental, societal, and even aesthetic consequences of the stuff we feed on.

This Saturday in Berkeley, California, I’ll be moderating a panel called “Chew on This: A Fresh Take on Our Obsession with Food.” The event is part of both Litquake, San Francisco’s sprawling, weeklong annual literary festival, and the Berkeley Ramble. Organizers have put together a panel of the distinguished:

• Julie Guthman, a sociology professor at UC Santa Cruz, author of Weighing In, a book that skewers our myths about obesity.

• Daniel Imhoff, a researcher, author, and independent publisher who has concentrated for a couple of decades on farming, the environment, and design. His most recent book is the new edition of Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill.

• Stephanie Lucianovic wrote Suffering Succotash, which combines memoir and science reporting to get at the root of picky eating, and how embracing food phobias can help reveal who you are.

• Barb Stuckey is a professional food developer, author of Taste What You’re Missing: The Passionate Eater’s Guide to Why Good Food Tastes Good, a book that breaks down the anatomy of taste for a culture that can be uncomfortable with the sheer pleasure of eating.

If you’re in the Bay Area Saturday afternoon, come on by—admission is free. It starts at 3 p.m., at the Marsh Arts Center, 2121 Allston Way. The talk should be absorbing enough to put your food dilemmas on hold. At least until you have to decide what’s for dinner.

See more articles