Lovelessness in the Food World: How We Treat U.S. Food Workers and Trendy Eating Experiences

The dichotomy of the pleasured food consumer and the pleasureless food worker needs to be eliminated to create a crisscrossing model that affirms the humanity of the people on both ends of the food chain.

Lecture Description

Millions of people labor in the links of our nation’s food chain, from agricultural fields to processing factories to restaurants to delivery apps. While consumers often demand or fetishize certain food items or food experiences, many do not pay much attention to food laborers at all or only “see” these people through the food they produce instead of as fuller human beings. And as food laborers in America have increasingly become undocumented immigrants, the phrase “chewed up and spit out” aptly describes a workforce made to feel replaceable by a bottomless reservoir of competitors. During the height of the COVID pandemic, the ways in which U.S. eaters demanded food routines to continue only reinforced—for all food workers, citizen and immigrant—that their lives were being put at great risk. Using the recent comedy-horror film The Menu, this lecture comments on exploitation and lovelessness in multiple worlds of food, from farm and factory work, to the searches for trendy and “authentic” food adventures for social media, to exclusive and fine dining.


Food Labor and Working Class

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