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Essays on Food, Flesh, and Navigating Disaster


“Walker plays her way linguistically deep into the grotesque and marvelous realities of what it means to live in a female body and to depend on other bodies..."

—ALISON HAWTHORNE DEMING, author of Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit

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.

March 2021 | Nonfiction | 978-1-948814-34-8 | 296 pp |$18.95

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NICOLE WALKER is the author of The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet; Sustainability: A Love Story; A Survival Guide for Life in the Ruins; and other books. Her work has been published in Orion, Boston Review, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, The Normal School, and elsewhere. Recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and noted in multiple editions of The Best American Essays, Walker is nonfiction editor at Diagram and professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.


“Candidly personal . . . Walker frames contrasting concepts of stability versus risk, abundance versus dearth, self-sufficiency versus reliance within the context of the larger global imperatives of climate change, pollution, and sustainability. The result is the kind of deeply thoughtful and relatable discussion one might have with one’s best friends around a dinner table, back in the day when one could safely do that kind of thing.” 



"[Walker] produces observations as beautifully written as they are thoughtful . . . An effective illumination of the profound 'difference between right thought and right action.'" 


“This is some brilliant, snappy, poetic, serious, hilarious stuff.”
—CRAIG CHILDS, author of Virga and Bone 


“Walker plays her way linguistically deep into the grotesque and marvelous realities of what it means to live in a female body and to depend on other bodies—chicken, raven, pig, veal, cougar, husband and child—for one's sustenance. I woke from this book as from a sweet and slightly dirty dream, sex and cooking swirling in my mind, saying yes and yes to the bizarre beauty of a fleshly existence.”
—ALISON HAWTHORNE DEMING, author of Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit

“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.” 

—MATTHEW GAVIN FRANK, author of The Mad Feast and Preparing the Ghost


“To think about food is to think about life, and Walker does so with brilliant complexity and insight.”
—BICH MINH NGUYEN, author of Stealing Buddha's Dinner

“This book is more than funny, more than tough. It’s about appetite—food as, life as, place as, memory as, hope as—and about how, through the act of articulation itself, we can make a meal of life’s pain and peace”
—CHRISTOPHER COKINOS, author of Bodies, of the Holocene


QUIET DESPERATION, SAVAGE DELIGHT: Sheltering with Thoreau in the Age of Crisis



When the pandemic struck, nature writer David Gessner turned to Henry David Thoreau, the original social distancer, for lessons on how to live. Those lessons—of learning our own backyard, re-wilding, loving nature, self-reliance, and civil disobedience—hold a secret that could help save us as we face the greater crisis of climate.


“In a dynamic and illuminating exploration of the strange wilderness that has been a year of pandemic-induced seclusion, David Gessner succeeds brilliantly in using Henry Thoreau to make sense of the quarantine, and vice versa."

—MICHAEL P. BRANCH, author of Rants from the Hill and How to Cuss in Western

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