The Meth Lunches: Food and Longing in an American City
James Beard Award–winning author Kim Foster reveals a new portrait of hunger and humanity in America.
Food is a conduit for connection; we envision smiling families gathered around a table—eating, happy, content. But what happens when poverty, mental illness, homelessness, and addiction claim a seat at that table? In The Meth Lunches, Kim Foster peers behind the polished visions of perfectly curated dinners and charming families to reveal the complex reality when poverty and food intersect.
Whether it’s heirloom vegetables or a block of neon-yellow government cheese, food is both a basic necessity and a nuanced litmus test: what and how we eat reflects our communities, our cultures, and our place in the world. The Meth Lunches gives a glimpse into the lives of people living in Foster’s Las Vegas community—the grocery store cashier who feels safer surrounded by food after surviving a childhood of hunger; the inmate baking a birthday cake with coffee creamer and Sprite; the unhoused woman growing scallions in the slice of sunlight on her passenger seat. This is what food looks like in the lives of real people.
The Meth Lunches reveals stories of dysfunction intertwined with hope, of the insurmountable obstacles and fierce determination all playing out on the plates of ordinary Americans. It’s a bold invitation to pull up a chair and reconsider our responsibilities to the most vulnerable among us. Welcome to the table.
Kim Foster is a James Beard Award-winning food writer. She writes about people at the intersection of food and mental illness, family separation, poverty, addiction, trauma, and incarceration. You can read her work on her weekly newsletter, on her website, and on Twitter and Instagram. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband, David, their four kids, and many animals.
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 10/10/2023 - 12:00am
On Sale: 10/10/2023 - 12:00am