First it was cadavers. Then it was ghosts and then sex. Now, unwitting science journalist and author Mary Roach is tackling food and all the weird stuff our bodies do when we eat it.
Roach's new book, Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, comes out April 1, and she'll be stopping by St. Louis later in the month on her book tour.
Roach started out as a magazine journalist, but eventually parlayed her column for Salon.com into her first book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Next, she investigated the afterlife in Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, then came Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex.
In Gulp, Roach dives into the human body, beginning at the mouth, then moves, um, downward as she discusses digestion and elimination. She discusses the merits of Fletcherizing (the practice of rigorous chewing), tries to determine how much food it takes to make a stomach burst, interviews a prison inmate who provides insight on rectal smuggling and gets to the bottom of Elvis Presley's supposed megacolon. Yeah, it sounds kind of gross, but it's also hilarious.
To welcome Roach and her new book to St. Louis, Left Bank Books and Feast Magazine are hosting a dinner party. L'Ecole Culinaire (9811 South Forty Drive, Ladue; 314-587-2433) will serve food inspired by the book while Roach reads excerpts. We're not sure who came up with the reading-while-eating idea, but we can't imagine anyone will still want to after hearing certain sections of the book. Oh well. The evening will conclude with a Q&A and book signing.
Dinner and digestion discussions start at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10. Admission is $55 and includes dinner, the Q&A with Roach and a copy of Gulp (normal retail price is $26.95). Tickets are available online.