Meet Priya Fielding-Singh, Author of How the Other Half Eats

San Mateo County Libraries welcomes Dr. Priya Fielding-Singh on Monday, November 7 at 7:00 PM. Fielding-Singh will discuss her newest book, How the Other Half Eats: The Untold Story of Food and Inequality in America before taking questions from the audience. She will be in conversation with Portola Valley council member and San Mateo County Libraries JPA Governing Board member Maryann Derwin.

Once you've registered, you'll receive your Zoom invitation!

Food Inequality in the Bay Area and Beyond

An ability to worry about the particulars of kids’ diets, I came to see, was an inequitably distributed luxury.

—Dr. Priya Fielding-Singh

Inequality in America manifests in many ways, but perhaps nowhere more than in how we eat.

From her years of research, sociologist and ethnographer Dr. Priya Fielding-Singh brings us into the kitchens of dozens of Bay Area families to explore why we eat the way we do. By following real families’ daily decisions from the grocery store to the dinner table, Dr. Fielding-Singh shows why “food deserts” tell only a fraction of the story of nutritional inequity. Instead, she reveals how being rich or poor in America impacts something even more fundamental than the food that families can access: these experiences impact the very meaning of food itself.

Packed with lyrical storytelling and groundbreaking research, as well as Dr. Fielding-Singh’s personal experiences with food as a biracial, South Asian American woman, How the Other Half Eats illuminates exactly how inequality starts on the dinner plate. Once you’ve taken a seat at tables across America, you’ll never think about class, food and public health the same way again.

Get to Know Dr. Priya Fielding-Singh

The first choice that I made was that I wanted to study food and diet by talking to people.

—Dr. Priya Fielding-Singh

Dr. Priya Fielding-Singh is a sociologist and assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies at the University of Utah where she researches, teaches and writes about families, health and inequality in America. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University and completed her postdoctoral training as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fellow in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Stanford School of Medicine.

Her newest research project extends her work on parenthood and health to examine birth trauma as a mechanism of gender inequality and maternal health disparities. She lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and daughter.

Praise for How the Other Half Eats

Bold, eye-opening, and deeply moving, How the Other Half Eats is a must-read for anyone concerned about the well-being of American families. Fielding-Singh powerfully shows how sweeping, systemic inequities find their way onto our dinner plates and impact our health and wellness. —Dr. Leana Wen, author of Lifelines

In this intimate and revealing chronicle, Fielding-Singh has done us a great service by revealing myth-busting truths about poverty, wealth, hunger, and abundance. More than that, she does it in a way that shows how knowledge might be shared compassionately, in the best tradition of engaged scholar-activism. This isn’t just undercover journalism, but an epistemology of the American dining table. After reading it, you’ll never be able to claim you didn’t know, or know how to know, how the other half eats. —Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved

How the Other Half Eats overturns the conventional wisdom about childhood obesity, food deserts, and nutritional inequality, replacing it with a profound and compelling ground truth. Fielding-Singh shows us how inequalities in families' diets do not stem from the negligence of some parents and the devotion of others. Rather, the food that graces the plates of all children—rich and poor, Black and white—reflects mothers' deep-seated love and commitment to their kids' well-being. Honest, incisive, and illuminating, How the Other Half Eats is the book we need about food and inequality in America. —Kathryn Edin, author of Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage and $2.00 a Day

If you think that poor health, obesity and bad food choices are a matter of personal responsibility, How the Other Half Eats will make you think again . . . Fielding-Singh vividly brings to light the human aspect of our disordered food system and the structural challenges of poverty, lack of education about and access to real food in this examination of the fundamental flaws in our food system. We live in a country where we throw out one third of our food, yet one in four children are food insecure. The complex web of social, political and economic conditions that give rise to massive nutrition and food insecurity come to life in this book. It should be mandatory reading for parents, teachers, healthcare workers, and policymakers. —Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Pegan Diet