Two authors in Kansas City this week will be talking food: where it comes from and then where it goes.
First is Christopher Leonard, author of “The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business.”
Leonard, who grew up in Kansas City, experienced an epiphany when, while a student at the University of Missouri journalism school, he visited the Tyson Foods Inc. poultry complex in Sedalia.
“There were 75,000 birds on the ground,” he said. “I had never seen modern meat production.”
While “Meat Racket” discusses how meat is made market ready, it also details, according to Leonard, how the industry has consolidated.
“This is a book about food, but it is really a book about money and power,” he said. “The modern American food system does not resemble in any way the mental picture that most people have of it.”
Meat packing was once a highly visible Kansas City industry. The 1951 flood was only one event among many that, over decades, contributed to the industry’s relocation to distant rural communities.
“A lot of this book was written in small motels in tiny towns,” Leonard said.
Leonard speaks at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.Looking inside yourself, literally
Mary Roach is a popular science writer known for going boldly where others do not.
She’s the author, for example, of “Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers.” Her 2013 book, now in paperback, concerns the human digestive system.
“I’m a nonfiction bottom-feeder,” said Roach, the author of “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.”
For “Gulp” Roach underwent a colonoscopy without sedation. She’d been inspired by two photographs she came across in a medical journal.
One photo was of a colon’s interior. The second depicted Casa Mila, or La Pedrera, a Barcelona apartment building designed by architect Antoni Gaudi.
She wanted to see, she said, her own internal Gaudi.
At the risk of being serious, Roach is gratified to see greater awareness of the importance of colonoscopies. But what does Roach think of the practice, sometimes seen, of Facebook users posting photos from their procedures?
“The photos have to be interesting,” she said. “They can’t be just another colon.”
Roach speaks at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, also at 14 W. 10th St. For more information on either author, go toKCLibrary.org.