You may have read about Rose Edelstein on this site last year. The creation of USC professor and noted author Aimee Bender, this fictitious 9-year-old, a supertaster if there ever was one, learns in Bender's novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, that — magically, realistically — she can taste the emotions and experiences of those who prepare the food she eats. Both burden and blessing, this goes for factory-farmed chicken nuggets as well as her mother's lemon-chocolate cake.

Fans of the book (and last year's Squid Ink interview with the author) will be happy to know Bender is appearing at a Friends of the USC Library Literary Luncheon on Thursday, Oct.18.

In last year's interview, Bender discusses being harangued by the “cake police,” trying, with the help of therapist friends and family members, to “diagnose” Rosie, and enjoying kale chips. Presumably, she'll be able to comment on follow-up questions as well as brand-new ones.

We haven't read the book (yet!), but we're wondering if the process would work for food no one had any role in preparing. A bite from an apple plucked from a cultivated tree might conjure up the mental state of the farmers who planted and tended it. But what about purely wild foods? Would one be tormented by the emotions of whatever frantic bird happened to drop a few seeds into hospitable earth?

For those who wish to attend, there is a complicated menu of options. If you want to go to the lunch and the lecture (and also pay for parking), you owe $65. If you're a Friends Member, you owe $50 for the same thing. If you're a Trojan Family Weekend guest, you also owe $50. If you're a USC student, you pay $25. If you don't want to eat (I mean, it might be a little disturbing), the lecture is free (parking, however, is $10). Whew. At any rate, RSVP here.

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