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2013-2014 Common Read Behind the Kitchen Door

A discussion guide for Behind the Kitchen Door, the 2013-14 Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Common Read, is online (PDF, 20 pages) offering one, two, or three 90-minute workshops for a Unitarian Universalist faith community.

In Behind the Kitchen Door (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013), author Saru Jayaraman reveals how restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America and how poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables. The author, who launched a national restaurant workers organization after 9/11, tells the stories of ten restaurant workers in cities across the United States as she explores the political, economic, and moral implications of eating out: What’s at stake when we choose a restaurant is not only our own health or “foodie” experience but also the health and well-being of the second largest private sector workforce—10 million people, many immigrants, many people of color, who bring passion, tenacity, and insight into the American dining experience.

Behind the Kitchen Door invites Unitarian Universalists to intentionally consider their practices in restaurant dining. It makes visible the lives of people who are subject to discrimination and oppression based on economic status, race, ethnicity, gender, and/or immigration status. Common Read groups are encouraged to let Behind the Kitchen Door inspire follow-up action, such as advocacy for just working conditions for restaurant workers, as part of a commitment to ethical eating. Use the UUA's economic justice resources to learn about minimum wage campaign and actions you and your congregation can take to help

Behind the Kitchen Door is available from the UUA Bookstore, with a discount on bulk orders (five or more books).

Behind the Kitchen Door

By Saru Jayaraman, Eric Schlosser

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The 2013-14 UUA Common Read, Jayaraman sets out a bold agenda to raise the living standards of the nation's second-largest private sector workforce-and ensure that dining out is a positive experience on both sides of the kitchen door.

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Cover: Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman.
Gover image for the Behind the Kitchen Door Discussion Guide