Woo Hoo! I’m Teaching in Dubai

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The recently-opened Dubai International Writers’ Center, which hosts talks, coaching and workshops.

I’m thrilled to return to Dubai, that hot, impossibly complicated and dizzying place of high rises, including the world’s tallest building. It was more than 100 degrees on my first trip in September 2013, and it will be about 100 degrees later this month. Sense a pattern? I’m packing light.

Last time I was a guest instructor for Bethany Kehdy, who runs [Read more…]

How Denise Vivaldo Uses Optimism to Develop a Thick Skin

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Denise Vivaldo doesn’t let other people define her.

You’re doing fine until someone makes a snide remark on social media. Then a literary agent says your book idea won’t sell, and two editors haven’t responded to your story pitches.

Soon you’re having trouble getting through the day.

What you need is a mini Denise Vivaldo on your shoulder. This successful food stylist and food writer is one of the most optimistic people I know. She seems to let slights, criticisms and rejection slide right off.  I thought I should interview her to find out how she does it:

Q. You say you have thick skin. How do you define that?

A. I got a thick skin early in life and it has worked for me. As a child I danced and by the time I was eight or nine years old, I was already [Read more…]

Keep Up! Read These 17 Useful Links for Food Writers And Bloggers

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Peaches in April! Thanks to climate change, these appeared at my Oakland, CA farmer’s market last weekend.

Who has time to keep up with everything going on in our food writing world?

You do! Just click on the peachy links below, especially the fun ones.

This list first appeared in my last quarterly newsletter, a free compendium of links for food writers and bloggers. If you’d like to subscribe, please sign up here. If you’re already a reader, thank you! Here we go:

1. Wondering who’s selling the most cookbooks? Here are the bestselling cookbooks of 2014. As usual for the last few years, Ree [Read more…]

Cookbook Giveaway: The Good Pantry

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Pancake and other dry mixes are a feature of  Cooking Light’s The Good Pantry.

I don’t know about you but my pantry is out of control.

There are pestos, frozen kaffir leaves, and stocks bulging out of freezer drawers. Little jars of unfinished sauces linger in the fridge. Costco bags of nuts, frozen berries, and fish snooze in the chest freezer downstairs.

And don’t even ask how many kinds of oils and vinegars I keep in the cupboard in a Lazy Susan, along with [Read more…]

Are Food Writers Privileged? I Am

Here I am, eating bonbons all day as a sponsored writer. Heh.
Here I am, eating bonbons all day as a sponsored writer.

There’s been lots of talk on my blog lately about money and food blogging. (See post about Adam Roberts and Amy Sherman’s post.)

But one thing people don’t talk about is the privilege of being a food writer, where earning money is a secondary ambition for many – not because they’re hobbyists, but because they don’t have to earn a living.

This story on Salon about obfuscating the circumstances that let us write [Read more…]

You Got a Free Cookbook! Now What?

Package-in-the-mailPublishers send lots of cookbooks to food bloggers, hoping for publicity. If you choose to write about a book, they might supply images and recipes. If you’re not going to write about it, they might say: how about a shoutout on social media?

Do you owe them something in exchange for this free book? If so, what?

This is an area of confusion for many food bloggers. You want to be nice and do the right thing. But understand that, first of all, you owe them nothing.

Even if you requested a book, you are entitled to read it and decide not to [Read more…]

Do You Know These Five Essentials of Food Memoir Writing?

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Kathleen Flinn has published three acclaimed food memoirs.

A guest post by Kathleen Flinn 

Who writes three food memoirs? Before they’re 50 years old, no less? There’s me, Ruth Reichl, Nigel Slater… it’s not a long list. Food memoirs are tricky, though. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way:

1. Conflict drives narrative.

Your grandmother might have made beautiful dumplings. You may be obsessed with kumquats. But does your story pass what my journalism mentor called the “Who Cares” test?

Ultimately, readers keep turning pages because they want to find out [Read more…]