Dec 312013
 
Teaching in Dubai in October 2013, thanks to Food Blogger Connect.

That’s me, lucky enough to teach a food writing workshop in Dubai this past year, thanks to Bethany Kehdy and Food Blogger Connect. From there, I vacationed in Jordan and Israel. (Photo by Owen Rubin.)

At the end of 2013 — my fourth year as a blogger — I’m taking time to say how grateful I am to have you as a reader. Whether you’re a frequent commenter or you’ve never left a note, I’m thankful you’re here. 

To be honest, sometimes I’m surprised that anyone wants to read, considering how much Continue reading »

Dec 242013
 
Carolynn-Carreno

Freelance writer and cookbook collaborator Carolynn Carreño, with her beloved dog Rufus. Do you notice that, like her advice, this photograph tells a story that is uniquely hers?

A brainy freelance writer, high-end cookbook collaborator,  and three-time James Beard journalism award nominee, Carolynn Carreño blogs  atCarolynn Carreno.wordpress.com and the Huffington Post. I tracked her down for this frank and wide-ranging interview about food writing and her own path to success: 

Q. You come across in your bio and writing as a totally food obsessed person.  Did your  writing come from that obsession?

A. Definitely. I had no intention of being a food writer. I started before blogs, and being a food writer was for stuffy old men who worked for Gourmet. I couldn’t relate to a lot of food writing because I thought it was for people who travelled and stayed at fancy hotels.

I was writing mostly for Seventeen magazine, lots of personal essays. Food started to make its way into my stories, through my family. Then I pitched a story about my dad, who had a restaurant, to Colman Andrews at Saveur. He got back to me 13 months later.  He said he was interested in Continue reading »

Dec 172013
 

Do you make a list of what to buy friends and family at the holidays? What about your own wish list?

On my desk is a list of names I wrote by hand on a long, yellow lined sheet. I’ve checked off all of them now, which is good because Hanukkah is long gone, and Christmas is a week away.

My personal wish list is new. I started it last year, buying myself one (pricey) book I’ve coveted in December, and vowing to do so every year. In 2012 it was the cookbook Plenty, since I already had Jerusalem, and have been enjoying both ever since.

This month I’ve been lusting for The Most of Nora Ephron, a collection of her work, published posthumously. Ephron was my writing hero: sassy, funny, and so right about women, love, and politics. At $35, it’s a tome, but I bet the pages aren’t as yellowed as her old paperbacks on my shelf. There’s a section on food writing, including Continue reading »

Aug 202013
 

Passive voice would mean writing something like “the melon slices, quartered figs and goat cheese are added to the salad.” Why isn’t the person doing the action identified? After all, it will be you.

In every writing class or book about writing, it says: Avoid passive voice. (Passive voice is when you don’t identify the person or thing doing the action. It’s considered lazy and imprecise, everything that recipe writing is not.)

I do my best to remove it when I edit. Yet I read dozens of published recipe instructions like this in Continue reading »

Apr 232013
 

Anthony Bourdain says he never tried to write for readers.

While paging through my copy of Kitchen Confidential recently, a quote from Anthony Bourdain struck me. Here it is, in an interview at the back of the book:

“I don’t get it. When I wrote Kitchen Confidential, my busines model was, ‘I Don’t Give a Shit,’ and I’m trying very hard to keep that as my operating business model. I never, ever think, what will they like, what do they expect, what should I do next.”

Now, I adore Bourdain’s writing. I could argue that he did give readers what they wanted: passionate, colorful stories written with fierceness and humor. Who wouldn’t like that?

But he was writing memoir, not “service writing.” That’s mostly what I do. It’s probably mostly what you do too. This type of writing tells readers how to do something, like Continue reading »

Apr 102013
 

You’ve thought about entering. You mean to apply. But somehow the deadline goes by and you haven’t sent in your best stuff.

This year will be different, because I’m giving you lots of notice. The deadline to send your best pieces of writing to The Best Food Writing anthology for 2013 is May 1, 2013. Your writing must have been published between June 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013. (If your piece will appear after May 1, email editor Holly Hughes, at best.food@perseusbooks.com to warn her it’s coming.)

So think about it. Sift through your work to see what stands out and what has relevance for a wide audience. Hughes considers book excerpts, articles and blog posts. She has published The Best Food Writing collection since Continue reading »

Mar 192013
 

Should writers write for free, for exposure, or for fun? Or maybe all three? Everybody has an opinion, sometimes heated.

An argument about getting paid for online work erupted recently, when a respected journalist blogged about an Atlantic Wire editor who asked to repost a long article online for free.

What’s unbelievable is that just a few years ago, the Atlantic magazine offered him $21,000 per article for original reporting, and now they’re offering him nothing in exchange for “exposure.”

Here’s the scoop from Reuters blogger Felix Salmon:

“The exchange has particular added poignancy because it’s not so many years since Continue reading »