I fell for “Piechiatrist” Kate McDermott recently, even though I had known her casually for years. I had never thought about how she found her voice. Then, while reading the introduction to her gorgeous cookbook, Art of the Pie, I read that [Read more…] about Q&A: How Pie Guru Kate McDermott Found her Voice
A guest post by Judith Newton
Since independently publishing my food memoir, Tasting Home: Coming of Age in the Kitchen (She Writes Press) in 2013, my book has won 12 book awards. Once Dianne found this out, she asked me to speculate about why.
Tasting Home, to give you some sense of the book, is a feminist coming-of-age story about overcoming childhood and other traumas. Cooking for and dining with others had been fundamental to this process. Each chapter [Read more…] about How I Won 12 Book Awards for My Memoir
I know, I used a big word in the title. Let me explain: “Anthropomorphizing” means to talk about a thing as if it is human. Like the objects in this image.
Why do food writers do it? Mostly, they humanize inanimate objects, almost always fruits and vegetables. They don’t seem to write this way about meat and seafood, although companies do. Charlie Tuna is still around. That’s even more creepy, since a fish used to be alive in a way that’s more obvious to us than produce.
Maybe this issue will make more sense if you read some writing that annoys me.
Here are 4 examples of anthropomorphizing food. See if you find them disturbing:
- Bon Appetit magazine: “Swaddle your greens gently but firmly; it’s what they like.” How does the writer know that greens like to be swaddled? Did they tell her? This would be a first. And scary. Also greens are not babies, if that’s not obvious.
- Ruth Reichl: “… an absolutely perfect crust filled with fruit that actually sings to you.” Nope. The fruit can’t “actually” do that. It’s dead. Fruit doesn’t have a mouth, face, or lungs either. Gross. (And don’t get me started on using the word “perfect.”)
- From a cookbook that will stay anonymous, because I know and like the writer: “Avocado plays well with…” Slices of avocado, or even a whole avocado, cannot play with anyone or anything. They’re inanimate.
- San Francisco Chronicle: “It’s clever to put the onions in the bun and to shred the cool crunchy ingredients so they equally inform each bite.” Ingredients cannot inform you. They can’t talk.
I have written a sentence like the one in Number 4 before. I admit that I’ve read sentences like that and copied them. It’s normal to do that as a writer because, when you’re learning, you think that’s how you’re supposed to write. But sometimes you’re copying bad writing, even if you see it elsewhere and try to rationalize that it’s good.
Sorry to talk about death and all. It’s not my usual topic. But really, why do some food writers feel they have to make our food seem human? That’s not an appetizing idea at all.
A guest post by Amelia Levin
No, it’s not Bon Appetit or Saveur or Food + Wine. It’s trade food magazines like FSR, Plate, Restaurant Business, Restaurant Hospitality, restaurant development + design and Foodservice Equipment & Supplies.
Welcome to the world of food trade magazines. These are magazines written for people in the industry (also called business-to-business), not consumers.
This blog post came about after I [Read more…] about 5 Reasons to Write for Trade Food Magazines
As I read through it, what struck me was the writer’s admonition to [Read more…] about 2 Bloggers Who “Burned It All Down” with Risky Writing
When Copyright Educator and Author Lesley Ellen Harris asked if I had any copyright questions for a blog post, I put the word out on social media. Food writers asked several questions. Lesley has generously answered them — in plain English.
Here are 8 answers to copyright questions about recipes and books:
1. When someone re-publishes my recipes word for word (headnote, instructions, variations, etc.) without attribution, I usually write to them and try to work it out. But if that goes nowhere, is there a legal avenue?
Copyright law doesn’t protect the list of ingredients in a recipe. However, the language used to describe the recipe’s instructions and the headnote are protected by copyright. Attribution may be a [Read more…] about 8 Answers to Copyright Questions About Recipes and Books
Want to write the kind of food-based personal essay that delights an editor and an audience?
Of course you do. So for research, get The Best Food Writing 2016. I’ve paged through a few beautifully-written entries, but it will take several delicious hours to devour the whole anthology. (Disclosure: An essay I wrote was included.)
What makes a personal essay eligible in this year’s edition? Says Editor Holly Hughes, she chose pieces based on trends, those that reacted against trends and food snobbery, those based on the foods we eat together as a family, and essays about the human connection.
Right there, I hope you got lots of ideas for stories. Now, on to the craft of writing.
What can you do to up your personal essay game? Implement these eight writing techniques:
1. A strong voice. Your voice is what differentiates you on the page. It’s your personality, a way to make your story unique from everyone else’s. Therefore, if everyone else is writing [Read more…] about 8 Techniques for Writing Personal Essay