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looking for an essay that talks about being passionate about food

This may sound like an odd request but I'm trying to teach my writing the group how to write passionately about food by using a variety of words, not just yummy or amazing.

Any help would be great. I really like Tony Bourdain's writing and would welcome something literate and out of the ordinary.

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  1. Lots of M. F. K. Fisher's essays would qualify.

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    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      there's mary frances and then there's everyone else.

    2. Calvin Trillin's food writing is memorable, tho usually has a comic twist. A.J. Liebling wrote some great stuff about food, too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Mr. Cookie

        Trillin's a great idea, and you might want to consider the recently departed Apple as well.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Agreed. Trillin is IMO more accessible for young writers than Fisher, if only b/c his vocab/ syntax is more current.

          Apple is a great example if someone who was an great oustanding writer, who, fortunately for us finally got to writing about food.

        2. Try this written by our own Thi N. This pretty much blows away anything ever written about Langer's Deli, including one by Nora Ephron.


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          1. re: Professor Salt

            I had never read that before, thanks for the link. That was a great post. I think I might have to try Langer's when I'm in LA next month...

          2. Go to your local library or bookstore and read the introduction written by Judy Rodgers to her Zuni Cafe cookbook.

            Read any of Michael Ruhlman's books, "Making of a Chef," "Soul of a Chef," or "Reach of a Chef," or scan his website for some of his blogs.

            Go to "The Delicious Life," Sarah's blog on blogspot. I particularly enjoyed the colorful descriptions in her review of Rick Bayliss's Frontera Grill in Chicago, from the fall of 2005.

            1. I thought this was fun:


              An old man on a diet who lives with an ambitious young chef. I like his style.

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              1. I think you can convince your group that "yummy" or "amazing" do not help explain what the writer experienced when he or she ate Food X. "Amazing" can describe a hot dog at Katz's or an outrageous confection at Alinea. Or a sunset. As a writer, your job is to share what you feel or think. If all of your descriptions are as fuzzy as "yummy," you simply can't succeed in your goal.

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                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  Of course, you could use the term "orgasmic" for Katz's...

                2. I think John Thorne is an extraordinary writer on food (and life), especially his more recent work in _Serious Pig_ and _Pot on the Fire_. The final essay in the latter book, "Last Gleaning," is a meditation on his father's passing and on their shared love of "secret eating," and it's one of the best essays I've read on any subject.

                  I also think that Jeffrey Steingarten is wonderful, though he's more of a love/hate proposition. He goes beyond passionate to full-blown obsessive, in the best possible way.

                  It's in a different vein, but Steve Almond's _Candy Freak_ is also great food writing. He manages to be equally perceptive about himself and about the people he interviews - lots of writers can do one or the other, but being able to do both is special.

                  1. A good source of great food writing is Leite's Culinaria. Here's the link:


                    1. Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, and More Home Cooking. Also, Elizabeth David's An Omelette and A Glass of Wine. Contrasting personalities and styles, both very worthwhile. Colwin was a New Yorker and about a generation younger than David, very much a Brit, who came to maturity during WWII.

                      1. Lots of good suggestions above but don't forget Jeffrey Steingarten! Both of his books are fantasic, funny and informative (as is his regular column in Vogue).

                        Gourmet routinely has great food articles. There is also the annual "Best Food Writing 200-".

                        If this is so she can write reviews, that might be a little different than writing essays. Luckily you can read reviews from the major papers online.

                        Also look at egullet.org-there is a whole forum devoted to food essays.

                        1. Calvin Trillin and Elizabeth David would be excellent to check out.

                          1. Elizabeth David should be filed under humor writing - her dress-downs and general musings are as biting and clever as you're likely to find anywhere.

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                            1. I'm currently reading "I Like You, Hospitality Under The Influence" by Amy Sedaris. If you enjoy humor with your food essay and a twist on hospitality..this is a newer offering.

                              1. Also from Gourmet, Endless Feasts 60 Years of Writing.

                                1. Just a thought but how about having them read some foodie's blogs. Some are very passionate about their food and well written, and others can be used as examples of what not to do.


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                                  1. re: starkoch

                                    I agree--it's so much more immediate and contemporary. Here's one: http://www.ohheygreat.com/leah/ -- the blogger teaches how to cook steak. Maybe they'll learn something about cooking, too!

                                  2. You'll find no better--or funnier--essay on eating, on food writing, and, in fact, on writing in general than Roy Blount Jr.'s "The Way Folks Were Meant to Eat." Find it in his recent book "Long Time Leaving: Dispatches from Up South," and I think bits of it may be online too.