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looking for an essay that talks about being passionate about food

Zengarden Dec 8, 2006 12:03 AM

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. Robert Lauriston RE: Zengarden Dec 8, 2006 12:10 AM

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

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      byrd RE: Robert Lauriston Dec 9, 2006 12:58 PM

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

      1. re: byrd
        prunefeet RE: byrd Dec 15, 2006 08:31 PM

        Yes yes yes

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      Mr. Cookie RE: Zengarden Dec 8, 2006 12:48 AM

      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
        MMRuth RE: Mr. Cookie Dec 8, 2006 12:49 AM

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

        1. re: MMRuth
          MaspethMaven RE: MMRuth Dec 19, 2006 05:31 PM

          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. re: Mr. Cookie
          Robert Lauriston RE: Mr. Cookie Dec 10, 2006 07:39 PM

          There's lots of Trillin online:


        3. Professor Salt RE: Zengarden Dec 8, 2006 01:37 AM

          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.


          1 Reply
          1. re: Professor Salt
            Dave MP RE: Professor Salt Dec 9, 2006 07:24 AM

            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. n
            nosh RE: Zengarden Dec 8, 2006 04:15 AM

            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.

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              orezscu RE: Zengarden Dec 8, 2006 04:58 AM

              I thought this was fun:


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

              1 Reply
              1. re: orezscu
                Aromatherapy RE: orezscu Dec 8, 2006 08:02 PM

                Thanks! Drones Club indeed...

              2. d
                Dave Feldman RE: Zengarden Dec 8, 2006 05:37 AM

                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.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Dave Feldman
                  applehome RE: Dave Feldman Dec 8, 2006 08:20 PM

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

                2. MichaelB RE: Zengarden Dec 8, 2006 01:09 PM

                  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. n
                    Nancy Berry RE: Zengarden Dec 9, 2006 02:44 AM

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


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                      oldhound RE: Zengarden Dec 9, 2006 08:05 PM

                      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.

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                        christy319 RE: Zengarden Dec 10, 2006 07:03 PM

                        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. n
                          niki rothman RE: Zengarden Dec 10, 2006 07:23 PM

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

                          1. o
                            orezscu RE: Zengarden Dec 11, 2006 05:57 PM

                            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.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: orezscu
                              niki rothman RE: orezscu Dec 15, 2006 06:14 PM

                              Calvin Trillin is also hilarious.

                            2. h
                              HillJ RE: Zengarden Dec 19, 2006 11:56 AM

                              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. h
                                HillJ RE: Zengarden Dec 19, 2006 08:57 PM

                                Also from Gourmet, Endless Feasts 60 Years of Writing.

                                1. s
                                  starkoch RE: Zengarden Sep 23, 2007 10:46 AM

                                  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.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: starkoch
                                    lintygmom RE: starkoch Sep 23, 2007 10:50 AM

                                    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. b
                                    Barry Foy RE: Zengarden Sep 24, 2007 08:17 AM

                                    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.

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