In my 30 years as a food journalist I’ve written articles about almost everything in the culinary world. What’s in season. What’s new. Holiday specialties. How-tos. And I’ve written about cookware and cookbooks and kitchen tools and about diets and health food.
I’ve seen trends come and go, new ingredients and new varieties of old ingredients appear in the market and so on and so on and so on. There’s a serious side to food journalism and I am proud to be part of it.
But what I have always found most appealing is the personal side of food writing. And I think other people do too. Of all the comments, letters and email I’ve received over the years, most have to do with the pieces I wrote about my own experiences. Like the time my Dad tried to fix our old Milkshake machine and somehow there were two extra pieces he couldn’t put back. And the time when my cousin and I went fishing, using twigs and diaper pins because we didn’t have real fishing rods.
I think people are interested in this stuff not because they are necessarily interested in me or even in the recipes that I always provide at the end. It’s just that my memories evoke someone else’s. It feels good to remember that grandma always made macaroni and cheese when you came to visit. It makes you laugh when you think back about the time you watched your big brother eat his first raw oyster. It makes you feel emotionally attached recalling that your best friend showed you how to eat with chopsticks.
Food memories can make you chuckle or cry. They bring moments of poignancy. My first food memory is from when I was 5 years old. Now I have a lifetime full of them.