Tag Archives: food

What we talk about when we talk about food: Everything!


My food writing workshop last Sunday (5/31) at the San Francisco Writers Grotto exceeded my wildest expectations! Not only were the 9 international participants totally interesting, worldly, and open, but they rose to every challenge gladly and graciously. Rather late in the game I asked them to bring dishes of personal or cultural significance to introduce themselves, and they provided delicious, funny, poignant feasts for all the senses. Both Ellen and I asked them to dig deep into their personal, family and cultural histories and share, and they did. It all proved that food is one of the primary ways ethnic groups are able to maintain identity and ritual in the larger society (which of course is also being transformed by these global food ways). 


Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.

–Jonathan Safran Foer

And our guest speakers were the cherries on top. Virginia Miller is SO delightfully, infectiously enthusiastic you must love her, and her journey from part-time blogger (The Perfect Spot) to full-time food and drink writer and editor for Zagat is unbelievably inspiring (she’s also one of the hardworkingest gals in food writing, so don’t try this at home, kids!). One of the coolest things she shared was her determination to develop her palate for every food; some things have taken her years to learn to appreciate, but “if an entire country can love it, why should’t I?” The dynamic, multi-talented director, writer, creative consultant Ellen Sebastian Chang led two wonderful writing/performing exercises – one about “sexy” food moments. For her, sharing a meal is an act of storytelling, just as choosing what and where to eat are political acts. After talking the talk, she walked the walk, feeding us a lunch from the innovative FuseBOX she runs with her husband partner, with some addictive add-ons like white miso cream cheese (!) and the most flavorful micro-sprouts I’ve ever tasted. Can’t wait to see both women again!



We use our love of food to access family, culture, and emotions

–Dianne Jacob

I thought my contribution would be my Finnish mummi’s blueberry tart with rye crust (in which the fruit-loving child in me make peace with the rye-tolerating adult in me), but I ended up starting a piece about the moment I became addicted to coffee, which is of course about so much more. 


Travel Writing Scholarship 2012 – Southeast Asia

Entries close April 23rd, 2012 at 2pm AEST (UTC +10).

Do you want to be a published travel writer?

This year we decided to shake things up a bit and instead of choosing just one country for our scholarship…we’ve decided to send you off to three different countries in Southeast Asia! Once on the ground, you’ll have the opportunity to see for yourself life beyond the banana pancake trail, and get to know Southeast Asia from the local perspectives, through the eyes of three amazing writers.

Here’s the triple-dip deal:

First you’ll head off to Singapore to go on assignment for five days under the mentorship of Rough Guides writer Richard Lim to review and update ‘The Rough Guide to Singapore’.

Then you’ll fly to Bali and meet up with Stuart McDonald, founder of Travelfish, the online travel guide to Southeast Asia, before heading off on six days of cultural insight and adventure in Indonesia.

For the last leg of the scholarship, you will be whisked off to Malaysia for a food odyssey through Kuala Lumpur and Penang with former local and cookbook author of award winning hsa*ba Burmese cookbook, Tin Cho Chaw, to explore how cuisine shapes the lives of Malaysians.

Tuesday’s Hot Pick: Feast of Words: A Literary Potluck

My new favorite event series:

SOMArts Cultural Center presents Feast of Words: A Literary Potluck, a monthly event that is part social, part reading series, and part inspiration for writers and foodies alike. Co-hosted by Irina Zadov and Lex Leifheit, Feast of Words takes place on the first Tuesday of each month. Each month features short writing exercises, shared food and featured culinary and literary guests.

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