Food Writing

“One of the delights of life is eating with friends; second to that is talking about eating.  And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends”.  – Laurie Colwin, from Home Cooking

My friend, Nicole, and I call our food talk, “talking dirty”.  Pictures I take of dinner before I put it on the table and email to her will most likely carry the subject line, “more food porn”.  Describing to Nicole what I made for dinner over the phone or what I had in a restaurant or talking about the food we are eating as we’re eating it, unintentionally takes on this hushed, almost salacious tone and is pretty much my favorite thing to do in the world.

Turns out my second favorite thing is READING about food.

There are a few books I keep on the shelves that I circle back to every few years.  Reading them is like touching base with an old friend.  Their voices are reliable, grounded, familiar.  This is probably my sixth or seventh go-round with Home Cooking.  To me, this book is the perfect combination of Colwin’s compelling voice and a topic she clearly loved (food)– and how you can be writing about food (or anything), but really be writing about other things (like life, or love).

To be honest, I have never used any of the recipes from the book, but that’s not what this book is about for me.  While I’m reading, I feel like I’m front row in a master writing class.  It’s magic, really: how someone can write about Baked Eggs or Steamed Chocolate Pudding and make it riveting.  The backstory of her unexpected death by heart failure in her sleep one night at age 48 somehow creates another layer of meaning for me.  Her enduring voice (still so clear) feels especially poignant. That she wrote about food and home and family and friends with such love, even more so.

I like this article written about her life and writing (click here).

Another book with great Food Writing is this:

Rachel gave this to me last summer for my birthday and I kept picking it up and reading it all summer.  Have I made any of the recipes?  you ask, confused.  No.  Don’t you get it?  I really really like food writing.  (I should mention that Rachel made the Olive Oil Bundt Cake from this book for her son’s birthday party I attended over two years ago, and I haven’t stop thinking about it, thinking maybe one day I might actually make it, too. . .)

I’ve picked this book up again. It feels especially summery and even if I don’t explicitly use the recipes, I love summer cooking and feel inspired to fire up the grill and let all the fresh flavors from all those summer vegetables speak for themselves (the Frankies would encourage me to do this).  Find the book here.

Three blogs with some really juicy food writing (along with gorgeous photography) I visit for inspiration:  (I have even actually used the recipes to create real food to feed my family)


Smitten Kitchen

101 Cookbooks

4 thoughts on “Food Writing

  1. Erin –
    I just came back from Barcelona and we took pictures of all the food before we ate it!! I get the “food porn!” so funny.


  2. Ha, Erin! I relate to soaking up the ideas without actually DOING any of the cooking. It’s satiety by osmosis. Or sumthin.

  3. Years ago I read all of Laurie Colwin, and when I found out she passed away I was so sad. Her words are so soothing, and her ability to connect food with family is really touching.

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