Will Write For Food

I took someone into a fromagerie the other day and he was asking me to describe a perfectly ripe, oozing camembert cheese. “Musty gym socks”, “funky undies”, and “barnyard-like” don’t exactly sound appealing, but were the most accurate descriptions that came to mind at the time (looking back now, however, perhaps next time I need to do some pre-editing in my head). The trick to is to make something as special as a perfectly-ripened wedge of cheese sound so good that you can’t believe it will taste better than it smells.
Conveying an exact sensation is the difficulty of food writing. How do you describe something that you think tastes good, and make it sound good enough for someone else to want to taste as well? (and if you think “musty gym socks” or “funky undies” taste good, you’re at the wrong web site).

Dianne Jacob, a seasoned culinary journalist and instructor with a long string of success behind her, shares her secrets and suggestions while explaining what food writing is all about: how to succeed, how to get published, and what you can do to make your food writing more evocative and compelling.

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Will Write For Food is one of the best and most comprehensive workbooks I’ve read on this topic and if you’ve fantasized about writing about food or wanted to know what it was like to write a review restaurant or well-loved cookbook, read the suggestions she culled from experienced food writers like Russ Parsons, Anthony Bourdain, Deborah Madison, and Alice Medrich.
Heck, I’m even in there too!

3 comments

  • Heh, David, I actually designed clothing that says “Good Cheese Smells Like Happy Underpants.” I love old woodcuts, and found a wheel of cheese.

    Some people get it, others are offended. Tra la la. “Funky undies”?

    Ahem.

    Looks like a good book. I always appreciate Russ Parsons. He’s good at being not famous, but well-known and respected. His sense of humor and the scope of knowledge are constantly refreshing.

  • hmmm… something to include on my reading list, esp since you’re in there and i totally enjoy reading what you have to say here! :)

  • This is a terrific book! I have learned a lot from just a smattering of her exercises so far, especially the stuff on using metaphor. Brilliant. Don’t expect any sugar-coating when it comes to trying to make a living as a writer though, Dianne tells like it is.