In case you’re collapsing in raptures from the sheer brilliance of that headline, let me quickly come out with it. It is not an original. Merely one lifted off a book. This book. (Er, the one hidden beneath the Julia Child one, actually.)
I was so excited to have been gifted these books over the last few weeks that I think it has pushed me to read and get through my books faster. So this past weekend, I finished Will Write for Food by Dianne Jacob. It is a guide to all things food-writing, from blogs to photography to recipe development to memoir writing to getting published to being a freelance food writer to reviewing restaurants — phew, if its about food and writing, its covered. And that got me mighty excited. But as I ploughed through the first few chapters, I found that it was a little too generic, and goes back to the very beginning — like how does one start a blog, what is the best blogging service, how does one buy webspace. And if you’ve been a blogger/food-blogger for a while, it sort of makes you want to flip through and get to the fun parts — the parts that are unknown to you. But I persevered, because I wanted to know it all. And though a lot of it felt a little too amateur and like it was for beginners (which, in Dianne’s defence, it is), in the latter half of the book, I was totally absorbed.
Dianne does a smart thing by dividing the chapters intelligently and also making each chapter a complete standalone section in itself. So if there is just one part of food-writing that interests you, you could technically jump straight into that and read through, shut the book and be done with it. Every section is also replete with references to other books, well known food writing sites and quotes by some of the most well known and loved bloggers and writers we have all loved and followed. Smitten Kitchen, Pioneer Woman, Joy the Baker, Julia Child, David Lebovitz, Anthony Bourdain, included. Every chapter also has writing exercises that Dianne strongly urges one to do, but most of them seemed a little basic for me. I have been a blogger for far longer than I have been a food-blogger, so I was more drawn towards the sections that are unknown to me, rather than those I have already waded through by experimentation and trial and error.
The parts that really had me hooked, and this is where Dianne does a good job by giving a holistic, honest picture, were the sections on writing a cookbook and memoir and non-fiction food writing. For a few months now I have had some half-baked ideas that I think might turn into decent books, but I am stuck at the point where all I have is a nugget of an idea, a stray thought, and I am unable to think of it as something larger, something that can fill an entire book. Now I have some idea about how to go about turning an idea into something larger, to see if it would work. Lots of food for thought, thought for food.
This book could not have come to me at a more appropriate time. That it was gifted to me by someone who follows the food-blog, warms my heart even more.
As soon as I was done with Will Write for Food, I picked up My Life in France, and I am racing through it. I don’t know if it is because it is Julia Child, or if it is my bias towards Paris, or that I find her story just so fascinating — this is the first unputdownable book, I have read in a while. But more on that soon.
I’m happy to think of this as some sort of universe-sending-me-a-sign type occurrence that since the start of this year I was gifted three books by two different people, all related to food and writing. And I have happily added them to my list for the year, which already includes three other books on writing, one other on food-writing and, two more about the food and life in Paris/France.
Am the only one seeing some sort of pattern here?