I am an aspiring novelist and a passionate lover of food, both the cooking and the eating.
I also love to read about food.
One of my favorite, early, and recurring memories is of my beautiful mother, whom I adore, reading cookbooks in bed to better plan meals for our family of seven. A few of my favorites that shaped me are Moro: The Cookbook, The Herb Farm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld, and Appetite by Nigel Slater. Oh, and anything by Ina Garten and definitely the multiple editions of The Joy of Cooking. Oh, and Julia Child’s slimmed down magnum opus The Way to Cook.
And speaking of Nigel Slater … I also adore a good food memoir. His book Toast marked me, shook me, and shaped me, just has every single book written by Ruth Reichl. It was through her words that I learned about MFK Fisher, whose life inspired and inspires me.
And there are the food blogs that turn into food memoirs and then into films– most notably Julie & Julia, which led me to Julia Child’s My Life in France. Finishing that memoir made me feel the way I did as a child when I returned home from summer camp– to my 12 year old mind, the thought was that nothing nice would ever happen again.
And being a white woman of a certain age (ahem), I am new to the foodie delights of Instagram. But I recently discovered Violet Witchel and Alissa Nguyen, the Gaming Foodie, and they both inspire me to no end.
I also take great joy in the New York Times Cooking; there’s so much to love. The weekly newsletter “What to Cook This Week” from Sam Sifton (I adore the way he languages, as well as the recipes he chooses). His words are a consolation and an inspiration during the (many) weeks when, due to my other passions in higher education (I am currently a dean at a private liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest) I do little to no cooking … and definitely no writing. Still always a lot of eating, though! And the while the foundational recipes from the brilliant food composers (J. Kenji López-Alt, Eric Kim, and Melissa Clark, I’m looking at you) are fantastic, I devour the comments from reader-chefs for tips, tricks, tweaks, and modifications with a fervor that makes me feel excited about life and living and the pursuit of happiness.
Which leads me to why I created this blog.
More About Me
In 2010 I quit my job as a tenured faculty member in the English department at a two year college in Washington State. Inspired by my students and our learning in multiple courses– creative writing, Shakespeare, poetry, and drama– I yearned to write The Great American Novel (about Shakespeare). I cashed in my retirement and resolved to be like Faulkner when he left his day job– to treat writing like a 9 to 5 job.
For multiple reasons, this did not happen. In 2011, having careened through my savings, I returned to teaching. I was inspired to share what I had learned from my
failures lessons with my students: as adrienne maree brown writes in Emergent Strategy: “Never a failure; always a lesson.” I was also deeply in debt. For a while I burned the candle at both ends, trying to teach and write. But something in me was unhealed, which made this unsustainable.
What I do remember is my “WHY”: I really wanted to get this book out of me and into the world. But while I did a lot of writing, and a lot of words made it on to the page, none of them, at that moment, felt like the novel. The cleanse, I sensed intuitively, was vital to achieve that goal.
Doing the 21 day elimination diet, supported by the carefully curated supplements and protein powders, was a revelation (just as Julia Child’s Baked Cucumbers were for Julie Powell). I got the list of foods I COULD eat and had a blast composing meals and dishes in a completely new way. I kept a blog about it on blogger under the pseudonym Sophia Moore, the narrator of my novel. “Ah,” my dear friend Marcie noted. “The Wise Fool.”
Yet while my novel remained unwritten, so many other changes came about.
I lost so much weight that a former colleague, when I ran into him at a conference (that I was in charge of, she adds modestly), literally did not recognize me. And it was the first time since I went to college that I did not drink every single day.
And in 2013, I got a new job– my dream job.
About this Blog
Fast forward to spring of 2023.
I recently have had a lot of life changes. The short version is I left my old dream job for a new dream job. And in between I returned to my novel and the the 21 Day Cleanse.
And just as the cleanse finished, along with new revelations and epiphanies, I returned to this area of the world for my new job– specifically Portland, OR.
So my life, at this moment, is characterized by a series of returns and recursions and synchronicities that feel Jungian and divinely inspired and … delicious.
This blog is a return to so many things.
But namely, I want to return to recipes. I want a place to curate all the dishes I have read about and cooked and eaten and written about previously.