{summer writing} food

"Lemon meringue pie illustrated recipe" Lucile's Kitchen
“Lemon meringue pie illustrated recipe” by Lucile at Lucile’s Kitchen

In some future “program” I shall have to add WI 22: Food.

Food illustrations seem like a fun way to go. I know they make me both hungry and envious (is there stick food illustration? other than Don Hertzfeldt). The above illustration by Lucile of Lucile’s Kitchen on Etsy is just one of many of her beautiful pieces, and only one kind of food illustration. “Lemon Meringue Pie” is obviously a Recipe, but you could create prints of one or a variety of vegetables, fruits, pastas, and herbs, etc. Does your cook make for a great portrait in the kitchen? How about a menu or a poster or a local or seasonal themed print?

After you check out Lucile’s Kitchen, take a look at They Draw and Cook, a site that features multiple artists and kinds of food illustration. Loved this mixed-media approach by iLDo.

Raspberry-rose brownie by iLDo
Raspberry-rose brownie by iLDo

Comic book artists create a different kind of narrative with their food-drawings.

Lucy Knisley talks and draws food in her travel narrative French Milk (Touchstone/Simon&Schuster, 2008) [my review] and her memoir Relish: My Life in the Kitchen (First Second 2013). Bake Sale (First Second 2011) by Sara Varon is for the young foodies, turning food into characters that bake and eat and share recipes.

I Can't Bake Cookies! by Alexis Watters
I Can’t Bake Cookies! by Alexis Watters

If strictly writing and eating are your thing… Recording recipes that accompany a narrative about how or where or why and why-not is a popular option. Break out the camera, or invite a photographer-friend over to cook and dine with you. Summer got away from us, but as a means to practice InDesign, we’ve asked Natalya to create/design a family recipe book. Photographs are a good accompaniment to recipes and family stories.

There are a lot of recipe books, food blogs and magazines to browse for ideas. Articles and styles vary from heavy on the technical details to heavier on the anecdote. It would be awesome to find someone to sponsor your critique/review of a local dining experience, but if you are eating out anyway… find some inspiration in your dining experiences.

Here is an article on “How to Write Like a Restaurant Critic” with some tips by David Farkas (whom I am assuming is respectable). Another option for tips here and here. They vary in opinion. I do not read much food-writing myself–but when I do… I lean toward as creative the non-fiction as possible.

Happy Hour around the World by Ohn Mar Win
Happy Hour around the World by Ohn Mar Win

I confess that Gail Guengerich is a friend of mine, but she is quite awesome in the food-writing biz. (actually, you will be disgusted to learn that she is quite good at this writing thing in general.) I want to share a few places to peruse her articles to see how well developing your voice can up the ante when writing about food. Her work at edible Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos; her latest for Alibi Weekly where she writes for the food page; and this at Edible Feast where she is actually writing about a cooking school. You really must read at least one: a sampling:

The whole place screams “indoor picnic!”(Which, fyi, is not illegal to yell in public, unlike some other things.)You order at the register than collect your own glasses, silverware and drinks, like a self-reliant adult. En plein air classics are the specialty—chicken salad, potato salad, ambrosia salad, deviled eggs, sandwiches. If you are a semantics purist who pooh-poohs the notion of picnicking indoors, fine—portable food is another specialty—grab a blanket, a friend, and go forth into our freakish landscape of prematurely budding fruit trees and showers of pollen.

It will be as if your fairly hip aunt from the Midwest (real or imagined) has packed your picnic basket. I say fairly hip because there is a smidge of embellishment to all of these dishes. The creamy-buttery chicken salad is larded with dried apricots, the potato salad is dressed up with bacon and dill, the carrot salad is sweetened and tossed with raisins.

A particular trick up Savory Fare’s sleeve seems to be slipping fruit into their dishes. (You can’t fool me, Savory Fare! I have eyes to see!) Sometimes they take it too far—the spinach salad with blue cheese, spiced pecans, bacon and mandarin oranges ($6.50) is served with a side of raspberry dressing in a color that should be reserved for lipstick and tulips. (“Savory Fare” Alibi Weekly March 2013)

You could write or illustrate from any point along the food-related spectrum; fictionally or non-. The opportunity for writing about food is too good to pass up. Consider it added to the menu.

{feel free to share your favorite food writers or illustrators in the comments}

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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