For the next installment of our Food Blogger Spotlight, we’ve got Dianne Jacob of Will Write for Food sharing a bit about her cooking and writing life. Though she’s relatively new to blogging, Dianne is a well known food writer whose work has appeared outlets such as Sunset, Gastronomica, Salon.com and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Dianne is perhaps most well known – among food writers, at least – for her first book, also called Will Write for Food. This is the definitive guide on how to become a food writer, written from her years of experience as a writer, editor and writing coach. I’d venture to say that many of us food bloggers have this book somewhere on our shelves. If you’re interested in learning from Dianne directly, you can also take her classes online at Leite’s Culinaria or in person at the Writing Salon.
Please welcome Dianne, and say hello in the comments!
We all have staples that we couldn’t live without. What three ingredients do you *always* have in your kitchen and why? I’m not talking snacks like chips and hummus, but rather ingredients you use all the time in your cooking.
Oils (mostly olive, peanut and canola), a million kinds of vinegars, and various shapes of organic whole wheat pasta from Safeway (voted No. 1 in a taste test recently). I tend to make a lot of Italian and Asian pastas and pasta salads, mostly vegetarian but sometimes with a little meat or a can of fish from the cupboard. I adore complex carbs, and I try to be healthy. As long as I go to the farmer’s market regularly, there’s usually something I can whip up with veggies and herbs.
Imagine you moved to the smallest apartment possible – a shoebox, really – and you only had room for a single cookbook. Of all your cookbooks, which one would you keep? Why do you love it so?
Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It’s comprehensive and elegant, full of practical information and luscious recipes. I’m always looking up how to use an ingredient, or finding inspiration in her recipe ideas. Plus, no matter how many times I’ve read the same information, I always enjoy how well-crafted her recipes are and her strong, lyrical voice.
When you’re looking for new recipes (or creating one of your own), what is your number one priority? What makes you pick one recipe over another?
Usually I cook from what’s at the farmer’s market, so I like seasonal recipes. I cut out a lot of recipes from the San Francisco Chronicle’s food section. They usually focus on what’s in season, and they seem to know what kind of dishes I like. Mostly Cal-Ital, I guess it’s called. I look for unfussy, boldly flavored dishes from Italy and from around the globe. I’ve gotten to the point where I have a pretty good sense of whether a recipe will work, and if not, how to fix it or modify it with a substitute ingredient.
Blogs have the potential to be so many things, from personal journals to outrageous adventure reports. What is the most important thing you put into your blog, and what is the most important thing you get out of it?
I’d like my blog to be a go-to resource for people who write about food, mostly bloggers. I’m making my way through the subjects that matter to them, including news, trends or a new way to look at writing or voice. The most important thing is to be a guide who makes them think. I love hearing from people in the comments. It’s a way to connect with readers without leaving my desk, and I’m always impressed by how thoughtful they are. Plus, the blog gives me an opportunity to write on a regular basis, something I’d stopped doing due to teaching and coaching.
Thanks for sharing, Dianne!
Here are some of my favorite posts from Dianne’s Blog, Will Write for Food: