Food Writing — It’s Not Just About Food

on September 25, 2015

Kim Severson, December 2009 - from www.popmatters.com

 

Last week I hopped a plane to Seattle for the annual International Food Bloggers Conference. This is a gathering of 300–400 like-minded folks who are passionate about food. This passion is conveyed through food blogs, columns, cookbooks, and photography.  Attendees include new bloggers who are eager to learn more about the mechanics of blogging as well as experienced writers, who are looking for new and fresh ideas for their blogs.  The photographers are eager to get that perfect shot of a delicious cocktail, dish, or other treat.  All in all the conference is centered around two connected themes —  food and writing.

As a second year attendee, I was eager to learn more about my industry. I too am passionate about food. I love eating it, cooking it, shopping for it, writing about it, and I read cookbooks like novels. Food is memories and I enjoy being around others who love to create those memories.

The first keynote speaker was Kim Severson from The New York Times. She entertained the group with her dry wit as she shared great insight into writing.  A few notable tips:

  • “If you’re not composing, you’re composting.” Write with a purpose. Words can be fluff or they can be meaningful. What we eat means something. As a writer, I strive hard to make sure what I share about my food experiences and that my recipes mean something more than a decadent dish.
  • “Report with humility, write with authority.” Writing a food column means research. I am thrilled to learn something new about a particular meat, sauce, or cocktail. I want to share the information with the authority of one who has created the recipe, tested, and changed it as needed. I also feel this way about the food scene in Juneau. As the food writer for Capital City Weekly, it’s important to me that I am correct in my reporting regarding the changing food scene in Juneau.
  • “…purveyors of information means responsibility.” This goes hand-in-hand with item 2. When I share a recipe, whether mine or from a fellow blogger, readers can be confident that I have made the recipe. Likewise, when I write about a restaurant or dining experience, I am not being comped my meal. It is essential I maintain an unbiased position. I’m also old school. My mom raised me with the old adage “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I’m not a restaurant critic, I am a dining enthusiast, which means I eagerly share the best of what I know with those who are interested.

So, what does this mean coming from a food tour operator? For guests on the tour, this means that when you choose to join us on a JFT tour, you can rest assured that I did my homework. That I made sure each tasting location represents the best in Juneau’s dining. That is why I say the tour is real Alaskan food by real Alaskans.  I know when visitors come to Alaska’s capital city they are seeking a dining experience off the beaten path, and it is my goal to deliver that experience.

Although the summer season is ending, work in the culinary world continues whether through on-going education, new tours, or just a great dining experience.  As the owner of Juneau Food Tours, I invite you to follow me on my culinary adventures through this blog, Facebook, and Twitter. I look forward to a great winter!

Wishing you a tasty day,

Midgi

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