Last weekend I spent the day with food blogging friends new and old. We ate (of course!) but really, we came together to hear Dianne Jacob lecture on food writing, from restaurant reviews to blogging to cookbooks, using her book Will Write for Food. Since I’m recovering from a minor surgery I’m going to share with you the piece I wrote from Dianne’s prompt to use the senses. One bit of that gorgeous salad pictured above sent me into a writing freenzy!
Growing up as a picky eater is like wearing black t-shirts all the time. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either scenario, but there’s nothing terribly exciting, either. Color is chaos, it’s fireworks any day but the fourth of July. Now, a few days into eating without gluten, I’m beginning to wonder what else is out there for girls like me who have a sweet tooth in the morning. Out goes cereal dancing with berries, oatmeal crowding out a banana, wheat toast smothered in almond butter and draped with apples.
Consider instead a bright fruit salad, one all the more delicious because I didn’t have to peel the grapefruit or source the ripe avocados. But what almost stopped me in my tracks were the kumquats: I don’t even know what those are. Sure, I’ve heard of kumquats, but if you handed one to me I’d hand it back with a faint smile, assuring us both that I have no clue what I’m doing.
The tang of the grapefruit I recognize from when my mother would serve them with crystals of sugar sparkling in the morning light. Against that sourness the creamy texture of the avocados is welcome – to have both in one bite is why I live in California, where seasons are seasonless and I’m only just beginning to understand that the rest of the world doesn’t have our fruits year round like we do.
The kumquats are smaller than grapes; at first I thought they were cherry tomatoes (other than the fact that they’re as bright as tangerines). Unlike the grapefruit, they’re not peeled, and that’s a texture I’m not used to. It’s how I imagine an orange peel would taste if I were to ever eat one, the way I see some men suck on lemon rinds.
For more pictures and writing tips, please visit these lovely blogs:
- Gorgeous food photography from Averie at Love Veggies & Yoga
- The recipe for this salad from Stephanie at Recipe Renovator; Stephanie was also kind enough to share my essay in this post
- Ani from Confessions of a Foodie shares both glorious photography and a recipe for her to-die-for Brunch Casserole with Spinach, Ham, Egg, Bread & Cheese (rich, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth amazingness)
Naturally there was lots of food! I didn’t contribute a thing thanks to the nine-hour SDG&E blackout the night before which would have rendered my (planned) Chicken & Bulgur Wheat Salad unsafe for human consumption. Luckily, my fellow bloggers were more than generous with their dishes! In addition to Stephanie’s gorgeous salad and Ani’s strata, there was a cheese plate, Russian tea cakes, brownies with Oreo centers, a rustic beet salad, a refreshing strawberry sorbet, and a hearty lentil soup.
You can see from the broken binding and forest of Post-it notes that this is a well-read book!
Dianne worked with us on blogging, reviews, cookbooks, ethics, and more.
I’m never far from my iPad and iPhone … and can’t help wishing those cameras in the background belonged to me.
Lunch is served.
If you live in Southern California be sure to check out Dianne’s upcoming workshop; details here.