Friday, November 5, 2010

Dianne Jacob, What Are You Reading?

Writing coach, author, and freelance editor Dianne Jacob has given us the valuable and informative handbook for food writing Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More. The new edition, just released in July, won the Cordon D’Or International award for Best Literary Food Reference Book. Dianne started her blog last year when updating the book, and there, she covers freelance writing, blogging, recipe writing, ethics, and more. She is a judge for both the James Beard Foundation and for the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual cookbook awards. She is also the co-author of the cookbook Grilled Pizzas and Piadinas, with chef Craig Priebe, regularly edits cookbooks for national publishers, and has written for, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Gastronomica magazine. Dianne is busy with several upcoming writing classes, workshops, and signings which are listed on her site, but I managed to steal a moment of her time when I asked what are you reading?

At BlogHer Food in San Francisco recently, one of the best parts was when Shauna James Ahern attended my session on storytelling, and another was hearing her speak at the ending keynote. I have a copy of Shauna's new book, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes, written with her husband, chef Daniel Ahern. I read it like a novel. It tells the story of how they met, how she cooks for him, how he cooks for her, and their new life together. I enjoyed it as much as I love Shauna's long hugs. The joy of their new life together comes through with fierceness, honesty and poignancy. Even though she's the Gluten-Free Girl, this book is for people who love to cook, enjoy a good love story, and believe in food's healing powers.

Also while at BlogHer I met Georgia Pellegrini, author of Food Heroes: 16 Culinary Artisans Preserving Tradition. I found myself immersed in her passionate, well-researched profiles and impressed with her chef background at Blue Hill. Most of all, her writing is lively, sensuous and geeky in the most delightful way, and she lists no professional writing credentials. Damn. kicked myself for not thinking of such a clever book idea myself. But then, she travelled all over Europe and the US to find these beekeepers, persimmon massagers and seed savers.

I was in Chicago recently to give a talk, and spent at least an hour lost in a reverie in the beautifully-curated cookbook section of Unabridged Bookstore. It was there that I found the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, with a foreword by MFK Fisher. I had to buy it immediately, and turned to Toklas' infamous recipe for hashish fudge. I can't wait to read more, particularly when the chapters have such titles as "Dishes for Artists" and "Murder in the Kitchen."

Thank you for participating, Dianne. Check back to see who answers the question next time and what other books are recommended.

Previous WAYR posts:
Jaden Hair
Michael Ruhlman
Monica Bhide
Michael Natkin
Sara Roahen
Andrea Nguyen
David Lebovitz
Rick Bayless
Tara Austen Weaver
Mollie Katzen
Deborah Madison
Soup Peddler
Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan
Robb Walsh
Kim Severson
David Leite
Dan Lepard
Carolyn Jung
Joan Nathan
Melissa Clark


  1. I love the lists! I met Diane Jacobs at a conference recently. What a fabulous woman!

  2. I am very excited about her books. .lovely lists, amazing woman= fab

  3. Lots of reading ideas here today....

  4. I heard Dianne Jacob at BlogHer and she is such an awesome person. Loved that panel. And now I'm so happy to see what she's reading! Basically so I can go out and buy these books...immediately.

  5. Such interesting reads - love the sound of Food Heroes! I'm adding a ton of books to my wish list from your series!

  6. A great selection of books. I love discovering great new food books, though i have to admit, my collection is bigger than I'd like at this point LOL. Have a great weekend daaaahling!
    *kisses* HH

  7. Mmm, great reads here, always good to get fabulous reading recommendations.


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