I published this last year in the Huffington Post on September 24, 2012, and it got such a strong response, I’m reposting it. Also I’m under the gun for two major book projects and two freelance assignments all due at once for some reason, not to mention sundry book promo interviews; I guess summer is over and fall is officially here. Sigh.—M.R. The Importance of Food? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and not least of all because I’ve always strived to distance myself from the pigeonhole called “food writer.” Food is important, obviously. If we don’t have it, we die. Writing about something so important should need no justification. And yet if I were called, say, an “environmental journalist,” wouldn’t that sound somehow more substantial, more serious than being a “food writer”? Read On »

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It made so much sense the second I read it. One of those “of course!” moments. It was, not atypically, while reading Michael Pollan in his NYTimes magazine story a few years ago about how no one cooks anymore (really?). Certainly in the 1980s and 1990s most of the country relied on reheating already-cooked food for their meals. And perhaps as a result, at least in part, we became a grossly obese country where seemingly the only people who dieted were the people who were already thin, and the rest made increasingly bizarre, unsustainable stabs at it. A physically sick country, a confused country—don’t get me started. The “of course” moment. It didn’t come from Pollan, but rather from a researcher he interviewed, Harry Balzer, who works for the market research behemoth NPD, and studies all kinds of Read On »

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Tracy Jones, executive director of the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. Photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman. October 14, 2012, Cleveland Heights—I’ve just walked home from a brunch held by a neighbor, and now friend, Susan Zull, to benefit the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. In 2000, I lost one of my closest friends, Rusty King, who was my news-writing mentor and advocate when he was a copy editor on the National desk at the New York Times and I was a little scut copyboy most editors didn’t see unless they shouted “COPY!” (Rusty’s fellow copy editors, @FromCarl and @EricAsimov, were also there and were wonderful to us urchins as well—thank you, guys! And where is Jeanne Pinder, who was on Foreign, and on whom I had a crush?) So that’s why I was in a Read On »

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As I’ve said before, the best things happen when you get carried away.  Two people who share this view are Diane Cu and Todd Porter, photographers and filmakers, aka whiteonricecouple.  Two weeks ago, at the BlogHer food conference in San Farancisco, they asked to film me talking, I’m still not sure why.  Diane said she wanted to film me thinking. I thought that was going to be kind of difficult. I’d just come from the concluding keynote panel with glutenfreegirl and orangette, two people I really admire, and had a few minutes before heading to a bacon curing demo orchestrated by Elise.   I’ve got no excuses other than the six cups of coffee before the panel. The book of which I speak, is Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, by Harvard Anthropologist Richard Wrangham. Read On »

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