Food Blogs

3rd @ 32 by Zach Oden

Tiny Farmhouse by Amy McCoy

Hungry at Heart by Annakate Tefft Ross

Good Food Matters by Nancy Vienneau

Happy Yolks by Kelsey Brown

Remedial Eating by Molly Hays

Veggie Zest by Pallavi Gupta

Gherkins & Tomatoes by Cynthia Bertelsen

Food on Fifth by Teresa Blackburn

Writing on Travel and Food by Jane Lear

Two blogs by Meg Houston Maker

Writers for Dinner by Sarah Einstein and Dominik Heinrici

The Vanilla Bean Blog by Sarah Kieffer

Whisk and Pen by Peggy Wolff

Flourishing Foodie by Heather Hands

Dinner: a Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach

Not Without Salt by Ashley Rodriguez

Pie School by Kate Lebo

Food Loves Writing by Shanna and Tim Mallon

Home Economics by Amy Halloran

The Food Poet by Annelies Zijderveld

Food Politics by Marion Nestle

Feasting on Art by Megan Fizel

Pizza Goon by John Gutekanst

Rose Water & Orange Blossoms by Maureen Abood

Reading the Flavor by Alberto Giuseppe, Hardy Griffin, and Susan Cook-Abdallah

Chocolate in Context by Emily Stone

Paper and Salt by Nicole Villeneuve

Whisks & Words by Dana Staves

Eat This Poem by Nicole Gulotta

3rd @ 32

by Zach Oden

Alimentum is delighted to present Zach Oden's blog 3rd @ 32," which he describes: "A 32 year-old writer finds his 3rd grade creative writing journal. A workshop ensues." Below is a sample entry about “Foods in the fuathaer." Enjoy!

No date

(Estimated Date 9/18/90)

Foods in the Fuathaer

"I think foods hundred of years from now weal be the same because coke-a-calo has bin in besnas for over 50 years. I think that things will be the same do you?"

What to say of this brief entry? Perhaps there was some residual “Hauned Desk” fatigue from the previous day’s writing (I’m working off the supposition that these are all sequential, but there are an alarming lack of dated essays within this journal*, so my suspended belief is that this brief response was based on an assignment of the morning of September 18th, 1990, the day after the previous, dated entry) that account for the lack of content here.

(*Note to past self: get your shit together and start dating your shit, and maybe lose the homemade ninja turtles t-shirt, because while you may think a puff-paint Raphael is cool, you need to strive for a more somber, serious writerly persona if you ever want to “make it”.)

In your defense, it’s a pretty strange prompt, and I don’t hold it against you for holding back about the culinary changes that would possibly unfold in the next century. Eight-year olds tend to have a skewed perspective on time- the minutes between Reading and P.E., while only a little more than a heliocentric earth hour, are to a third-grader something something closer to four years of hard Sing Sing labor. And while you would one day grow into a man with a very adventurous palate, as a young buck you felt the need to accent most meals with ranch dressing, so it’s not exactly fair to saddle you with the burden of predicting the culinary shifts of the next 24 years.

I’ll forgive your ignorance of Marco Pierre White or Paul Prudhomme or John Besh, farm-to-fork movements, deconstructed cocktails, and the advent of massaged kale, rustic pickling trends, or sweetbreads. Likewise, as you no doubt bellied up to a hard plastic bench with your buds that day to dunk square, jaundiced pizza slices into the thick chive-chalk of ranch, you could not fathom the meal you would one day have at Kincaids in Santa Monica, where you would scarf beef carpaccio while watching sharks circle under the thick legs of the pier as the sun set, or the ceviche you ate with a plastic fork that cold morning at the market in Seattle, each bite making you realize you had been homesick for a dish you had never experienced, and how as you washed it down with a cheap white wine masked in a coffee cup at nine in the morning while your lover was still awash in sleep at the Roosevelt hotel down the street, and you thought that the world had turned to good, if only for a moment.

None of these things had happened yet, and how were you to make any grand predictions or hypotheses on the gastronomical turns the world had yet to make? It was beyond you, Young Buck. You were not seasoned in food.

You were right to think things are the same. More or less, they are. Cooking isn’t rocket science. It’s fire, spice, flavor, chemical reactions, instinct-the tools are pretty much the same as they have been, with twists and turns and collisions of ideas and cultures influencing dishes, families, chefs, people. What makes eating great, besides the carnal experience of it all, the sheer need to consume and burn energy and keep going on this whole thing, is the recollection of these first dishes, the mouth-feel of memory. What we hope is that the dish will be as good as that one time, in that one place, with that one person. What we crave from food is a present shared experience of the past, a communal conversation of history and culture and love and loss, or, in lieu of that, a new exciting formative event that will in some way shape the way we approach a dish or restaurant or place from that moment on, and eventually those too will be one with the bounty of remembrance.

You mention the eternal nature of Coca-Cola, and there is no more firm a rock to stand on in a food or drink sense, than that caffeinated Gibraltar. Clear Pepsi shook your foundation a few years after you wrote this, but you realized it was a bullshit gimmick pretty quickly, and you doubled-down on the hard and fast favorites of the family- Mom’s meatloaf, roasted chickens, and crockpot chuck roasts. Slow-simmering spaghetti left on low all afternoon, or skillet hamburgers, things cobbled together from mental notes made during evening you sat and watched her cook.

You were in sixth grade when you came home and whipped up your first meal, a full on meatloaf and mashed potatoes situation that was done when they got home from the newspaper, where they were both working against deadline. You would weigh that the potential negative consequences of not asking permission to use the oven and stove would be balanced out by a nice home-cooked meal, and in the end you were right. They came home and their latchkey kids had made them a meal, and not burned the house down, and even if it wasn’t the best, your mother and father sure did a great job pretending.

I like the tip of the hat to the Southern institution of Coca-Cola in the essay. It’s well known in the inner circles of the Alabama Baptist Seminary that Christ’s first miracle was turning water into carbonated, caramel soda (although it’s debated as to whether the addition of the singular peanut into the bottle was Paul’s doing, a kind of Damascus addendum that he tends to be known for). His last, and oft considered his near greatest, at least in the Northern sections of Dixie, was the arrival of Bear Bryant to the State where stars fell. Your mother would have already instilled in you that Coca-Cola and The Bear were fused together as one singular miracle, Amen, and to drive the point home she would often tell the story about him making his burly defensive line take early morning dance lessons at the University of Alabama so as to make them more agile on their giants’ feet. She would do this while flipping or stirring something on the stove, sipping wine, and pointing out the commemorative “Bear” glass bottles from the early ‘70s that rested atop the refrigerator. If there was an emergency, she said, we could drink them, that they would still be good. There was that kind of eternal gravitas to a glass bottled Coca-Cola, something that would still be there if we were to need it, and that it’s continued presence wouldn’t ever change.

In answer to your rhetorical turn at the end, I’ll tell you about a meal. Beef broth from a plastic spoon, many years down the road. A dark night in the Intensive Care Unit, which you hadn’t left for three days save for the occasional drive to your parents Tennessee home to shower. I’ll tell you how your hand shook, how nervous and awkward you were, how you fed your own mother too quickly, wanting it to be done. How you had to set the round brown bowl down and dabbled her chin with the scruff of a cheap paper towel and keep saying,

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

You, not knowing that you were apologizing for how sick she was, or how cold the soup already had become, or not knowing that it would be her last meal; for not knowing it for what any of it was, for thinking that things would never change all that much, that you could avoid the question indefinitely.