Let us be clear right from the beginning – my cooking credentials aren’t, in any way, what would be called official. I have considerable experience with food as an eater, a writer and researcher. In fact, culinary content is a sort of specialty of mine. I happily supply cooking tips for a number of well known food websites, used to review restaurants for a regional online hub, talk about food on the local radio show and write on food and travel for sites such as British Airways’ The Club, Food 52 and BuzzFeed.
I’m no threat to any past, present or future participant in Next Food Network Star, Iron Chef, or Great British Bake-Off. I do occasional give in to the urge to bake and am happy to serve as @dungeekin’s sous chef. But I am not a trained chef or nutritionist. I have never worked professionally in a kitchen and the handful of times I took on the role of waitress are probably best left quietly in the past.
No, I am a professional wordsmith who loves to eat, has a passion for food history and who delights in finding connections between food and other aspects of culture and society. I have a culinary library that brings me hours of enjoyment, a husband who loves cooking as much as I love eating, the opportunity to explore the culinary delights of many lands (especially now that I’ve moved to the UK and Europe is a mere hop, skip and jump) and fabulous foodie friends. What more could a girl want?
Deborah / nycdeb – writer, eater and Gotham Gal Abroad
I am an English-American, living in London. A globetrotting childhood thanks to parents in the Foreign Service meant that I grew up seeing a lot of the world but tasting very little of it. (“The State Department recommends that, for safety’s sake, you rely on supplies from the Embassy Commissary.”) I’m now on a mission to make up for lost time.
I want to learn all I can about food – from how to prepare it to what it means culturally, historically, and personally. The physical sense aside, is there really such a thing as “good taste” when it comes to food? What is comfort food, and to whom? My idea of the perfect nosh on a cold winter’s afternoon or night of blackest depression could very well drive your appetite into hibernation, or your heart into terminal failure. Why do some people always order the same dish whenever they eat out, and others never order what they can cook at home? I am now so emotionally tied to my own Bolognese recipe that I would never order it in a restaurant. Even in Bologna.
I believe that all food can be fabulous. It can be the grandest fining-dining experience, the greasiest burger or the bizarre concoctions you dream up when you just can’t be bothered to leave the house. Of course, all food can also be appalling. From the hideously over-priced restaurant to the meals your loved one scorches on a weekly basis.
I can’t say precisely when or why it happened but I think about food all the time. I started out as one of those children who would only willingly ingest three things – in my case, ham, strawberry milk, and raw onions. Did I mention a somewhat lonely child? – and somehow ended up as someone who will proudly try anything before announcing that it shall never pass their lips again. I don’t think I’ve missed a TV cookery show in the last decade, and had I the funds, my walls would be covered with every cookbook or book about food ever printed. I don’t think I’ll rest until I’ve tried just about everything.