What Makes For Great Food Writing? We’ll Tell You.

hrn_logo_smallLast week Edible Manhattan publisher Brian Halweil wrote about his hope for the future of food writing: Which as he saw it is pretty bright considering that more than ever, we’re looking at food less as filler for newspaper lifestyle sections and more as lens into topics like culture, politics, policy, agriculture, history or poverty.

Granted, we still geek out over a great dish like anybody else — say, did you check those Texas breakfast tacos in today’s Times yet? — it’s the stories about food that go deep that drive what we do at Edible Manhattan. And in fact, that taco story does too: Written by the excellent Southern writer John T. Edge, who we toured Koreatown fried chicken joints with just a few issues back, it puts Texas breakfast tacos squarely in context in terms of tradition and city cultural history. We approve!

But that’s Texas. Here in New York, in our opinion, the city’s current best food writers include four women who just joined me on our Heritage Radio Network show, which airs tonight at six, to talk about what makes for good food writing. They are Ava Chin, who blogs as The Urban Forager for the Times and is a journalism and writing professor at CUNY College of Staten Island; Indrani Sen, a freelance writer on food and other subjects who teaches at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism; Annaliese Griffin, who is the editor of Brooklyn Based, an excellent email newsletter about the borough and also helps manage The Local, the Times’ new blog about Fort Greene and Clinton Hill; and Tracie McMillan, a former beat reporter who is currently working her way through crappy jobs in various segments of the food industry (agriculture, supermarkets, restaurants) for a book on the subject and blogging at 5dollardinner.tumblr.com.

These are serious, smart ladies, in other words, and when they weigh in on what makes for great food writing–as well as Walmart produce, maple syrup-poached eggs, and the art of recipe explication–especially in this very sophisticated city, it’s well worth a listen.

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