I wanted to write a recipe for an upcoming blog post on another blog. I realized I had no idea how to write a recipe....so I read an entire book on food writing!!! lol
I've had Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Restaurant Reciews, Articles, Memoir, Fiction and More... by Dianne Jacob for years now. I believe I bought it back in university, when I used to wander into the bookstore to see what interesting writing books they were selling (I'm guessing that was around ten years ago or so...). I'd never really thought about specifically writing about food, so this sounded like an interesting read. Then it sat on my shelf for years because I don't really write specifically about food all that often.
Will Write for Food goes through quite a few topics in such a short book. As the subtitle suggests, Jacob looks at restaurant reviewing, writing cookbooks and recipes, food memoirs, other nonfiction books, and fiction. She also has some chapters for getting started, freelancing, and getting your book published. The book focuses on food writing, so in terms of these more general topics she includes advice and a starting point, then gives suggestions of other books you should read to learn more. Will Write for Food is also packed full of discussions and advice from other food writers, chefs, and even editors and agents. I should note that I have the 2005 edition of the book; there's an updated 2015 edition that will be less dated than this one was (I think the 2015 edition includes writing for blogs, which would have been handy for me).
If you want to write about food, this is definitely the book for you. Jacobs is a teacher who wanted a reference book available for people trying to break into the industry, and her knowledge and passion for the subject clearly shows. I also really liked how she brought in other expert's perspectives to all of her topics.
Even if you're not planning on writing about food, learning about how it is done is rather fascinating. The chapter on restaurant reviewing was particularly eye-opening in explaining how often reviewers must eat out (some even have to schedule their meals into their calendar just to keep track of where they're going!) and the lengths some of them have gone to try to remain anonymous. I admit I have no interest in such a thing after reading this chapter!!!
I did find the initial chapters to be a bit of a slog though. I didn't pick this book up to learn about becoming a writer; I was more interested in the nitty-gritty details about actual food writing (and Jacobs discussion of passion made me wonder why I was even reading this book because I'm not particularly passionate about food). But once I got through these chapters I thoroughly enjoyed reading Will Write for Food.
*As of September 24/15, I am not taking any more requests from authors to read their books. I currently have too many books to read. I'll update this if/when that changes.*
I currently have 164 fiction books just sitting in my room to read (although that doesn't stop me from randomly picking books up at work or buying them on Kindle!). I've been keeping track of them on a paper list for years. This blog shares what I read as I attempt to get "the List" down to a more manageable number.
If you'd like to know what books are on the List, check out my Goodreads shelf devoted to them - it's my physical list digitized! I've also got a shelf for every book I've reviewed here on this blog.
Not everything I review here is actually on the List. Some books come from the library, some books are nonfiction (which are not included on the List), some books are on my Kindle (which have never been included on the List), and some books are given to me by friends and family.
Note: as of April 12/14, I am not going to add the *spoiler* warning I used to when I'm giving away details of books. I want to talk about the books I've read in whatever detail I'd like. So if you haven't read a book I'm reviewing, you might not want to read the review.