Guest Post: Eating My Words

Written By: Stephanie Dickison


Oh, sorry.  I was trying to type one-handed.  See, I was eating.

Being a food writer, I’m either writing, eating, shopping for ingredients or cooking.  It sounds glamourous, but truthfully, it’s goddamn messy.

Early on, I tried to compartmentalize things so everything would stay neat and tidy.  I would do a restaurant review one night, cook up something for a piece the next, and so on.  As much as I would like my day – and deadlines – as ordered as a bento box, my work life looks more like shucked corn cob leaves piled on the floor.

Now, I am up early at my desk writing about how to ensure a moist pork tenderloin or how I didn’t have to cut my porterhouse with a knife because it was so tender.  My desk (at the end of the bed in our 1-bedroom apt I share with my fiance – a TV writer – and our cat) is often piled with stacks of cookbooks and food magazines, with overflow on our chest, (also at the end of our bed, but thankfully not also used as my desk – our place is small, but not that small) and then out to the living room and the kitchen.  I am often cooking in the middle of writing, so while I might be writing about Mexican tortas, I will have a capon roasting in the oven and be trying to successfully melt chocolate for a new tart recipe.

And though it matters little to anyone else, throughout the week, I carefully think about and weigh various options for my restaurant reviews. I try to cover a new area each week and not only not duplicate a cuisine until all others have been tried at least once, I also try to not order the same thing.


My fella is patient and understanding. He listens to be blather on about the difference between Punjabi and Pakistani cuisine and on date nights, let’s me stop into a fine food store to ooh over hand-twirled pastas and imported canned beans.  He puts up with food and books everywhere and my constant search for the perfect recipe.

This kind of writing is messy though.  Starting the day hunched over my laptop searching for the perfect word to describe the creamy risotto dotted with truffles or the bison carpaccio that exuded minerals and the fresh grass it consumed causes a lot of drooling.

And then there’s the take-out containers from my buttermilk fried chicken review and dishes from last night’s attempt at Spicy Malaysian Beef Hot Pot, to deal with.

Writing with one hand and eating or stirring a pot with the other – this is most definitely the life.

Bio: Stephanie Dickison writes about food, travel, tech and other subjects full-time from her desk at the end of the bed.  She is the one in dress with the food stains on it.  Her book, The 30-Second Commute: A Non-Fiction Comedy About Writing & Working From Home, covers her wild adventures as a restaurant critic, as well as book and music critic.

54 thoughts on “Guest Post: Eating My Words

  1. It sounds like the life! Me, I’m the opposite, I tend to order the same thing over and over again and if I don’t I’m disappointed and I wish I had the usual. I’m not very adventerous when it comes to food.

  2. I watch the food network like hell. I used to have a food blog so I know what you mean. It sometimes gets so frustrating that you almost forget to cook. As a food lover, I absolutely love to cook smoked Mascovy Duck topped off with fennel and paprika. I’m a vegetarian, but I cook well. That dish is AMAZING to smell… wow

  3. As messy and full as your days sound, writing with one hand and eating with the other does seem to be a nice day-to-day! In fact, your day sounds rather exciting. I’m impressed with your husband’s patience and your level of energy or perhaps food passion. I am gonna have to check your book out! Excellent writing- this was a wonderful post to read first thing in the morning!

  4. heh heh. i’m holding a plate of ‘dahi baray’ in my left hand as i type with my right 🙂 (i wonder if they would be classified as pakistani or punjabi..)
    but how incredibly foodie you are! i need more people like you around me! 😀

  5. am feeling hungry nw………n i can’t work and write together, or I won’t like to………lol
    it was simply a wow post!!
    happy writing!

  6. Eating and writing? mmmmmm. Just make sure the food is cheese covered and the writing is sumptuous. Add in a little guilty pleasure TV (dating in the dark, anyone) and I’m right there with you. 😉

  7. Well, I have to say- sounds like you have a dream job! Food and writing… couldn’t be better!

  8. I write and eat. I also vacuum my keyboard once a week to get the crumbs out. I’m not talking about one of those sissy little DustBuster things, either. I’m talking full-on hose suckage from an upright. Try it. It works. Just make sure you don’t have any loose keys on the keyboard first. I once had to write an entire assignment without an M key. Deadlines, you know.

  9. While I am not a food critic, I do cook and write, and eat and write (especially being a full time student) it cuts on time, and the food is fresh in your mind when you are writing about it and cooking it at the same time 🙂

  10. Cooking and trying new food and than being able to write about it?! Sounds like fun and if you were not messy, think the food would not taste as good 😉 Thanks for a nice read! LB

  11. Jesaka, I’m a first time visitor and found your post quite entertaining. Needless to say I will be sticking around for a while. Thanks for laugh.

  12. Having a patient hubby is nice, yes? Mine follows me patiently when I drag him through the gourmet stores I find tucked away in shopping plazas or to far-flung restaurants that I heard about from fellow foodies. He doesn’t like food nearly as much as I do, poor thing.

  13. I’m not nearly enough of a multitasker to write and eat at the same time, much less also cook. I like to really pay attention to my food – I refuse to eat in the car, or standing up (unless it’s ice cream at the freezer – that’s a different story). I like to sit down while I eat, savor every last bite (and calorie!). I also seem to have a problem dating and eating (my blog is about dating) … I get too distracted by the conversation to enjoy the food (which means definitely a second date is in order) or I get so distracted by the yummy food that I don’t enjoy the conversation as much (which means the guy is probably kinda boring anyway).

    Loved this post!

  14. great post! now I gotta figure out how to be that writer at the end of the bed cause damn it’s hard to write much after a full day of work, the gym, errands, etc… and I love to cook too and all the cooking mags/books layin around annoys my wife sometimes as well! 🙂

  15. Writing and thinking about food for me is always hazardous. I end up gaining calories instead of finishing my report. And Stephanie, I truly admire your partner. He’s a gem! 🙂

  16. I used to write and eat at the same time until I noticed that my keyboard was looking a little grubby. When I took it apart for a good cleaning, the crumbs of food and unspeakable green fur-covered things that I found inside convinced me to just concentrate on writing.

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