Consider the Food Writer

Because the future of the art means
(please!) leaving M.F.K. Fisher behind

Josh Ozersky
Oct 7, 2014 · 11 min read

M.F.K. Fisher, the most influential of all American food writers, can’t be blamed for the wreck she made of her chosen field. It wasn’t her fault. Strong-minded and fearless, she was and is a heroine to many of the people who afterward controlled American food writing in print. Everyone has to eat, but to write about food for money in America, you have to fit in a very narrow place, and that place is a chalk outline of MFK Fisher.

Which is a problem.

A print media then at its zenith of power began to recruit writers and editors to serve it. Predictably, given the times, they were mostly women, along with a few “bachelors” thrown in, and more importantly, they almost always belonged to the upper class.

And most liberating of all—after the money, of course—was that boundless sense of self-worth which is the birthright of all talented people raised in loving and supportive homes.

Blogs were, and are, for them merely a developmental league, a place from which to pluck promising novices.

I’ve read moving and resonant accounts of eating, scenes that rang true from my own experience and that of other dirtbags like me. But I’ve never read them in a glossy food magazine, nor can I think of a single one that ever got nominated for an award.

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