Easy As Pie: Why I Write About Food

Eating is delicious. Everyone does it everyday. Which makes it easy to write about, easy to relate to. We may have different ideas about what’s good, what comforts, what’s elegant, appropriate or healthy. But we all have associations, traditions, memories, and connotations with and of food. Food is more than nutrition. There’s something extra, subtle, beyond the basics. A dietitian may talk about building blocks and amino acids and proteins, even the pyramid, which we all recall from placemats and lunchrooms. But we mostly eat for pleasure rather than fuel, for better or worse. Whether you’re a bedridden French writer or a zaftig blue monster, cookies make you think and feel. Memories mingle with very present happiness. You can remember things past and be here now while devouring an Oreo, especially one dunked in milk. Eating is an act of participation in the universe. I eat, therefore I am.

However, food for me is not an art. It has no aura, though it may possess soul.

I am not an expert, authority or professional. I approach my dinner as a bemused dilettante, with a little knowledge and a lot of enthusiasm. I don’t claim any loftier aspirations than to eat well, whatever that means to me at the time. I am as much a pawn of zeitgeist as any woman of my age, education, and inclination. Farmer’s market, quinoa, artisanal, local, sustainable, etc. I can’t help it. I do what is pleasing and what I am told, mostly. Though there’s also within me the need to rebel, to eat Kraft mac and cheese when I’m exhorted to never accept anything processed or Monsanto-made. I have no formal training. I don’t know anything about varietals. I only eat organic when I remember or it suits me. I’m ambivalent about bacon and plan to try more Brussels sprouts and kale. I am on the periphery of food culture. A tourist here, not pretending to know more than I do, but simply professing to know what I like, trying to improve my tastes, techniques and expand my sphere of experience as I am able.

I write about food because I am lazy. I would prefer to write about astrophysics or NGOs or medieval literature. But those subjects might require some research.

Photo: plum-pie

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original “Insiders,” for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.

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