I am still in the process of finding my own writing voice. It’s extra difficult for someone who over thinks every single thing in her life and who wants everything to be perfect every single time. I’ve been choking and croaking on my writing, becoming overly conscious of each blog post.
But in the spirit of enjoying the journey despite the hardships, I’d like to think that discovering my writing voice similar to how one wants to have a signature dish and perfect it over time. That signature dish that is distinctly yours and would, of course, make you famous!
My favorite food writers seemed to have nailed it. I’ve gone through (and still am going through) their memoirs with their writing voice is so distinct that I have identified some signature dishes that embody their style…
Ruth Reichl’s writing is a heaping plate of couscous dotted with slivers of almonds and raisins. For a Filipino like me, couscous is familiar but not quite. Couscous has the qualities of our favorite everyday fare, white rice, but not really. The almonds and raisins give the couscous a touch of quirkiness that is uniquely Ruth Reichl. She writes with sweet nuttiness, finding delicious humor in her outrageous disguises just to remain anonymous as New York Times’ restaurant critic and a crazy family (specifically her mother) to boot.
Julia Child’s writing, on the other hand, is a bowl of French Onion soup. The cloudy brown broth and delicate strips of onion covered by a half-soggy and half-crisp slice of cheese smothered bread doesn’t make it the prettiest soup on the block. Too simple right? But, but, but despite it’s homely simplicity, there is knee jerking, deep seated romance in that bowl.
Julia’s writing is just that. What you see is what you get. She did not pretend to be a great writer because she really isn’t. She was a housewife simply with an immense love for French food. Her simple words pierce your heart like Cupid’s arrow, making you swoon over food that will send you packing your bags to France.
Gael’s writing is a sinfully rich indulgence like seared foie gras atop a fillet of Kobe beef. A dish so expensive and rarely eaten, thus my palette and tummy needs some getting used to. I’ve past the halfway mark on her food memoir Insatiable and I find it so hard to digest. Too many alien names, places and terms! I need to be constantly hooked up to the Google to search and really get to grasp the culinary excess that is her world.
Molly is such a dear. I can’t wait for her next book to come out. Her writing is a big bowl of mutant plump and teenie tiny brazen strawberries drizzled with, or rather swimming in, condensed milk. It’s playful to eat (you need to get down and sticky!) and just feel of the natural goodness. Her writing was bursting with what I think are the most basic but sweetest natural juices of life: family, food and true love.
And what about me? A beginner food writer..
With my creative writing rusty, after years of writing email after email, report after report and presentation after presentation, I think my writing now is a bowl of plain rice. It’s yummy, but without anything else, it’s blah. Boring.
BUT hopefully, with more practice on this blog, my bowl of plain rice would be transformed into a bowl of my super duper favorite Chowking spicy chao fan (fried rice): an overabundance of different ingredients (Just imagining the beef strips, fishballs, chicken, chorizo and pork makes me want to go to Chowking now!), full on flavor with a kick and, more importantly, something one just can’t get enough of.