* This competition is now closed but you are still welcome to read through the published writing and blog posts.
If you think food writing is all five-star restaurant ratings and waxing poetic about overpriced escargot and the velvet pioppini (that’s a mushroom), read on. Food—and the way we grow, source, prepare, eat, and write about it—is so much more. What we ingest links us to our families, our histories, our culture, our health, our environment, our bodies… and to tradition, ritual, and celebration.
"To write well is a public service, and a chance to influence millions," wrote the food blogger Lisa Gosselin. "To write well about food, is a chance to influence millions in their daily choices: we all eat!"
So, dear writers, food writing matters because, as the journalist and cookbook author Ramin Ganeshram puts it, “it’s not really about the food.” Countless books and articles ostensibly "about food" have had a profound effect on how we live our lives. Food writing can be an investigation, an exposé, an odyssey, a memoir. Here, we'd like you to write an exploratory essay that uses one or some of these literary forms.
Here’s a taste of what we mean:
For more ideas, check out the resources "How to Cook a Wolf" and "Recommended Reading." And as you write, check back on these guidelines:
- How can your piece be about something more than food? Can you draw connections to culture or politics or family or geography? Even if you're writing about your favorite recipe, can you dig into the social or historical or ethical elements that surround it? Perhaps, for example, your famous stuffed zucchinis still come from the seeds your great grandfather brought with him from Italy. Or perhaps the mysterious crash in the honey bee population threatens the salmon glaze you've perfected, not to mention your go-to sweetener for a cup of ginger tea.
- Does your beginning grab the reader and refuse to let go? How can you make your reader bite at the first line?
- Have you drawn on sensory details? Taste and smell perhaps? Or texture? Or even sound—the crunch of a roasted cashew, or the sizzle of garlic in the pan?
Whether you write about the pleasures of your grandmother’s famous falafel, the plight of the next-door dairy farm or the secret family recipe passed down six generations, December’s Food Writing competition hungrily awaits your entry.
Food writer David Prior
What’s Different about Write the World Competitions?
Prizes: The winning entrant will receive $100, and the runner-up and best peer-reviewer will receive $50.
Professional Recognition: The winning entry, plus the runner-up and best peer review, will be featured on our blog, with commentary from our guest judge.
Expert Review: Submit your draft by Monday December 7th and get feedback from our team of experts—authors, writing teachers, and educational professionals.