I’m a freelance writer living in Madison, Wisconsin, specializing in food writing and personal profiles.
I believe the social, celebratory and expressive aspect of food is one of the key things that makes humans human. If you ask me, the scientists ought to put it right up there with bipedalism and speech. All animals eat, but for us, the eternal quest for flavor and form is woven deep into who and what we are.
That’s why I love to write about food.
I started this website because I want to share the joy I experience preparing food for myself and my family and the sheer pleasure I feel in learning new things about how to cook. The thrill of gaining skill. The challenge, and then the satisfaction, of figuring out how to make something work. Or figuring out how and why a tried and true method works. The excitement of discovering food-releated connections buried in history and science and language.
I believe that, as a society, we’ve lost our way when it comes to food. We’ve lost traditional methods of food preparation. We’ve shifted away from an innate, universal sense of the connections between the land, the weather, the body and spirit of animals and what we put on our plates and intro our mouths.
Restoring the wholeness of our beings can begin with a single act, and it all depends on the consciousness we put into it: Lighting a fire under a saucepan of water. Breaking an egg. Mincing parsely. Cutting a piece of meat for stew.
Transformation can begin at any moment through considering where all these things come from. What they looked like before we acquired them into our kitchen. Who else handled them, and why, and what sort of work life that person leads. What sort of life the animal whose food I partake of leads, or led.
Besides these philosophical considerations, there are the material questions of today’s food. With so many changes in our food supply over the past hundred years, it’s time to step back and consider the ideal human diet. Because another thing we’ve lost perspective on is our traditional foodstuffs, and the value we once recognized so clearly.
That’s why I want to share what I’ve learned about cooking with whole, natural foods like butter, lard and tallow. About naturally fermented foods like natural pickles, buttermilk, cheese, kefir, kimchee.
It’s why I’m driven to share why I think we need to dial way back on some of our newest trends, even if they’re lately considered to be unquestionably healthful. Like relying on plant sources for most of our nutrition, or minimizing fat intake, or choosing vegetable oils requiring high-tech industrial methods for their production, like canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil or cottonseed oil. Or taking in amounts and types of sweeteners not possible before modern industry, like sugar in modern quantities — or high-fructose corn syrup in any quantity.
I’ve been interested in whole-foods natural cookery and nutrition since I was a child. I was a vegetarian for nearly two decades, starting in my teens. For several years during that time I followed macrobiotic principles, learning through independent reading and more formal study including taking classes from Michio and Aveline Kushi. I lived and worked at the ashram of what is today called the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, where I learned about macrobiotics and Ayurveda, and practiced a style of vegetarian cookery that was virtually free of animal products.
Today I no longer think ethics or health are necessarily served by avoiding animal foods. But I continue to believe in the healing power and the superior deliciousness of natural, whole foods and in the wisdom of traditional foodways.
My culinary and nutritional influences largely overlap the following:
- What might be called the “Nourishing Traditions” approach, after the book of that name by Sally Fallon Morrell, founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation
- The low-carb and restricted carbohydrate perspective as articulated by the cardiologist Dr. Robert Atkins and by writer Gary Taubes
- Paleo nutritional approaches such as expounded by Mark Sisson, writer of The Primal Blueprint and blogger at Mark’s Daily Apple.
- The Old-World influence of my upbringing as a first-generation Serbian American growing up in a household that included my mother’s mother, who was born in 1888 in what was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
My work on food and other topics has appeared in publications includingWisconsin Trails, Isthmus, Madison Magazine, Corporate Report Wisconsin, and Dane County Kids. I was formerly editor-in-chief of Erickson Publishing, and was the first editor of Brava Magazine (originally known as Anew).
I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, and I’ve lived in Philadelphia, Gainesville, Fla., and Los Angeles, where I worked in film production.