Food Writing – An Art and a Necessity


Food is what people, plants and animals eat to provide energy for the process of living. It also provides nutrients — substances essential for the growth, repair and maintenance of body tissues and for the regulation of vital processes. People obtain the nutrients they need by eating a variety of foods, such as meat, grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes and seeds. The amount of nutrients a person needs each day depends on the size of the individual, the climate where she lives and her health status.

The act of preparing and eating food has become an art as well as a necessity. People enjoy creating dishes that delight their senses and appeal to the imagination. They also take pride in knowing that the meals they prepare and serve are nourishing for their families, friends and communities. Food writing reflects these values and aims to entertain as well as inform readers about the food in their lives.

There are many different kinds of food writing, ranging from culinary reviews and profiles of chefs and restaurants to food-focused fiction, memoirs and the social history of cuisines and cultures around the world. All of the usual rules of good writing — voice, style, description, accuracy and research, grammar, punctuation — apply when writing about food.

One of the challenges when writing about food is to avoid the use of cliches and overused words, such as “delicious” and “tasty.” Using adjectives that over-simplify the complexity of a dish can bore or confuse readers. Also, avoid describing a food as strange or odd. These descriptions are subjective and can create a negative stereotype about a cuisine or a culture.

People’s diets vary considerably from country to country, as well as within a country. Geographical factors explain some of this variation, as do the customs and traditions of a culture. For example, the English tradition encourages roast beef and Yorkshire pudding to be eaten together, while rice is a staple in many Asian countries. Improvements in processing, refrigeration and shipping have enabled people to eat foods produced far from their homes. This has also led to a greater variety of foods available in supermarkets.

People acquire the nutrient-rich substances they need by eating a variety of foods, including meat, grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, and fish. In addition, they can obtain certain nutrients by drinking a variety of beverages. People often add flavors to their foods by blending ingredients, adding seasonings and using cooking techniques such as baking, boiling, steaming, frying, roasting and freezing. The resulting products are known as processed foods. Processed foods can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on the ingredients and how they are prepared. People can make healthy choices by reading labels and avoiding foods with added fat, salt and sugar. They can also eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed, frozen or canned foods. By making these changes, they can help reduce their risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and obesity.