Writing About Food

Food is any substance that satisfies the nutritional needs of an organism. It can be made of animal or plant matter and contains essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. Different organisms have unique food preferences and diets. Humans, for example, consume many types of meat and fruits and vegetables. The quality of the food people eat has an impact on their health. Some diseases, like anorexia and bulimia, are associated with eating too little or too much food.

Writing about food is a broad genre, with notable examples of food writing including recipe books, long and short journalism (from profiles to investigative pieces), culinary mysteries, memoirs, and non-fiction food history or foodways (with a full-on anthropological concentration). While many of the same principles of good writing apply to this topic, there are also specific skills needed when discussing foods.

One of the most important things to remember when writing about food is to avoid using excessive adjectives, which can weaken your article. Aim for action words that tell the reader what happened during your meal, such as the way Richman described his sausage, rather than describing how it looked, smelled or tasted.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while it is fine to talk about the flavors and textures of a food, focusing on these alone can get boring for the reader. A good way to prevent this from happening is to add some context to your article, such as talking to the people who prepared or ate the food. For example, Michael Pollan writes extensively about the socio-cultural impacts of hunting, and he talks to both the hunters and the home cooks who prepare his recipes.

Additionally, it is important to note that while there are a wide variety of foods available in the world, not everyone has access to them. In some countries, malnutrition is a significant problem. This is often due to a lack of money to buy healthy foods or an inability to grow their own food. In other cases, a person may have a disease or illness that makes it impossible for them to eat certain foods. For example, celiac disease prevents some people from consuming gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. As a result, these individuals must follow a low-gluten diet. The same is true for people with food allergies or intolerances to lactose, fructose, or nuts. In these cases, the only way to eat a balanced diet is to choose foods that are free of these allergens. This can be difficult because some of the most popular foods are these allergens, such as cakes, cookies, and pies. Fortunately, there are many substitutes for these foods that can be eaten by those with food allergies or intolerances. For example, soy milk and almond butter can be used as substitutions for dairy products. These alternatives are widely available in grocery stores and can be easily mixed with other ingredients to create recipes that are reminiscent of a traditional dish.