1 The Importance of Writing for Food Writer By Siti Zabedah Mohd Shariff
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
The world of culinary has gone beyond cooking and garnishing and is now opening new avenues to develop the creativity of the food professionals. Food writing is one of them. Being a food writer requires more than flair of the written word and an interest in food. Thus, the food writing field needs people with a strong grasp of culinary principles and familiarity with trends in the hospitality and food service industry. Having solid writing skills is also a basic effort that would enhance this interest.
So, a great food writer is someone who writes about food using ideas from his or her very soul. The piece of writing contains not only information but reflects the writer‟s passion in showing what the food is all about. Hence, the food writer finds a better word than delicious and involves all the senses to effectively bring the message across.
Therefore, what can be said here is that cooking is an interesting area to be indulged with. Why is it so? It is because its fun, educating, entertaining while filling the stomach of everyone. Food develops due to culture, surroundings, and lifestyle. It is a unique phenomenon. Food writing does not mean, one got to write bombastic and sophisticated languages. Plain style is the best for this sort of writing and since food writing is under the soft news and non fiction category, it needs certain distinct writing features as follows: 1. Clarity – since the purpose is to communicate, the first obligation is to make sure the readers know exactly what is being said, without confusion, ambiguity, or vagueness. Writers achieve clarity in their prose by using
2 concrete language (words and phrase that point to specific things, not generalized) whenever possible. 2. Economy- the plain style is economical, that is, it uses the fewest words necessary to say something clearly and completely. 3. Directness – straight to the point. No roundabouts especially when you are writing a recipe book. Do not bluff your readers! Honesty is important. 4. Variety – avoid uniform sentence patterns. Short sentences for simple ideas and emphasis. Longer sentences for more complex ideas of facts. Sharp close-up pictures of your food are very important to support the recipe for lunch or dinner.
Well-organized writing is transparently mapped so that readers always know where they are, where they have been, and where they are likely to go next. Coherence and common design go hand in hand with emphasis, placing what you as the writer want to stress where it will receive the most attention. Emphasis must be clearly placed to give focus and weight to shape and organize the writing so that it gives a firm place to stand in the structure the writer have built. Readers will notice a number of qualities in any writers‟ work. Hence is one interpretation: 1. 2. Interest in one‟s subject; Concern for one‟s audience – likewise, really good writing extends itself to the readers, draws the audience in toward it. Writer‟s concern for their audience should be like their interest in their subject; 3. Seriousness – the attitude of devotedness, of faithfulness to the importance of writing and to the importance of one‟s own work; 4. Creativity – all writing is creative to some degree – you bring something new into being.
3 As in food writing, food writers are a wide assortment of individuals who wish to express their passion for food through literature, journalism, marketing and recipe writing. The only requirement to be a food writer is to have a passion for food and the written word. Thus, a food writer provides readers with a thorough understanding of what it takes to break into the food writing field.
The valuable experience in the food industry would enable the food writer to write in various areas. For instance, writing cookbooks of a variety of recipes from modern to traditional cooking, including kitchen aid, food and health. Therefore, food writer is a person who tries to enlighten people‟s life in a way, a celebrity that entertains, an educator, a motivator, and an all rounder, from a chef; he or she can become an author, a food consultant, a believer who has many followers. Nevertheless, there is no special education or experience necessary but it is not an easy task either.
Basically, food writing in the Malaysian perspective has gained popularity. Thanks to the proliferation of dining establishments all over the country. It also helps Malaysian to have an innate fondness for food and attracts homemakers who are always hunting for tested recipes as well as foodservice professionals who want to stay afloat in what‟s going on in the industry.
Today, there are hundreds of writings wrote by professional writers on food. The published writing has been used widely throughout the country and manages to penetrate global countries. Therefore, it can be clarified here that food writing is a knowledge resource in food industry. It covers other related field too like food science, food nutrition, health, food management and many more. Well-known commercial chefs in Malaysia such as Chef Riduan Ismail or better known as Chef Wan, Chef Kamarul, Chef Ismail of the Rebung Restaurant, Chef Zaidah, are not just chefs but they are also popular celebrities in their own specialties. They also made excellent write-ups in food. They have written many guidebooks in cooking, tips in nutrition and also food preparation management. One thing for
4 sure, their sincere writing help readers in cooking guide which further clarify on the correct ingredients of cuisine, measure preparation materials and also improve in food taste and presentation.
Even so, this area of writing is still on the go for chefs and those involved in the industry. As they have the opportunity to do so, they want to know more on how writing would enhance their credibility in the profession they are involved in. To move forward, means greater effort in indulging new areas so that one would not be a boring chef. Diversify your talent and writing is one of the approaches that would help your passion for food continues that is, by telling stories about food.
Your own experience can give your cookbook its winning edge. Do not think about “writing something” some day”. That time will never come, as asserted by Pamela White (2006). You can write how-to articles, interview pieces, cookware reviews, and so on. If you plan to write for local tourism guides, your best bet is to write restaurants reviews. Tourists may not know about any of the well-known restaurants or diners in the area. Make up your mind and you, students are lucky to take this food writing course because there will never be a better time!
HARD NEWS AND THE SOFT NEWS
Whatever we write, whether it is for the newspaper, magazines, books or even journals, the information is something new. It is new, in the sense that, it...