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To taste and tell

Cassie Pence
Special to the DailyAdeena Sussman will teach a class on food writing today in Edwards.
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EDWARDS – We all know chocolate tastes sweet, but what does it really taste like? Does it taste decadent and pure like a first kiss or does it taste comforting like a grandmother’s hug?Food is the one necessity all people share. It can trigger diverse emotions and vivid memories. Just the scent of over-roasted marshmallows, for example, might send some straight back to summer camp.”Food is so important in so many different ways,”food writer Adeena Sussman said. “It can be spiritual, sensual, difficult, easy.

It can be fun, sad and happy. And you don’t need to be flowery to describe food in a great way.”Sussman fell in love with food and cooking at an early age. Her mother, who was very involved in the community and entertained a lot as a result, put her to work in the kitchen preparing not fancy but wholesome food. Sussman would do it all from cleaning the chickens to making dough for Challah bread.When Sussman was in college, she continued cooking, hosting friends weekly for Friday night dinners.”I am a passionate amateur,” Sussman said. “I like reading cookbooks more than I like reading regular books.”

Her passion for food continued to grow. While traveling with her sales job, Sussman noticed that her journal writings were mostly about food. Time went by, and Sussman landed a job with Gourmet magazine’s marketing department, where she wrote about food for her advertising clients.Two years ago, at age 30, Sussman decided to take the leap from advertising to food writing full-time on a freelance basis. She went to culinary school and now successfully writes for several different publications and Web sites, including Gourmet, Sunset, Epicurious.com, Yankee, Hadassah and Time Out New York. She was just in Israel writing a story on Israeli cooking and looking to set up culinary tours to the country. She also has written a book about the post WWII convenient foods, like TV dinners and Kraft slices, and how they fit into a cultural context. She works in recipe development for publications and chefs.”I love food and I love writing, and I was looking for a way to put those two things together,” Sussman said.Monday with the Vail Symposium, Sussman will teach a class on food writing. Students will read and discuss excepts from some of Sussman’s favorite food writers, including Calvin Trillin, MFK Fisher, Laurie Colwin, Ruth Reichl and Brillat-Savarin. Attendees will learn the role that travel plays in developing a literate palate and participate in an interactive writing-and-tasting exercise. Sussman will also reveal some tricks of the trade for those wanting to pursue writing for publication. People who want to learn more about food writing for enjoyment and a creative outlet are equally as welcome. Sussman said the class is for people who love food and want to learn other ways to talk about it.

“Not everyone loves to write. But most people love food, and people could be surprised at what they can write when they are writing about something they love,” Sussman said. “Food writing is a great way to express memories and feelings.”The class will help steer writers away from food cliches and help to create interesting dialogue between the reader and writer.”The best food writing has a point of view. It really transports you somewhere,” Sussman said.For more information on the class or to make a reservation, call the Vail Symposium at 476-0954.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938, or cpence@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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