Have you ever wanted to win a James Beard award?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about winning a James Beard award…

I follow plenty of bloggers (about 70 of them) although I’d never heard of Geraldine DeRuiter, speaker and writer and voice behind the award-winning Everywhereist blog. But when she won a 2019 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award — for best personal essay — a colleague of mine sent me her blog post.

Wow! This woman can write. I loved her post about learning she’d won the award, but even more so I loved the post that won. It was headlined, I Made the Pizza Cinnamon Rolls from Mario Batali’s Sexual Misconduct Apology Letter, and it is funny and angry and vehement.

Here’s a paragraph I particularly liked:

The pizza dough does not mix well with the sweetness. The icing is sickly sweet, the rolls themselves oddly savory. I was right about the texture – the dough is too tough. I hate them, but I keep eating them. Like I’m somehow destroying Batali’s shitty sexist horcrux in every bite. I remind myself that is not how recipes work. That isn’t even how dark magic works. I know that in the court of the internet, any output that is less than perfect will be blamed on me, and not on a hastily-written, untested recipe. I’ve made flaky pie crusts in the kitchens of Air BnBs using warped cutting boards and a bottle of wine as a rolling pin, but this won’t matter. 

DeRuiter presents a skillfully constructed essay in which she cites examples of sexual harassment, complaints about the US president and a cooking review all in one piece. It shouldn’t work, but it does and it’s funny to boot. I’m glad she won the award and I’ve added her name to my list of bloggers I read every week.

Thanks to Yassmin Manuauchehri for forwarding the link to me.


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