I’d always loved Italian food but I never had to prepare it every day until we moved to Florence with our newborn daughter. While my art historian husband plowed through fifteenth-century documents in the archives, I pushed home a stroller, with baby Kate sitting calmly amid bags of edible booty from neighborhood produce markets and shops. At night I cooked what I’d found, armed at first with well-thumbed copies of Marcella Hazan’s books but eventually relying more on tips from the butcher or a neighbor, Italian cooking magazines and cookbooks, an idea from a dish encountered in a restaurant.
We suffered through a few leaden risottos & other mishaps but by the end of our Italian sojourn, I could make lots of good things with melodic names: acquacotta, crostata, stracotto. By that time, the flavors and seasonal rhythms of a life revolving around food had become very natural and appealing.
I returned to the U.S. resolved to begin a career as a food writer. And so I have. My articles on topics ranging from airline menus to zuppa inglese have appeared in many publications, including the Washington Post, Chicago Sun-Times, New York Daily News, Fine Cooking, Better Homes & Gardens, Parenting, Wine Enthusiast and www.dreamofitaly.com. Along the way, I completed a Master Class in Cooking Techniques and a restaurant internship through The New School. But my real education has been on the job: researching articles, talking with food authorities and home cooks, developing and testing recipes, teaching classes on solo and regional Italian cooking.
Home cooking is what I know best, but I’ve also interviewed hundreds of chefs, first as managing editor for a restaurant magazine and, currently, as a regular contributor to Plate magazine. I also continue to write on Italian food and other topics for consumer magazines. With the publication of a new edition of Serves One: Meals to Savor When You’re on Your Own, I’ve welcomed the opportunity to reach solo cooks all over the country.
Drawing on my past experience as vice president and editorial director for a leading Manhattan public relations agency, I spend part of my time writing food-related brochures, newsletters, Web content and other marketing copy. I’m especially interested in the challenges of introducing artisanal foods to consumers.
Like many culinary professionals, my experience is diverse and I’m adept at doing a number of different things, as suggested by the name of my business: Culinary Productions. What runs through all of my professional activities is a love of food—above all, Italian food—and a belief in the power of words to help us explore and appreciate this amazing part of life.
bio courtesy of tonilydecker.com