Dear readers, I’ve been keeping a secret from you. I really didn’t want to, but this exciting thing happened to me a few months ago and I didn’t want to jinx it. So, I kept it to myself until I knew it was a sure thing. The time has finally come, however, when I can tell you about it. A brand new food magazine is being launched in my area this week…and I’m one of the contributors! Squeeee! It’s true! And, it’s not just any old food magazine either. It’s called Edible Sarasota and is part of the Edible Communities franchise.
How did this happen? Well, believe or not, it all started with Facebook. One day back in September, an update by one of my FB friends appeared on my wall saying that she was now friends with Edible Sarasota. Edible Sarasota? I was already familiar with the Edible Communities group of magazines. I’d read them online and picked up hard copies whenever I was traveling in another city and saw one. But, I’d never seen or heard of an Edible from Sarasota. Hmmm. I wanted to know more, so I friended them too.
From there, I saw that Edible Sarasota was also on Twitter, so I followed them. A few weeks later, I saw one of their tweets that said they were looking for freelance writers. Paydirt! I emailed the editor and introduced myself, leaving links to SGCC and my pages on Creative Loafing. A few days later, we were having coffee in a cute downtown cafe and the deal was sealed!
My first assignment was a feature article on the Hazan family. Yup, you read that right. I was to write about THE Hazans, as in Marcella Hazan, son Giuliano, their spouses and Giuliano’s adorable daughters. Wow! I was sooooo excited and a nervous wreck at the same time. I usually write about food, not real live people – especially not people who are living legends! Food doesn’t have feelings or opinions. Food doesn’t talk back to you. (Okay, maybe I have had a crème brulee or two whisper in my ear on occasion, but that’s it. I swear!) You can’t inadvertently misquote food, pissing it off. And, you can’t offend food by writing something about it that it doesn’t like. See where I’m going with this? Intimidated as I was, I was also very proud and flattered that such an important piece was entrusted to me.
In preparation, I spent countless hours researching the Hazans, both online and by reading their books. I got a lot of insight by reading Marcella Hazan’s memoirs, Amarcord: Marcella Remembers, as well as the commentaries in hers and Giuliano’s cookbooks. With the background information under my belt, I was ready for some live interviews. I was invited to join the family one glorious Sunday afternoon as they gathered to celebrate Papa Victor Hazan’s 81st birthday.
Let me tell you, people, I was scared! Marcella Hazan doesn’t suffer fools well. I’d read that she is notorious for biting the heads off of unwitting reporters, students and the like who ask stupid questions. I said a rosary before I went over there, praying that I would sound reasonably articulate and not blather on like an idiot in the wake of her greatness! Fortunately, her daughter-in-law and Giuliano’s wife, Lael, has become a friend of mine, and she somewhat set my mind at ease. I needn’t have worried, though. Everyone, from oldest to youngest, including Marcella, was gracious and charming. They couldn’t have been nicer or more cooperative!
The next few weeks were spent writing, and rewriting, and rewriting and rewriting the article. (Did I mention that I am a perfectionist?) I must have reworked that piece half a dozen times before I felt I could let it go! In fact, my editor had to practically pry it out of my clenched fingers to make the deadline!
The feedback I got from the editorial staff was very positive. (They like me! They REALLY like me!) I could not wait to see the final product! Unfortunately, I would have to wait another month for that. The magazine is set to launch this Friday, January 15.
My plan was to not say anything to you about this until after Edible Sarasota hit the stands. I kept imagining all sorts of scenarios where my article didn’t make it into the magazine. (Um…like the editor’s dog ate the only copy, or the article actually sucked, or I was on Candid Camera and the whole thing was a big joke.) I couldn’t bear the thought of telling you about it and then having to take it back.
Well, the first shipment was delivered this past weekend. As soon as I got my grubby little paws on a copy I tore through it to find my article. There it was on page 31- my very own byline in a real, honest-to-goodness print magazine with real pages that you can touch and feel and turn! I am over the moon! Once I calmed down, I read through the rest of the articles too. It truly is a beautiful magazine!
My editor told me that she thought my piece turned out great and that she has already received several compliments on it. Whew! We’re also talking about what my assignment will be for the next issue. Woo hoo! But, I’m not quite through with those rosary beads yet. I’ll be seeing the Hazans at the launch party on Friday night and will find out if they gave my article a thumbs up or a dreaded thumbs down. I only hope that I don’t get pelted with any rotten San Marzano tomatoes!