I’ve sent over 700 Edible stories to the printer, but our profile of Melissa Clark was easily among the most work — and among the most fun.
It’s daunting to write about writers — like painting a portrait of Picasso, I imagine. And despite the slender readhead’s easy smile, Melissa Clark carries Picasso’s importance in the food-writing world. So it was rewrite after rewrite, before we could print the piece — a little like the way Clark herself treats the recipes she tests to perfection before we Times readers get our hands on them.
After a year, we finally felt the story was ready, and it was worth the work because last weekend it landed an Eddy: the ultimate award in Edible-land, our in-house answer to Grammies and Emmies. (We’ll proudly hang it alongside Edible Brooklyn’s James Beard awards.)
If you missed our profile of Clark, I suggest settling down to read it now, perhaps with a glass of celebratory bubbly for co-authors Raquel Pelzel and (soon-to-be editor-in-chief) Rachel Wharton, two women who are a little like Picasso themselves.
Gustatory genes. Brooklyn’s almighty Melissa Clark at home with daughter Dahlia.
Here are a few of my favorite excerpts:
You’d be forgiven for thinking “Melissa Clark” is code name for a cadre of prolific food writers out to eradicate lackluster food and bland writing. Clark clearly possesses superpowers — she barely looks 30 but her name is inked on more than three dozen cookbooks, including those of legendary chefs like Daniel Boulud (Braise), David Bouley (East of Paris) and Claudia Fleming (The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern). The latest is Cook This Now, her own love letter to seasonal cooking. You find her online (where the slender redhead now hosts how-to videos filmed in her kitchen), all over the Times Dining section (where she has published more than 400 stories), on Twitter (she’s got over 40,000 followers), on TV as a panelist on the Cooking Channel’s Food(ography) and magnetted weekly, in cut-out recipe form, onto refrigerators across America.
In other words, not only is Clark the one who really introduced the world to trendy treats like easy confit (a trick from working with the Bromberg brothers on their Blue Ribbon Cookbook) or raw kale salad (gleaned from Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens, the husband-and-wife team who run Franny’s and Bklyn Larder around the corner from her home), but she can wax poetic about now-trendy bluefish with the rare knowledge of somebody who knows its real roots.
Photo credit: Michael Gross