Last night, I had particular privilege of spending the evening at a potluck at which Amanda Hesser was the guest of honor. She’s currently promoting her new book, The Essential New York Times Cookbook and has organized a string of potlucks across the country in order to do so.
Through a chain of unexpected events, this potluck was held at my friend Audra’s house and I helped organize it and even put together the bulk of the invitation list. I’d not met Amanda before tonight, though we’ve following each other on Twitter for more than two years (ah, Twitter).
It was such a pleasure to meet Amanda in person, particularly because it gave me a chance to tell her how she unwittingly played a role in the work I do now. About seven years ago, when I was still working at Drexel Med, I heard an interview she did with WHYY host Marty Moss-Coane. I was unhappy working there and trying desperately to figure out what it was that I wanted to do. As I listened to them talk about Amanda’s career and the book she was promoting then (Cooking for Mr. Latte), a light went on in my whole being and I understood that I wanted to do what Amanda did. It was a blessed relief to finally know too, since I’d been searching for years for “my thing.”
Leap forward to the present and it is what I do. To be fair, my food writing career is still quite fledgling when compared to Amanda’s (though really, it’s never a good idea to compare yourself to anyone else as we all follow different trails through this work wilderness), but it is what I do every day, both in my day job and in all my freelance projects. The fact that I can legitimately call myself a food writer and not have it be a stretch of the imagination is such a giddy and wonderful thing.
All in all, it was a good night.