Hooray for our first Foodie Marathon! This Open Writing Marathon for the Prairie Lands Writing Project on April 4, 2017, featured short talks by Teacher Consultants with connections to the culinary world. Jody talked to us about Family and Consumer Science and all the ways that FACS teachers use writing in their classrooms, Stephanie told us about her adventures in Pro Start training with the National Restaurant Association and helped us think about the vocabulary of food, and Diane shared her experiences as a chef, leading us in meditations on the relationships between cooking and writing.
All three invited us to write while on the campus of Missouri Western State University, so we had three rounds of writing in Eder Hall before forging out for more food-centric marathon writing at several of the chef-driven restaurants in Saint Joseph’s resurgent downtown area.
I enjoyed the opportunities to write about one of my favorite chef-writers, Anthony Bourdain, about my choices for Bourdain’s infamous “Death Row Meal,” and to consider the rhetoric of cooking. Like writing, as Diane told us, cooking involves attention to context, audience, purpose, and genre. Good writing, like good cooking, also often involves research, improvisation, and revision. So much to think about!
Many thanks to my writing group members, seen above posing in front of one of our awesome downtown murals, who provided great company as we wrote and lunched in a downtown bakery/bistro/patisserie/creperie, Brioche Cafe.
1:15 pm Brioche Cafe
What a day to be downtown! Everyone we see out the bright, tall windows seems happy to be alive in the sunshine, happy to be out and about in the renewal of possibility that comes with spring.
My good friend Jeff, commenting on the kinds of people one often sees walking out and about in the eccentric and scrappy little town of Saint Joseph, once said that everyone here looks like an extra on a movie set. I have to agree. In today’s cast, I noted a woman wearing heavy native-style jewelry and a bright pink neon blouse riding up and exposing her white belly, a man in a Jesuit priest robes holding a big, wooden cross just under his wide-brimmed hat, a lean, shirtless man striding up 8th Street with a strong sense of purpose, and a pierced, pink-haired guy ambling past Pony Espresso. Even the statue of jazz saxophonist and St. Joseph native Coleman Hawkins–visible past the cushioned window seats at Brioche Cafe, seems newly alive and ready to groove.