Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How to Craft Flawless Features

Last Friday was the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association's annual conference in south Calgary. I go each year both as a publisher, but also as a writer. It's a great opportunity to network with editors and make new connections with publications (last year, I met Candace Vallentine from UP! magazine and got an assignment just a few weeks later). The sessions are also very valuable. Some directly, such as this year's "How to Craft a Flawless Feature" by former editor-in-chief of Canadian Geographic Rick Boychuk. Yes, I was taking notes furiously so that I can pass all of his good advice on to you. (I'll save the recap and how we can refocus the information through a food writing lense in a later post. Also, because he generously offered to email me his speaking notes!)

In the meantime, check out the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association blog. Kathe Lemon has expediently posted a couple of session recaps. There might be more to come. I also added a comment with a couple of the more important points that I gathered from the talks (so do read the comments of her posting if you are interested.)

Lastly, I posted a bit of a recap on the sessions on The Edible Prairie Journal's blog.

It was nice to see you, Evelyn, at the event. Which brings me to my next point...

Shall we try to organize a coffee meeting so we can do some catch-up, bragging, complaining and blood-letting of excuses? I'll send around an email.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The New Yorker Food Issue / November 24, 2008

Some of the best food writing for years has been coming out of the New Yorker. NYC being such a foodie city, it tends to be scattered throughout the weekly issues throughout the year. But they devote one issue a year to food -- it seems to be the third week in November. It's a delicious read cover-to-cover. (I just attached the URL of the Table of Contents from the issue to the previous sentence.)

The content doesn't seem to be on-line, unfortunately, but you can probably find this issue and check it out from the Edmonton Public Library. I know the main Stanley Milner branch has a subscription. Or, if you are lucky like I was this year, you'll find it waiting for you at a magazine and book exchange pile!

Great Food Writing in The Walrus' Jan / Feb 2009 issue

Ok, I’m sorry that I am posting this NOW. But the January / February 2009 issue of The Walrus had no fewer than three great features on food issues, and even one shorter piece on the emerging wine region of the Gaspereau valley in Nova Scotia.

First, there’s a very interesting article on Canadian ginseng, Change of Pace: Former tobacco farmers have a bumper new crop to exploit by Robert Hough, and then a very well-researched and up-to-the-moment article on vertical farming, The Future Has Begun: Vertical farms will take eating local to the next level — but are they safe? by Nora Underwood. Finally there’s a very important article on the reality of GMO foods in Canada by Anita Lahey (see below).

If you can’t find this issue still on newstands, don’t panic. You can buy the issue on-line. It’s worth it!!

Here’s the one that really caught my attention.

Do You Know What You’re Eating? Canadians want labels on GM foods. But would we understand them? by Anita Lahey

…especially given it’s opening paragraph:

On May 5, 2008, Conservative MP Rob Merrifield, who represents the Alberta riding of Yellowhead, west of Edmonton, stood up in the House of Commons and told fellow politicians, “My fear is that if we put a label on genetically modified foods, you have an electorate that doesn’t quite understand what that means.”

Click here to read the full article on The Walrus’ website.