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I don’t pretend to be a food writer though I have tweeted more than 12,000 times and most have involved either putting food or my foot in my mouth or putting words together halfway wittily which is different from half-witted. Then there’s my children’s writing that I haven’t done in a while–all those damned tweets and the business of Real Richmond Food Tours has something to do with that. One of two filing cabinets in my desk is jammed with children’s picture book manuscripts and poetry and food comes into play more than I’d realized. I’m a bit of a food poet, so for April here’s a snippet from Want a Cookie?:

I started gnawing zwiebacks/back when these were almost new./Gluey, tasteless sawdust;/what’s the point of teeth?/ Then I spied my mother/with something on her face./A smile, a smudge,/a glimmer, a gulp./Want a cookie.

One bite/one taste/one swallow/one nice big cup of milk,/one lick of my lips/and I knew what to do–/try, taste, chomp!/From a package or a pan/I don’t need to waste a plate;/crumbs in teeth, on shirt, in hair./Where’s my cookie?

And on it goes…. So autobiographical, I know.

Now that I’ve established my gravitas, it makes perfect sense to say that I’m one of the gang of three that’s putting on the Mid-Atlantic Food Writers Symposium in Richmond this June. We’ve assembled a remarkable collection of talented writers, editors, chefs, agents and food stylists that includes Kat Kinsman of Eatocracy, Todd Kliman of The Washingtonian, Lisa Fain of The Homesick Texan, Josh Ozersky of Esquire, Monica Bhide, Matt Gross of Bon Appetit, Ramin Ganeshram, Bonnie Benwick of the Washington Post, Kendra Bailey Morris, John Shields, Denise Vivaldo, Judy Pray of Artisan and Michael Psaltis of CEA. How many James Beard Foundation winners/finalists do you count?

Fresh-picked this June!

Fresh-picked this June!

That’s a line-up that ought to get lips smacking, hearts racing and fingers flying on the keyboards for food bloggers, recipe-collectors, cookbook-lovers and those who dream of cooking up a book or a blog. Hope to see you in Richmond June 20th-22nd!


I am now the proud owner of an ISBN of my very own.  Actually none of that previous sentence is true since the aforementioned ISBN that’s attached to the yet-to-be-published (or finished, truth be told) Insiders’ Guide to Richmond is a work-for-hire project, so I don’t own a vowel, much less a number associated with it, but Amazon and Barnes & Noble and all the rest are listing the book as an actual  book that will actually be published Sept. 1, so they must know more about the work habits of my editors than I do.  ISBN-13: 9780762760206. Such a nice number.

The disconcerting thing about being named Maureen Egan is that an unsuspecting reader could think I wrote Healthful Quantity Baking by Maureen Egan and others, Chocolate Cherry Tortes and Other Lowfat Desserts and Low Salt, Low Sugar, Low Fat Desserts. That doesn’t sound like me at all. That other Maureen Egan could ruin my reputation before my next book comes out: Really Bad for You, but Damned Good Baking in Large Enough Quantities to Kill Everyone You Know. I just did some baking last night, ostensibly to welcome friends back to our neighborhood, but really so I could shove oatmeal chocolate chip raisin bars into my mouth for breakfast. With fruit on the side, it’s almost not the worst thing I could have eaten, except that as of yet, I haven’t gotten around to the fruit.

I’m back!