I recently went through the work I have written for Teton Valley’s award-winning weekly, the Valley Citizen. I am a sentimental fool, so the process allowed me to happily dwell on some of the experiences I have had in the name of writing my sporadic food column.
Digging through the server at the paper, I managed to find the very first edition of ‘Spoonfed’. It reminded me of the panic attack I had prior to sitting down for the interview that would shape the piece. Good times.
Self doubt plagued me. What am I doing, I thought. I can’t write a food column. Who do you think you are, anyway? Amanda Hesser? Anthony Bourdain? I wondered how I could possibly come off as a professional writer with only three magazine articles under my belt – and I was no spring chicken. For a “writer” in her mid-30s, my portfolio was disturbingly thin. I had to go through with interviewing this guy, though, as it had been my idea to write the column in the first place (i.e., no one coerced me into this, so the panic attack was one hundred percent self inflicted).
When I started writing for Powder Mountain Press in 2007, I met a talented writer, editor and photographer named Jeannette Boner. We paired up on a story for Teton Valley Magazine, and I laughed with her every time we got together. I liked her very much, and also was so grateful that she was willing to mentor my amateur attempts at copy.
Jeannette informed me in 2009 that she intended to start a newspaper with another local writer and editor, Hope Strong. I threw myself in front of the proverbial bus, “Will you let me write about food?” I implored. To my disbelief, she agreed.
So there I was, ready to cover my first restaurant for the paper. I sat at a table in a cold sweat. My pen was shaking in my hand and I was hoping the dude I was posing questions to didn’t notice. I got through it. As we discussed his passion for beer and pizza, my insecurities subsided. My spine grew a little. I decided that it wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined.
And since then, I have talked to many folks in Teton Valley due to my work for the Valley Citizen. It has been one of my greatest pleasures to be able to discuss the bond that brings us all together – not just in Teton Valley, but throughout the world. This bond is food. Tradition shapes meals, as does the economy, and availability of fresh food. In a mountain valley at 6200 feet in elevation, discussing farm to table is fascinating to me, as we have only sixty-eight frost free days here in which to grow.
Since that first experience, I have allowed my curiosity to define my next subject, or I get tipped off to a great idea with the help of my supportive editor and friend, Jeannette. In this case, covering Wildlife Brewing & Pizza was her idea – and it is still one of her family’s favorite places to eat… enjoy!