I'm a writer, teacher, oral historian, scholar, and avid eater, cook and gardener. I love feeding people and being fed, asking questions and trying to answer them, too.
I'm currently at work on a narrative portrait of the legendary editor, Judith Jones (forthcoming in 2023 from OneSignal Press, a non-fiction imprint of Atria/Simon & Schuster), an outgrowth of a longform oral history I conducted with Jones upon her retirement from Knopf at age 88. In support of this work, I received a 2020-2021 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) public scholars grant.
I teach courses on food culture, writing, and oral history at NYU's Gallatin School for Individualized Study and via the NYU Prison Education Initiative at Wallkill Correctional Facility.
My first book-- Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original, chronicling and celebrating the life and work of pioneering Southern chef and cookbook writer, Edna Lewis-- was published by UNC Press in 2018 to wide acclaim. My second book, The Phoenicia Diner Cookbook: Dishes and Dispatches from the Catskill Mountains (Clarkson Potter, 2020), was dubbed one of 2020's "essential" cookbooks by the Independent UK, celebrated as a best cookbook of the season by The New York Times, and named one of the best cookbooks of the year by Esquire.
My writing and teaching are informed by my training in history, public health, oral history and documentary studies, as well as my experience in sustainable agriculture, grassroots community development, and strengthening urban-rural food systems in the U.S., South Africa, and Brazil. Before turning to writing and teaching full-time, I held positions as an organic vegetable farmer, restaurant critic, anti-poverty and sustainable agriculture trainer and advocate, urban agriculture instructor, researcher at the American Museum of Natural History, and professional pie baker.
I have a PhD in Food Studies from NYU and studied documentary radio and non-fiction at both the Duke Center for Documentary Studies and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.
I live with my twin children, rambunctious dog and a flock of hens in Kingston, New York.