Editing BlogHer's Food Anthology, ROOTS

4 years ago

When it comes to the editors of BlogHer's anthology, ROOTS: Where Food Comes From and Where It Takes Us, (coming June 4th from Open Road) I definitely know the least about food. I do know blogger anthologies, though -- and the challenges they can bring! When I edited the first BlogHer book, Sleep Is for the Weak, I was working alone. I remember questioning myself every step of the way -- I'd never edited an anthology before and made plenty of mistakes that created more work for myself (and probably my contributors). This time, I wasn't alone, and the experience was much richer as a result.

Credit Image: SweetonVeg on Flickr

We started out with more than 300 submissions and finally chose 40. Collaborating on this book was one of my favorite parts of my job. Julie Ross Godar, BlogHer.com's executive editor, and Stacy Morrison, our editor-in-chief, are not only great, smart editors -- they're also super-foodies from San Francisco and New York City, two of America's food capitals. (Julie says she's not a foodie, but that's a lie.) Debating posts on conference calls taught me how to pronounce quite a few words I'd seen but not heard!

I loved finding myself pulled to essays of memories triggered by the smell and taste of everything from biscuits to roast -- as well as a killer story. Julie and Stacy taught me a lot about recognizing quality in food descriptions and recipes. And we each brought our favorites to the table: I swooned over family memories, Stacy was a sucker for a unique personality, and Julie geeked out on food history.

Our discussions about which piece fit where and why were as revealing about BlogHer.com and our collective voice as they were about ROOTS itself. What makes the BlogHer community great is our combination of unique flavors, our writing like cupcakes next to kale. Totally different, appealing to various tastes and collectively more than a sum of its parts.

I hope you'll enjoy savoring (sorry, couldn't resist) the writing in ROOTS as much as I did. I'm warning you, though -- don't read this book on an empty stomach! I ate at least one extra meal every day I worked on it.

Rita Arens is the author of the young adult novel The Obvious Game & the deputy editor of BlogHer.com. Find more at www.ritaarens.com.

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