Writing Overview

Versatile, award-winning writer with successful track record in a variety of industries, primarily food, travel, and educational publishing. Solid background in a wide range of media: magazines, newspapers, trade books, textbooks, reference, corporate communications, newsletters, blogs, and Web sites. Exceptional communication, problem-solving, and technical skills combine in a clear, precise, user-friendly writing style. Additionally, a stock photographer (primarily travel, culture, geography) and public speaker (travel and food history). Creative communication professional with high level of initiative and intelligence. (Click on "Program Topics" link at left to find about more about my public speaking—which now includes being selected by the Illinois Humanities Council for their special Illinois Bicentennial speakers bureau.)

Food, Travel, and Lifestyle

Published nearly 500 articles covering a diverse array of topics, though focusing on food, travel, profiles, lifestyle, and human interest.

Author of Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland (University of Illinois Press). Awarded an honorable mention in the 2017 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. Named one of the best nonfiction books of 2015 by the Chicago Book Review. (You can also visit the Midwest Maize blog, to share more stories about travels and discoveries around the Heartland.)

Pigs, Pork and Heartland Hogs: From Wild Boar to Baconfest, another food history/food culture celebration is scheduled to be released on October 8, 2018 by Rowman & Littlefield.

Have already begun work on another book of food history, while continuing to write for various outlets, both online and in print.

Contributed to The Chicago Food Encyclopedia.

Contributed two chapters (on Mongolia and Jordan) to the Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia.

Contributed entries to Street Food Around the World: An Encyclopedia of Food and Culture.

Author of Waltzing Australia, winner of the Mom's Choice Award® for travel writing. For more info on the book, as well as on Australia, you can visit the Waltzing Australia blog. (Blog has been honored, as well. In 2013, the National Library of Australia notified me that my blog was "selected for archiving because we have judged it to be an important component of the national documentary heritage. We want it to be available to researchers now and in the future.”)

To buy this book, you can click here for print — Waltzing Australia — or here for the Kindle version — Waltzing Australia Kindle —and it will take you directly to the page on Amazon. (Also available for Nook and most other electronic delivery methods.)

Edited and contributed to South American Table, Maria Baez Kijac's widely acclaimed book on South American food. (Won "Best of the Best" Gourmand World Cookbook Award, 1996-2008 awarded in Frankfurt, Germany.  Previously named best Latino cookbook, 2003 in Barcelona, Spain. Worked again with Kijac on Cooking with Ancient Grains, a cookbook that focuses on lesser-used grains of Latin America (quinoa, amaranth, chia, kaniwa--published September 2014).

Wrote food history and travel articles, restaurant reviews, and book reviews for three years for the online food journal, Hungry Magazine. (You can hear me talk about Hungry Magazine, as well as other food-related topics, on this Restaurant Guys Radio podcast.) Wrote food and lifestyle articles for North Shore Magazine for four years.

Wrote a multiple-award-winning food history column for thirteen years.

Have been interviewed about food history for outlets as diverse as Eater,  Panera Bread, and the New York Post.

Also speak on food history. See "Program Topics" link at left.

Have written destination pieces and restaurant reviews for online travel sites.

Maintain a food and travel blog (for places other than Australia or the Midwest) titled The World's Fare.

Completed assignments for local and national corporations and publications, including:

  • Plate magazine
  • Aviation Chicago
  • North Shore Magazine
  • Chicago Sun Times
  • Chicago Life Magazine
  • Candy Wholesaler Magazine
  • Kraft Foods
  • Foodservice Equipment Reports (contributing editor)
  • Farmer's Markets Today
  • Local Beet
  • EZTrip/Gusto
  • Hungry Magazine
  • Whole Foods

Educational Writing and Editing

Have written and edited student texts, teacher's guides, readers, and ancillary materials in wide range of subjects. Majority of work has been in the areas of history, geography, literature, and grammar and composition.

Completed assignments for local and national corporations and publications, including:

  • Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
  • Heinemann
  • Harper Collins
  • Scott Foresman
  • Harcourt Brace
  • Prentice Hall
  • Holt, Rinehart and Winston
  • South-Western Educational Publishing
  • Riverside Publishing
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • National Geographic Learning
  • EBSCO Information Services
  • McDougal Littell
  • Glencoe/McGraw-Hill
  • Barat Education Foundation
  • Perfection Learning
  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • World Book Encyclopedia
  • Pearson
  • IDG/Cliffs Notes

Travel Experience

Traveled extensively world-wide, including Australia, China, Tibet, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bali, India, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Iceland, Mexico, Ecuador, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, much of Europe, and most of the United States.



  • Society of Women Geographers
  • Culinary Historians of Chicago
  • Association of Food Journalists
  • International Association of Culinary Professionals
  • Society of Midland Authors
  • Agricultural History Society
  • Chicago Writers Association
  • Midwest Writers Association
  • James Beard Foundation
  • Daughters of the American Revolution

Registered with the speakers bureaus of the Chicago Writers Association, Culinary Historians of Chicago, and Midwest Writers Association.

Elected to the Board of Directors of the Midwest Writers Association, 1999. Re-elected in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009. In 2013, became organization President.