FOOD & COOKING
I've always enjoyed cooking because I've always enjoyed eating. And when I was a kid, my mother encouraged me to experiment in the kitchen (with food and cooking, that is; not with things like chemicals, taxidermy, explosives, etc.). So I learned a lot, mainly by mistakes I made -- and I think our failures probably teach us more than our successes.
I started playing music professionally in my early teens, and I started playing music full-time in my late teens. And when you play rock or folk "full-time," that usually means that you need a full-time job, so that you can actually continue to be a full-time musician.
So I worked in restaurant kitchens, a hospital kitchen, catering companies, gourmet delis, and other situations where food was prepared and served. Plus, a lot of music gigs take place in restaurants, and early in my music career, I hung out in the restaurants' kitchens when I wasn't performing. As a result of all that, I accidentally learned how to make everything.
Then, when I became a writer, in the mid-'80s, one of the areas I concentrated on was food -- cooking, restaurant reviews, and other aspects of the field.
Besides writing food-related magazine and newspaper articles, I also edited a bi-annual regional restaurant publication, Northern Ohio Live magazine's Gourmet Guide, for several issues, and for more than 10 years, wrote about 20 capsule reviews a year of the restaurants that appeared in it. I then became the editor of AOL Digital Cities' restaurant guide for the Cleveland area, and wrote another 200 capsule restaurant reviews for it.
In 2010, shortly after I signed a contract to write a book that is partially about food, friends of mine opened a market and gourmet deli in Cleveland's Little Italy -- the Murray Hill Market -- and I worked there for eight years, cooking in the morning and writing for the rest of the day (and night). I created dishes and recipes almost every day I was there.
I do very occasional private catering jobs with my company, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and (a lot of) Time.