Monday, September 10, 2012

"A Road Map to Possibility:" Meet Food Writer Recipe Editor, Liesel Davis!

Liesel Davis is a food writer/editor and recipe editor.  She's worked on several cookbooks and currently works for a legendary food magazine.  (Can I admit how jealous I am of her job?) I nabbed her yesterday for a long overdue interview.  What took me so long to tap Liesel for GITP?!?  So in addition to our usual (and I hope still fabulous!) four questions, I did a little extended interview. 

What's your ideal job?

I am working on some day being an entrepreneur. I would love to take the skills I've learned throughout the years in my profession and blend them into my own thing. I love writing, I love editing, I love being creative. 

What do you like about your current job?

Being in the kitchen is a place of exploration for me: trying out new flavors or ways of putting ingredients together--seeing what end results different techniques bring you. It's a place for me where I don't feel tight. I feel freedom. (Not to mention that eating is fun.) In my current job in magazine publishing, I do a lot of recipe editing. As much as I enjoy the kitchen for the freedom I feel there, I also enjoy recipe editing for different reasons. It's about creating order. It's about making things precise and clear. And, if you are doing your job well, hopefully, you have given someone a template for creating something themselves. I like to think of it as a gateway to experiences, and food is the center of so much--the mundane and the celebratory moments. You might be giving someone an answer to what's for dinner, or the perfect birthday cake, or something fun to try on a cold rainy day while stuck indoors. So, in a way you are sharing a road map to possibility. At least that is how I think of it as I sit in my office and chug away at all the little bits and parts that make up a recipe.

What do you like about food?

My favorite things about food are all sensory: color, texture, smell, taste. It's splendid stuff. I can get pretty excited about the fragrance from a particularly beautiful bundle of basil, or the flecks of gold on a blush-colored plum. Paying attention to food this way reminds me how much every day life can be extraordinary when I take time to notice the beauty in the simple details around me.

Are you in a tight place?  If so, what are you doing about it?

To me life is always a juggle of tight places. Sometimes I feel like water that wants to rush strong and free but is held in by a dam. I don't worry so much about being in a tight place but rather focus on tackling how to get myself out, which always feels like a worthy exercise. I think a certain amount of life is ebb and flow—sometimes due to circumstances money is tight; sometimes it's not. Sometimes I feel completely emotionally spent. Other times I have in excess. Not enough time, time to give. You get my point. I like to try and create excess when I can, because I enjoy the feeling of having that extra to share. I feel strong and most like myself then.

What do you want to get done this year?

Well, the year is almost over. But I have a couple of financial goals I am aiming to complete by the year's end. Most of the other items on my list have been done. Little thing that I am very focused on right now is that I want a new mattress. So that is definitely a goal. Probably sounds like a silly thing to be a goal, but I am taking my mattress buying very seriously this time around. So there is a lot of research and savings going into this venture.

And my perennial goal is that I am trying to "to-do" less and relax more. That's a big one for me. My goals tend to be more like "have more fun," "alway say yes to a party," etc. because by my natural inclinations are to work and do chores.

What inspires you?

I draw inspiration from so many places. It would be a long answer to go through them all. I would say the life around me, other people, nature--just about everything really. I find inspiration can be everywhere if you are wiling to keep your mind and eyes open for it.

What's your favorite legwear?

Easiest question of them all. I have always had a thing for tights and socks--especially knee-highs. I wear dresses and skirts a lot, so tights are a cold-weather staple for me. Last fall and winter I was really into these cashmere blended sweater tights. They are incredibly soft and cozy.

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