About the Author


Like many people, I’ve followed many paths in my life.

From the age of 17, I’ve physically lived in the South, first Florida, then Virginia. Except for the years I spent in Mexico, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, Morocco, and Burkina Faso. Plus a lot of gallivanting through Europe and parts of Asia. Now I am back in Gainesville, Florida, seeking a greater immersion in a place that’s been a part of my life for years of fleeting visits and stays of weeks, and sometimes months. And even years. Gainesville, of course, now a dynamic cultural entity, boasts the site of the enormous University of Florida.

Sacramento, California, my birthplace, where I first saw the Sun and Moon and Earth, is but a dim memory. A family of academics raised me as I spent my earliest years in Pullman, Washington, only to move to Gainesville, Florida just before my senior year of high school. Traumatic! My father took a position at the University of Florida. Follow the money, even before the saying became part of popular culture, right?

After graduating  from Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, FL) with a B.A. in Latin American Studies, I joined the Peace Corps. I trained for my home-economics posting in Ponce, Puerto Rico, before arriving at my post in Fram, Paraguay, a village comprised of native Paraguayans, as well as Japanese and Ukrainian immigrants. My job as a home economics extension agent involved such interesting experiences as cooking soybean soup in a cauldron balanced on three large flat stones in the middle of a field.

When I returned to the United States, I earned a Master’s degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition & Foods from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. In 1994, I attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and received a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science.

At Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, I  attended several short courses, a very thrilling time for me, because of my admiration of Julia Child!

But what about writing? After all, this is an author Web site … .

In Cedar Key, Florida, for about a year, where I lived for a few years before heading to North Africa, I wrote 81 weekly food columns devoted to food history, “Thoughts of Food and Such.”  The Cedar Key Beacon, the local newspaper, published these pieces.. While in Morocco, I wrote and produced a fund-raising international cookbook for the International school – T he Communal Bowl: A Celebration of the World’s Food – and worked as a Peace Corps trainer on maternal and infant nutrition in a remote village in the south of Morocco, near Agadir. For that work, I wrote a training manual aimed at helping other trainers in the field.

I spent years writing book reviews and articles for food-related encyclopedias as well. See Other Writing for more.

Along the way, I won a Julia Child grant from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and spent a month in Paris researching immigration’s impact on the future of French cuisine.

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My blog, “Gherkins & Tomatoes,” began in 2008, allowing me the freedom to write about all manner of topics. Following the encouragement I got from readers, I began contributing articles to food-related encyclopedias and reviewing books for Library JournalDOMES (Digest of Middle Eastern Studies), GastronomicaThe New York Journal of BooksFood Culture & Society, and The Roanoke Times. For the latter, I reviewed 49 books. I now write occasional pieces for Modern Salt, a U.K. online magazine and serve as Serving Associate Editor of Bacopa: A Literary Review published the Writers Alliance of Gainesville.

And my book, Mushroom: A Global History, appeared in 2013, published by Reaktion Books in the U.K.

I am currently working on several writing and photography projects. See Books.

2 thoughts on “About the Author

  1. Cynthia, keep me on your list. I love your sky picture up front!
    I had forgotten we have a number of things in common: Morocco, where I was born, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where I went to university. And food and cooking, of course! I too, am looking for my next “career” move!
    Bonne chance on your new endeavor.

    • Hi Kitty, you’ll still be on the list for Gherkins – it’s not going anywhere. I will probably make a sub-menu, as I mentioned in another comment, and that will take people to the blogs I have in place now. It’s pretty seamless, thank goodness. I don’t fancy moving all those posts to another service provider! Hope is going well in your neck of the woods. C.

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