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Writer Explores Comforts, Community of Food

by Liane Hansen
Oct 29, 2006 (Weekend Edition Sunday)

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Eastern Market in Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill neighborhood is food writer Bonny Wolf's mecca.

"I moved to Capitol Hill probably 20 years ago, and one of the reasons I never left is Eastern Market," Wolf says. "It's the absolute center of the community."

Community and food are the central topics of Wolf's new book, a collection of essays called Talking with My Mouth Full. Wolf is a commentator for Weekend Edition Sunday and contributing editor of Kitchen Window, NPR's Web-only food column.

"I think eating is a very intimate way of connecting with people. You sit across a table from people, you share your food," she says. "Cooking is a loving act."

Attitudes toward food and cooking have undergone a seismic shift in recent years; it's a development that Wolf, 56, praises.

Her own generation, she notes, was not particauarly interested in the "domestic arts."

"It tied us to being housewives," she observes.

Now, she says, the pendulum has swung the other way. People are interested in not only what they're eating, but where it's grown. She admits some of the fervor can be "a bit much."

But ultimately, she thinks it's a good thing people are so connected with their food. In the 1950s, she says, "a lot of people thought food grew in the grocery store."

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