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Food as a Doorway to Memory

A Writing Workshop with Molly Wizenberg

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Zapata Ranch

June 25 – 30, 2023

In this generative writing workshop, you will explore how the sensory details of food can help us unlock our most fertile memories.

The Program

Food touches every aspect of life: people, places, the way we live, the meat and bones of who we are. Using food as an entry point to writing, we can return to past versions of ourselves: experiences we thought we’d forgotten, the thing our father said, the way a lover looked at us. During our week together at the Zapata Ranch, we’ll be surrounded by inspiration from Ranchlands’ chefs, who will prepare gourmet meals using local produce and meats.

We’ll eat well, and we’ll write every day. We’ll also read and study short works by a variety of writers who’ve used food as a narrative tool, from M. F. K. Fisher to Diana Abu-Jaber, Francis Lam, and Kiese Laymon. And when we’re not writing, reading, or sharing artful meals, we’ll immerse ourselves in the physical world of the ranch with daily hikes and horseback riding.

This workshop is for creative nonfiction writers of all kinds: narrative food writers, sure, but also cookbook authors, memoirists, essayists, journal-keepers. There are no prerequisites, and all levels of skill and experience are welcome. Please come with pen and paper (and a laptop, if you like), a love of language and writing, a willingness to explore the landscape on horseback and on foot, and a sense of curiosity about your life. You’ll leave at the end of the week with the beginnings of several pieces of writing, and maybe one or two finished pieces. Together we’ll write the stories that only we can tell.

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About Molly

Molly Wizenberg is the bestselling author of three memoirs: The Fixed Stars, A Homemade Life, and Delancey. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, Lit Hub, The Washington Post, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. From 2004 to 2019, she wrote the James Beard Award-winning blog Orangette. Molly lives in Seattle and teaches writing around the world.


$3100 includes all activities, instruction, and meals. Tax and gratuity not included.

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Zapata Ranch

Set back in a shady cotton woodgrove beneath the majestic 14,000-foot peaks of the Sangre De Cristo Mountains lies the historic Zapata Ranch headquarters and lodge, which was established in the late 1800’s. Elk, mule deer, migratory birds, eagles, and black bear also call this area home. The rooms are beautifully furnished and have an elegant southwestern decor that gives them the feel of home. All rooms have individual tiled bathrooms and views that are private, peaceful, and beautiful in any season.

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