End of the year reflections are not my thing. Nor are New Year’s resolutions. I spent too many years in education to not know that the end of the year is sometime in May and the beginning around mid-August (at least in Tucson.)
But this year was pretty remarkable for me. I retired from my day job a little over three years ago, but I worked harder this year than any I had I the past ten. I learned more than I have in years. I met more people, got to share more stories, have more fun and all because I was fortunate enough to be given the assignment to chronicle Tucson’s culinary history in my book “Lost Restaurants of Tucson.”
In March, all of a sudden I “lost” the job I had with the ‘Tucson Weekly’ as the restaurant reviewer. I had done this dream job for ten years. I knew it was coming but hung on as long as I could before changes at the paper meant I was out of a job.
But then, and I hate to use this cliché, as that door closed another door opened. Within days of my last review, the History Press contacted me to see if I wanted to write a book about all the long-gone but most beloved restaurants in Tucson. I said “yes”, of course. Reflecting on it all, I would’ve had a hard time doing both the reviewing and the book, so to use another cliché, everything happens for a reason.
I knew it was going to be a lot of work but I didn’t realize that signing that contract would lead to such an exciting time.
The book took all summer. I interviewed tons of people. Many were the actual owners, chefs and workers of the restaurants. Others were family members. I spent hours at The Arizona Historical Society, the Pima County Public Library, the Library at the University of Arizona and in front of my computer at a make-shift desk on the living room. I tracked down photos (the hardest part) from all over. I learned how to really use my scanner.
What blew me away was how generous people were with the information they shared. I thought I knew a lot about Tucson’s food history, but that was only a small portion of what had happened here.
During the time I was writing the book three influential people died: Doug Marvin, Dean Short and Joe Scordato Sr. All three men contributed greatly to the culinary scene in Tucson so the fact that I could share their stories in this book was a great honor.
A long time ago I heard about a group of senior women who had formed an investment club. They wrote a book, appeared on TV and became famous for a little while. The thing I took away from their experience was a quote that ran something like, “We have fun, learn something and make a little money. What more could you want.”
That’s exactly how I feel about writing this book.
Now during the promotion faze, I’m still having fun and learning something (and not just info on being on the radio; stuff about me) and I am even making a little money. Who could ask for more?
2015 was a very good year for The Well-Fed Foodie.