Sharing time with writers

Sep 25, 2007

Last night’s food blogging dinner was amazing, and it topped off a wonderful day spent touring Durham with Michael Ruhlman.

We started the day with a visit to Professor Dan Ariely, who has recently returned to Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. It was quickly apparent that Ariely was brilliant and an amazing educator, and both Michael and I were impressed with his ideas and stories and research results. You’ll have to get his new book, Predictably Irrational, out in February, to learn what happened when he gave people beer laced with balsamic vinegar (you might try it yourself if you’re in the mind for it).

After Ariely, we walked through Duke’s gorgeous campus, Michael leading the way with brief nods to his time as a student there in the 1980s and a tribute to the roasted chicken.

Then, lunch at Cafe Zen in the American Tobacco Campus. Over sushi, we talked about writing and food and blogging and lessons we both have learned in the practice of journalism.

“As I was packing to come here, I thought, why am I going?” he said to me, noting he’s swamped with writing assignments and projects, the work that feeds his family. “And I thought, I’m going because Anton came to my house and sat on my porch and asked nicely.”

After sushi, we walked over to the WUNC studio, and Michael talked with Frank Stasio about his new book, The Elements of Cooking. Listen the week of Thanksgiving to hear that interview.

We split up, Michael working at his hotel and me back home.

Later, dinnertime nearing, Erin and I drove out to novelist Reynolds Price’s home to retrieve Michael, where he had had the fortune to spend an hour in the company of his mentor (House is dedicated to Reynolds).

I felt bad spiriting Michael away from Reynolds, but also extremely fortunate that I’d gotten to spend a whole day — and soon a delightful meal — with a writer who means the world to me.

Anton Zuiker

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