Food Writer Melissa Clark shares her life-changing memories. 

By Melissa Clark
Updated May 23, 2017

F&W's #FOODWINEWOMEN series spotlights top women in food and drink in collaboration with Toklas Society. Follow the hashtag on Twitter (@foodandwine). On Thursdays in January, we celebrate Throwback Thursday with life-changing memories from visionary women.

Who: Melissa Clark

What: Food Writer, Cooking Show Host and Author

Where: The New York Times; @melissaclark

Double file this under "being in the right place at the right time" and "not being afraid to take a risk."

When I was in graduate school getting my MFA in writing, cooking was a part-time job and hobby. I had a small catering company to support my writing, but the assumption was my first book published would be a coming-of-age memoir disguised as a novel—you know, just like all my seminar mates. Then a friend of a friend who worked at a book publisher asked me to write a bread machine cookbook. I'd never used a bread machine before. I had barely ever baked a loaf of bread. But I said yes and plunged in, running four bread machines simultaneously for six weeks straight. I worked my butt off to make that book happen, and I loved every minute of the process—the intense, flour-covered learning curve included. My first book, The Bread Machine Cookbook, was not anything I could have imagined writing, but it did give me the confidence to call myself a food writer, and I never looked back at that memoir. At least not yet.