Friday, August 27, 2010

I Thought It Was the Cookies

Posted By on Fri, Aug 27, 2010 at 5:10 PM

It all started with a plate of cookies. At the time I didn’t like Boise Weekly’s restaurant critic, who was a wordy Boise State English professor. So I wrote a letter stating what I disliked about the man’s reviews and why I should be the paper’s new food critic. Bearing a plate full of homemade chocolate chip cookies and my letter, I stepped into BW’s downtown office wearing my stark white work uniform. Bravely, I asked the receptionist if I could speak to the owners. She took the plate and the letter, then stated flatly that she’d have one of them call when they got in.

A month later I got a phone call and was asked to come to BWHQ for an interview. Bingo Barnes, who was co-owner and editor-in-chief at the time, performed the necessary getting-to-know-you grilling along with then-editor Anna Webb; together they offered me a test assignment. At one point during the interview I was told, “If we hire you now, you might not be here in a year. There’s not a lot of longevity in the newspaper business.”

That was 10 years ago.

It was the fall of 2000. I was a full-time mom, raising my two elementary school-aged sons and looking for part-time work that would allow me to be home with my boys after school. I was also working as a kitchen assistant for the Boise School District. I recently learned that it was the novelty of the all-white lunch lady uniform I wore when I dropped off my letter that day that caused enough of a buzz in the newsroom for Bingo and publisher Sally Freeman to give me a shot.

And all this time I thought it was the cookies.

Today my sons are grown and have entered college. I’ve always said that once they graduated from high school I’d return to college for my degree. And that's what I'm going to do.

Before I go I have to say that it has been my privilege to write columns about restaurants and local food and real estate. But if you asked me to sum up what I’ve done over the past 10 years I’d have to say this: through my assignments to taste different foods, listen to people’s stories and see the interesting architecture in town, I have fallen in love with Boise, the people who live here and the city's rich history.

To Sally Freeman, Rachael Daigle, Amy Atkins, Deanna Darr and Leila Rader: Thanks for your guidance and for keeping me around so long. You ladies rock and I wish each of you nothing but good days. Farewell for now. I’m on to my next chapter.

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