The Book

Acquired Taste will be a print anthology of freshly made and previously published contemporary food writing, broadly defined. We’re looking for excellent literary work that puts food in the center of the table, the to-go bag, the brain.

While the art and act of preparing and consuming food presents a rich and integral landscape, the term food writing often only calls to mind cookbooks, restaurant reviews, or travel memoirs.

We love cookbooks and travel memoirs. But we’re not full yet.

The pleasure of taking or giving nourishment is one of the most primal shared aspects of human existence, spanning generations, culture, and even language. We want nonfiction food writing that embraces the many roles food plays in our lives. We want your bold stories and essays about the realities of life on food stamps, the road diets of semi-truck drivers, the fascinating history of your favorite food or ingredient. We want hilarious rants against smoothies, kale, or food writing itself, your justifications of junk food, your guilty pleasures and food fantasies.

Take us anywhere in the world, take us deep into your family history, or the room where you feed your children. Tell us about eating McDonald’s in Egypt, or that time you and your friends tried dog food. Write about food production, whether your backyard beekeeping operation, or the life of an Indiana soybean farmer. Celebrate the majesty of the tongue and its system of taste buds, condemn the use of silverware, give us your best recipe for roadkill.

Re-imagine the very idea of food: explore how a lover’s body is like a meal, how we candy-coat our desserts and our painful realities, how you devour books or other non-edibles.

Above all, we want work that surprises us, that confounds our expectations and expands our notion of “food writing.” We welcome humor, smut, irreverence, both the tasteful and tasteless. Make us salivate. Make us cringe. Just leave us hungry for more.

Submission Guidelines (Deadline: December 31, 2015)

  • We’re open to creative nonfiction in any form, including personal essay, literary journalism, cultural criticism, graphic memoir, and lyric essays.
  • We’ll also take your very best food photography and drawings, whether as stand-alone art, or as part of an illustrated essay.
  • The only submissions we won’t accept are straight-up recipes—save those for the cookbooks. Using a recipe as a launching point for your structure, however, is a-okay.
  • We want to complicate the question of what counts as food writing by including a broad range of voices and experiences. We welcome submissions from writers of color, from queer / trans / gender-nonconforming writers, from a variety of cultural perspectives, from any food or educational background, with any kind of complicated, love/hate relationship with what you consume.
  • Submissions should be no longer than about 6,000 words.
  • Email submissions as PDF or MS Word document attachments to acqtaste@gmail.com.
  • In the subject line of the email, please include your last name and “Anthology submission.”
  • The body of the email should include your full name, contact information, and a brief bio. If submitting previously published work, please indicate that you still retain publication rights.
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