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By Adele Wong | January 23rd, 2016

It might surprise you to know that my journey as a food writer did not begin with a passion for food.

I was the pickiest eater as a child, and there was a stretch of time — I think I was 8 — when I subsisted happily on buttered baked potatoes and nothing else. I had a mild aversion to meat, and my tastebuds didn’t appreciate any flavors beyond savory and sweet.

Actually, my foray into food writing began with my passion for… music. Let me explain.

I have a pretty good ear. I can catch simple melodies and spin them back like a record player. I have a natural sense of rhythm, and I can compose songs that pass for more than noise. Because of my heightened sensitivity to tone and sound, I’m also particularly attuned to the intricacies of sentence structures and conversations. Meaning, in a weird-but-makes-sense kind of way, that I can write (or at least I think I can). But more importantly: I love to write.

And because I love to write, it doesn’t really matter what I write about, as long as I can write about it. It just so happens that the food beat fell into my lap, and I ran with it, embraced it, fell in love with it and never turned back.

I’m offering you this long-winded story for a reason. There’s a common perception in the local media industry that food writing is simply for those who love to eat and cook — and documenting this dedication to food is somehow a natural and necessary consequence. I am of the opposite view.

Of course, if you’re going to be writing about food, you better have some sort of affinity for the subject. But in my humble opinion, aspiring food writers should remember that their true loyalty is to the written word — they must, first and foremost, want to use their trusty proverbial pens to share their experiences with food, rather than the other way around. A writer’s job is to make people want to read their stories. And with that, I hope that I didn’t bore you with mine.

A mouthy soliloquy by Adele Wong. See more Food for Thought columns here.