An intense love of food is nothing new to Molly Wizenberg, a former Ph.D. student at the University of Washington who now writes a popular food blog along with a full plate of other goodies.
Molly came to the UW after graduating from Stanford to study the cultural values surrounding the French social security system in the pursuit of becoming a medical anthropologist. Today, she is very far from that goal. Now she’s the author of Orangette, a tasty blog that mixes Molly’s life experiences with the foods she loves. She’s also the co-host of the humorous food podcast Spilled Milk as well as a columnist for various food magazines, author of the best-selling book A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, and co-owner of the Ballard pizzeria Delancey with husband Brandon Pettit.
Molly has become a true foodie of Seattle. “I’m just grateful to earn a living doing work that I love,” she said. “That’s the best part, hands down.”
Orangette is the blog Molly began in 2004 just after leaving the cultural anthropology program at UW. Since then, she has shared with readers stories about her past, her love of food and many innovations on new and old recipes. Molly recently announced she had sent out her new book proposal, and while she cannot divulge the secrets of her new book she did say it will be similar to her previous book, which intertwined memories with the food that made them memorable; much like the blog does on a day-to-day basis.
The stories Molly tells on Orangette are heartfelt and honest, and her inner self shows through completely. In the story of living in France and having leeks vinaigrette prepared by her host mother, readers can feel the love of learning about new food. Likewise, her enjoyment of summer is evident in the raspberry yogurt popsicles she shared with readers last July.
Through her blog, Molly met the man she is married to. Their wedding was unintentionally on the anniversary of the day she started the blog. Brandon has a Master’s in music composition from Brooklyn College, and came to the UW for a Ph.D. before leaving to open Delancey, which opened near Ballard High School in 2009. It is revered for its fired pizzas and chocolate chip cookies. “Brandon is there each night, tending the pizza oven,” Molly said. “We’ve never been open without him there.”
Delancey has become a popular spot since its opening and will soon expand to include The Pantry, an offshoot business that will host smaller parties and cooking classes and include a small retail area. Molly is not formally involved with The Pantry, but she will be teaching a class or two there. Brandon has partnered with caterer and cooking teacher Olaiya Land and Delancey’s pastry chef, Brandi Henderson, to open The Pantry. Read more about The Pantry from Seattle Magazine.
On the Spilled Milk podcast, Molly and fellow food writer Matthew Amster-Burton take one kind of food, like hot dogs or muffins, make multiple types and then taste them to find the ones they like best. The two hosts laugh and joke frequently during the podcasts and make the food accessible to listeners by including recipes and lists where the ingredients can be found. They even put out a fun podcast on the foods they eat when their spouses go away.
With so much going on, Molly remains committed to all of her projects. “I’m not really willing to give anything up, you know?”
So this is how it will stay for Molly Wizenberg and all of her food-related fame.
UW Voices: Follow Molly on her blog, Orangette.
Photos courtesy of Molly Wizenberg.