From Mary Margaret Pack '74 -- After more than 20 years as a technical writer in Austin, I changed it up in the mid-90s by leaving my high-tech career to attend the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Since then, I’ve made my living as a private chef and food writer, spending half of each month cooking in San Francisco and the other half in Texas writing about food and food history.
I contribute regularly to various periodicals like the Austin Chronicle and Edible Austin, as well as to reference books such as Scribner’s Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America, and Culinary Biographies: A Dictionary of the World’s Great Gastronomic Personalities.
My first love is food history and I’m working on a book about foods that have shaped Texas culture. I’ve given presentations on food business and food history to various museums and food organizations, including CIA Napa, International Association of Culinary Professionals, Historic New Orleans Collection Museum, and Les Dames d’Escoffier International. In October 2015, I gave a talk at Lovett College about the foodways of Native Texans on the Gulf Coast. Afterward, the students--along with Lovett Fellows (and my ‘74 classmates) John Eldridge and Rice biochemistry professor George Phillips--prepared a meal using only ingredients that were available to native groups prior to Mexican and European contact.