An avid cook and cookbook collector, Cynthia D. Bertelsen is a food historian, photographer and compulsive writer now settled in Blacksburg, Virginia. She discovered the pleasures of food and cooking at an early age, by learning to cook recipes passed on by her Southern grandmothers.
For many years, she lived and worked long-term in Mexico, Paraguay, Honduras, Haiti, Morocco and Burkina Faso. Among her more memorable experiences, she includes starting up a catering business in the midst of the overthrow of Baby Doc Duvalier in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; working in a pre-natal clinic in the United Fruit Company Hospital in La Lima, Honduras; and training the restaurant staff at the American Club in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso -- they made the best chess pies ever!
Cynthia wrote "Mushroom: A Global History," published by Reaktion Books in 2013. Her articles and book reviews have appeared in several well-known food-studies encyclopedias, journals, and newspapers, including Gastronomica and "The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink" (2nd edition).
"So Spoke the Earth," an anthology of women's writings about Haiti, features her story immortalizing a Haitian vegetable-market vendor. In 2011, she won a Julia Child Independent Scholar grant from the International Association of Culinary Professionals to study the impact of France’s colonial heritage on the future of French cuisine. To read more of Cynthia’s writing, take a look at “Gherkins & Tomatoes,” her well-known blog devoted to in-depth analyses of cooking, cookbooks, and food history; you will find much food for thought at gherkinstomatoes.com. She is working on two new books and contributing to In Search of Taste magazine.