Writing is the foundation of my professional life, a fact that came as a surprise to me as much as anyone, having majored in mathematics and French in college (score one for an outstanding liberal arts education!).

The magazine world is where I launched my newly-minted career once I’d finished a couple years of studies and work at La Varenne cooking school in France. My time at Simply Seafood magazine–first as food editor, then managing editor–was rewarding, educational, fascinating. I traveled to countless seafood-loving destinations from Alaska to Florida (and even found amazing seafood in the Rocky Mountains).  I interviewed Julia Child and the Frugal Gourmet (Jeff Smith). I came to realize that food writing was quite a cool gig in those first few years. And that’s hardly changed since.

Shortly after Simply Seafood ceased publication, I spent eight fabulous years as food editor at Seattle magazine. And over the past couple of decades I have contributed articles and recipes to a wide range of publications, including Alaska Airlines, Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Costco Connection and Sunset. And I continue to write for Seattle as well, including this article on female farmers and a piece about local oysters (both oyster-bar boom and acidification challenges).

I was a contributing editor for years at the trade publication Cheers, which helped develop my love of cocktails. As a lifelong Seattleite, much of my writing relates to subjects rooted in the Northwest. But I’ve also written about tequila at the Cuervo Family distillery in Mexico for the Underground Wine Journal, French spa cuisine for Spa magazine and I won a Society of Professional Journalists award for my profile of Mario Batali in Alaska Airlines magazine.

Layered over the magazine work has always been book work as well. From my first project selecting and editing recipes for the Northwest Best Places Cookbook to my recent release, Shellfish, it has been quite a fascinating journey being part of so many book projects. This includes twelve titles I’ve written solo, another five co-authored with others, still more for which I was part of a larger team of writers (such as contributing the Northwest content to Williams-Sonoma’s Savoring America). And there are other books I’ve edited, Americanized or otherwise contributed to as well. For a full list of my book projects, see this page. I have also produced a handful of ebook titles available through Kindle (which also includes some digital versions of recent print books I’ve done).

I’m honored, too, to be among contributors to the fabulous online encyclopedia of Washington state history, HistoryLink.org. Projects I have completed so far include a self-guided walking tour of some of the older dining establishments in Pike Place Market; part one of the history of oyster farming in the state (part two I’m working on now); the history of hop farming in Washington; and the history of food banks in King County. I’ve come to realize in recent years that the research part of writing projects ends up being the best part of writing for me–sometimes to a distracting degree, following countless interesting ideas or tangents that come up along the way. Which makes these projects particularly delightful for me.

Cynthia Nims