My name is Molly Wizenberg, and I wrote this blog for fourteen years, from 2004 to 2018. As of mid-2023, it is dead-ish, in the sense that it will not be updated again. This website is static and can no longer be altered or accept comments. Its search function is also defunct. If you are looking for a specific recipe, please do a Google search using the recipe name and the word “Orangette.”
I live in Seattle, but I grew up in Oklahoma City. I have also lived in the Bay Area and briefly in Paris, France. I’m into peanut butter, scrambled eggs, meatballs, meat that falls off the bone, cabbage, pancakes, black coffee, buttered toast, milkshakes, nectarines, raspberries, soup dumplings, tuna salad, chocolate, cold apples, warm blackberries, escarole, cheese described as “fudgy,” beverages involving rye and/or Campari and/or going by the name “shandy.”
I started Orangette in July of 2004. I had just decided to quit a Ph.D. program in cultural anthropology, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. The only thing I knew was that, whatever I did, it had to involve food and writing. I thought it might be kind of great to write for a food magazine someday, but I had no idea how. In the meantime, I decided I would just get a job doing whatever, and then write after hours. I told a journalist friend about my decision, and he suggested that I start a blog. It would help hold me accountable, he said: having a blog would force me to sit down and write regularly, even when it felt difficult.
Over the years that I ran this site, I wrote two books: A Homemade Life and Delancey. (In 2020, I also published a third book, The Fixed Stars). I also wrote a monthly column for Bon Appétit for three years, from 2008 to 2011. Along the way, I met and married a reader of this site, a man named Brandon Pettit. He and I were together from 2005 to 2016, and married from 2007 to 2017. Back in August of 2009, he and I opened a restaurant called Delancey, and in August of 2012, we opened Essex, a bar and restaurant next door to Delancey. Though we’re not married anymore, we are still family, and we co-parent our daughter June. Brandon still owns and operates Delancey and Essex, as well as a pizza tavern in Capitol Hill called Dino’s Tomato Pie. (I left the restaurant world in 2018 – whew.)
These days, I am a full-time writer and teacher of writing. I also co-host a podcast called Spilled Milk, which Matthew Amster-Burton and I created in 2010. I am remarried to my spouse Ash, and together we have a son named Ames.
Thanks for stopping by.
Frequently Asked Questions
About this site
Why do you call it Orangette?
When I sat down to start this blog, I had a bag of orangettes – the French name for chocolate-dipped candied orange peels – sitting on my desk, just a few inches from the computer. I initially had a different blog title in mind, but it was already taken, and then my eye landed on the orangettes, and it seemed right. Plus, I like orangettes.
Do you have a recipe for orangettes posted somewhere around here?
I don’t. It’s just that I’ve never felt a real need to make them, and I don’t have the patience to temper chocolate. In general, I have preferred to simply eat them, and to leave their making to the pros. (I feel the same way, incidentally, about baguettes, croissants, and cheese.) But if I were to make orangettes, this is probably the first method I would try.
Why haven’t you answered my e-mail / comment? Are you a bad person?
I shoplifted some calligraphy pens and keychains when I was eight, but I’m not a bad person. I love to hear from you, possibly even more than you can imagine. I do my best to reply to every comment and e-mail I receive, but I am not always successful, and for that, I apologize.
I once left a comment, but you didn’t publish it. Why?
The Internet can feel like a good place to anonymously air one’s discontents, or to give voice to one’s politics or religious beliefs, but such commentary is no more welcome here than it would be if we were in a room together. This site may be open to the public, but it is also mine. I reserve the right to delete comments that I do not think you would say aloud to me in person, and to delete any comment that is hurtful or nasty, that openly proselytizes, or that uses hate speech.
Who takes the photographs on Orangette?
Except where noted, I did.
What kind of camera did you use?
Prior to April of 2008, most of the photographs on this site were taken with a Nikon D70s. Then I fell in love with film photography, and from mid-2008 to late 2013, nearly all the photos on this site were taken with film cameras. I have a number of them, and I have a hard time choosing a favorite: Nikon FE (35 mm), Pentax K1000 (35 mm), Minolta Instant Pro (a Polaroid-type camera), Fuji Instax (a Fuji-brand instant camera), Polaroid SX-70, Polaroid 600 (the big, hulking one from Polaroid’s professional line), Holga (medium format), and Hasselblad 500c/m (medium format). Film is magic. But of course, the turnaround time with film can be very slow, so in late 2013, after I realized that using only film was keeping me from posting here as often as I wanted to, I bought a new digital camera, a Canon 5D Mark III.
I sometimes also post iPhone shots.
When I post shots from any of my non-instant film cameras, they have been developed and scanned by Panda Lab, in Seattle.
Who designed your site?
My pals Sam Schick and Eli Van Zoeren did.
Can I use one of your photos on my site or in my magazine?
The entire contents of this site are protected by copyright. Please do not use anything without my permission.
How did you get book deals and freelance writing gigs? Do you have a literary agent? Do you have any advice along those lines?
The short answer is this: I got to write books and magazine articles because of my blog. My agent and my editors, at Simon & Schuster and at Bon Appétit and elsewhere, found me directly through Orangette.
My best advice is to write. Write honestly and thoughtfully about what you care about. Start a blog, keep a journal – whatever works for you. Just keep writing, and try to have fun with it. And work hard. Set high standards for yourself – that’s very important – and get comfortable with not always meeting them. Work hard to learn how to meet your high standards. Read this Ira Glass quote. Try to always write better, smarter, tighter. Read good writing and figure out what makes it work. Read up on book proposals and literary agencies, research other books and writers in your field, work hard, and stick your neck out. And when you get stuck, read books. Above all, work hard. Keep going. It will not be easy, but it will be worthwhile.
Are you professionally trained in cooking? Do you have a degree in writing?
No, I am not professionally trained in cooking. My only “training,” as it were, comes from growing up in a family of avid eaters and home cooks. My brother David went to the Culinary Institute of America and owns restaurants in the DC area, but the rest of us are purely home cooks.
Likewise, I do not have a degree in writing. I’ve always loved to write, though, and as a teenager, I had the honor of studying poetry for two summers at a remarkable program called the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. I have also worked as a teaching assistant at OSAI, assisting poets George Bilgere and Ruth L. Schwartz. And in the fall of 2014, I was invited to teach at Quartz Mountain myself(!), a Fall Arts Institute workshop on personal narrative and memoir. I have a B.A. in human biology and a minor in French from Stanford University, and I have an M.A. in cultural anthropology from the University of Washington.
So you teach workshops on writing? Can I take one?
1. Yes. And, 2. Please do! I love to teach writing, particularly to adults, and I have taught one- to five-day workshops on narrative food writing, personal narrative, and memoir. Please visit my author website for more information.
Can I e-mail you?
If you’d like to reach me, you can do so over here.