Califonia Bountiful

Food as a thing of beauty

Jan./Feb. 2013 California Bountiful magazine

Meet a San Diego journalist who creates and photographs her own recipes. (Recipes included!)

Food writer and photographer Maria Desiderata Montana

Fresh food from local sources has been a part of Maria Desiderata Montana's life for as long as she can remember. "I learned at a very young age how to grow and pick produce at its peak," she said, recalling childhood memories of eating fava beans in the garden and canning fresh tomatoes in the kitchen of her Italian-born parents.

These days, food is her profession as well as her passion. Montana is an award-winning food blogger (, journalist and author. Her latest book, "Food Lovers' Guide to San Diego," celebrates the local food scene, including her favorite restaurants, specialty food stores, farmers markets, wineries and brewpubs. Another book is due to be published in August.

Montana creates and photographs her own recipes for her website, carefully styling them with the finesse of someone who appreciates each fresh, seasonal ingredient.

"We eat with our eyes first, and we expect food to taste as good as it looks," she explained.

Montana said she enjoys sharing her knowledge of food and "helping people be aware that they are what they eat."

Researching her book, she discovered chefs she called "pioneers for improving the way people eat, utilizing local and sustainable ingredients to create flavorful and healthy dishes," and a food scene with passionate people working hand-in-hand to share best practices.

A proponent of family meals, Montana said, "Food is the tie that binds," adding that her grown children still enjoy gathering at the family table and often call home to ask, "Mom, what's for dinner?"

With so much focus on healthy choices, does Montana have a food temptation?

"That would be pizza of any kind," she laughed. "In moderation, of course!"

Jolaine Collins


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