March’s Woman of Ward 6 is Bonny Wolf, an accomplished food writer, who lives on Capitol Hill. You may have heard her on NPR’s Weekend Edition or bought a book she’s written. If you’ve lived in the neighborhood for while, you probably already know Wolf. She shops regularly at Eastern Market and is passionate about the Capitol Hill community. She’s won two writing awards from the Association of Food Journalists.
The Ward 6 Democrats are recognizing and honoring Ward 6 women who have made significant contributions to better our community for the 2020 anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
A Minneapolis native, Wolf moved to Baltimore, Md., to study European history at Goucher College and married Michael Levy soon after graduation. They moved to New Jersey, where she landed her first job in a newsroom. “Over the course of six years,” she told the Hill Rag, “I had almost every position at the New Brunswick Home News.” She said she memorized the AP stylebook.
After a stint in Texas where she was the features editor for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and taught journalism at Texas A & M, she and her husband moved to Capitol Hill in 1985. She was an assistant managing editor at Congressional Quarterly and the managing editor for Roll Call.
During the early 1990’s, she started a newsletter, The Food Pages, when she decided she wanted to write about food. “It was an artistic success,” she said, “but was a challenge to sustain financially, as I didn’t take advertising.”
She was the chief speechwriter for two USDA secretaries of agriculture – Mike Espy and Dan Glickman – during the Clinton Administration, where she had an up-close and personal view of food policy issues.
She has worked as a freelance writer since 1997 and was a food commentator on NPR’s Weekend Edition for 17 years, often talking about the Eastern Market neighborhood. She had a column in the Washington Post food section and contributed to other newspapers and magazines.
“Food really is the thing that brings us together,” she said. “It connects us with family and traditions, provides comfort and companionship.”
Wolf published her first book in 2006: Talking with My Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes and Other Kitchen Stories, a collection of essays. In the book, Wolf journeys into the heartland of America to discuss the foods that we eat for holidays, family gatherings, comfort and other occasions. The book includes more than 70 recipes for such classics foods as popovers, Southwestern chili, shepherd’s pie, Irish raisin soda bread and chick a la king.
In 2012, she and several other food writers launched American Food Roots, an online magazine that explored American culture, history and identify through the food that we cook and eat. “The idea was to tell the story about American food,” she said, “offering a window onto the makeup of the country where we come from – our ethnicity, religion, travel, who are grandparents are, maybe our politics.”
Wolf served on the boards of the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. She currently serves on the board of the Hill Center and teaches journalism at The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.