Moira Hodgson is a writer. She is the author of a memoir It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: My Adventures in Life and Food (Nan A. Talese, Doubleday). She is also a restaurant critic for The New York Observer.
She has published several cookbooks, among them The Hot and Spicy Cookbook, Good Food from A Small Kitchen, The New York Times Gourmet Shopper and Keeping Company. She also is the author of a book of dance criticism, Quintet: Five American Dance Companies.
Moira Hodgson was born in England, the daughter of a British diplomat. She spent her childhood traveling abroad, living in many a strange and exotic land.
She discovered American food in Saigon, ate wild boar and snails in Berlin, and, when she returned to England as a teenager, learned how to prepare potatoes in every imaginable guise from her eccentric Irish grandmother. She was seventeen when her father was posted to the United Nations, and in New York was introduced for the first time to oysters and cheesecake. Soon, drawn to a more bohemian life, she moved downtown, where she served elaborate meals to artists and writers from the closet-sized kitchen of her Greenwich Village apartment. She lived in Chiapas, Mexico, where she learned to make quesadillas on a charcoal brazier; in Lapland, she cooked on a Coleman stove in the back of a VW bus; and at the farmhouse near Marrakesh where she stayed in Morocco, she dined on mechoui, a whole lamb that was baked for a day over coals in a pit in the courtyard. Hodgson quickly earned a reputation as a discerning critic and an intuitive, entertaining writer.
In the 1970's she became interested in dance, writing for The New York Times, Dance Magazine, The Hudson Review and Dance News. She also contributed articles on theatre and wrote book reviews for The New York Times. She hosted a weekly interview show on dance and theatre on WBAI radio.
In London in 1977 she worked at the Sunday Times magazine, writing about restaurants and the arts. She also wrote a weekly cooking column for The Guardian and articles for the Sunday Telegraph and The Observer.
She returned to New York in 1979 where she joined the staff of The New York Times as a food writer. In 1981 she went to Vanity Fair as a senior editor. In addition to assigning and editing features, she reviewed dance and theatre and wrote a monthly humor column about restaurants. From 1984-1987 she was a theatre critic for The Nation. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, House and Garden, Condé Nast Traveler, O the Oprah magazine, Food and Wine, The Wall Street Journal and Departures. Today, her columns in the New York Observer are widely read by New Yorkers in the know.
It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time reflects Hodgson’s talent for connecting her love of food with the people and places in her life. It also proves her a talented storyteller, with wit, humor and an eye for detail.