Lois Yurow started her career as a corporate and securities attorney.
She says that one of the primary things that young associates do is review disclosure documents (mostly annual reports and proxy statements) to ensure they meet all regulatory requirements.
"I had a difficult time focusing on the regulatory aspect because I so badly wanted to edit the documents I reviewed," Lois says. "They were boring, repetitive, poorly organized, and definitely not designed to inform investors."
While she was on maternity leave from a law firm she didn’t love working at, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed the first of what would become a series of rules encouraging public companies to communicate in plain English. The timing could not have been better for Lois.
"I decided that was my full employment act, and never went back to practicing law," Lois says. "I started Investor Communication Services in 1997, and have been trying to save the English language from lawyers and business people ever since. I liked being a lawyer, but I'm much more suited to the work I do now."
Lois was managing editor of Wall Street Lawyer, a monthly newsletter focused on securities law, for seven years, and managing editor of RealCorporateLawyer.com, a website serving corporate and securities lawyers, for five. She writes and speaks frequently about plain English, disclosure, and other securities law matters.
Do you believe that being a writer helps you enjoy or appreciate food more?
Only in the sense that being a writer is pretty sedentary and cerebral. Food offers a reason to walk away from my desk and down to the kitchen. I look forward to turning on my music and cooking dinner at the end of my day. I think about food a lot! What’s in the fridge for lunch? What should I make for dinner? What new recipe should I try? If I eat this, will I be too full for ice cream?
Do you focus on healthy eating?
My husband and I are both avid exercisers. While that enables me to justify an embarrassing stash of Ben & Jerry’s, I balance that with healthy meals. We eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. I haven’t had red meat since I was 15, but we are not vegetarian.
Do you have any favorite food books/cookbooks or kitchen products you love?
One of my favorite products, and one that I use constantly, is a Presto salad shooter—a small, electric grater/slicer thing that had to have been an “as seen on TV” product. They are still available for sale, but mine is vintage. I took it from my parent’s home when my mother passed away in 2003 and it still works great.
Do you have any favorite food writers, chefs, food TV shows, restaurants, food travel destinations, etc.?
I used to live in Chicago. They have great restaurants there. I certainly loved the food when travelling in Italy and Spain.
I regularly look at Smitten Kitchen and Food 52 for ideas. I also enjoy the food sections of the New York Times and the Washington Post. Sometimes I get in my head that I want to make X, and I will spend far too much time prowling the Internet for the best recipe for X. I usually end up reading all the comments and then combining aspects of two or three recipes.
My hero (and the first person I would invite to my fantasy dinner party) is Jose Andres. I have been to, and enjoyed, a couple of his restaurants in the Washington D.C. area, but I most admire him for his philanthropic work with World Central Kitchen (not to mention his snarky Twitter feed).
Anything you’d like to add about being a writer who loves food?
Please tell me I’m not the only writer who considers a desk drawer chocolate stash a tool of the trade.
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