When he was in elementary school, Mark Scott dreamed of being a beat writer for the Cleveland Indians.
He’s been writing for newspapers and magazines for more than 20 years, most recently as senior editor of Smart Business, and now as the owner of MGS Writing Solutions.
He’s a fan of cooking shows such as Top Chef, Chopped, and Good Eats.
Raising two kids with his wife in Mentor on the Lake, Ohio, Mark admits that it’s not always about gourmet cooking, but about coming up with meals the kids will actually eat.
How long have you been writing?
I've always loved to write since I was a kid in elementary school and dreamed of being the beat writer for the Cleveland Indians. I wrote for the paper at Cleveland State, covering sports, and got my first professional job at a Northeast Ohio paper called The News-Herald. I started in business, moved to local government and eventually became the education reporter. In 2006, I left the paper and began working at Smart Business. Along the way, I've always thought about writing a book or doing more creative, non-work types of writing, but I haven't yet followed through on these desires.
Tell us about how sports and writing relates to your love of food.
I love baseball, so I always love to try the cuisine while I'm watching the game. Progressive Field in Cleveland, has really stepped up its game in recent years with the addition of stands run by popular local restaurants such as Melt, Sweet Moses ice cream, Fat Head's Brewery, as well as Barrio and Momocho, which have Mexican food options. I like a traditional hot dog, but I also enjoy street tacos, burgers and unique ice cream treats.
Do you ever write about food?
I've had the good fortune to interview a number of restaurant owners over the years and I love to learn about what they love about food and cooking. It's interesting to find out how they've translated this passion to business so they can have others prepare food as they would do it. Food is one of those things that everybody loves, so writing about it allows for a great deal of creativity as a writer.
Do you think that being a writer helps you enjoy or appreciate food more?
Food is a subject that screams for creativity and someone who can colorfully describe the tastes, smells and textures of their favorite foods. So, being able to write about someone who loves to cook Italian food or Mediterranean cuisine definitely helps me appreciate food more. It also encourages me to try to new types of food.
There's a restaurant in the Cleveland area called Aladdin's that serves Lebanese-American food. I had been reluctant to try it because I didn't think I'd like it. Then, I had the chance to interview the restaurant's owners. I saw how much love they had for what they do, and how meticulous they were about the dining in each of their restaurants. I gave it a shot, a I loved it. So, writing can definitely be a pathway to a deeper enjoyment of food.
Do you try to create budget-friendly meals?
During a traditional school year, when everyone is coming and going at my house, we've found freezer meals to be convenient. We get meat, vegetables and other ingredients and make up a bunch of meals in Ziploc bags that we can pull out and just put in the Crock-Pot. These can be a time saver when there are soccer games and scout meetings to get to during the week. In the long run, they also save money.
Do you have any favorite cookbooks?
Two of my favorites are Meals on the Run, by Joanna Sayago Golub and Bake It, by DK Children.
Meals on the Run has recipes that are geared for runners. The meals are easy to prepare and meant to give you lots of energy.
Bake It is a favorite of my daughter, who is an aspiring baker at the age of nine. She has become quite skilled at making cakes and macarons. The recipes are easy to follow and quite satisfying for adults as well as kids.
Where do you turn for food inspiration?
The coronavirus pandemic has definitely created a lot more opportunity for cooking at home, and often creating meals without all the ingredients you would normally want to have. I’ve always been a fan of trying new things and experimenting to see what works. With two kids, it’s not always about gourmet cooking. It’s about coming up with meals that they’ll eat. Sometimes, all the inspiration you need is your imagination.
Did you enjoy reading about Mark and how he eats like a writer? We'll be profiling three writers per week, so stick around and visit often. If you're a writer who loves food, email us!