Jane’s Diary: Trade-io

In the first few decades Michael and I spent criss-crossing the country looking for Roadfood, it was hard not to get bored. Of course, the scenery, the people, and the food we found were all amazing; but long hours sitting in the car looking out at fields of crops or sand colored hills could feel … Continue reading Jane’s Diary: Trade-io

Jane’s Diary: The Bar Sinister

Paris, London, Rome, Butte. Yes, Butte, Montana! This may seem a weird line-up of favorite cities, but it’s true. I have traveled the world a fair amount and have gone to places exotic enough that I worried about strange bugs biting me, but few have been as memorable as Butte. I am not an authority … Continue reading Jane’s Diary: The Bar Sinister

Jane’s Diary: Enter Laughing

I am a tough audience. Most things people find funny, I don’t. I don’t laugh out loud. When something is funny to me, it’s more an internal implosion, like an orgasm. Among my fondest memories of Michael is our shared sense of humor, a thing so powerful that much of our time together I spent … Continue reading Jane’s Diary: Enter Laughing

Jane’s Diary: A Bad Case of Affluenza

People familiar with our writing assume Michael and I live in a world of junky old cars, cheap motel rooms, and all-night diners. Yes, we fell in love with Jack Kerouac’s open road and Edward Hopper’s diners; but there is a shadow side to us not often seen. As much as our hearts are in … Continue reading Jane’s Diary: A Bad Case of Affluenza

Jane’s Diary: On Books and Babies

Michael and I never had kids. It was not a formal decision, it was more like that classic cartoon that shows a woman looking in the mirror exclaiming, “Oh my God, I’m forty and I forgot to have children!” The funny thing is that when I review my life, I feel like I have had … Continue reading Jane’s Diary: On Books and Babies

Jane’s Diary: Humiliation

Every writer has had them: moments of humiliation so searing that you can’t imagine ever getting over them. One of my favorite books is Mortification: Writers’ Stories of their Public Shame. It is a compilation of essays by important writers who share their worst career moments, from falling asleep at their own reading, to picking … Continue reading Jane’s Diary: Humiliation

Jane’s Diary: The Thing is…

For those of you who may not have committed to memory the complete works of Jane and Michael Stern, here is an interesting factoid. At the same time we wrote the original edition of Roadfood, published in 1978, we also wrote a companion book called Amazing America. It is a lame title for a book … Continue reading Jane’s Diary: The Thing is…

Jane’s Diary: Death by Chili

Growing up, I never liked spicy food. Then again, I was never served any. My default meal as a kid was chicken ala King, white meat, white sauce on white rice. The pizzazz came from a fleck of pimento and a few green peas. I did not start to eat spicy food until I was … Continue reading Jane’s Diary: Death by Chili

Jane’s Diary: Adventures in Fine Dining

It might come as a shock to hardcore Roadfooders and diner devotees that the exalted chef  James Beard was one of the first people who made Roadfood popular. When the original book was published in 1977, Beard wrote a rave review of it in his syndicated newspaper column, the gist of which was that he … Continue reading Jane’s Diary: Adventures in Fine Dining


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