The Short Story
I am a novelist, a food & nutrition researcher, a mother, a baker, a (very lazy) gardener, a traveler, and a tea drinker, among other things. I’ve worked in a variety of settings that have given me a broad view of the food industry, from clinical dietetics to food service to public health research.
The Long Story
As a kid, in between playing Nintendo with my sisters and scribbling detailed diary entries from a bunch of people who didn’t actually exist,1 I binged on classic Food Network episodes and secretly pretended to host my own cooking show. As I got older, I tumbled headlong into an obsession with 90’s alt-rock and wrote reams of confessional poetry. I worked in a shaved ice booth at a waterpark by day and directed epic music videos in my head by night.2 I decided that the best thing in the world was slicing up strawberries (still one of my top five smells, btw).3
Fast forward to college, when I started off declaring myself an English major before becoming totally fascinated by psychology. Then I took a physiological psych class, and decided I wanted to learn as much as I could about the human brain and nervous system from a more biological perspective. That led me to get my Bachelor’s in cell and molecular biology, with a minor in chemistry.
But as much as I enjoyed working in a lab, I knew I didn’t want to do it forever, so decided to fuse my loves of both food and science and go to grad school to study nutrition. There, I eventually became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and went on to publish my research on dietary patterns and immune function in several scientific journals.
Pretty much as soon as I graduated, I became a blogger! I created the Vegan Dietitian blog, which was quietly successful back in the late aughts. Then I got burned out on food and started a new blog to write about my adventures in mothering, and that was fun and all, but… something was missing.
It wasn’t until I started writing fiction again, for the first time since high school, that I discovered my true calling. Fiction was the perfect place to explore all the random things that fascinate me, and escape from my everyday life to become someone else for a while. It was… thrilling. And addictive.
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1This was very hard to explain when my daughter recently found the journal on the top of our bookshelf and opened it up to find a jumble of letters, drawings, and diaries crafted in handwriting unique to each character. “Um, what’s going on here?” she asked. Good question, dear. Good question.
2In short, I was extremely cool.
3Oh, are you wondering which other smells round out the top five? I’m glad you asked!
My Top Five Smells
- Garlic simmering in olive oil
- Red peppers, while roasting
- Sliced strawberries
- Fresh mint
- Lishan high-mountain oolong tea
My Top Five Tastes
- Cantaloupe drizzled with rosewater
- Dark chocolate anything
- French fries
- Kale braised with garlic
- Homegrown tomatoes
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Alanna Peterson received her BS in Cell & Molecular Biology and her MS in Nutritional Science from the University of Washington. She has worked in a variety of settings that have given her a broad view of the food industry, from clinical dietetics to food service to public health research. Her work on dietary patterns and immune function has been published in scientific journals, including the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In addition, she recently held a leadership position at a food justice nonprofit, and volunteers weekly at her local food bank.
Alanna is a longtime resident of South Seattle, and enjoys exploring the urban wilderness, learning new languages, and cooking dinner with her family. She is the award-winning author of the Call of the Crow Quartet, a series of young adult thrillers. More information about her books (including resources, recipes, and content/trigger warnings) can be found at alannapeterson.com.
Alanna Peterson graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle with degrees in molecular biology and nutritional science. She has worked in a variety of settings throughout her career, including a microbiology lab, a research kitchen, an intensive care unit, a food justice nonprofit, and a shaved ice booth. She is the award-winning author of the Call of the Crow Quartet, a series of young adult thrillers. More information about her books (including resources, recipes, and content/trigger warnings) can be found at alannapeterson.com.