Five minutes with… Christie Dietz

1) How long have you been a member of the Guild, and what has your membership offered you?

I joined the Guild in January 2019. As an international member, I’m sad not to be able to attend the amazing array of events put on in the UK, but I’m thrilled that so many of them are now broadcast live in the Facebook group and shared on the Guild’s YouTube channel. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to learn from other members’ expertise. For this same reason, I also love being part of the Facebook group, which has been a wonderful place to connect with other Guild members, get involved in all sorts of very lively discussions, and receive enthusiastic and knowledgeable answers to various obscure food-related questions. And I was thrilled my membership card gained me free entry to the Martin Parr retrospective in Düsseldorf last year!

2) For the newsletter, you play the role of ‘international regional coordinator’. You are the Guild’s official coordinator for international members, and I’ve heard you never miss a copy date. Is this something you enjoy doing?

I love gathering together the international news for the newsletter each month. It’s been such a lovely way to get to know some of the other Guild members who live outside the UK – it has definitely added to my sense of being part of a community – and it is so much fun hearing what’s going on in their various parts of the world. I do hope that at some point some of us will have the chance to meet each other in person.

3) What took you to Germany, and how does your living there influence your food writing?

Well, I married a German. We moved here from London in 2010, and the rolling vineyards of west-central Germany are now very much my home. Having arrived here expecting to exist on a diet of pork knuckle and potatoes, I was astonished to discover the fierce regionality and sharp seasonal focus of the country’s cuisine. I am endlessly fascinated by the cultural, historical and geographical influences on traditional German food and drink, and love seeking out specialties that are little-known even within Germany’s borders. Once I’d tasted Frankfurt Green Sauce, beechwood-smoked acorn-fed ham, pickled herrings and sea buckthorn liqueur, and began talking to traditional butchers and fishermen, white asparagus farmers and harvest queens, to winemakers and distillers, I just didn’t want to stop. So, living here has influenced my food writing very directly: I’m passionate about exploring Germany’s extraordinarily diverse culinary landscape, meeting those people dedicated to promoting and preserving their culinary heritage and traditions, and sharing their stories.