An accomplished food journalist, Jane P. Marshall got her start in culinary writing at a time when food magazines and their circulations were on the rise in the 1980s. Since then, she has published numerous presentations and won several grants for her work in food journalism. Currently, she teaches “Food Writing for Food and Nutrition Professionals” at Kansas State University.
Growing up, Jane’s parents’ main expectation was that she be a “contributing member of society.” This gave her the freedom to pick her own career path, and she began studying journalism at Kansas State University. While there, she gained experience working for the school paper and developed a taste for writing feature stories, something which would later lay the groundwork for her to transition into food journalism. In 1967, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Home Economics (Nutrition) and Journalism. Jane went on to become the features editor for such papers as The Denver Post from 1984 to 1988, and the Houston Chronicle from 1988 to 2002. In Houston, Jane made the switch from writing and managing broad feature stories to focusing on culinary journalism, and she became the food editor for the paper from 2002 to 2003. Then, in 2005, she obtained a Masters of Liberal Arts at the University of St. Thomas for creative writing and history.
Despite all of her achievements in food journalism, one of the things Jane said she is most proud of is being a founding member and the first national president of JAWS. According to her, one of the most important functions of JAWS is to support women journalists and remind them “whose shoulders we stand on.”
“Virginia Woolf wrote a short story called, ‘A Room of Her Own,’ . . . and it’s about how a woman needs a space, a room of her own,” Jane said. “I think JAWS is a room of our own. As much as I hate sexist stuff, and we would die if there was an all-men’s organization, we would just die, I think that women need a room of their own.”
This almost four-hour oral history interview with Jane took place on a quite and cold afternoon on February 8, 2014 in an office area at the College of Human Ecology, Kansas State University.
( This interview was conducted by Yong Volz )