With today’s post, we welcome the wonderful Liz of DeLizious food services and the Food for Fun blog to our growing slate of columnists. You’ll like her. Not only is she a great chef, great writer, and the kind of person who puts a pun into the name of her business, but she’s been a long-time fan and we’ve been looking forward to this post ever since she expressed interest in writing for us nearly four weeks ago. Plus, with Liz joining us (and if you include Mailman), then we now have a gender-balanced cast of authors, which makes us kind of like the cast of Friends (Woohoo! Always a dream of mine). She has spent the last month trying (in vain) to control expectations, so let’s give her a warm welcome as she joins the BoFN team! – Dave
Greetings and welcome to The Blog of Funny Names (in Food), a small village in the BoFN world that you know and love. Today we meet Ms. Crescent Dragonwagon. Living my food-centric life, I knew Dragonwagon as a cookbook author, but only for the BoFN team did I bother to dig deeper. And oh, what a treasure trove I found.
Crescent Dragonwagon has authored seven cookbooks, including Passionate Vegetarian, Dairy Hollow House Cookbook, and The Cornbread Gospels. But there’s more, folks: She’s also written over 20 children’s books as well as poetry and novels, bringing her total of published works to over 50. Daughter to well-known authors Charlotte and Maurice Zolotow, she has an impressive writing pedigree.
CD is a fantabulously cool name for sure—one I would choose for just about any character were I writing sci fi or fantasy novels. It would also make a pretty cool gaming avatar. But knowing she’s a real person who writes books (rather than appears in them) makes a funny-name fan wonder where she got that crazy name.
The answer was easy to find: A quick search led me to the answer in her awesomely titled blog post, “Is that your real name”? I encourage you to read it yourself as Dragonwagon has a way with words (she’s an award-winning author, for gosh sakes), but will recap here.
When Dragonwagon married her first husband at age 16 (!), she and he decided to jointly choose a new last name. They also researched meanings for their birth-given first names and didn’t agree with what they learned. Says Dragonwagon:
His old first name, Mark, meant ‘the warrior’; we were anti-war. My old first name, Ellen, meant ‘the Queen’; we were anti-authoritarian. It was the ’60’s; we didn’t agree with much. He came up with the new first names for us: Crispin, for him, meaning ‘the curly-headed one’; Crescent, for me, meaning ‘the growing.’
The fire-breathing last name was chosen shortly before the wedding only because it was “completely frivolous.”
So it was: A new name for Ellen Zolotow. Though she and Crispin’s union went belly-up in 1973, Dragonwagon kept her new name after their divorce. Her dragon logo stands even today and she feels Crescent Dragonwagon is a most excellent name for a children’s book author. (Indeed!)
A second marriage to Ned Shank was much happier, though ended after 23 years at his death. Dragonwagon and Shank owned the Dairy Hollow House, an inn and restaurant in the Ozark Mountains. They also co-founded the non-profit Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, which continues to thrive. Dragonwagon has since developed and still leads her Fearless Writing workshops, which proudly count Julia Child as alum. In addition to writing cookbooks, she contributes to food publications such as Relish, Bon Appetit, and Fine Cooking.
Dragonwagon is an immensely talented and exuberant writer who successfully spun a radical decision of her youth into a strong and defining piece of her character. This warrior has earned her awesome name.