Frequent Flyer: Ann Hood
From excerpts to essays, the acclaimed local author reflects on her storied contributions to the magazine throughout the years.
Ann Hood may be a celebrated New York Times best-selling author, but she’s also a born and bred Rhode Islander who adores the Ocean State. Fortunately, Rhode Island Monthly has had the pleasure of devoting many a glossy page to her captivating writing style over the years, ranging from personal essays on favorite local spots and traditions to excerpts from her latest novels.
When asked about her favorite magazine stories, Hood recalls a piece she wrote about her summer job as a cocktail waitress at the Dunes Club in Narragansett. It’s a special time capsule for her, chronicling encounters with the state’s elite, lasting friendships and private beach access. However, it also now holds a tie to her present.
When Hood and her husband, fellow writer Michael Ruhlman, first began dating, he naturally wanted to brush up on her oeuvre. “He had already read most of my books but he wanted to read some of my essays, so he Googled my name and the Dunes Club story came up,” she says.
“He called me and said, ‘You worked at the Dunes Club in 1977? Do you remember a guy named Thomas?’”
It took Hood a moment, but she eventually remembered the man who was charged with cooking meals for the staff. The man also so happened to be Thomas Keller, owner of the famed French Laundry restaurant in California, and the subject of Ruhlman’s The French Laundry Cookbook.
“So, when my husband first came to Rhode Island to meet my mom, I drove him to the Dunes Club and we took a picture to send to Thomas Keller,” Hood says with a laugh. “It’s just such a Rhode Island story and so kismet that I married the guy who wrote the cookbook for the guy who made my meals at work.”
A realization that may never have been made if Hood never chose to revisit that time in our June 2014 issue. But her fondness for Little Rhody’s magazine doesn’t end there.
“I also always liked that [former editor] Sarah Francis would often ask me to write something around holidays in Rhode Island,” she says. “I spoke with a national magazine editor recently about writing a piece on the Feast of the Seven Fishes, and she was like, ‘The feast of what?’ I never have to worry about that with Rhode Island Monthly. It always feels like a homecoming.” —Kaitlyn Murray