The Jersey Shore Cookbook Features the Shore's Best Dishes
Joanna Gagis talks with Deborah Smith, author of “The Jersey Shore Cook Book,” which features the author’s favorite restaurants and dishes throughout the shore towns of New Jersey.
"Welcome back to Life and Living. Are you on a quest for food with attitude? If so, you're in the right place. Joining me now is Deborah Smith. Author of "The Jersey Shore Cookbook" and founder of JerseyBites.com. Your place for food news in the garden state. That's right. Okay, Jersey doesn't bite, right? No! That's just my sense of humor. I love that. Some people might think it does but really, we do so many restaurant segments because there are 27,000 restaurants in New Jersey! Yeah, and a lot of very very good ones. Tell us about the blog. What is Jersey Bites? Jersey Bites started on a complete whim. I'm a home cook. I love to cook, and people would ask me for my recipes. I had a background in digital marketing and I was very comfortable with the "interwebs". Right. And I just decided to create a blog. It was really just to put my recipes up there and be able to share them with people that I knew. But when I came up with the name Jersey Bites and I started thinking about "hmmm, that's a really cool name. I love that name." Yeah. I'd like to make it more about New Jersey, and for two years I wrote the blog by myself. Writing about what? Featuring what? Well, mostly recipes, but then I'd start to do restaurant reviews. From the very beginning, I didn't want to do negative. I don't want to be one of those places where people come and bash restaurants. I always said I was... You're not a Yelp, you're not a... No, I'm a small business owner myself and I never wanted to be responsible for putting any small business owner out of business. So if we didn't have a good experience... if I didn't have a good experience, I just didn't write about it. But what I wanted to do was really spotlight those that were doing really innovative stuff. So how did the blog turn into a book? Well, fast forward nine years writing at Jersey Bites. We've now had like 30 contributors. All different food writers from all over the state. Our social media had really grown and we had a presence. And so I got a phone call last spring. I let it go to my voicemail because I was at the dry cleaners. Yeah. And, you know, I listened to it and it was a publisher from Philadelphia who had this idea for a Jersey Shore cookbook and they wanted me to write it. Why you? Well, they wanted me because I'm very Jersey-centric. Obviously I've been writing about food in New Jersey for all this time. They didn't know that I live a half mile from the beach and that my grandfather had actually been a beach club owner..."