This FAQ is a work-in-progress…
Hey, Justcooknyc, do you live in NYC?
Let’s just say I live in the NYC tri-state area. A little privacy is a good thing.
Are you really from Flushing, Queens?
Yes, I am originally from Flushing, very close to Kissena Park, but my family moved nearby the Jersey shore when I was pretty young. I haven’t lived in either area for a long time.
What is your blog all about?
Cooking, eating out, baking (a lot of baking), some travel, and cookbooks. I really like cheap eats.
You’re gluten-free now?
Yes, I went gluten-free right after the new year in January 2012. I’m feeling better than ever. You’ll probably notice a shift in my blog starting around that time since I’m not baking at home as much now, or at least I’m not going to start blogging about it until I become more comfortable with gluten-free baking. A summary of gluten-free dining out posts on my blog can be found here.
Your bio says your opinions have nothing to do with your employer. What’s up with that?
I work for a publishing company, but this blog is my own. So it’s a legal thing. This blog really has nothing to do with my job, except that I do like writing about some of the books I work on. But I also write about books published by other companies. Either way though, I get a lot of cookbooks for free, so as I often say, my opinions are quite biased.
And your restaurant reviews, are they biased too?
No, I don’t write about places that give me free meals. Actually, I rarely get free meals, now that you mention it. Most of the time I pay for my own food when I eat out, and if not, I’ll say so in the review. You may have noticed my reviews are all pretty nice. I choose not to write about lousy restaurants. I want to keep things on my blog positive.
What about that book you wrote, Veg Out New York City?
That was different — the reviews ranged from 1 to 4 stars, and no, I don’t love every place in the book. But even in the book, I left some places out if they were awful. The book is really out of date now, unfortunately.
But you’re not a vegetarian, are you?
I didn’t eat meat for a really long time, but I’ve always eaten seafood. Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve been eating meat again. In my line of work, it’s tough to be a strict vegetarian.
What about your other book, The Marshmallow Fluff Cookbook?
It was a fun project, but I wrote it on behalf of the company that makes Fluff. Most of the recipes are from their archives, except for the news ones contributed by some chefs and cookbook writers.
Back to your job — you’re a cookbook editor, right?
Yes, but keep that between us.
Hey, I want to publish a cookbook! Wanna hear about it?
Yeah, but what is the best advice you can give me right now about writing a cookbook?
Don’t rush it, and get a literary agent.
Who does the photography for your site?
I take all of the photos myself, even the behind-the-scenes shots at photoshoots. For still-life shots at home, I now mostly use a Canon 60D, and for outdoor and location photography, I use the Canon 60D, a Canon S95 and sometimes a Sigma DP-2. All are amazing cameras, but the Sigma is probably not for everyone (and it’s hard to find in most stores). I really enjoy photography, but I still have a lot to learn.
Hey, I’m an aspiring food photographer. Can you hire me?
I do hire photographers for cookbooks sometimes, but most of the people I use are already working professionally.
What happened to your old blog?
Why don’t you have any ads on your site?
Ads seem like a conflict of interest to me right now. I’m blogging just for fun.
I put you on my blog roll, so can you put me on yours?
Sorry, but if you have to ask, the answer is probably no. I finally deleted my blog roll to avoid that kind of question.
What is the photo in your blog header?
See here for my post about Alice Medrich’s No-No-Nanaimo Bars.
Where is the recipe for the No-No-Nanaimo Bars. Wait, where are the recipes for all of the posts?
I get this question a lot. I’m not a recipe developer. I write about cookbooks that I like. Most publishers don’t mind if you feature a recipe or two on your site, but that’s not what my blog is all about. If you see something you like on my blog, I’m hoping you’ll go to the store and check the book out for yourself and maybe buy a copy. Yes, you can find just about anything for free on the web, but a lot of time, effort, and money goes into making a great cookbook. I love books, so I guess I’m doing my part to support the business. Think about it this way — what if you publish a cookbook someday and then dozens of bloggers start posting your recipes for free on their sites? Or they “adapt” your recipe by changing one ingredient? You might start thinking it would be nice if people would buy your book, right? If a recipe I blog about is readily available on the web, I’ll post a link. And I might reprint a recipe on my blog occasionally, but not very often. My blog is mostly to talk about interesting food, but it’s not really a recipe resource. There are so many other great blogs for that.