Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Spotlight: Matthew Jacob of Foodphoria

Matthew Jacob is a food writer who grew up in Arkansas, but has lived in the Washington, D.C. area for 25 years.  He is an occasional food columnist for the Huffington Post, and he created the food blog Foodphoria.  Jacob also is co-author of What The Great Ate: A Curious History of Food & Fame, which was published by Three Rivers (Random House) and is now arriving in major bookstores.

Tell us about your blog.
Foodphoria ( was launched in 2007, and it offer no-nonsense commentary on restaurants and dining trends.  I have posted a handful of recipes of Foodphoria, but my blog is more of a review on how Americans are eating and dining.  I try to write a post at least 2 or 3 times a week, although that has been tougher lately with the time I've spent marketing my new book, What the Great Ate. 

How did you get into blogging?
I co-founded a politically oriented blog in 2002, and I enjoyed the experience.

Favorite ingredient?
Cardamom.  Adding half a teaspoon of it to apple and cherry pies seems to really enhance the flavor.

How would you describe DC Cuisine?
Good, but definitely on an upward trajectory. New York City and the San Francisco-Bay Area definitely have a better and more diverse dining scene, but the restaurant scene and sourcing of ingredients keeps getting better in the D.C. area. 

What is your favorite blog post and why?

It would have to be the post that I wrote in December 2008 in which I trashed fruitcake (  I had probably been waiting to write that post for many years.  There are so many wonderful foods that a person can bake during the holiday season that it is simply sad that people waste time baking fruitcakes or, even worse, shipping them to people who are highly unlikely to eat them.

How long have you lived in DC and how did you end up here?

I arrived in the D.C. area in the summer of 1985, and it has been my home ever since.  A media-P.R. type of job was what drew me to the Washington area. 

Who are your culinary inspirations?
The people who co-authored the Silver Palate Cookbook were definitely inspirations.  That book provided recipes that minimized the fuss of cooking, and the recipes within that cookbook encouraged me to do a lot more cooking.  I also think highly of Jacques Pepin.  I still enjoy watching re-runs of the PBS shows in which he appeared with Julia Child.  

What is your favorite local restaurant and why?
Bistro Bis and Proof are two of my favorites.  The food at Bis is always delightfully fresh and tasty.  Proof offers great wines by the glass, and their charcuterie selections are superb.  Dixie Bones in Woodbridge, Va. (about 15 miles south) makes excellent barbecue.

Any recipes to share?

 Yes, anyone who likes pumpkin recipes (as I do) should try making pumpkin ice cream pie.  There's a great recipe for it at the food blog Feeding Frenzy:

Anything else you’d like to share with the viewers?

I'm willing to bet there are at least 50 food-related stories in my book, What the Great Ate, that viewers have never heard before. 

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