Drummond’s “tiny little blog” now, of course, draws some 13 million page views for month, making her a major force by anyone’s measure. Still, picking her for the cover seemed such a change, fitting right into our “Julie and Julia” world. I had to ask Jacob about that, and get some of her other insights. Here’s our e-mail exchange, soup to nuts:
Q: Wait…Anthony Bourdain gave you a great blurb for the book, and you used it on the back cover? Why did you choose a blurb from The Pioneer Woman to grace the front cover? (Had her own cookbook hit the bestseller lists when that decision was made?)
A: You noticed that! I wanted it there because the emphasis on the new edition is a huge new chapter on food blogging, and Ree Drummond is the ultimate self-made success story in that area. She also has a cookbook that's a New York Times bestseller, a memoir coming out next year, a movie deal based on the book with Reese Witherspoon playing her, and she sometimes gets close to 1,000 comments on a blog post. That's pretty darn impressive.
It seems like women are not taken as seriously in our business, and I'd like to change that. Even though most food writers are women, men outnumber them by a long shot at the top.
Q: Has food writing changed any more than other forms of writing over the years? Does any book on writing that was published when WWFF first came out need a new edition?
A: You know what's changed the most? Restaurant reviewing. It's because traditionally, reviewing has concentrated on high-end dining, and eating out has become less less formal and more frequent. It doesn't help that Yelp, Chowhound, blogs and other Internet citizen reviewer sites have made everyone an expert. Plus, many food bloggers get invited to private "soft openings" of upscale restaurants, where they dine for free and publish accounts – not reviews – immediately, scooping food magazines and newspapers. This infuriates the heck out of traditional print reviewers, who have lovely jobs with expense accounts. There aren't many of them left.