In 2007, Deborah Smith, who grew-up in Fair Haven and graduated from Rutgers, founded jerseybites.com, which she calls “an online food magazine about restaurants, recipes, news, products and events.” We call it one of the first, most extensively read and comprehensive online journals of what’s happening in food in New Jersey.
Last spring, Quirk Books of Philadelphia approached Smith with the idea for a book about Shore foods.
“It was right in my wheelhouse,” says Smith. “I was really excited about it.”
She spent the next four months in a whirlwind of reporting, writing and compiling recipes for The Jersey Shore Cookbook: Fresh Flavors From The Boardwalk and Beyond, which coincidentally went to press on her 50th birthday last October.
“There are 50 restaurant recipes, but there are also 50 stories about the restaurants,” Smith says. “It is really a cookbook-slash Jersey Shore lifestyle nostalgia book. There are stories about the history of each restaurant, what happened during Sandy, insider information–like what’s the best seat in the house, what’s the most popular dish, when you should get there to avoid the crowds.”
The restaurants range from iconic establishments like the Lobster House in Cape May, Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright and Avenue in Long Branch to a popular hot dog vendor.
“Everything from a diner to fine dining,” as Smith puts it.
The main requirement for inclusion was that the chefs needed to use Jersey-fresh ingredients in their recipes.
“Whether it was the seafood or the produce,”Smith says, “we wanted to emphasize Jersey home grown.”
Photographer Thomas Robert Clark of Princeton visited every restaurant, taking pictures of food, chef and atmosphere displayed in full color throughout the book.
You can be among the first to get a copy of The Jersey Shore Cookbook ($22.95) at a pre-release cocktail party and book signing at Ama in Sea Bright, on Thursday, April 7, from 6-8 pm.
Tickets are $50 per person and $75 per couple. Each ticket-holder will receive a signed copy of the 160-page book (couples will receive one copy) and one Ama Ristorante $15 reward card. Guests will have a chance to speak with author Smith. They will be served hors d’oeuvres, one complimentary wine or beer, and watch a cooking demo by the Ama executive chef Charles Lesbirel.
The official pubdate of Smith’s book is April 12th.
Smith lives in Point Pleasant, “a half-mile from the ocean.”
River Road Books of Fair Haven will bring copies to the signing. The book can be pre-ordered in hardcover and Kindle format at amazon.com.Click here to leave a comment