Wednesday, March 8, 2017

About Tod

Freelance writer and photographer

Photo:  Ryan Smith
I write about food, wine, organic gardening, travel, and family from a practical, budget-oriented perspective.  After hearing me evangelize about the fun of pulling carrots, making bread, or a Rhone that tastes like charcoal, my friends sometimes accuse me of being overly romantic.  That observation is probably true.  In my defense, these days the simple things feel more important than ever.

I am the author of several books in the Complete Idiot’s Guide series, including  20-Minute Meals, 5-Minute Appetizers, 30-Minute Meals, Quick & Easy Low Carb Meals, and my favorite, Cooking for Guys.  That title serves up cooking inspiration and humor for kitchen-shy guys, has been mentioned in the New York Times and the Boston Globe, and can be found on shelves from Boston to Sydney. Here's my Bookstore.

  Somewhere in the midst of these food-oriented projects, I
  became an enthusiastic (oh all right, obsessive) consumer of   
  local and organic produce.  I increasingly focused my
  food writing on local food, and I have watched with delight as this kind of eating has become more and more popular.  I was fortunate to be featured in a recent issue of Special Places magazine in an article that helps make the case for eating local. We're all recognizing that cheap food is not necessarily a good deal! 

I provide recipes and content for the Powisset Farm CSA (part of The Trustees of Reservations), and other organizations devoted to supporting local food.

On the decidedly more indulgent side, I created over a hundred Restaurant Recipes for the Phantom Gourmet television show. The Phantom crew filmed these epic dishes in my kitchen west of Boston.

Long ago and far away, I started Tasting Times as a food and wine newsletter for busy people on a budget.  Now, the Tasting Times blog includes recipes, wine, and related topics treated with humor and irreverence.  Themes range from unusual varietals to the “Zen of Zin”, and the rise of terrific new organic wines.

Examples of my published work (a few are links)

Food and Wine


Travel, Family & Lifestyle




In 2000, I signed on with, the (then) well-known online guide site, to design and write The Busy Person’s Guide to Gourmet Cooking on a Budget web page.  In less than a year, my email newsletter for this site grew to over 75,000 subscribers.  I am  also the author of the e-book Gourmet Cooking on a Budget, made Simple, Healthy, and Fun (

I love photography almost as much as I love to write.  Much of my work features my images.

I speak on wine and food-related topics, and have been interviewed for national print media, radio, and television. I am also a member of the Association of Food Journalists.  I earned my BA from Union College, and my MBA from the University of Edinburgh. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Here you'll find:

For the cook:  Practical guidance from a seasoned (get it?) food writer and cookbook author.  I love simple, flavorful, elegant dishes that use seasonal, local foods.  Take a look at the Wine Minute, and at the recipes on Pinterest, and tell me what you think!

For the wine lover:  Subscribers tell me they want practical wine buying information. With the info here, you’ll know how to find wines you like - which is not the same thing as wines with a high rating!  You'll know how to find the best values on restaurant wine lists, and what to serve with that local roast chicken.  This knowledge builds on more than recommendations - just because I love a wine doesn’t mean you will.  So along with reviews, you’ll find the back story; context to enable you to find wines you love, at prices that fit your budget.

My recipes run an insane range - from healthy and local for Powisset Farm (part of The Trustees of Reservations), to indulgent for the Phantom Gourmet television show.  This range inspires culinary riffs - for every oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie I quest after its alter ego - say whole grain stevia-sweetened double chocolate chunk cookies.  It's an obsession.  Just ask people who have to live with me.

Back to wine.  Topics I cover range from “Say What?” (an appreciation of unusual varietals), and “The Zen of Zin”, to  review of new organic wines. I’m passionate about wine as a part of a meal with family and friends, so my posts always include a recipe to go with that glass.  Give us a try, and people will ask, "How do you always know just the right wine to buy?!"  
A stew of my favorite wines, recipes, and food news simmers in my blog.