FFWD REW

Julie Van Rosendaal and Elizabeth Chorney-Booth Rolling Spoon

So why Rolling Spoon ?

Julie: Well it’s a good combination of both of our areas of expertise. Elizabeth used to be a music magazine editor and my husband Mike is a musician and he’s like the Cliff Clavin of music he’s always talking about random trivia about who played in this band and this band. And music media seems to be sort of dying off and going away. There’s not as much music coverage and everything you read about music is the same. You know “what inspired you to do this album….” It’s kind of dry. But everyone has a food story and it’s a great way to get to know people on a personal level sort of a more intimate level. It’s what people want when they’re fans of a band or musician.

Elizabeth: Even if they don’t cook they still eat. I did once see an interview with Barry Manilow on the Martha Stewart Show and she said “do you cook?” He said “no.” She said “well what do you like to eat?” And he said “I just kind of eat whatever I need to so I can survive I’m not really into it though.” She was just kind of shocked. That just always stuck in my head that Barry Manilow doesn’t like to eat. Even that’s interesting. I was a music writer dedicated full-time for almost 10 years and I kind of got to the point where I was like “I will never interview another musician again. I’m done.” They’re so boring. I never want to ask how this album is different from the last one ever again. I think Julie had insomnia she was up in the middle of the night and was like “music and food.”

J: I ran to the computer and searched Rolling Spoon and it was available so I registered the web domains.

E: She called and was like “so you really don’t want to talk to a musician again?”

J: Yeah “what about food?” And she was like “okay!”

Does the concept of combining food and music on the blog get people to speak to you because you’re going to be asking them things that people don’t ask about?

E: Some of them are really excited. Sometimes I’ll email somebody and they’ll be like “oh my gosh did you know that he used to be a chef?” And then some people have downright turned us down because they won’t talk about food.

J: Do you know Volbeat from Denmark?

No

J: They’re awesome. We both went to their show in Calgary and the lead singer had lost a ton of weight on some diet that his wife who’s a chef had put him on. We didn’t know any of this but they take us into the back room and he looked so bored. And we asked him if he had any memories of food from when he was a kid and he just opened up and told us stories of how his dad used to make this beef dish in Denmark and all the food that you can get there that you can’t get here.

E: We started with friends because you can’t really call up a publicist and ask for an interview if you have nothing up. But then people got into it. When Sled Island was happening or was supposed to happen Jon Spencer Blues Explosion were playing and they do the theme song for Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and I thought they’d probably be good. I asked if they could do an email interview with me and the publicist said Russell Simmons the drummer would like you to call him right now he needs to talk to you about this. I called him up and he was like “this is the best thing ever.” He talked for about an hour because he was so into it. I think we have better luck with um older musicians. It’s easier when you’re talking to a guy in his 40s. I talked to a Tribe Called Red they’re in their 20s. I’m like “do you have dinner parties?” And the one guy says “um I’m in my 20s.”

J: I talked to Gordie Johnson from Big Sugar and his dad owns an Italian restaurant in Medicine Hat called Pasta-Bilities. He grew up helping in the restaurant and it’s still there.

Were you worried when you came up with the name that Rolling Stone would sue because the name’s too close?

J: That would be awesome publicity.

So you have different sections on the site like Dinner Parties.

J: We haven’t managed to do any Dinner Parties yet. It’s hard relying on musicians.

E: And chefs.

But there are some sections you don’t need to rely on other people like pairings. Recently you did rum balls with Boney M.

J: Yeah sometimes they are just things we can get up on the site.

E: We try to talk to at least one physical person whether a chef or a musician every week. We post every weekday. Almost. We do a lot of pun-based recipes.

J: Punny.

E: The other thing is that if you search on the Internet there’s actually a lot of existing musician recipes out there. The Eagles were coming to town and I thought “maybe there’s an Eagles recipe?” And there’s tons. There’s this Don Henley chili recipe that turned out to be kind of awesome. His chili is better than his music. We do some of those and we do some puns. I’ve been waiting to find out some kind of Icelandic sauce that I can make so that I can do Björk Chops.

What determines the pairings? I mean why Boney M and rum balls?

J: Elizabeth thought about doing Christmas songs with cookies. We were going to get Christmas recipes from musicians but oh my god. It’s so hard. You don’t want to be that stalker that always has to remind people. So we just started doing them ourselves. Boney M because it’s the ultimate Christmas album from when I was a kid and what better pairing than rum balls?

E: Because rum is the drink of the islands. We had “Fairy Tale of New York” with Bailey’s Irish Cream cookies.

Is this how you work? Do you get together to write?

J: We usually work separately. We get together to talk about stuff and we end up talking about other stuff and we don’t get a lot of work done.

E: We have meetings. We have our own little schedules which is good because I think we have different strengths. We’re also both really busy so we’d both be starving and impoverished if we met over Rolling Spoon every day because all we’d do is chat.

Are you making money off Rolling Spoon?

J: No.

E: Not yet. We’re only six months old.

J: After Rolling Stone buys us.

Find out more at rollingspoon.com .

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