Fireside Chat: Geraldine Deruiter on Food, Feminism, and Fury

Fireside Chat: Geraldine Deruiter on Food, Feminism, and Fury

In today’s episode, join me for a fascinating conversation with Geraldine Deruiter, James Beard award-winning author. You’ll discover her journey from a blogger to an acclaimed author, diving into her new book that intricately weaves food, feminism, and fury. You’ll benefit from Geraldine’s unique perspectives on the culinary industry, gender roles, and her viral culinary critiques. Tune in to gain valuable insights and learn how these themes intertwine to shape our society and culture.

Geraldine’s book can be found on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

Fireside Chat: Geraldine Deruiter on Food, Feminism, and Fury

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Christopher Penn 0:00

In today’s episode, but something different for a change, talking to Geraldine Detroiter, author, a James Beard award winning author, whose new book, if you can’t take the heat that comes out in March, this is the book which you can find just by Googling it.


First of all, welcome.

Tell, tell me more about who you are.

Besides what’s in the official bio.

Geraldine Deruiter 0:25
I am someone who probably like a lot of people has made their career on the internet.

But I started like a million years ago.

So I am a writer who started blog who started their career blogging, really.

And so what happened is way back in 2008, I used to work for a toy and game company called cranium.

Have you ever heard of it? Have you ever played it? Okay.

Yeah, a lot of people have, I got laid off.

And I started kind of floating aimlessly for a while.

And that led to the start of my blog, which is called everywhere trust.

So it’s everywhere, stock calm.

And so I was travel blogging for years trying to figure out what I was going to do next.

And very slowly, that morphed into my first book, which I don’t I still don’t know how this happened.

People asked me I’m like, I don’t know, I was just writing for years.

And after a while, I realized that this funky side project that I was working on became my career.

Right before COVID, I started writing more and more about food.

So I thankfully and accidentally pivoted.

And so what I realized was the posts that were getting the most engagement, and the posts that were doing the best and the posts that I was kind of the best at writing.

Were all food related.

And at that point, I thought, well, maybe there’s something here.

So after a couple weird instances where I went crazy viral, made like international headlines found my face on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, like just crazy things like that.

I ended up pitching my second book, which is about food and feminism.

Christopher Penn 2:10


And I assume this is one of those.


Geraldine Deruiter 2:16
is what that is kind of the start of all of it.


So the pizza roll or the pizza, cinnamon pizza DOS, cinnamon rolls for Mario Batali.

So that blog post went up? Oh, my gosh, six years ago, a time is a thief.

So I wrote this blog post.

And what happened was, I feel like people probably know the story about Mario Batali.

There were some allegations that came out about sexual harassment.

Turns out they were way worse than that there were actually a couple of lawsuits, a lot was happening.

So at the time, all we knew were about the allegations.

And he sends this newsletter out to his fans.

And there’s like this very structured PR apology that clearly his legal team has gone through that says nothing.

And at the end of it, he includes a recipe for cinnamon rolls.

And he says they’re a fan favorite, you know, make up for the holidays, because it came out in December, and everyone was like, what, what are you? Like, what are you doing? It’s like you brought baked goods to your own trial.

Like this is just such a bad idea.

And the one thing I noticed no one had done and the thing that immediately came to mind for me, was to make the recipe.

And part of the reason why was because I had made his pizza dough before.

And I knew that there was no way that this would make a good cinnamon roll like this is not the dough is totally different.

There’s no way this was going to work.

And if we want to get into nerdy food science, you know, pizza, pizza dough is very bread like and cinnamon rolls are usually if they’re good, in my opinion, have like more of a brioche texture.

So the the two are not you can’t substitute one for the other.

So I made the cinnamon rolls and this was kind of at the apex of the me to movement.

And I wove kind of two narratives together kind of about my my rage about everything that was happening and all of these emerging stories that were coming out.

And this recipe that was just utter crap.

So it goes crazy viral.

Martha Stewart is retweeting it.

Dan Savage is retweeting it.

Pete wells, who’s the restaurant reviewer of The New York Times, is sharing it.

By the way this is back when Twitter is not a cesspool that is slowly dying.

And so it’s everywhere.

My blog crashes from traffic.

I get like millions, millions of visitors over a few days.

I’m getting you know, I’m doing interviews with like the local news.

It’s bonkers.

My website gets hacked and then a year Later, I went to James Beard Award for it.

What? Like white? So yeah, that I don’t I don’t know, it was really it’s still bizarre to me, I say it out loud.

I’m like, I have a job like my husband, I will go to James Beard award winning restaurants and we’re like, they give those to anybody.

So that’s kind of that how that all started.

Christopher Penn 5:24


So the new book is is called Tales of food feminism and fury.


How do you this is probably a very philosophical start.

Define feminism? Oh,

Geraldine Deruiter 5:38
gosh, I mean, I define feminism, as, you know, first of all, the radical belief that women are people, and that they deserve equality, and have not always received it.

And, you know, of course, I believe that feminism should be intersectional.

And so if you add on layers to that, you know, if you are a woman of color, you have also dealt with racism, on top of sexism.

And so your experiences is different, and you’ve dealt with a lot more or if you are a woman who is dealing with disability and, and a world that does not accommodate that, then there are more layers to it.

If you are a woman who is trans, you are dealing with transphobia in the world, so there’s so many layers to it.

Christopher Penn 6:33



And so what was the impetus to turn this into a book, what, why a book about this particular topic?

Geraldine Deruiter 6:45
I felt like these stories kept presenting themselves.

And it was very organic.

I, you know, it had been years since I had written a book, my first book came out in 20.

I think it came out in 2017.

You know, and this book is coming out seven years later.

And to be honest, I, I didn’t know what my second book was going to be.

And I didn’t really have plans to write a second one.

But after the second article I wrote went viral.

And it was about food.

And it was, it’s, it was hitting all the same notes.

I thought, Okay, this, this is too powerful and intersection of topics to avoid, really.

And so I think that there is something here.

And I talked to my agent about it.

And I was like, I don’t know if I’m the right person to write this.

And I remember she said to me, no, I think you’re exactly the right person who should write this.

And I thought, okay, but I’m doing it my way, which is probably not how other people are going to do it.

So I’m going to talk about my love of Red Lobster.

And I’m going to use a lot of, I’m gonna use a lot of swears.

And it’s, it’s going to be completely all over the place.

And she was like, that’s okay.


Christopher Penn 8:09

When you look at the food landscape now, particularly when we have, for example, do YouTubers who have millions of millions of people in their audience? Thanks.

Do you feel like the food industry has gotten better or worse? Or is it specific to feminism

Geraldine Deruiter 8:30
in like, since when?

Christopher Penn 8:34

Since the cinnamon roll incident?

Geraldine Deruiter 8:37
Since the cinnamon roll incident? Oh, maybe tough to say.

I want to say it’s getting better.

There’s a very hopeful part of me that wants to say it’s getting better.

I am not.

I am not a consumer, an avid consumer of YouTube.

I believe I follow two channels.

And one is Taylor Lorenz is channel and the other is the rocks channel.

But I don’t know how that came about.

So I can’t speak to the YouTube landscape.

I will say that I in my feeds, I do feel like I am seeing voices and you know, women and people who have not historically been heard before.

So that’s cool.

Christopher Penn 9:42

And in terms of the culinary industry itself, particularly the big names How do you see that having evolved since then, when you look at in the in the post Mario Batali world and who has who even gets the spotlight these days? It’s

Geraldine Deruiter 9:57
starting it’s slowly starting to shift I mean, historically, let’s be let’s be clear.

It was it’s always been men, right? You think of you think of celebrity chefs and who comes to mind for you? Because I think of a celebrity chef.

Christopher Penn 10:11

The first oldest one is really a child.



Geraldine Deruiter 10:16
Is that comes to mind first.

Christopher Penn 10:18

So the current generation for me, is, there’s Rachael Ray, there’s Gordon Ramsay.

There is who’s that crazy one? Oh, there’s Alton Brown, who is not necessarily a chef, per se,

Geraldine Deruiter 10:34
but he’s a culinary person.


Christopher Penn 10:36

a personality.

There is Bobby Flay.

There’s cat Cora, who is obviously an opponent on Iron Chef.

So there’s, there’s a lot of my culinary knowledge is based a lot of basically on online content, like YouTube and various shows.

Geraldine Deruiter 10:54
Well, and also like, early 2000s, Food Network.


Which was, you know, quite predominantly male dominated.

And like, if you ask, that’s where a lot of my references come from, too.

So if you ask me, like, I don’t like him, I think he’s very abusive.

But Gordon Ramsay is the first one.

I don’t know why he’s just so culturally saturated everywhere like he is who comes to mind when I think of celebrity chefs, or celebrities in the culinary industry.

Interestingly, like Martha Stewart is a huge name, right? But we she’s not.

She’s almost like this more broad the lifestyle brand.

So we don’t exclusively associate her with the culinary world.

Anthony Bourdain, you know, comes to mind too.

But again, he was he was almost like, beyond just food.

So it’s interesting, because I think historically, you know, the thing that I write about in my book is that men were allowed to be great chefs.

And women were allowed to be great cooks.

And that division is something that has been reflected in both were the division of labor of who gets to cook in the home, or who is assigned cooking responsibility in the home.

You know, the vast majority of home cooking falls to women, and that’s in couples who are in heterosexual couples who are married, who are not married, who have kids who don’t, it’s almost 70 to 80% of the cooking false to women, and 70, almost 70% of the grocery shopping falls to women.

So the vast majority of cooking within the home is happening with women.

And that’s regardless of whether or not they are working outside of the home.

So you might think, well, maybe, you know, maybe they’re stay at home moms know, you have a job outside the home, you are still doing the majority of the cooking.

So that was one thing that struck me it was like, All right, we’re if you’re a woman you’re expected to cook in the home.

But then you look at who is allowed to be a successful celebrity chef.

And the vast majority Hold on, I actually wrote it down because it was in the book.

But there was no way I was going to remember the stat since the Michelin star system started in 1941.

You know, more than 100 Male chefs have been awarded the three star rating and less than six female chefs have been.

So if you look at where you know, who gets to be awarded, and who gets to be lauded, it’s all men.

You know, Time Magazine did a piece called the The think gods of cooking a while back.

And the cover was just three male chefs.

I don’t think there were any male female.

There were any women chefs on it at all.

There were like a few noted women who were in the culinary industry, but not predominantly chefs.

So yeah, we’re seeing if you’re if you’re a man, you can be praised for cooking outside of the home.

But if you’re a woman, it doesn’t happen the same way.

Christopher Penn 14:08

Why is there such a division of labor that’s so imbalanced? If you have the cultural role models for cooking are men.

Why isn’t that reflect then in the home and who does the cooking? I

Geraldine Deruiter 14:22
mean, I think that this is that the answer to that is cultural and sociological and economical.

It is so layered.

But I think that in order part of part of it is I think in order for our society to work.

Someone needs to do a lot of cooking at home.

That needs to happen, right? And historically, because that’s fallen to women, that has been deep valued.

And it’s fallen to women.

Because, you know, we, we literally were not allowed to work outside of the home, we couldn’t have our own income, we couldn’t have our own bank accounts.

So you have this responsibility within the home, that fell to women.

And if you think about it, there was no way there was no other way for that to work, you couldn’t, you couldn’t eat out every day, people couldn’t afford to hire an in home chef, you had to have someone making food, and doing all of that labor.

And it just got completely ignored, it is completely invisible labor that is happening.

I think, once it started happening outside of the home, you know, the original, like, some of the first restaurants were rigidly structured, like, based on military structure.

And it was a very masculine environment.

And so it was seen as such, and because of that, it was not a woman’s place, once the work started to be appreciated and lauded and you got money for it, it became the domain of men.

So that is, you know, part of it.

And I’m not including any nuance there.

Like, that’s the broad overarching way in which I think it happened.

There’s more to it, because there have been women cooking outside of the home and struggling and trying to make a name for themselves.

And there are, you know, the Julia Child’s out there who we’re kind of changing the landscape.

But broadly, this is what I think, is the logic behind all of it.

Christopher Penn 16:58

Do you see that changing generationally? So how?

Geraldine Deruiter 17:02

Well, I mean, first of all, I think, you know, we’re, especially these newer generations are kind of abandoning these old ideas of of men do this and women do that, like God bless Harry Styles for for, you know, his, his idea that there there is no men’s and women’s clothing, right, bless him, bless the young kids for this, my niece uses bro as a gender neutral term.

So I do think that they are understanding that and I think that, you know, the world has changed, it’s okay for, for men to cook like we no longer you know, used to be seen as this emasculating thing and, and that’s part of it too, right? You have to remember the patriarchy hurts everyone, like, men are treated like crap for loving to bake or loving to cook or, you know, being nurturing in the home.

And that’s, like, historically, that’s terrible.

That’s been terrible.

That’s been a disservice to families, it’s been a disservice to women, it’s been a disservice to men.

So that’s all starting to change.

And I think, you know, obviously, women are getting more recognition outside of the home to so when they cook, and so we’re seeing women chefs being celebrated, and we’re seeing non binary chefs being celebrated.

We’re seeing less of this rigid structure around gender in general.

So yeah, I definitely do see things changing.

But anytime stuff starts to change.

You see a backlash, that that, you know, that’s how society moves forward.

I hope.

I hope that’s what’s happening.

Talk about

Christopher Penn 18:43


What backlash Have you seen so far? And which direction is it headed?

Geraldine Deruiter 18:48
Oh, God.

I mean, I don’t I I’m speaking about this broadly and beyond just the culinary world.

But, you know, I think we see like the entire state of Florida would be my current example.

I think that we you know, there’s there’s all this beautiful literature out there for kids about how it’s okay to be trans it’s okay to be queer.

It’s okay if your family looks different than other families, and people are the are banning these but like, anytime that books are getting banned, I think you need to be like, okay, hold on.

Hold on, like maybe we maybe we need to take a minute a beat and and just stop everybody stop.

So I think that, you know, I think that that’s what we’re seeing.

I think that so many people are just so afraid and so hateful and they could not handle that the world was changing.

ng ng, and in my opinion becoming this like wonderful, more inclusive place.

And so they are holding on so desperately to what they thought it was.

And, and violently trying to shut out everything else.

And that sucks.

And I honestly hope that that is not how things keep going.

And one of

Christopher Penn 20:24

the things that has become apparent is there’s a lot of people again, particularly on on social media, in both in the food realm and generally, who we’re operating with.

Not generally accepted procedures.

For example, there’s a channel called Cooking with Jack in which the person cooks cook some chicken in a in one of those food service bags, and cooks.


Geraldine Deruiter 20:54
do you what do you mean foods serve like a Sufi back or though it’s

Christopher Penn 20:58

like an oven bag like you’ve seen? Yeah.

Okay, so he cooks a whole chicken at 375.

Okay, 40 minutes from a cold oven.

It’s called stir oven and pulls it to 40 minutes and serves it, it is still red on the inside.

And he’s like, this is what you want your chicken to be.

It’s toe tender and moist.

That’s, that’s wrong.

And yet the video has gotten millions of

Geraldine Deruiter 21:23

Because everyone’s horrified right?

Christopher Penn 21:27

Would you read some of the comments be like, I’m gonna try that.

That looks great.

That looks great to the hospital.

But there’s a lot of really bad out there.

That is incredibly popular.

And I want to hear your thoughts as someone who’s in the world about how built the industry as a whole is reacting to people.

These are regular people with enormous followings making stuff that is legitimately dangerous that

Geraldine Deruiter 22:02
I mean, so we’re, there’s two, there’s two paths here.

I think there’s two different things.

There is there is trash food, right? There’s the trashy food, which to me like is the the Taco Bell taco with the Doritos shell.

Right? Or I believe that there was maybe a Domino’s Pizza with hot dogs in the crust or something like that.

Maybe I imagined that that might be a fever dream.

I’m gonna go invent that and get a billion followers on YouTube.

There’s that there’s trash food.

And that I always feel like is a little bit like, it’s caught.

You’re in college, or you’re in your early 20s.

And you’re drunk.

And you know, what seems like a great idea to eat.

And that’s okay, right? That’s fine.

That’s fun.

And I think we all love to look at that.

And everybody’s like, that looks gross, but I kind of want to try it.

And that that’s fleek.

I don’t know, that’s the equivalent of going to see a bad action film.

Everybody likes that in small doses.

I think that’s okay.

You know, everything.

Like the Epicureans literally had the philosophy of everything in moderation, including moderation.

But then you have people who are endangering, they’re literally endangering other

peoples and their own.

And they are a public menace.

What’s what you yet do you have a solution? You must have a solution.

Christopher Penn 23:36

I mean, in some ways, sort of a self solving problem? No.

Geraldine Deruiter 23:42
I’m just gonna take themselves out.

Christopher Penn 23:43

I am an ardent fan of science and data.

And this is this is generally how I view life.

You know, I don’t have much of a political orientation because I tend to go with whoever has correct data on the thing is generally the way I tend to lean I would

Geraldine Deruiter 24:00
say that is a political orientation these days, but everything else

Christopher Penn 24:05

and that’s a whole talk about that.


But particularly when it comes to things like food science and medicine in general, there’s a lot of people who ardently reject science in general food science and specific.

Yeah, and with the general public, it’s not clear to a lot of people what is and is not good food science.

Like for example, if you read about people talking all these different supplements, to the uneducated consumer, it sounds plausible.

Like when you watch one of these food, these these food, celebrities, the food sort of, I get called grassroots celebrities and as opposed to the, the media personalities, what they’re doing sounds plausible, even if it is completely and totally wrong and deeply on Safe.

Geraldine Deruiter 25:01
Right? Yeah, no.

And I, I do think we are going to get into the this is this is a very broad reaching societal problem, right, we could start digging into it I, and I see this a lot.

And this is like, this is a running gag with my friends and I because ignoring my office, I am a neat freak.

And I, you know, I clean with real cleaners, you know, I use disinfectants and clean properly.

But then I like to spray essential oils, because I like how they smell.

But people will see essential oils in your home.

And then they’re like, do you think this is medicine? And I’m like, No, I do not think I think medicine is medicine.

I think lavender smells nice.

And I want it to be in my home.

So I think fundamentally, what it comes down to is a breakdown of education.

Right? We don’t educate people, we don’t educate people properly in food science.

And if you look at people’s intent, their intent is to inform themselves, they’re watching these videos, they’re doing something that they think is correct.

They’re like, well, that, you know, I always had dried chicken this chicken is, is like tender and moist.

That’s a great idea.

And nobody’s telling them actually, like, you need to cook it to this temperature to kill the bacteria.

Because there is you know, and that’s not the case with beef.

That is the case with pork, these are the meats that you can eat rare, these are the ones you can’t, you know, sushi grade fish, you can eat raw, non sushi grade fish, which most fish is you can’t you have to cook and and explaining that people just they’re not informed of these things.

And so that is you know, that that’s something that we have not taught people and I don’t know, that’s not part of that’s not part of standard education.

I think beyond that we don’t really teach critical thinking.

And and I think a lot of times, you know, there’s there is a a cost, there is kind of a punitive cost to pushing back.

And it could be societally it could be anything, but if you’re the one person at the party who’s like, you know, bro, your, your chickens raw, and everyone else is eating.

Like you’re such a killjoy, like you’re such You’re no fun.

We’ll put it back because somebody wants their chicken well done.

Like what, like, so there is there’s so many layers to this, and it spreads, right? It’s everywhere.

Also, I do think that there is a discussion here to be had about how if we had socialized medicine that would stop people from trying to, to cure a lot of their illnesses with pseudoscience.

And a lot of that goes to, to, you know, eating, like or doing weird things with food that are fundamentally unhealthy.

So Gwyneth Paltrow, I’m looking at you because I know you have good health care, and your whole bone broth three times a day, instead of eating to try and help with your Long COVID is not okay, because other people are doing that.

Now, girl, no.

still mad about that.

We can talk about that.

Christopher Penn 28:45

I was gonna say Long.

COVID is a vascular issue with cytokine inflammation.

How does bone broth supposed to help that? So

Geraldine Deruiter 28:52
Supposedly, the diet she was on was supposed to be an anti inflammatory diet.

And so that would help with the inflammation of it’s not real.

Christopher Penn 29:09

Excited teams that are involved in this.

Geraldine Deruiter 29:13
What she’s doing does not effectively help.


So if you’re asked this, you’re asking me to explain the science of it.

I’m like, Well, I think she thought this, like I think she thought that reducing inflammation, like doing a low inflammation diet, like low inflammation diet, which I think is like, you know, no carbs, no dairy only bone broth.

would help.

But I

Christopher Penn 29:39

feel like that’s that falls in the category of please see your doctor.


So, in the book, talk about some of the other interesting theory inducing things that that made it into the book that are worth sharing.


Geraldine Deruiter 29:56
one thing that has happened several times now it has had happened in the US.

That has happened a few times while we were traveling in Europe is I’ve gone to a couple restaurants, fan, you know fancier places like Michelin starred places.

And I’m not that, you know, clearly I’m not that person I’m, I’m, you know, I will eat anywhere I will eat at any location, I do not need fine dining, because a lot of times I find fine dining is fine.

But we’ve gone to these restaurants, and I will be handed a menu that has no prices on it.

And it is like being untethered from reality.

And I grew up in such a way.

And I suspect you did, too.

Can you order food without knowing how much things cost? I mean,

Christopher Penn 30:48

depends on the restaurant.

If it’s a prefix, then you know what you’re getting, right? Because many of this absent that data is like, so did you make a misprint? Right? What happened here? So

Geraldine Deruiter 31:01
I just like to know, it helps inform my decision.

And if I’m going to speak bluntly, odds are I’m never going to eat at a restaurant where I literally could not afford the food, that’s not going to happen, I’m not going I will not find that restaurant, I would not enter that place.

But it is, these are relics of another time.

These are women’s menus.

And they are designed without prices.

And the men are given menus with prices.

And so the understanding is because the lady, the lady air quotes, is not paying, she should not know how much anything costs.

And so we went to one of these restaurants.

And I was like, I would like some water.

And they were like, okay, and they brought me a water menu.

Like I just want, I would just want tap water.

And they were basically like, we don’t have that.

Here’s the water menu.

And that is how we ended up spending.

I want to say $53 on water.

And I am still angry about that.

Because I had no prices, I didn’t know what I was doing.

So so that that that still disgusts me.

That angers me to no end, like give everyone menus with prices.


Christopher Penn 32:23

is bizarre because you can’t if you don’t have that data, then you can’t know like the quality something ordering like a 5 bottle of wine versus like a50 bottle of wine.


Geraldine Deruiter 32:33
and the assumption is that if you are a solo diner, if you’re a solo female or female presenting diner, you receive a menu with prices.

Christopher Penn 32:45

Yeah, okay, that does seem a bit on the very outdated side of things.

Geraldine Deruiter 32:50
Oh, it very much is this is literally a relic from a time when women were not allowed to go out on a scored ID.

So the assumption was, you would never be you would never be dining alone.

And you would never carry your own money because you would what know that that’s something unclean and unseemly.

And so whatever gentleman, you know, asked you out on a date or which would be rare.

Normally the your husband would be the one paying for the meal.

Christopher Penn 33:27

All right, in some ways, you can see how you can see how it got that way because even in the US until 1974 Women can get a credit card without couldn’t have a

Geraldine Deruiter 33:38
credit card, which is I mean, that’s, that’s to me, that is just bonkers.

I don’t know I’m I’m 43 So I was born in 1980.

And I’m like 73 that.

That’s nothing seven years.

That’s nothing.

So yeah.

Christopher Penn 33:57


What else what other interesting tales

Geraldine Deruiter 34:00
of rage well, so there’s a few stories behind the stories.

So one of the other stories that kind of went bonkers viral as I like to call it was a review that I did about a restaurant in Italy called Bros and I wrote this the I should have known right? We should have known it’s called bros a gig.

All right.

So the restaurant is called Bros and we go and it is and I wrote about it and this is the one that like Stephen Colbert did a little segment on which was going to say right now career highlights so cool.

He did not say my name properly you did so you know Goldstar for you.

It’s okay honestly, Stephen Colbert could say my last name improperly.

I’m still site you know, fine.

I would say millions of visitors the blog broke.

I think I got 5 million visitors to the blog in a week.

You know? It was on the homepage of the New York Times it was on Italian press.

It was everywhere the coverage of the New York by the New York Times and the coverage.

Yeah, primarily was so awful.

They basically made me out to be this, like villainous blogger who wrote this, like, terrible review, like I was this, you know, prominent, scathing, powerful writer, which I’m not, like I said, no little swivel chair and have a blog.

I shouldn’t do that my camera just lost focus.

So and they made the chef out to be like, you know, I’m just this person from humble beginnings.

And I’m like, No, you’re not like, so.

Then he was he, they had quotes from him about like, how, essentially, like, I deserve to be punched, like the New York Times is posting that I deserve physical abuse, for what had happened.

And then posting his comments about how like, I’m too old to appreciate the food.

And what it became was every insult that I had ever received, as a woman writer, this chef was hurling back at me.

And this story, in the New York Times, like the front section of the New York Times, was relaying all of that.

And that was such a, like, awful experience.

I was like, Holy crap, you are painting me as the villain.

Because I wrote a story about having a bad time of legitimately bad time at this restaurant.

It went on the chef spliced video of me from interviews that I had done and spliced it with, like sexually explicit content, and put it on his Instagram feed.

Like he did a bunch of creepy stuff.

And so and then, you know, there were allegations that he was abusive to his staff that The New York Times did not follow up on that the story just did not completely dismissed.

And so I was left.

So I was so angry, I was so angry by that entire experience, because I really, I was like, you know, you can have what you think is a relatively large amount of power.

Like, I’m a, like, let’s, let’s be clear.

I’m a James Beard award winning writer.

I’m a published author.

I have a blog that’s been read by millions of people.

And I am getting trashed about an experience that was very real.

And this guy is, you know, this, this chef is dragging me through the mud.

And the New York Times is just printing it.

And I was like, Oh, my God.


So I’m Steffel.

So I get into that entire backstory in the book.

Christopher Penn 38:29

Okay, I’ll have to read the book to see how it all turned out.


Geraldine Deruiter 38:32
I can send you a copy.

Have I not sent you have I not sent you a copy? No.

Oh, God, I’m a goblin.

I’m the worst.

I’m writing that down right now to send you a copy.

All right.

Christopher Penn 38:46

In the last few minutes, talk about how you’re marketing the book, like what you were doing as a successful author as a successful writer, what you were doing to to do so in a media landscape that is more crowded than it’s ever been, thanks to generative AI.

So how are you? How is Geraldine? Going to make this book a success? Well,

Geraldine Deruiter 39:09
so it’s funny, I was actually I was talking to my husband about this yesterday.

And I don’t know if he clearly knows who you are.

I don’t know if your worlds interact.

I think they do overlap.

So my husband’s name is Rand Fishkin.

He previously ran a company called Moz.

He now runs a company called spark Toro.

And he is as a friend of mine put it, he’s he’s big old marketing nerd.

And, you know, he was he and I were talking yesterday, and he’s like, look, I can tell you what I know about Gretchen Rubin.

And it is that she, like, forced her book like The Happiness Project was was was not destined to be a best seller but she forced that book into everyone’s hands.

She was like abs like read this book.

Read it.

I do not know if I have that verb.

I do not know if I do but I I am proud of this project in an intense way.

And I would be angry if the stories that inspired this project got more intention than then the truth behind it.

You know, and this book goes into all the harassment that I dealt with, after the blog posts went up all of the, you know, all of the truth behind like the New York Times coverage, everything that happened, and I want that out.

So what I’ve been doing is, I’m making a list of everyone I know, right? Who do I know in the food world? Who can I reach out to? And just talking to them and being like, Hey, wait, I’d like to send you a copy of this book.

I’d like to talk to you about this book.

Do you? Do you want to pitch an article about it? Do you want to pitch a story? Do you want to do a q&a or an interview with me? Do you know anyone else? Who would? Do you have a newsletter? You’d want to include this on? Can we have a chat? Like, do you know anyone else who would be interested, I’m reaching out to everyone who ever did coverage on any of the previous stories? So I talked to people from today,, who did a big coverage of the Brose piece, and I was like, Hey, can we talk? I’ve reached out to people who did coverage of the Batali piece.

And I was like, hi, I wrote a book about all of the harassment I received in the wake of that I would love for you to read it, I would love to talk to you about it.

So I just went through basically, you know, my, I still call it the Rolodex because I’m old.

And I went through my rolodex.

And I was like, Who can I talk to? And then I just I also just, you know, send out the the megaphone call, which you answered, which warmed my heart over social media.

And I’m like, Hey, I have a book.

And I think it’s cool.

And I think I’m an interesting conversationalist, and I make some fun jokes.

I would love to talk to you about this book, call me like, we’ll have a chat, I’ll send you a free copy of the book.

And, you know, we’ll get the word out, because I think that food informs who we are.

And I think that it’s an important topic for women and men and everyone.

And you know, the way in which we’ve been taught to think about it is kind of messed up diet, culture is messed up.

food culture is kind of broken, who should be who’s in charge of cooking, who’s allowed to be famous, it’s all kind of messed up.

And I talk about it in a funny way.

And I really want this to do well.

So that’s been, I’ve just been every outlet.

Everything, I’m pounding the pavement, I’m driving my publisher insane.

That’s been my approach.

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

I don’t know if it’s gonna work.

But you know what it can’t it can’t hurt that

Christopher Penn 42:59

is truly given that your average book sells something like 10 copies.

Geraldine Deruiter 43:03
I’ve heard this before.

Yeah, a lot of books

Christopher Penn 43:07

that don’t do well, for every one that you hear.

There’s hundreds, if not 1000s, that that do not.

And it’s it’s a very challenged environment right now to the point where distribution itself is imperiled.

If you would like an example, there are a number of articles talking about how Amazon has been deluded with AI generated books, where they, they you know, there’s millions of these things now.


Geraldine Deruiter 43:32
there’s a couple written by my husband not written by my husband, but there’s a couple of AI books claiming to be written by my husband.

Yeah, it’s funny too, because I considered, I don’t consider my first book of failure.

I loved my first book.

I thought it was funny and sweet.

You should read it.

But all over the place, which was my first book, I think, sold maybe 18,000 copies.

And I’m like, it didn’t do that.

Well, like that’s how I like when I hear 10 copies.

I’m like, okay.


You’re doing okay.

You’re doing all right.

But it’s hard.

It is hard out there.

Everyone I know.

Is, is having a hard time.

In, in journalism, in writing in publishing.

In film.

In in TV.


I don’t know.

I don’t know.

It’s it’s hard.

What? Why don’t we why don’t I want to hear from you.

What do you think people should be doing for marketing a book? Across the board? Yeah.

Primarily marketing a book.

So let me take some notes.

But I’m just asking in general, everything

Christopher Penn 44:40

comes down to two things brand and collaboration.

So you’ve got to have a brand that people know because brand is the brand is the sole surviving marketing channel that is reliable in an era when you can talk to the AI of your choice and get information on anything someone asked.

thing for you by name is going to find you.

Someone asking for any interesting book on food and feminism at AI is not going to recommend you, right? Because there’s a gazillion choices.

So you have to be known by name.

You have to have a community and the audience for that.

And then the second aspect is collaboration because everyone has these little pools of audience and it’s just hopping from pool to pools as much as you can can I get this person’s I just can’t get to this person’s audience can I? And and can I bring them together? When you look at collaborations on YouTube, for example, various YouTubers, you’ll see the collaborations are always with people who are roughly the same size number of subscribers things so like Google will appear on Joshua Weisman’s channel, for example, Morgan aircraft will appear on James Hoffman’s channel, for example, they all have about the same number of subscribers.

So there’s that trade back and forth.


Geraldine Deruiter 45:53
what I’m hearing is I should change my name to Gwyneth Paltrow.

That’s, that’s my takeaway here.

And drink a lot of bone broth.

That’s, that’s my takeaway.


That’s it, I have you.

I’m quoting you specifically as having said that, so that’s, that’s cool.

And everyone actually everyone should do that.

That is, that is the lesson of entire talk is drink bone broth.

And take and steal someone else’s brand.

I, I have been.

This is I’m Christopher Penn.

And I hope you’ve enjoyed my show.


Christopher Penn 46:42

yes, on that note, can people find people

Geraldine Deruiter 46:46
can find this book wherever all find books, and also my book is sold.

So you can find it if you go to penguin and you do a search for if you can take the heat, you can go to my website, which is everywhere, stock calm, and there’s branding for it there.

If you go to your local bookstore and ask them to order it, they can preorder it, it’s on Amazon.

It’s on Barnes and Noble.

It’s honestly, it’s honestly everywhere right now.

You can find it you can find it on Indiegogo, if you if you prefer to go the indie route, you can order it from any sort of indie bookseller.

And there is the audio book as well.

If you’re not sick of listening to my voice, it’s narrated by yours truly.

So that is where you can find it.

But if all of that is too confusing, just go to everywhere trust which is everywhere is

Christopher Penn 47:39

All right, thanks for being on the show today.

Geraldine Deruiter 47:41
You kidding.

Thanks for having me.

This was great.

Christopher Penn 47:45

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