Online trolls suck and video games rule. Eric Smith is a successful young adult author AND he’s a literary agent for P.S. Literary Agency. He’s a pretty busy guy but word on the net is that he’s never too busy to fight cyberbullying and talk about food on Twitter. It was brought to my attention by my colleague Unique Michael from Spoon University that Eric Smith holds the secret to an incredible buffalo chicken recipe but before I give that easy chicken recipe for fathers in college away, you have to read through my interview with Eric and learn what it is like being a published author, literary agent, husband, and father! Deal?
Spoon University: What exactly do you do?
Eric: During the day, I work as a literary agent, helping authors get their cooks published. By night, I can be found writing my own books. I’m a Young Adult Author, and my last book, was just published in January. But my most important job is being a Dad to my son, Langson, who is currently playing with his toy bowling set as a I attempt to answer these questions.
Spoon University: Wow! You sound like you wear many hats. Where do you wear all of these hats?
Eric: I’m in Philadelphia! My wife and I jetsetter around a bit, living in Richmond and Ann Arbor, but we settled back down here, where we first met. It’s a great city for food and books.
Spoon University: Wow! That’s a beautiful love story. Speaking of love, it sounds like you have a really lovely life. Do you have a life outside of your job?
Eric: I do enjoy things OTHER than my book life though, I swear!
I play a lot of video games when the time is there, and I’m currently deep into a replay of Fallout 4. And since the pandemic, I’ve taken on gardening in a big way, making our little Philadelphia concrete city yard into a mini escape of green. Lots of roses, blueberries, and earlier in the spring, plenty of tomatoes.
Spoon University: Tomatoes? That’s fantastic! We definitely want to hang out in your garden! Making Philadelphia greener? You’re a class act, Eric! Speaking of food, what’s your comfort food?
Eric: Anything with mozzarella cheese in it. Give me mozzarella sticks, pizza, chicken parm sandwiches… goodness, yes please. And luckily for us, there are several very good pizza places within walking distance in our neighborhood.
Spoon University: Oh yes. We love mozzarella cheese. When the time comes, we may ask you to taste test some cheeses. We don’t doubt that you COULD live off mozzarella cheese but we have to ask: what food do you find yourself eating a lot recently?
Eric: Despite the fried food packed full of sauce and cheese addiction I just mentioned, I’ve been gravitating towards chicken caesar salads a lot. My job is a lot of just… well, sitting down and reading and writing? No matter how much I love my fried stuff, I do have to balance it out. I probably have like four salads a week. And I’m not sure if this counts, but I taught myself how to make a mean pumpkin spice latte at home, since there isn’t exactly a Starbucks near me. That’s been a daily vice, and I deserve it.
Spoon University: Your job sounds very interesting. Our viewers who may want to be authors or literary agents will need to take note of these nuggets. As far as your pumpkin spice latte goes, we’ll definitely show up to your house with a mask and ask for that recipe. Be ready. Until then, being a dad sounds like an adventure. What is that like? What does Langston like to eat?
Eric: It’s better than any adventure in any of the books I’ve worked on. Lots of playtime, watching him find joy in small, new things. I’m writing this today, and today is his birthday. Happy birthday Langston, you’re three! As for his favorite foods, it’s an odd mix. He will devour an entire giant deli pickle. Loves strawberries. Our neighborhood sandwich shop knows him and will make mini Italian hoagies that are toddler-sized. Bacon is candy. Pasta. Popcorn. Bananas. And like most toddlers, way too many french fries.
Spoon University: It sounds like you are trying your hardest to avoid being a couch potato and Langston is your “Ride or Fry.” Great job balancing a thriving career with a kid! We also heard something about a buffalo chicken obsession you have. What’s that about? Come on. Is it an easy chicken recipe for fathers in college? Tell us everything.
Eric: Hah! It’s one of my other comfort foods. I love making a big slow cooker full of buffalo chicken and maybe just slowly picking away at it through the week? Perhaps that’s why I balance my diet out with salads, as the decision to have buffalo chicken every day probably isn’t the best. But that’s the thing about being an adult. Turns out you can make buffalo chicken WHENEVER YOU WANT. Use this power responsibly.
Spoon University: You’re speaking our language, Eric. Come hang out with us anytime at Spoon HQ. Before then, tell us – what is one culinary tip you have for fathers who are also in college? It can be for themselves AND/OR for their children.
Eric: Ooh, this is a good question. I guess when it comes to your kiddos, let them be curious. They’ll surprise you with what they love and what they can’t stand, and to get used to them suddenly not wanting a food they were smitten with mere seconds ago. And prepare yourself. You’re going to have to eat a lot of food they abruptly decide they don’t want. I hate bananas. Hate them so much. But now I eat bananas. And hey, remember to take care of yourself too. It can be easy to fall into the pattern of cooking fantastic delicious and healthy meals for your kiddo and forget about yourself. Maybe you end up eating shredded cheese over the sink at 8PM while having a meltdown. That’s not dinner. Take care of yourself too. But know that you’re not alone with those shredded cheese moments. It’s delicious. I get it.
Spoon University: Great wisdom, Eric! We’re waiting for you to come out with a cookbook for fathers. We’d read it! Until you come out with a cookbook, do you have a recipe that you’d feel comfortable sharing?
Easy Chicken Recipe For Fathers in College
A) Take three chicken breasts and throw them in a slow cooker that’s been well olive-oiled.
B) Salt and pepper that chicken.
C) Pour a good amount of Frank’s Buffalo sauce in to coat the chicken, but don’t leave them swimming in it. You don’t want your bites of the chicken to feel like soup.
D) But that’s not it! You have to add in a tablespoon of butter, and a tablespoon of ranch. Now, I’ll confess here. I hate ranch dressing. Loathe it. But it does the extra work in a good buffalo chicken recipe. Trust me.
E) Let it cook on low for eight hours, or if you’re in a rush, on high for four.
F) When it’s done, shred the chicken with two forks (or however you do it in your kitchen!), and let it sit in the cooker for a little while on warm, just to let the sauce really soak in.
G) And then enjoy. Highly recommend pairing with some good tortilla chips.
Spoon University: That sounds really easy to make! Take note fellas! Being that you have a really interesting history with food, what would you say your relationship with food is like? Come on. Be honest. We want the truth! Don’t hold out on us!
Eric Smith: I like to think I have a good relationship with it. It’s a mix of guilty pleasure food that I know isn’t good for me, being balanced with salads, fruits and veggies. I have a bundle of go-to recipes, from steak-and-chorizo tacos to lemon-pepper chicken over rice, but I try to learn new recipes every week. I have a small wooden box packed full of magazine clippings that I’ve collected over the years, and enjoy breaking that out.
Thanks for letting us interview you, Eric! When this pandemic is over, we’re heading over to your place for dinner!