Dad Jokes Rock: Cooking the Books with Eric Smith and The Girl And the Grove

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I’ve walked so many of the paths in The Girl And the Grove (Flux Books, May 2018) from Fairmount Park to Kelly Drive and now I’m slightly disappointed I’ve yet to see either an owl or a dryad.

That’s because this YA novel is filled with the people and places of my hometown.

So I was thrilled when Eric Smith found time to join us for Cooking the Books this month and talk about his latest novel, his anthology Welcome Home, nurturing kids, and… what dryads eat.

Yes, you heard right. Stay tuned for the answer (BTW that was a Booksmuggler’s question because they’re brilliant).

But wait, there’s more: Eric’s thoughts about coffee shops, brewing perfect coffee at home, and the writing process are ALSO brilliant.

It’s all  for Cooking the Books this month, both here and at the extension kitchen over at The Booksmugglers! (check out Eric’s Booksmugglers Bonus answers!).

This month’s Cooking the Books Podcast, #036: All the Dad Jokes – Cooking the Books with Eric Smith contains:

  • Dad Jokes (we warned you)
  • Several best friends
  • One excellent Corgi
  • Cameos — SO many cameos, including a Park, a number of Eric’s friends, author Jon McGoran, and the wonderful The Monkey and The Elephant Coffeehouse.
  • The perfect cup of coffee
  • The best name for an owl
  • And much more.

Ready? Subscribe to the Podcast here! Or on iTunes! Or click play below:
(and consider supporting us on Patreon, hmm?)

And visit additional Cooking the Books content over on the The Booksmugglers!

(Aliette was out this month due to a mean old flu. Thanks as always to our friend Paul Weimer who helps clean up the CtB kitchen after we destroy it…)

Podcast #036: So Many Dad Jokes – Cooking the Books with Eric Smith

Eric’s Recipe: Pulled lime chicken tacos

Why? You might ask. Here’s why:

I was wrapping up some of the final touches on The Girl and the Grove while on a little writing retreat in Mexico with Adi Alsaid and Zoraida Cordova, two authors (and friends!) I fiercely admire. Adi took us on a tour of some of the greatest taco places in his town (Mexico City), and we did a ton of writing in lovely cafes.

I was wrestling a bit with some of the notes I’d gotten back on the novel, from folks who said I should cut the magic out, maybe make it just a contemporary story. When I brought this up to them, Adi and Zoraida insisted I keep the magic in. I did. And now here we are.

So, a recipe for pulled lime chicken tacos, something I’m literally making right now as I type this. NO CHEESE ALLOWED. Adi would be very disappointed in me if I allowed that.

Pulled Lime Chicken Tacos


  • Onion
  • Two pounds of Chicken Breasts
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Lime Juice
  • Soft taco tortillas
  • Salsa of choice (verde is best!)
  1. Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker, and liberally sprinkle in plenty of salt, pepper, and paprika, with about three tablespoons of lime juice. Cook for 5 ½ to 6 hours on low.
  2. Dice the onion. And then I guess let it sit there for 5 hours or so? Maybe wait until later.
  3. Breasts all cooked, shred with forks. Don’t dump out all that delicious lime and spice filled juice. Let the shredded chicken sit in it, and then place those delicious bits of meat on a soft taco with the chopped up onions.
  4. Highly recommend topping with some salsa verde.


Eric Smith is a literary agent and YA author living in Ann Arbor. When he isn’t busy working on other peoples books, sometimes he writes his own. His latest include Welcome Home (Flux 2017), an anthology he edited full of adoption-themed short stories, and The Girl and the Grove (Flux 2018). He can be found writing about YA for Book Riot and Paste Magazine, and co-hosts the Book Riot HEY YA! podcast with Kelly Jensen. You can learn more about him and the books he reps and writes at, and see way too many photos of his corgi and baby on Twitter at @ericsmithrocks.

Cooking the Books is a mostly-monthly podcast hosted by Fran Wilde and Aliette de Bodard.

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