Matthew Amster-Burton, the creator and co-host of of the podcast Spilled Milk, likes to turn things upside down and look at them from different angles. His skewed view reveals something new, even in the familiar and in his writing — in the Wall Street Journal, GourmetLive and on his site, Roots and Grubs — it reveals a lot about Matthew.
He’s a goofball. He lives in Seattle. He’ll do just about anything to get the reader to shake her head and look again. His first book, Hungry Monkey, is about cooking for his firstborn but he is rarely seen feeding her.
It makes you re-think the concept of nurturance. That’s his point.
He says that podcasting has made him a better writer.
“When you’re on the air, it’s painfully obvious when the show has bogged down and no one is saying anything interesting,” he said. “At worst, you get dead air. Good broadcasters are totally intolerant of this situation, and I’ve found that it’s spilled over into my writing: where I might have left a dull paragraph in place and moved on, now I’m more likely to fix it or get rid of it, because it’s the equivalent of dead air.”
There’s no dead air on Spilled Milk. It’s one of the podcasts I listen to when I’m alone in the kitchen, cooking. It feels like friends have just dropped by. I don’t know if its Matthew and Molly’s zany warmth that makes the podcast feel like friends dropping by. It could also be something older, deeper, and only vaguely recalled:
When we spoke, it was immediately apparent that Matthew is not just another funny guy. He understands what makes good radio and how to make good radio and in our interview, and later on a live-chat with the Food Blog U class at Cook ‘n Scribble, he talked about both.
Photos of Matthew provided by Lara Ferroni. Photo of Molly Wizenberg from Carla Leonardi.