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Sherrill said she once wrote restaurant reviews for (201), and recalled she was "not really allowed to be critical," even though she visited anonymously and the magazine paid for her meals.
The former restaurant owner and weekly newspaper editor took over as food editor of The Record in September 2010.
Sherrill, 50, spoke to the final class of "In The Record" at Bergen Community College, standing in for Francis "Frank" Scandale, who was scheduled to appear before he was fired on Halloween.
The course is given as part of BCC's Institute for Learning in Retirement.
Sherrill said her father is an Episcopal clergyman, but "I promise not to get preachy."
She discussed Elisa Ung, the paper's restaurant reviewer; restaurant inspections, what she called the "liquor-license problem" in New Jersey, and her focus on the home cook.
Sherrill called Ung a "great voice" and noted she edited the restaurant reviewer's work, finding that she has to change only a word or two.
She noted that before she started working as a food writer and editor, she owned the Village Green Restaurant in Ridgewood from 1989-99 with a former husband, a chef.
"You want to make a small fortune in the restaurant business? Start with a large fortune," she told the class, recalling a standard joke.
Noting the limited number of liquor licenses in New Jersey, she said it is "really hard" for a mom-and-pop or single-proprietor restaurant to make money without selling beer and wine.
And restaurants without a liquor license can't afford to buy "high quality food" for customers or if they do, must charge high prices.
The biggest weakness of North Jersey restaurants are staffs that aren't "trained to serve," unlike in Manhattan, she said.
Referring to the weekly restaurant inspections in Better Living, Sherrill said many towns are listed as "no activity reported."
But in answer to a question from a class member, she said she didn't know whether that means no inspections were made that week or the local health department is withholding the results.
Sherrill said she met her current husband, Photographer Ted Axelrod, at (201). She noted Axelrod said the magazine makes the wealthy feel good.
When she applied for the food editor job at The Record, she wasn't sure she would get it, because of "the wall" between the Woodland Park daily and (201) and the weeklies at North Jersey Media Group.
"I was told to ramp up coverage for the home cook," Sherrill said, referring to her weekly recipe column from a new cookbook.
Better Living has started to emphasize "news you can use" and its "utility" to readers, she said.
I guess I can't expect my local daily newspaper to answer all the questions I have about my town.
Why is my street still in need of paving more than four years after I moved here?
Why is my town so slow to embrace alternative energy, including solar panels, and when will the Police Department's gas-guzzlers be replaced with more efficient vehicles?
Are officials weighing whether to join with similar, nearby communities to save money on purchases or studying the larger possibility of merging their public safety departments to eliminate police and fire chiefs' huge salaries?
What do my neighbors think of the schools, property taxes and the officials who are running things? Where does my recycling go and does it actually get recycled?
How has the recession affected my downtown and what does the future hold?
I won't find any of the answers in The Record, so I guess I'll have to start attending meetings and calling the city manager on my own.
I live in Hackensack now, but I was pretty much in the dark during the 30 years or so I lived in Englewood, with its segregated schools and its ruling class, including Chairman Malcolm A. "Mac" Borg, who lives on the East Hill.
The assignment desk and none of the reporters who covered the town even knew an open-air police firing range awoke Englewood residents hundreds of days a year, and may still be doing so.
In fact, the assignment desk doesn't cover most City Council or Board of Education meetings in Hackensack.
As usual, there isn't any Hackensack municipal news for me in today's paper.
In head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes' Local section, Columnist Mike Kelly is still writing about the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 (L-1).
On L-6, a local obituary fails to note that Gregory Papalexis, "king of the pushcart frank," apparently didn't care much about his customers' health, and never bothered to develop a hot dog that was free of preservatives, antibiotics, growth hormones and animal by-products.