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Todd Brock

Freelance writer

Location icon United States

Todd fell in love with words at a young age, banging out superhero stories and recaps of his beloved Dallas Cowboys' latest game on an old Royal typewriter he found one day in the basement. Over his 25-year career, he's most notably scripted hundreds of hours of television (HGTV, DIY Network, PBS, Weather Channel), authored a handful of books in the popular "...For Dummies" series, and served as a correspondent for the leading food website Serious Eats.

Like any freelancer, he's also amassed an extensive collection of miscellaneous writing gigs along the way: copywriting for oatmeal and baked beans, story creation for internal pharmaceutical presentations, how-to articles for the construction trade, marketing materials for virtual home tours, and one-off projects tackling everything from mobsters to Spartan racing to Pac-Man.

In his spare time, he's still in the basement, banging out stories about his team. But now it's for Cowboys Wire, part of the USA Today Sports Media Group family of websites.

Portfolio
Growing a Greener World, PBS
10/20/2018
Trading Cleats for Beets - Episode 908

In 2018, we shared the fascinating story of Jason Brown, who walked away from a celebrated NFL career to start his own farm. There was only one problem for the highest-paid center in the league: he knew absolutely nothing about growing food. This is the emotional profile of a man who followed a calling that some called crazy and has been guided by a power greater than himself every step of the way.

Serious Eats
04/28/2014
Illegal Food Is Making One of Atlanta's Best Burgers Out of a Tiny Bar Kitchen

Reviewing burgers was about more to me than just grading a beef patty, critiquing a bun, and harping on toppings. I always wanted to get the story behind the burger, and that usually meant talking to the chefs and cooks in the kitchen who were responsible. Getting paid to eat cheeseburgers was great, but getting to know the men and women who put their passion into food is what made the job truly special.

Cowboys Wire
09/18/2020
Tony Romo dishes on Dak's deal, Week 1 panic, COVID, and his own fantasy football skills

I was one of only three writers covering the Cowboys given access to former QB and current network analyst Tony Romo at the start of the 2020 season. Interviewing my all-time favorite player was, admittedly, uncharted territory. The task, though, was one I've tackled countless times: use my subject's own words and verbatim quotes to tell a cohesive story that ultimately says more than just his answers did.

Serious Eats
02/27/2012
Fast Food French Fry Fray: McDonald's vs. Burger King vs. Wendy's

For many of us, fast-food burgers have become a last-resort option. Ah, but the French fries are another matter. I had the idea to do a cage-match taste test pitting the Big Three against one another. It was a fun piece to do, and was the fourth-most-clicked story on Serious Eats that year. It was later picked up by Esquire and HuffPost; I even spotted a blurb referencing it in a small newspaper back in my native Indiana.

Wiley Publishing
2010
Building Chicken Coops For Dummies

This practical guide offers easy-to-follow and customizable plans for building the backyard chicken coop that works best for you. You’ll get the basic construction know-how and key information you need to design and build one of five coops that can be tailored to your flock, whether you live in a tiny city loft, a suburban backyard, or a small rural farm.

Growing a Greener World, PBS
05/30/2017
The Green Bronx Machine - Episode 808

Over 11 seasons, we’ve had the privilege of meeting some of the world’s most genuine heroes and telling their extraordinary stories. Then along came Stephen Ritz, who embodies the core philosophy of this series: making a large-scale difference on our planet through small steps and one-on-one relationships. This episode moved the GGW team to tears and won an Emmy.

Creative Loafing
10/27/2015
Food Issue - Is there an Atlanta barbecue? | Creative Loafing

America's food map is dotted with cities and regions that have distinct identities within the world of barbecue, styles that typify a specific geographical area. When you think Memphis, you think dry-rubbed ribs. Eastern North Carolina? Whole-hog pork with a vinegary sauce. Texas? Beef, pardner.

Ground Breakers, HGTV
2008
Splashing Into Retirement - Episode 1110

Representative of the direction the long-running series took in the latter half of its 13-season Saturday morning run, this episode focused on a mother-daughter pair of homeowners and the epic transformation of their nondescript suburban backyard into the landscape of their dreams. The series evolved from hardcore instructional television to personal storytelling that just happened to use a massive outdoor renovation project as the backdrop.

Serious Eats
08/22/2012
McDonald's Debuts Mighty Wings in Atlanta, They're Actually Mighty Good

In 2012, McDonald's used Atlanta as a test market for fried chicken wings. I learned later that my review was a major talking point in the corporate boardroom as the company weighed a national rollout. Fortune Magazine used portions of what I wrote in their article about what they termed a "debacle" of a product launch. (Hey, I just judge the wings. I'm not in on the business strategy.)

Growing a Greener World, PBS
05/26/2017
Hope for Heroes - Episode 807

It's always humbling and inspiring to share the stories of the men and women who work with the land, growing food for their families, neighbors, and communities. But there's a new generation of second-career farmers who are devoted to feeding this country... after defending it in uniform. The Farmer Veteran Coalition helps the nation's heroes transition to life after the military... by serving their country in a new way.

Cowboys Wire
07/04/2020
Spirit of '76: The year the Dallas Cowboys wore red, white, and blue

Teams tweaking their standard uniforms is commonplace in today's NFL. Apart from special alternate jerseys, throwback unis, and Color Rush combos, some teams tend to reinvent their uniforms as often as they're allowed. I wanted to do a deep dive into one of the oddest uniform modifications in NFL history, a true forgotten chapter in the history of one of America's most recognized sports brands.

Serious Eats
11/18/2014
The Best Places to Eat at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson, the World's Busiest Airport

With holiday travel season fast approaching, there's a good statistical probability that you'll find yourself in Atlanta...no matter where you're really going. That's because Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is the busiest in the world, whether you're counting the number of passengers or the number of flights. And even if you're just passing through on a layover, you'll want somewhere to eat.

Wiley Publishing
2019
Backyard Homesteading All-in-One For Dummies

Live more sustainably. Historically referred to as a government program for revitalizing undesirable living areas, homesteading today has come to mean the pursuit of a self-sufficient lifestyle. Homesteading can include everything from keeping bees, growing vegetables, and composting household kitchen scraps to installing solar panels, utilizing a rain barrel, and canning your own food, plus much more.

Creative Loafing
06/22/2015
Omnivore - Barbecue tips from world champ Melissa Cookston | Creative Loafing

The morning I went to interview Melissa Cookston, her day had begun discovering a potential catastrophe. Despite the fact that it was still several months away, Cookston was sweating her daughter's high school graduation. She wasn't worried about whether her daughter would graduate.

Cowboys Wire
01/28/2020
60-year anniversary: How the Cowboys' star formed in the universe

All heroes need an origin story. The one that goes with America's Team is a doozy. January 28 marks the Cowboys' birthday. On that date in 1960, the city of Dallas was granted an NFL franchise; one that would eventually evolve into a flagship enterprise for the league, the most valuable sports franchise on the planet, and one of the most recognized brands in history.

Serious Eats
05/16/2014
We Taste 9 Fast Food Vanilla Milkshakes (and Risk Permanent Brain Freeze)

My stint as a professional food writer was always a surefire conversation-starter at parties. But sometimes, covering the fast food beat was pretty vanilla. So one day, I ran with that theme. Which fast food outlets have vanilla milkshakes that actually go beyond "boring, plain, and unexciting?" I picked nine nationwide chains, put my waistline on the line, and braved the worst case of brain freeze in recorded history to find out.

Cowboys Wire
03/29/2020
Not Happy Anniversary: How a failed toast sent a Cowboys dynasty spiraling

"There's no blame. It's just a matter of, we've gone through a little transition here." It was an understatement bigger than the entire state of Texas, a casual encapsulation so absurd that the room full of jaded sportswriters erupted in shocked, stunned, barely-controlled laughter.

Serious Eats
02/25/2014
Don Antonio Brings World-Class Pizza to Atlanta

When one of the genuine giants of the pizza landscape opens up shops in Naples and New York, it's expected. When he picks Atlanta for his third outpost, it warrants a sit-down interview. I learned a lot that day about dough and tomato sauce... but I learned even more about unfailing attention to detail and nurturing a lifelong passion.

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