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Culinary, Food, Foodie Friday, Venue

May 11, 2010

Friday night with Rachael Ray

Photo is dated 2004, but I think it was April 1, 2005 actually at De Gustibus Cooking School at Macy’s. Rachael was making this disgusting crazy soup and the other attendees and I were feverishly writing down ever ingredient until she enthusiastically expressed her disappointment that we did not seem to get her April Fool’s Day joke.

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By 8pm on Friday night, I had already had a great weekend. No food, no cocktails, no romance; four smart successful women I admire sharing personal stories was the main ingredient of this wonderful evening. I sat front and center as Kim Severson led a fabulous conversation of food, family, writing and New York City with Julie Powell, Nora Ephron and Rachael Ray. Since I worked for The New York Times, I blog, I was moved by the movies Julie and Julia and You Got Mail and I have followed Rachael Ray’s career since the very beginning, I could not have hand picked a finer foursome. Kim was an excellent facilitator and the personalities of the panel were a great balance.

Kim started by saying she felt like she was on The View, and she was the pretty one. This was the first of many jokes that ignited Rachael’s familiar boisterous but sincere laughter which filling the auditorium of The Times Center last week.

Everyone but Rachael has written about sex. Kim asked Rachael if she would be writing about this topic in the future. The Food Network star and creater of 30 Minute Meals joked, when she has 30 minutes of sex, she’d write the book!

In the spirit of sharing, here are my notes from the evening:

Rachael

writes everyday. She write all the recipes long hand first and plugs them into her computer all at once (with vino). She would feel dishonest having someone else transcribe her handwritten recipes. She still cooks every night. Often she’ll be making or testing new recipes on the air for the first time. Recipes are all tested (of course) before they go to print. She has many desks in her home, but writes at the dining room or kitchen table, appropriately so. She’s addicted to food magazines in any language, the pictures inspire her to create new recipes.

Growing up with her grandfather, Rachael had the diet of a 77 year old Sicilian man and was shocked by school food at a young age. Her grandfather comforted the young girl by saying, “You have 10 fingers, 10 toes and a brain, you have nothing to cry about.” To this day a sardine sandwich does wonders for her spirit.

Rachael runs a 5K every morning. (Of course she does) She likes the feeling of hard work and attributes this to her mother who she talks to almost every day. Her mom keeps her grounded and real. What does she like to cook best? It depends on who she is cooking for. She wants people to enjoy their food so will cook what they will like best. She still has a hard time putting live lobsters into a pot of boiling water.

Nora

has a messy desk. (God bless you, Nora) She writes notes on napkins and looses them. She doesn’t open herself to new recipes easily. Nora is a good buyer of things she serves people to eat. 🙂 Toast with salted butter is comforting, when sick or bacon when she is feeling fine.

Julie

writes from a five year old laptop that rests on a tv tray in an apartment with a broken wireless connection.

Mexican Breakfast with spicy chili and sour cream is her go to when not well- which is usually induced by adult activities so this would be the answer to what ails her.


Kim’s
new book Spoon Fed, How Eight Cooks Saved My Life was the driving force of this delicious conversation. I am so grateful to the women for sharing so openly and honestly and to the audience for asking smart questions. Kim’s dirty little secret? Duct tapes holds her computer together. Twice in my notes, I simply wrote, “Kim is Funny!”, she visited all the topics from food carts to congress so beautifully. I can’t wait to read the book.

Join me in reading this book. Let’s start our very own foodie book club.

Purchase the book here by May 21 and let’s read it together and discuss it along the way.

My former foreign desk colleague was also in the audience and is long time friends with Kim. I jokingly (or so I thought) asked if she was going to dinner with Rachael and she answered yes. I was not invited to dinner (this time), however I did have the pleasure of meeting Kim, who was gracious and kind. I was was surprised to learn she too is a fellow Midwestern.

*Trivia:
Which one of these women chose drivers ed over typing in school and then why did she not get her license until she was 25? (Please share your guess in the comments field of this post.) The first person with the right answer will get a complimentary copy of Spoon Fed.

What’s your favorite food book or movie?

PS. I have not invested much into art or decor as my life has taken me in different directions, but this NYTimes article is one piece I read, liked, saved, had matted and framed and is now part of my kitchen inspiration collection.

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