You know I’ve got a thing for food celebrities, right? Like when I went to see the Cake Boss, or Alton Brown or Martha Stewart or…well, I’ve been to hear a few of them speak.
A friend asked me recently why, why I enjoy hearing them speak, what do I hope to learn?
I’m never really sure when I arrive at one of these things what I hope to learn, but I do ALWAYS learn something. Last year I learned Martha Stewart has amazing legs, totally not food-related but hard to overlook when she’s sitting ten feet away. I learned Alton Brown could be a stand-up comedian. Sometimes I learn the food celebrity is incredibly authentic, personable and full of laughter. That’s what I learned at Rachael Ray’s recent appearance in Kansas City. She just seemed so darned real!
She was here promoting her new book, The Book of Burger. You’ll notice I’m not linking the title to a cut-rate on-line seller and that’s because her appearance was sponsored by the wonderful independent bookseller Rainy Day Books. Go buy the book there or from your local independent bookseller. I like the feel of a real paper book and I also like going to a real bookstore. Don’t you?
I didn’t expect to find much in the book that appealed to me, a gluten-free, dairy-free vegetarian. I was tickled to find several veggie burger recipes that are easily adapted to meet my dietary needs. Beyond that, the book is full of slaws, sauces, rings and fries recipes that would work for most eaters. The book is also one of those fancy new smart books, full of QR codes that link to on-line videos and even a complete collection of Rachael Ray’s burger recipes, more than doubling what is printed in the book. Pretty neat!
Rachael Ray chatted with Vivien from Rainy Day Book for about an hour and a half. She told funny stories and laughed often. The only time she became pointedly serious was discussing the recent celebrity cookbook ghostwriting controversy. I was glad she discussed this. I occasionally develop recipes for sources where I am not credited (not celebrities but food companies and the sort…) and wanted to hear her take on this. She was adamant that any recipe in her cookbooks has been created by her. That’s impressive considering how many recipes she’s got out there. I enjoyed hearing that she hand-writes every recipe in a notebook. I do that, putting a big X through the first few versions that inevitably fail especially when baking, and keep the notebooks stacked in my kitchen. Not that they will ever serve any purpose since no one else can read my writing, but it was fun to hear someone successful at recipe development is as antiquated in their methods as me.
I thought I’d share a few things Rachael Ray said that spoke to me. These are all paraphrased, per my scrawled notes.
- The kitchen is the only place people gather, the rest of the house is often ignored.
- Everyone needs to learn to cook, it’s empowering and you’ll know you will never starve.
- It’s important to learn to cook so you can get to the right place, the right kind of diet, one low in processed foods.
- Kids eat anything dip-able.
- Planting a garden changes a child’s attitude about food and boosts self-esteem.
- Work harder than the next person, be grateful for every opportunity, laugh instead of cry.
- More work than play so you can feel good about playing.
After the event, guests were treated to cookies from Sugar Mamma’s Bakery, sliders from Blanc Burgers & Bottles and frozen custard from Foo’s. It was a really terrific way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
Disclosure: I was provided complimentary tickets to this event. The opinions expressed are my own.
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