Where was I last Saturday night? Not out eating or clubbing or partying, but something much more exciting – meeting Dorie Greenspan at Sur La Table! Dorie was on the last stop of her cross-country tour to promote her Baking book; once she let me know she would be in town, I could hardly wait to meet someone who’s been so inspirational to my baking.
In person, Dorie is as charming and warm as you would expect her to be. Upon learning who I was, she gave me a huge hug and exclaimed how thrilled she was that I showed up. Mind you, there were dozens of eager fans waiting to get their cookbooks signed, and many members of the professional pastry community, doubtless good friends of Dorie, also in attendance. That she would remember someone with whom she’d exchanged just a few e-mails is a testament to her wonderful personality.
I told Dorie that her new book was a huge hit in the blogosphere and that new posts about her recipes were showing up every day. She replied that she was thrilled so many people were making and enjoying her recipes. So for all of you bloggers who have been writing about Dorie and her book, she is completely delighted by your enthusiasm! I found it very heartwarming that this author who has written so many cookbooks and received so many awards, can still be so happy to know that "regular people" out there are baking from her books!
After signing her books, Dorie also answered some questions from the audience, and told some charming stories about working with Julia Child and Pierre Hermé. Did you know that Dorie initially turned down the offer to write Baking with Julia, but (fortunately for us) changed her mind? Dorie recounted the time Julia called her up and told her that they should both get their hands on those new-fangled bread machines and test them out; Dorie recalled this as just one example of Julia’s insatiable curiosity and passion for life. As for monsieur Hermé, Dorie remembers her work with him as an incredible learning experience. I was amused to learn that most of the work for their first collaboration, Desserts by Pierre Herme, was done on a windswept beach in Portugal. Pierre invited Dorie and her husband on a sort of working vacation, and told them they would all be staying in a fisherman’s shack by the sea. Dorie assumed he was being modest about the shack bit, but it turned out he was not. Hmm…hanging out on a beach with Pierre, getting to go through all of his recipes and have him explain his inspirations to you? I guess I wouldn’t mind the accommodations if I got to do that!
So now that I’ve finally met Dorie, I’ve come away only more excited to bake from her books, knowing the great person behind them. If you haven’t got your hands on a copy of her new one, I would strongly recommend it – it’s a wonderful compendium of recipes for every baking mood that strikes you, from cookies to puddings to tarts to cakes. There’s also a great selection of holiday pies, if you’re bringing dessert to Thanksgiving!
I’ll end with an early wish of a Happy Thanksgiving to all!