Happy Cooking: Meeting Jacques Pepin
I don’t cook. The kitchen just frightens me. I’ve baked a babka once or twice and made coconut cream pie twice. Back in high school, I tried to make quiche based off a family member’s recipe (a French recipe) but it turned out really bad cause I had the oven temperature set to like 170 degrees…Fahrenheit. I had just gotten back from visiting said-family members in Brussels and was clearly still in the Celsius mode. I just gave up and didn’t even bother to try again. My husband, Josh, on the other hand…he cooks. And he likes it. I definitely win in this arrangement. So, below is a food and book related post I asked him to write. Enjoy!
Hi! The wife asked me to write a guest post about an author book signing I went to this past Friday. Typically I don’t go to these things without her (she’s the book nerd in the relationship), but I couldn’t pass this up. My favorite cookbook author and television cook, Jacques Pepin, appeared at a grocery store, Stew Leonard’s, in Connecticut. The event began at 5 on Friday, which made it a bit difficult to get to, but I lucked out. My work has an office in the same town. So I was able to commute to CT in the morning for work, and just take off a bit early to make it to the event.
When I got there, I was a bit surprised to see that the event was in a tent outside. It was a nice day for November in New England, but that still means it’s 50 degrees out. Around four (an hour before things were to get underway) Pepin came out to look at the setup and help Chef George prepare. Did I mention that there would also be a demonstration? Pepin was very personable, chatting with the crowd and posing for pictures a bit before the show.
At five he started preparing and discussing some of the recipes from his book More Fast Food My Way, quick appetizers that could easily be made in a home kitchen. Despite his impressive pedigree (he has cooked for several French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle) his food is geared toward simplicity and the home cook. After Pepin prepared one or two of each of the apps, George would plate enough for the crowd, which were passed out both during the presentation and while we lined up waiting for the signing. Speaking of which, George (who was an employee of the store) had brought his own first edition copy of Complete Techniques to be signed and Jacques pointed out that it only cost $6 back then. Canadian. During the presentation people began to call out questions from the crowd, which Pepin happily answered, always asking for more.
One thing that impressed me about the signing was his dedication to the fans. He made sure to tell the audience that he was happy to do any personalization, so don’t be afraid to ask. He also took a picture with anybody who wanted one. There was even a member of the staff there to snap the photo for you. Something I appreciated since I was alone.
All in all, it was a great event. I got to meet one of my heroes and learn that he’s as nice a guy as he seems on TV.