I had a dream that this post would start out with photos from a beautiful recipe that I pulled together out of the cabinets using Deb Perelman’s brand new, beautiful cookbook, but let’s be real. I worked until 6, stopped by Politics and Prose to pick up my signed copy, and then had an hour-long conference call. We had Papa Johns and Blue Moon for dinner.
But the status of our dinner really doesn’t diminish the wonderful awesome fantastic experience that was my evening with Deb at P&P. The place was packed — seriously, there wasn’t any standing room left anywhere — and Deb was obviously a little shocked and wowed by the crowd. She was adorably modest and looked a little confused about why so many residents of the District had gathered in one room. She spent as much time talking about her son, Jacob, as she did about the book and that’s one of the beautiful things about Deb’s blog and her writing — she teaches you about the food she is cooking but her recipes are more stories than instructions, wrapped up with love and family and deliciousness.
Deb told the story of SmittenKitchen.com. When she purchased the domain name, she didn’t think her blog would last because she didn’t have what she considered a “unique voice.” And then once she became a fabulous blogger [my words, not hers], she didn’t really want to write a cookbook either. But, she explained, the prospects of motherhood inspired her to create something that her son could hold in his hands. That is kind of a beautiful reason to write a book, isn’t it? And what could be a better gift for your son than a book full of family and tradition and photos and CAKE.
Deb took questions from the audience that ranged from adorable to awkward. When asked by a young man about her religious beliefs [she is Jewish] and her use of bacon, she politely but honestly turned the subject back to the food. When asked about her favorite restaurant, she named a place in New York that is no longer open. She seemed very careful not to alienate her readers, but I’m not sure that would have been possible given the huge out-pouring of love in the room. DC loves the Smitten Kitchen.
One of my favorite parts of Deb Trivia was when she was asked about her favorite cookbooks — these cookbooks are now on my list of What I Wish I Owned if my Kitchen Wasn’t Terrible:
- Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
- Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook
- The Mile End Cookbook
- Sara Forte’s The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods
As you watch SmittenKitchen.com for future posts, keep an eye out for a breakfast stuffing recipe [yes, like at Thanksgiving!] that sounds delicious, and take a second to look for the chocolate peanut butter cake, one of her most popular recipes.
Deb, you were a great speaker, and your cookbook is beautiful. I look forward to improving the lives of my husband and friends with your beautiful recipes.