May 14, 2007

An Afternoon with Dorie (For Real!!!)

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"Did that really happen yesterday or did I dream it?" That was what I asked Mom when I woke up this morning. You see, yesterday I drove to Toronto to see Dorie Greenspan demonstrate how to make the World Peace cookies and Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes from her book Baking: From My Home to Yours at the Bon Appetit and Santé Wine Festival. I had contacted Dorie earlier in the week to tell her that I was coming and that I would love to say hi to her either before or after the demonstration.


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I arrived at Yorkville about half an hour before the demo and saw Dorie immediately. She may be tiny, but she’s quite a presence. She was standing under a white tent, wearing a beautiful scarf and the most wonderful glasses, chatting with someone from Bon Appetit. I approached somewhat nervously and waited a few feet away for them to finish their conversation as I didn’t want to interrupt. Dorie glanced my way and I caught her eye, she smiled at me and said “Are you Brilynn?” (and pronounced my name correctly on the first try I might add, it doesn’t happen too often).


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I said that I was and she promptly threw her arms around me in a most welcoming hug. Any nervousness that I had disappeared immediately and I felt as though we had been friends for years. The next thing that Dorie said to me was that I was much taller than she had anticipated. Dorie had imagined that I would look like her: petite with short dark hair as if we could have been sisters. The thought thrilled me to no end.


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As we talked, we walked over to the table where her ingredients for the demo lay waiting. She wanted to check and make sure that nothing was missing before she began. She commented on what a lovely shade of yellow the butter was as she pinched off a little corner to taste and encouraged me to do the same.


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It was as though the voice that I had read and loved in books had come to life right before me. Dorie speaks the same way that she writes; with warmth and enthusiasm and an obvious passion for what she does. I had to pinch myself a few times to make sure the whole experience was real. It was after tasting the butter that Dorie realized it was supposed to be melted for the vanilla cake. This was a problem as the demo was outside and without any traditional way to heat up the butter. A large heating lamp became an improvised stove top, albeit a very tall one.


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Think quickly: how many people does it take to melt butter? The answer is four. One to suggest using the heating lamp as a stove, one to fetch a suitable bowl for the task, one to hold a chair steady and one to stand on the chair with the bowl of butter held above his head on top of the heat lamp. It may have looked somewhat ridiculous, but it worked, (pictured below with Dorie snapping a shot of the event).


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Dorie then had her microphone hooked up and I took a seat to wait for the demo to begin. I listened raptly as Dorie spoke about how relaxing it can be to rub vanilla and sugar between your fingers and described mixing batter as being hypnotic. I was all too happy to indulge in the samples of the World Peace cookies and Rum Drenched Vanilla cakes that were being passed around. In no time at all, an hour had passed and the demonstration was over.


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Dorie then took the time to sign copies of her book and I waited to speak with her, hoping to be able to steal a couple more minutes of her time before she was off to another engagement. Imagine my surprise and delight when she finished her book signing and came over to invite myself and my Mom to come out to lunch with her.


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Minutes later we were being whisked away for an unforgettable meal at the Jamie Kennedy Wine Bar which has an emphasis on using fresh, local products. We shared all of the plates and so were able to sample a little bit of everything, including but not limited to: a charcuterie plate of house-made pâté and cured meats, (pictured below) sheep’s milk ricotta gnocchi with asparagus and wild leeks, scallops and black Alaskan cod, (pictured below).


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Given that this was a wine bar, pairings were suggested with each dish, we didn’t sample all of them but I particularly enjoyed the 2005 Zahel “Nussberg Grande Reserve” which was a mysterious mixture of grapes. Had this of been lunch with any other company I would continue to ramble on for paragraphs on end about how incredible the food was, but this was no ordinary company, this was Dorie Greenspan.


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For three hours we discussed all sorts of things, from books to blogs to whether or not it was possible to bbq rhubarb, (I’m planning on doing this shortly and will report back on the outcome). The whole experience was completely surreal. The conversation flowed naturally and there was no awkwardness at all. I could have listened to Dorie’s wonderful stories for hours.


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I repeatedly found myself sitting on the edge of my chair as though I had been drawn towards Dorie by her tales of living in Paris, working with Julia Child or being on the Martha Stewart show. She speaks with such genuineness and openness, I couldn’t believe that this was someone I had only just met. If I thought Dorie was amazing before, that was only the tip of the iceberg.


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I have a huge amount of admiration and respect for this woman, so to meet her and then spend an afternoon with her and to discover that she’s even more loveable in person than I thought possible, was an unforgettable and inspirational experience. So thank you very very much Dorie, you have no idea how much I enjoyed spending time with you!


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As for the rest of you, expect to see a whole lot more of Dorie’s dishes appearing here in the near future. Thanks to Sara of Ms. Adventures in Italy and an Amazon.ca gift certificate that she gave me I was able to add Paris Sweets to my cookbook collection. I can never buy only one item from Amazon though so I topped up my order to receive free shipping by buying the Café Boulud Cookbook as well. I can’t wait to give them a try!


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In the mean time, enjoy the pictures of some more of the delicious recipes I’ve made from Baking: bundt cake with a chocolate nutty swirl, chocolate oatmeal almost cookie bars, honey scones, marshmallows, (my first successful marshmallow making attempt!) lennox biscotti, brown sugar bundt cake, (with raspberries) mango bread, french chocolate brownies, oatmeal breakfast bread and hidden berry cheesecake.



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59 comments:

Nabeela said...

wow....just WOW

Peabody said...

My jealousy is sooooooooo deep is to put it mildly!!!! So jealous, so jealous, so jealous. Just please don't tell me you got a lock of her hair to put on your Dorie shrine :)

Meeta said...

Oh Bri! I am really happy for you! A bit jealous too - but I loved reading about your meet. Thanks for that. If Dorie ever makes a trip to Germany I'd be the first in line too. Maybe I should write to her and tell her to come here!

Anh said...

Oh my god! I enjoy your post a lot. I would love to meet her one day. Now I have to try to get her book first...

Anne said...

Brilynn you're so lucky! Such a nice post...even though my world is still on a whirl because of my fever, I just thought I'd sneak in to tell you are very pretty :)

Lydia said...

Fabulous! Good for you for making it happen, and hooray for Dorie, who has changed my life by inspiring my husband to bake. I'm so happy for you, Brilynn; you must be floating on air!

Cenk said...

Such a nice day you had with Dorie. I love everything about her as well. Thanks for sharing all of this. You are so lucky!

Danielle said...

Lucky!

Anne said...

Ooooh, how exciting! I'm so happy for you, that must have been awesome! :)

K & S said...

Wow! what a great day! I'm glad you took me along with you :)

ilingc said...

oh.. you're so lucky!

Rachel said...

How exciting!

gilly said...

Bri, the sheer awesomeness of this post is almost too much! :D

I'm so pleased that you got a chance to not only meet Dorie, but have lunch with her too! She sounds like an absolutely amazing person, and I just love the photos of you two!

Can't wait to see what you make from the new books!

Shawnda said...

For REAL?! What an awesome opportunity! And thanks for such a *wonderful* recap!

Maria said...

You are so lucky!! It sounds like you had the perfect day. Thanks for sharing with us.

The Cookbook Junkie said...

How wonderful! Her book has certainly taken the blogosphere by storm. I just ate a piece of her banana bundt cake (out of my freezer after a couple of weeks and still delicious) AND I posted about her Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins today.

Little Foodie said...

Okay between you & Cooking the Books I'm sold on Dorie Greenspan. I'd never heard of her until 6 weeks ago. Have just ordered. Baking from my home to yours. What an amazing lady and how cool of her to invite you and your mum to lunch. She just sounds lovely and obviously worth all the adoration. Amanda

Lis said...

YAY!!! I'm so glad you had a good time! I love the pictures! And holy hell you HAVE been baking! Everything looks wonderful =)

xoxoxox

Patricia Scarpin said...

Bri, this is so, so cool!! I loved how you described it to us who couldn't be there!

The photos, the text... everything is just superb. You rock, my dear!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

There is nothing, not even great food & cooking, better than hearing that there are some really just wonderful good people in this world! What a terrific day! Gosh, really, it bring tears to my eyes. So, so happy for you and us - just one degree of separation!
You're both beautful!!

Cheryl said...

Not only am I excited to read that you met Dorie, and how wonderful she was. But I love seeing all the pictures of the Dorie creations you have made.

Homesick Texan said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! WOW!!!!! What an amazing experience!

Rose said...

Lucky you! And how nice of Dorie to invite you and your mom for lunch. It might have been really memorable!

Kelly-Jane said...

That is just so exciting! I'm not sure what to say, but I'm grinning from ear to ear reading your post :)

Love how you have done this with all your Dorie baking pics too, and of course looking forward to seeing more!

Sara said...

That is so awesome. I have nothing else to say. Brilynn what a great post, I am so thrilled for you. What a dream come true!!!!!!!!!!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

How wonderful! As a fellow Dorie groupie, I am so happy for you! Thanks for sharing the day on your blog.

Quellia said...

I'm with everyone else - so jealous! It sounds like you both had a great afternoon, with lots of great pictures and great food! Just great! :-)

Pam said...

Brilynn - that's so awesome! I'm so happy for you! Sounds like a wonderful day full of great memories. I'm glad you got to spend so much time with Dorie!

Claudia said...

WOW. You must still be walking on air! I just took my first Dorie book out of the library and I'm hooked already. All her books are on my list!

laura k said...

Wow! That's pretty cool...I love people who are open and spontaneous enough to just go have lunch with a stranger! It must have been a singularly awesome experience!

Vanessa said...

Bril, you so deserve all that good Dorie love. Your post brought tears of joy to my eyes. Plus your compilation of Dorie photos just sold another of her book at amazon!

emily said...

Wow, that's great! Thanks so much for sharing to let us live vicariously . . . it couldn't happen to someone better.

Shaun said...

Brilynn - This is a very special post to read, mostly because of the affection you have for your food hero, Ms. Greenspan. It is so lovely that she really took time to spend with you and that you got to have an amazing experience. I am really very, very happy for you.

Helen said...

What a great read. I had an idea that she was genuine in her life and in her books but you have confirmed and highlighted myy expectations. What a great day...and woman, you are TALL!!!

Jasmine said...

How wonderful that you were able to meet her! I'm comforted knowing that she's as approachable in person as she is in her books.

j

Marce said...

wow, Brilynn, I couldn´t be more thrilled for you, you must have been floating all through the day. You definitely deserve the honor because you pretty much went through the whole book by now and I´m glad to see that Dorie is as down to earth as she seems.
Oh and I´m waiting for my copy of Baking..., which should arrive in a week or so, I can´t wait! :)

Alice Q said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alice Q said...

How cool! Those baked goods look phenomenal, and I had no idea you are such a looker! :-) Thanks for sharing!

SteamyKitchen said...

That is SO SO cool! I'm so glad you took all those pictures! You....lucky....Me, jealous....
:-)

kellypea said...

Seriously cool. Really. Goodness. *sigh* Maybe I could have your autograph. With the hands that hugged her. Nothing famous ever happens to me.

Freya and Paul said...

All your hard work cooking from Dories book has been more than rewarded! It looks like you both had a fabulous time and Dorie seems very cool! Did she offer you a job though??!

jenjen said...

All I can say is lucky you!

Ms Adventures in Italy said...

I'm proud that I had some appearance in what appears to be a spectacular post - that sounds like it was a great opportunity. Now I look forward to hearing more about Dorie Greenspan and her recipes. :)

I wouldn't mind some more info about your favorite cookbooks, too - I am going to hit up Amazon soon as well!

Anita said...

Isn't Dorie the nicest person - soo glad you got to meet her! Thanks for sharing such an amazing afternoon!

catalyst0527 said...

Congratulations on your great meeting.
I enjoyed your picture and writing also. :)

I want to have an experience just like you someday.

JennDZ said...

Wow, that is really wonderful! What a great experience! Something for you to treasure for a lifetime!

Gattina said...

Brliynn, I'm totally thrilled!!! Dorie's so friendly and gracious! Yes, me too, I feel l'm now floating even you're the one that met her :) :) Hope you two guys will meet more often!
btw, love all the baked goods you made, I know you probably too excited to talk about them now, but they are so pretty, tell use later if you have a chance :D

DEEPA said...

visiting you for the first time ..too good ....

Anonymous said...

You are so lucky! Dorie is such an amazing person, I'm totally in love with that woman and her books. Yay Dorie! Go you! Wonderful post. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

Virtual Frolic said...

WOW - I am so jealous! Sounds like a wonderful day! Everything looks so good too!!

Elle said...

If ANYONE should have such an experience, it is you. From the get go you have been a one woman cheering section for Dorie, with excellent reasons, and to get to lunch with her is just perfect! Happy for you & grateful that you shared it so well with bloggers.qirdgzq

Susan said...

I relished every single word of this post, Brilynn. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful experience. Dorie sounds so down to earth and genuine; I'm so happy that you were able to share quality time with her.

Funny... I always imagined you with dark hair. Though your hair and you are lovely.

victoria said...

dorie is great isn't she? I love all her cookbooks! :)

Gemma said...

WOW I am hugely jealous. I have Paris Sweets but still need to get Baking From My Home to Yours, it's in my Amazon basket awaiting purchase!

s'kat said...

What an amazing opportunity! I couldn't be happier to hear that she is just as pleasant in real life as she appears to be.

Laura said...

Look at you Brilynn! What an amazing day!

Heather said...

How cool!

sugarsandsalts said...

My God,You are a awsome cook.I learn so much with your blog.Please keep writing.....

Grapefruit said...

My first visit to your blog and all I can say is WOW and - a little less audibly: i'm so jealous!
I really enjoyed reading your post - you took us there :)