Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cooks and Books

Still on hiatus from the buffet, tonight I was lucky enough to attend a Cooks and Books event.  It was a night featuring Mario Batali with Tom Douglas as the mediator a la James Lipton and Inside the Actors Studio, but with a rowdier crowd.  Am I in real time or still in la la land?  
The Cooks and Books series is meant to bring authors together with their readers to celebrate their new books.  Mario Batali has a new cookbook out featuring simple, easy to prepare dishes.  The 10 minute Mario.  Discussions ranged from his new book Molto Gusto, to his new endeavor Eataly in NY, to the idea of selling tickets to your restaurant following an article in the New York Times today and the commitment to Meatless Mondays
What I learned from this outing is that I love both these men.  They are charming, not at all pretentious, honest, but diplomatic, easy, yet obviously acute and dynamic thinkers.  They clearly had a great respect for each other and I venture to guess are good friends.  How do I get a seat at that dinner table?
I was wondering why I had never delved further into everything Mario.  I suppose his uber stardom had me thinking maybe his cookbooks and restaurants would become diluted.  Over branded.  The only Mario restaurant I'd been to was Spotted Pig several years ago.  It'd been long enough that I'd disconnected with the fact that it was one of his restaurants.  We had fried pigs ear there.  It was divine.  
The best thing of this night is that I have re-engaged with Batali.  I look forward to trying out the recipes in his new book and also those from two others I already own.  I admire his passion for his art, his self awareness, his ingenuity and his philanthropy.  Take food out of the equation and these are all still qualities to applaud, no matter what your art is. 

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