Andrea has been doing most of the publicity for The Stinking Rose Cookbook thus far, and he has been having a wonderful time, so I was excited to tag along with him to Book Passage in Corte Madera on Monday night for a food tasting and cookbook signing.
Book Passage is one of my favorite bookstores; it's a candy shop for book lovers. They’ve got thousands of books, all displayed so enticingly that I wish I could buy one of each.
Andrea tossed a Caesar salad with the restaurant’s signature garlicky dressing, and put out garlic hummus topped with oven-roasted tomatoes, a heap of pesto mashed potatoes, and a big pile of soft olive oil buns. Then we sat up on a stage in front of a few rows of chairs and talked about making the cookbook.
People had all kinds of questions afterwards: how many kinds of garlic are there? (hundreds) and how do you store garlic? (in a light, well-ventilated place), and do you use garlic "in the nude" - that is, without cooking it? (ah, but of course).
When they ran out of questions, we signed books. Since Andrea has been signing a lot more books than I have, he’s got his signature down pat. I twiddled with my pen for a while, trying to think of something interesting. Finally, I decided on this line: Remember – the most important ingredient is love!
It sounded right to me because I believe it, and also because I’m reading Heat (the book about the New Yorker writer who trailed Mario Batali), in which the kitchen staff at Babbo frequently discusses the fact that food tastes much better when it’s made with love. As it does. So it might be a somewhat un-original signature line, but I like it.
At the conclusion of the evening, the staff handed me a wrapped box with a thank-you note taped to the top. I took the box, thinking: they invite us to come and promote our book and then they give us a gift?
I thought for sure that it must be a book. I had a little guessing game with myself on the way home, thinking about what the book might be. It would either be about writing, or about food. Would it be Will Write for Food? Or perhaps one of the excellent Best Food Writing compilations? Maybe it would be The Art of Eating by M.F.K. Fisher.
When I got home, I opened up the box to find… not a book, but personalized note cards! I was thrilled speechless. I see much more letter-writing in my future, so the gift couldn't have been more perfect.
Book signings are fun. I’m going to sign up for Book Passages’ newsletter and attend more of them.