World peace and scones

Tonight I had the delightful experience of meeting Dorie Greenspan, author of “Baking with Julia” and the new “Baking: from my home to yours”:

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She’s traveling on tour, promoting her new book (pictured above), and I got wind of her local appearance just this weekend (courtesy of Rainy Day Books). Bill and I signed up tuit suite, and Cordell volunteered to watch the little guy so we could go meet her.

She’s a tiny thing, bursting with passion, energy and humor. She’s got a story about everything, from her earliest culinary disasters to French cultured butter cookies to Julia Child imitating Dan Akroyd imitating Julia Child. (You can hear some of her charming tales on the Walt Bodine show, archived here. (11/27/06))

We joined a couple dozen other local avid bakers at the beautifully appointed Portfolio Kitchen and Home, a studio full of dream kitchens and fantasy decorations, including some knock-out “Gingerpet” houses (being auctioned to benefit homeless animals… drop by 8027 State Line Rd. and bid on one of these incredible edible animal manses).

While we sipped glasses of pink champagne, Dorie got up close and personal with stories about her family and how she became a pro baker. She demonstrated one of her recipes, apple and cheddar scones, while telling more stories and answering questions. She’s quite self-deprecating, calling herself a lazy baker because she never sifts (except for powdered sugar and cocoa, that sort of thing).

She actually got fired for “creative insubordination” from one of her first baking jobs, for making substitutions on the house “signature” cake. (However, she cautioned us thusly: “You should not only follow a recipe the first time you make it, you should read it first.”)

She’s also quite tactile… she’s not at all shy about diving in hands-first into her bowl of butter and flour, or licking her fingers. My kinda chef!

Sadly, I was unprepared to take proper notes or take any photos, and had to leave the demonstration halfway through because of a babysitting problem. I came back to collect my husband, and she was still signing books, so I managed to slip in and sit down with her for a few minutes. It turns out that every signing has had an eGullet member introducing themselves to her, and I was it for the Kansas City crowd!

A local caterer had made up some of the recipes in the book for us to sample (plus we got to snack on those yummy scones she made). They were all delicious, but I must mention the World Peace cookies: a chunky chocolate cookie flavored with fleur-de-sel. OK, I admit it sounds nasty, but honestly it’s an amazing combination that lingers and grows in the mouth superbly. I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on some of that salt so I can make it, too. (If you cannot get to a copy of Dorie’s new book, she’s very kindly agreed to allow the recipe to be posted online here.)

I want to be Dorie Greenspan when I grow up… find my passion, write about it beautifully, be gracious and funny, meet people like Julia Child, and whip up scones with a crowd watching and not be rattled one bit. She rocks, and so does her book.

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