The evening started off with Leah asking me what I was doing in the
evening. The question gave me pause only because Leah doesn't
usually hang out with me, but ever game for socialization, I told her I
didn't have plans. It turns out that she wasn't inviting me to
hang out with her, but seeing if I wanted to go to a dinner and book
signing at the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. Harold McGee had just
released his revision of On Food and Cooking, the reference book
on food science since 1984, its first publication. Greer had
decided to go as well.
When we arrived promptly at 6 p.m. (thanks to flying over the bridge
due to the carpool lane), we were greeted with platters of
oysters, spicy gruyere crisps and deviled eggs. Shortly
thereafter, the other members of the Chez Panisse party arrived;
Gilbert, the MoullÚs, Sylvan and girlfriend, Russ and Allison.
There were chefs and cooks from many of the Bay Areas restaurants
(Oliveto, Manresa, Incanto, French Laundry, Foreign Cinema, Cafe Rouge,
Beth's Fine Desserts, Cowgirl Creamery, Frisson, Hog Island Oyster Co.)
in attendance as well.
We bought a copy of the book and then screwing up my courage to ask
Mr. McGee to personalize it for me, I approached the man himself. He
was really friendly and entertaining. Greer and Casey asked many
intelligent questions while I stood there in awe. At the end of
our audience Casey exclaimed, "Capital, capital!" (a la
"Pride and Prejudice") which made us all laugh.
Dinner followed and was exclaimed by all to be absolutely
delicious. We all lined up to serve ourselves fried chicken, pork
tenderloin ham, greens with pot likker and shredded smoked ham hock,
black-eyed peas, fried sweet potatoes, and corn bread. On the
tables were bottles of mild, fruity vinegar with hot peppers and
ramekins of honey butter. Wedges of candy-bar like pecan pie and
whipped cream rounded out the meal. It was a good time had by all!