Harold McGee

2005 January 31

Zuni Cafe Book Signing Party for Harold McGee

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 Moullés, 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, Bouchon, 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!