Special Note: If you'd like to see a preview of a cake from the next book, be sure to scroll to the end of this posting!This was hands down my best book signing ever! There were over 200 people and I never stopped talking from 1:00 PM to 11:00 PM. When we arrived at Blue Cashew Kitchen Pharmacy owners Sean and Gregory greeted us with great enthusiasm and led us to the back of the store where my books and several of my products were on display. There was a stool but somehow I never sat on it! There were old friends, new friends, Roy Finamore (the book's prop stylist), and even two of my very favorite cousins Bill and Joy Howe, who have a house in relatively nearby Chatham called "Day O" (yes it used to belong to Harry Bellafonte). I was especially touched by a young culinary student who drove all the way from Pennsylvania. He told me that he used to watch my Baking Magic with Rose show on PBS when he was 13 and visited his grandmother on Sundays. Many visitors had the rare added benefit of a signature from the book's photographer Ben Fink. If I look slightly perturbed it's because his signature was so artistic I feared he'd use up all the ink in the pen, what with so many books to sign! Erin McDowell, who works with Ben and at the CIA, is also a great baker and made all the cakes for the even and after party. She made 200 of these little Designer Chocolate Baby Grands from the book.
At 5:30, Ben and his spouse Joe Tully whisked me off to their log cabin chateau for an elaborate and lively after party catered by CIA chef Patrick Decker. As he started grilling the chicken appetizers suddenly smoke filled the air and alarms all over the house started to screech and an electronic voice called out fire fire every few seconds. He soon discovered that someone had left a pan containing fat in the oven that he had preheated which was causing all the smoke. It took a good 30 minutes for the alarms to stop--luckily before the guests started to arrive. Here's Ben in a very smoky living room. Joe, who is an art director, also directed some of the food production and arrangement of the cakes. He also suggested choosing champagne and a white wine which turned out to be a lovely chenin blanc from South Africa. The glasses, which at first glance reminded me of Reidel in their delicacy, turned out to be reusable plastic which they sell at Blue Cashew! Patrick's appetizers were out of this world delicious. I sat at the counter telling him and his four charming assistants stories so they would let me preview the different dishes as the smell was so tantalizing I just couldn't resist. Crisp toast topped with creamy tellegio cheese, topped with vinegar and ginger marinated figs: Crab that tasted fresh from the ocean, spiked with rounds of red chili pepper: And spicy chicken salad served in little cups of Boston lettuce. I was too busy eating them to remember to take a picture! Here is the beautiful dessert table. Erin made three cakes from Rose's Heavenly Cakes: The Carrot Cake with Dreamy Cream Buttercream, the White Gold Passion, and the Golden Lemon Almond Cake baked in a loaf shape. As a surprise, I brought the Mango Cheesecake that I created for Madhur Jaffrey and which will be in the upcoming Baking Bible. And as a surprise for me, dear and ever generous friend Ben purchased the most stunning cake plate I've ever seen. Patrick magically cut the cheesecake into small enough servings so almost everyone had a taste. There were supposed to be 24 people at the after party but it turned out to be more like 64! And there, standing to my right is Roscoe Betsill, who was the wonderful food stylist for my book The Pie and Pastry Bible! Another delightful surprise was the appearance of Barry Wine (formerly of the famed restaurant The Quilted Giraffe), who brought along his charming daughter and girl friend. This was one terrific and unforgettable party. Now I have to hurry back to working on The Baking BIble as I can't wait to do it again!