Everything is about making personal connection these days. We are living in a remarkable age of technology and networks. Take twitter for instance. I am amazed how often I casually mention a favorite cookbook author or chef and, lo and behold, they tweet me back.
A fleeting connection, yes, yet still a touching point.
There are days when I open a cupboard and stare at my vast array of cookbooks. Who will inspire me today?, I ask. Sometimes a vivid photo of a dish or ingredient will capture my heart and inspire me to scribble down a shopping list. Then there are other times where I am looking to be inspired to prepare chicken a different way or find a unique way to “use up” eggs as the dozens pile up in my refrigerator. If I have to be honest, 90% of the time I just open a cookbook simple to browse, drool, and dream.
Today was a day like that.
Bill Telepan’s book, Inspired by Ingredients, caught my eye. It had been awhile since I had browsed its pages. Purchased on New Years Eve 2010 while visiting NYC, page after page flooded back foodie memories that rank at the top of my favorite eating moments. I stopped for a moment and tweeted a little comment about how this book inspired me today.
Unexpectedly, Bill Telepan tweeted back.
Are we friends? No. Does he remember me? No way. What he doesn’t know is that he made an impression on me that pre-blizzard night. My husband and I scored an OpenTable reservation early that evening in his restaurant on the Upper West Side. It had an understated, classy, quiet yet not ackwardly-so, and romantic atmosphere. The menu was clean food, simple ingredients that burst with flavors that were anything put simple. The staff was personable and treated us as long-lost friends. From beginning to end, each bite was a revelation.
As we were leaving, I glanced to my right and noticed Bill Telepan sitting down with his wife and kid, enjoying their meal together. He was dressed in his chef’s coat yet his demeanor was unhurried and relaxed. He was simply enjoying his family. As we purchased his cookbook, he noticed and came up to thank us for dining at his restaurant. He signed my book and went back to his family. I hesitated leaving and instead asked for an unusual request, would our waitress sign the book, too? I realized this place wasn’t just his namesake; it was the family of staff who served the patrons, too. My wonderful dinner memory involved the entire experience, from the water glass to the foie gras.
It wasn’t just that I had a great meal, bought a book, got it signed, and tweeted back and forth. An experience like this reminds me just why there are so many of us that embrace the world of food: food blogs, food communities, forums, and food trends.
It’s about how food makes us feel.
Happy and connected.
Happy eating, my foodie friends.
*Images courtesy of NWA Foodie.