[This is a little note I posted to Facebook this morning, as many of my hometown friends do not understand or appreciate things that every reader of this blog takes for granted.
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I cannot begin to share how yesterday's experience at the American Liszt Society conference went - I felt like Cinderella at the ball. And as many of us classical music folks know, it is difficult to describe certain events to those of our friends who do not understand our fascination, or do not know the accomplishments of certain people we respect and idolize. So I will put it in layman's terms for you all, and send a private message later for those who really want to know the what and who.
When I arrived an hour and a half early, Paula Deen took me my the hand, hugged me, and we had lunch together, an unexpected surprise. Once that was over, she and I ran into Tyler Florence. Tyler had the inside scoop as to where Rachael Ray was, and he whisked me through the crowd to meet her. Rachael seemed happy to meet me face-to-face, as we have communicated for five years only by e-mail and one phone call, because of the time she used my recipe for Romantic Chicken Pasta Bake in her book "Cooking: Casserole By Casserole". She immediately introduced me to her traveling companion, an editor at Deep-Fat Frying Magazine - who actually expressed an interest in seeing some of my recipes, and possibly bringing back the idea of publishing an article about me, my small-town cooking career and my recipes, written by Emily Moe. (Emily is the only character in this narrative, other than me, who is identified by her real name.)
Paula proceeded to accompany me to all the other events. During Martha Stewart's lecture, we were amazed at the new ideas she is still able to produce. Betty Crocker bowled us over with a new recipe, proving to the crowd she still "had it" after all these years. She got the loudest, longest, and most heartfelt ovation of the day.
Several of us were surprised that Emeril Lagasse didn't show up, but you know, he's so last-decade. Aunt Jemima did attend Friday, however; I missed her presentation. Paula Deen was quite impressed with her, and told me that she even wore her trademark bandanna. Retro is good.
I will be forever in debt to Paula for thinking of me and inviting me to attend this convention - it was great to see Rachael, and perhaps, some of my recipes will FINALLY see the light in a more mainstream, and more readily available, cookbook.
(This write-up is dedicated to Matt Woods, who although he is an amazing musician, would have been more impressed, and far more envious, if the above narrative was what actually happened.)
I will reveal the identity of only one person in this write-up to you readers. "Paula Deen" is actually Gregor Benko, the co-founder of the International Piano Archives, and an idol of mine since my teen years. There's also a pretty strong clue here as to who Rachael Ray is.