Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Insert Perky Catchphrase Here! Rachael Ray Is Coming to Belmont!

Posted by on Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 5:48 AM

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A few summers ago, I was visiting my friend Sandra in rural upstate New York. (There was one blinking light in her hamlet. Yes, a hamlet.) The only things we could do were sleep, read, kayak, cook and eat. One afternoon, my friend and I were feeling particularly adventurous and pulled out a recipe from an old magazine for fried chocolate-covered strawberries. (Like there’s anything wrong with that phrase.) After hours of preparation, we began by dropping our tester strawberry into the pot of boiling oil. Disaster ensued. The alarms blared as the entire kitchen filled with smoke and we rushed the steaming pot outside into the yard. Mission: failed.

After an afternoon of disappointment, we decided to rein in our kitchen adventures and pulled out her mother’s copy of Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats. I had vaguely heard of Rachael Ray before, but hadn’t paid much attention. After drawing inspiration from several of her recipes (apparently organic ground turkey is not a thing one could buy in the combination grocery store/gas station), I was (almost) sold.

While her unceasingly perky disposition across all six of her television shows causes me to raise an eyebrow — no one can be that happy while crying over pounds of fresh-cut onion — and her proclivity to use the word “yum-o” as a descriptor for just about everything makes me want to weep over my combination dictionary-thesaurus, I can’t help but like her.

In 2006, she formed a nonprofit organization — called, in fact, Yum-O! — to educate families on healthy eating habits and give scholarships to those pursuing careers on the food industry. Also, she just donated half a million dollars to ASPCA to open a shelter for Hurricane Sandy-displaced pets. Considering the number of cat photos on my Instagram, I had to like her just a bit more.

When I heard that Parnassus Books and Belmont University were teaming up to bring Ray to Belmont’s campus, I couldn’t help but be excited. An Evening with Rachael Ray, hosted by the Scene’s own Carrington Fox, will be centered around Ray talking about her new cookbook, My Year in Meals, a food diary that provides recipes for each of the meals that she prepared for her friends and family for an entire year.

I’m intrigued to hear more about Ray on a personal level and what kinds of food she associates with memories. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick up her book before I almost burn down the kitchen. And maybe she’ll have a better recipe for those fried chocolate-covered strawberries.

An Evening with Rachael Ray will be on Wed., Dec. 12, at 5:30 p.m. at Massey Performing Arts Center at Belmont University.

Tickets are $35 and an autographed copy of My Year in Meals is included with each ticket. They can be purchased either in person or online at the Curb Event Center Box Office at Belmont University. Tickets must be shown to pick up signed books at the event.

For more information call Parnassus Books at 615-953-2243 or Belmont University Office of Communications at 615-460-6650.

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