Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Signing | Ed Levine, Carey Jones, & Erin Zimmer

In true "Stefie"-fashion, I was happily attended a book signing at Williams-Sonoma Columbus Circle on my birthday this past Sunday. Funny how we did the same thing for Marcus's birthday last year, when we got to meet Chef Ferran Adrià at the very same place!

This time it was for the new book put together by the folks at Serious Eats, entitled Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making & Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are. Ed Levine, its founder, and Carey Jones, SE: New York editor, were there to discuss and promote the book as well as to address any questions posed by the attendees and store passersby.

Copies of Serious Eats on the counter of Williams-Sonoma's kitchen, with Ms. Jones (left) and Erin Zimmer (right), Serious Eats' national editor, right behind.

Mr. Levine began with introducing Serious Eats and its mission. Essentially, he explained that Serious Eats is a website "focused on celebrating and sharing food enthusiasm through blogs and online community." He emphasized that the community created by and content brought by Serious Eats brings together "the distinctive voices of food bloggers" as well as "spirited and inclusive conversations about all things food- and drink-related." The content of the cookbook at hand are well-researched (and tested!) recipes for classic comfort foods like grilled cheese, pastrami sandwiches, cookies, etc., as well as Serious Eats' favorite spots all over the country for a given "food" along with mouthwatering photographs! They also touched upon the site's "single-food" (e.g., hot dogs, cupcakes) reviews, and how much research and "testing" goes into delivering and reporting thorough and accurate results of the "best" ones out there in New York City, based on certain criteria depending on the food at hand. I thought that was quite interesting, because as a receiver/reader of the information (with tests conducted and results already filtered through), you don't necessarily get to see or understand how much goes into "narrowing it down" to the best xyz. Certainly makes me appreciate the work these guys set out to do on a daily basis to delivery delectable value to its readers.

Mr. Levine with Ms. Jones, interacting with the attendees. I've never seen a "panel" of writers so welcoming and patient with questions from the audience. The topics discussed included kosher haute cuisine, health/caloric implications with writing for Serious Eats, and competitions from other national food blogs.

And as usual, Williams-Sonoma had samples of a recipe from the Serious Eats cookbook -- the triple chocolate adult brownies that appear on page 280, to be exact. The edges of the brownie were slightly burnt, which Marcus and I really enjoyed. What made the brownies even more amusing is that there was an elderly gentleman who tasted a sample and immediately shouted quite loudly, "Wow, thaaat's gotta be the best brownie I've ever had!"

1} Our copy of Serious Eats, {2} signed by Ed Levine, Carey Jones, and Erin Zimmer. As I was getting my copy of the book signed, I had a brief conversation with Ms. Zimmer about my favorite column "Cook the Book" over at Serious Eats, mentioning that I like to collect cookbooks. She was so incredibly nice to talk to, so much so that she even extended an invitation for me to e-mail her any time with suggestions on cookbooks they should cover in the column. I said I'd be delighted to send stuff over as if and when anything came to mind. Now, time to start digging through my shelves for some feature-worthy recipes!

Findings: I'm looking forward to some serious perusing of this book -- it is certainly resourceful, especially for when I'm out exploring culinary realms outside of the Tri-State area (namely Boston, D.C., and Chicago). It was also nice to put a name and voice out to the folks over at Serious Eats -- they are totally down-to-earth and so easy to talk to, which goes to show how well the team over at Serious Eats has fostered its community, both internally and externally through its website. All in all, it was a contently casual and informative event to attend on a relaxing Sunday afternoon as a little birthday treat. Plus, one more signed goodie to add to the shelf!

Price point: $27.99 for each book.

--February 26, 2012

Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Circle, Suite 114
New York, NY 10019

Serious Eats: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Eating Delicious Food Wherever You Are
Ed Levine
available here at Amazon.com

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