Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jamie Oliver and the Case of the Accidental Shoplifter

The great thing about New York is that, well, that it’s New York. Everything happens here. Everyone comes here. There is always something to see or do. So when I read that Jamie Oliver was making an appearance at the Union Square Barnes & Noble I couldn’t help but wish he were something to see and do.

But he is married. As am I, nearly. So I had to settle for simply seeing him.

I love Jamie Oliver. I just could squish him I love him so much. I love his accent, I love his messy cooking, I love his passion, I love how he says things like ‘bake until it looks delicious’ (this has unfortunately led me to eating half-baked strawberry meringues), I just love love love him.

My friend and I trudged early to the bookstore and settled ourselves neatly in the second row (well, technically third but the front row barely showed up, so we had a very clear view. Actually I did. My friend had the blue monster in front of her so her view was a bit obstructed – too much of Jamie’s cooking perhaps?) two hours ahead of time. I rifled through his new cookbook making odd noises as the recipes made my tummy growl, and perhaps drooling a bit on page 189 (a Pimm’s and Strawberry concoction). I debated actually buying the book, as online it was $23 and in the store it was $38 – hello highway robbery? I wondered if Jamie’s signature was really worth $15 in these tough times.

The closer to 7 it got, the more nervous and excited I got. I had planned on asking a question and this made me want to throw up. Gee whiz, I have met celebrities before (okay, maybe only one), why was this one making me a nutbar?

When they ushered Jamie in, there was an audible gasp (me), someone yelling ‘he’s so cute’ (me) and a general giggling among the women and gay men (me and many many others). He is soooooooo cute in real life! He wore jeans, his little converse slip-on trainer things, and a windbreaker-ish jacket (he is so cute!) just like he does on his shows. And then he talked. I could listen to that southern-Brit accent forever. He talked about how his new cookbook was inspired by growing his own veg and fruit, and working with local farmers to get meat and grain. Keep this in mind.

Question 1: Does he find inspiration in American cooking? Yes, he is learning and is doing a new 8-part show about cooking in America. He started in Louisiana and is going to Arizona, New York (to our house for Thanksgiving hopefully), Chicago, and other places that I forgot.

Question 2: Does he support community growing in America? Ummm, he didn’t know what she meant. Local farmers basically. HELLO? He clearly supports that you MORON; didn’t he just talk about that for his inspiration??

Question 3: Do you like Korean food? Once again, a wasted question from a nervous girl who took ten minutes to ask her freaking question. The man eats ANYTHING and likes pretty much everything, clearly he will like Korean. Grrrrrr

At this the question period ended because there were so many of us getting our books signed. Boo! I didn’t ask my question!

So I decide to go up with my non-purchased book, just so I can meet him and have him call me ‘darling’. Then I would dump the book on a shelf and buy it online.

As I waited in line, I was so nervous/excited my knees were shaking. With each step closer I got more and more like a teenager. I felt the same way I did when I was 14 and met Kurt Browning at Eaton’s after school.

I was the next in line standing near to the security guard and I couldn’t help but tug at his arm and whisper ‘isn’t he cute?’ The security guard didn’t even acknowledge me. At least back home that would get a smile. Here they just think I am crazy. Oh wait . . .

Anyhoo, by the time I got to Jamie I was a nervous wreck. At first all I could blurt was ‘HI’! He looked at me and waited for more. I told him about my travel show and asked him where I should eat in London. He gave me a list but when I went to write it down I discovered I forgot how to hold a pen! GAH! He actually was giving me quite the list so this assistant lady told me to leave. Then I asked him about the rumor that he is opening up a restaurant in Rainy City. He told me no. This made me sad.

In my excitement and elation, I rushed off the stage (without saying thank-you) and promptly left the bookstore with my friend, clutching my newly signed Jamie at Home.

It wasn’t until I was three long blocks away that I realized I had not paid for the signed cookbook. For one split second I was totally, completely intending on marching back to B & N to pay for it. Then I thought about the $15 difference and decided that I would give money to Jamie’s charity instead. B & N didn’t really need my money. So I got on the subway and went home to call my mum.

I am a Buddhist. I know this is going to bite me on the ass one day.

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