It’s a terrific organization doing very important work and, to get the word out and to celebrate their anniversary, Read to Grow held ten house parties over the weekend, each attended by an author. I was not just flattered to be invited to speak at a party, I was delighted, honored and, frankly, very surprised.
As I told the group, when I decided to give up on my doctoral dissertation and go bake cookies in a Greenwich Village restaurant, only my husband was in favor of my move. My friends thought I was nuts and my mother was pretty sure I was ruining my life. I understood how she felt: she was looking forward to saying, “my daughter, the doctor,” and, instead, she was stuck with, “my daughter, the underpaid cookie baker who works in a cellar.”
Being a chef and writing about chefs and food wasn’t sexy or glamorous then – it wasn’t even considered interesting.
Happily, a lot has changed, thanks, I think, to the James Beard Foundation, which honors chefs and cookbook authors, and, most definitely, to The Food Network, which makes chefs stars and food compelling.
I took being invited to speak about what Julia Child called “cookbookery” to a literacy group as another way to measure just how far we in the food world have come.
Of course, the best criterion of change is my mom. She’s very proud of me now – so proud that she doesn’t even remember not being delighted when I gave up that dissertation!
If you want to learn more about Read to Grow, click here.