pioneer woman cookbook

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“Leftovers are the enemy.” Or so said Ree Drummond.

On Monday night, I went to a book signing for The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook. My friend Heather and I joined about 500 other people (okay, mostly women) to hear Ree talk about cooking, homeschooling, kids and, of course, Marlboro Man.

The Man himself – and two of their “punks” – were along for the ride. They seemed to be willing participants in the book tour, enjoying themselves by grabbing the microphone (punks) and posing for pictures (Marlboro Man).

Now, before I tell you all the wonderful things Ree said, I’ve got to tell you about the event itself. I’d seen pictures on The Pioneer Woman blog and a couple other sites, and they all showed huge crowds and long lines. But here in Kansas City (where, just for the record, Ree said everyone is “beautiful and kind”), we were remarkably organized.

Of course, by “we,” I mean Rainy Day Books, the local bookstore that hosted the event. And they don’t know who I am. There actually is no “we.”

But if there were a “we,” I’d be extremely proud of us! Because that book signing was one well-oiled machine. We had numbered tickets and could pick them – and our books – up in advance. The doors opened early, and the bookstore only sold as many tickets as the building had seats. (Apparently, they’re real particular about fire codes or some such business.) The president of the bookstore spent 45 minutes asking questions from the audience, and Ree graciously answered them all.

She then gave us a brief Ethel Merman impression, drew winners for a few door prizes and sat down at the signing table. Then we lined up in groups of 50 at a time, according to the number on our tickets, and we got us some signed books. They even had people going down the line with Post-its, writing down the name or personal note we wanted on our books.

Aside from Ree’s little boys grabbing the microphone a few times and driving the bookstore’s president cuh-razy and some women who were too anxious to wait in line for their t-shirts (did I mention we got t-shirts?), the book signing went off without a hitch.

And then there was Ree. The Pioneer Woman herself! In person! She was sweet and witty and charming and beautiful. And I met her and talked to her and didn’t cry one bit. I may have forgotten to tell her my name. But I did not cry. Even when I mentioned Compassion and my friend, Sara.

So there.

Here are a few gems from the question and answer part of the event:

Question: What would your life be like if you hadn’t met Marlboro Man?
Answer: “Oh, I have nightmares about it! I can’t imagine my life without him.”

Question: What was your worst cooking disaster?
Answer: “A vegetable lasagna I made in high school. Instead of ¼ cup of chopped parsley, I used 4 cups. It took me a long time before I could eat parsley!”

Question: What is the best fresh herb to cook with?
Answer: “Right now, rosemary. In the spring, dill. And when I’m hormonal, it’s basil.”

Question: How do you stay sane and maintain balance?
Answer: “That question implies that I am sane!”

Question: Do you ever just fix boxed macaroni and cheese or canned crescent rolls?
Answer: “Oh, sure. My kids have a craving for processed food!”

Ree said that while she can’t respond to comments on her blog, she does read them all. When she was asked if she has a housekeeper and nanny, she laughed. She said she does use a weekly cleaning service, but in her words, “It’s not that glamorous, people.”

Speaking of not-so-glamorous, the topic of rinsing chicken came up. Apparently, the FDA or someone says that rinsing chicken is bad. I don’t know. But what I do know is that The Pioneer Woman agrees with me and rinses her poultry. She said, “I’ve rinsed chicken for 20+ years, and I’m fine . . . relatively speaking.”

She also quoted Steel Magnolias and Napoleon Dynamite, and announced that she’ll be publishing Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, the story of her romance with Marlboro Man. Look for it around Valentine’s Day 2011.

I wish you could have gone to the signing with me. But since you couldn’t, I’m giving away a signed copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl. Come back on Friday with your Thanksgiving stories, and join me in Giving Up on a Perfect Thanksgiving. One lucky reader will win the autographed cookbook, a Pioneer Woman t-shirt and matching adult and child aprons from Dayspring’s Life Collection.

See you on Friday! (But, wait, come back tomorrow for Thankful Thursday, too!)

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