Peter Hoffman Literary Night

Last night I went the Literary Night at our children’s school. It is always a huge hit. Last night was fantastic!

Peter Hoffman, parent at our school, owner of Savoy Restaurant on Prince Street in Soho with his wife Susan, National chair of the Chefs Collaborative hosted the event last night. Peter is a true foodie. He loves what he does and it was apparent as he talked about food and told stories that involved him with the five other authors at the event.

Mario Batali, who also is a parent at our school, was his usual charming, engaging self. He read from his first cookbook. Mario poked fun at how his style has changed since writing his first book when he was still green. Hearing his early stories of working in Italy for a small restaurant of 24 tables where they only turned the tables once a night. What an experience. Driving 6 hours just to sample a piece of cheese. He had the drive ( and still does ) to really go all out and experience things that most people would have been scared to do. That is why he is such a successful entrepreneur.

The next author was Betty Fussell, another foodie, is also a writer of cookbooks and seemed to also be interested with the history of food. She read about corn, the ultimate American grain. She was a delight to listen to. I have probably read articles she had written before but did not realize it. She has written for the New Yorker, NYTimes, Bon Appetit etc.

Peter Pringle was next. His daughter is an alum of our school. Peter is actually a foreign war correspondent. He wrote a cook called Food Inc. which he writes about the genetic engineering of the food on our table today. He read about the basmati and jasmine rice grown in India and Asia that has been cloned to now grow in other locations such as the United States. He finished off with his realization that genetic engineering of food is not dangerous but holds potential for helping undernourished nations with altering the food to create more nutrients in what they are eating.

Jessica Harris was the next author and a true delight. I was not familiar with her and am thrilled that I am now. She read from her latest book, Beyond Gumbo which she writes about how Creole comes from the infusion of African, European and Caribbean cultures coming together. She lives in New Orleans. You could tell from her readings and antidotes that she is one smart lady.

Last but certainly not least was Ruth Reichl. She actually grew up on the Village and went to PS41. I had just finished reading her book, Tender At the Bone, which she read from last night. I am definitely reading other books of hers. Her book was terrific and made me laugh out loud. She loves food. She has been the NYTimes food editor for many years and also the Editor-in-Chief at Gourmet. Very impressive lady.

All and all, the night was wonderful. Listening to authors read from their own books make the words sing.