Molly O’Neill @onebigtable

I am one of those gorpy fan people.  I can’t help it.  I try not to embarrass myself, but somehow I always bloody do.

There was the time I stepped on, crunched on, Jane Fonda’s toes… in the midst of her exercise celebrity!  There was the time I ploughed into Robin Williams while he was shopping with his son (and this was literally the day before he started shooting DEAD POET’S SOCIETY, a movie on which I very peripherally worked)!  There was the time I baked Rick Moranis butter tarts, only to find out they were just about the only goy food he didn’t like!  And then there was the time, at the airport in Boston, where if I had stood staring at Dr Andrew Young for one second more, I think the Secret Service would have arrested me; I so wanted to go over & shake his hand and just say ‘thank you’ but no, I was the complete & utter gorpy fan person.


So now I try to avoid too many situations where I can be gorpy, but today, without leaving my house, it happened all over again.  See, I am a huge Molly O’Neill fan.  If there are 3 people who know who she is…yea!  You must be friends of mine.  For those of you who don’t… she’s amazing.  She writes about food and people and life with such gentleness and insight.  She’s the writer I would like to be someday, and she even has a ‘beat’ I would love to cover.

For about ten years, Molly (like I know her – Molly!) was a food writer and columnist for the New York Times/Sunday Magazine.  I cooked from her column a lot, and never had a failure/disappointment with her stuff.  But it was the way she wrote that always delighted me.  And to this day, I have a story of hers, saved in my “Writers I Wish I Was” file (seriously, I have this file, centre drawer, right hand side).  It’s about her dad and her brother (big time baseball player Paul O’Neill) and a taxi ride.  Simple stuff, and yet so not.

Anyway, I kind of lost track of what she was doing for a few years and then I found out about One Big Table on Twitter.  I am a Twitter freak and am always exploring for new people to follow, new (or old) interests to ignite, and amongst the several publishing firms I follow was hers!  Which lead me to follow @onebigtable on Twitter and eventually to her website.  And that got me all excited about finding her again, and following her, and longing to get her book but you know the state of my cookery bookshelf… it’s a little crowded.

But this afternoon she had a contest… and I won!  Well, I was one of three… but that still makes me a winner!  Coming soon in the mail to me is a brand-new copy of ONE BIG TABLE by Molly O’Neill.  Please picture me with big cheesy grin.

And it gets better!  I tweeted my thanks, she tweeted back… and now Molly Freaking O’Neill is following me on Twitter. Now please picture me with an even bigger and slightly stupid grin.  God, I’m so gorpy.

I really shouldn’t be this excited about someone following me on Twitter, I know that.  But I am.  More excited, in fact, than I was when J. Kelly Nestruck started following me as the tweeting voice of another life, and I was pretty damned excited about that!

I mean, have you ever met someone you really, really admire, and it turns out that you made a really good impression on them?  Do you remember how that felt?  Well, that’s sort of what this means to me.  My father loved MFK Fisher; to him, she was the perfect food writer, not just because of her love of food & place, but because she told the stories of food & place so well.  That’s who Molly O’Neill is to me, my MFK Fisher.

So when I get the book and have absorbed it, and when I know the website better, I will be cooking.  And I will be inviting friends to join us at our table as we share food & stories & life.

Thank you Molly O’Neill.  From the bottom of my Paderno stock pot, thank you.


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