Adoring Dorie: Greenspan Has Her Day in OKC
Celebrated food writer Dorie Greenspan has been connected to Oklahoma for more than two decades, but until Monday she’d never set foot in the state. On Wednesday, she headed to her home in New York City with a passel of new friends, anecdotes and her very own day.
The author of 10 cookbooks, including “Baking With Julia,” “Baking From My Home to Yours” and the new “Around My French Table,” was in Oklahoma City on Monday and Tuesday for a pair of book signings and the opportunity to finally visit the hometown of her longtime friend, master chef John Bennett.
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- Video: Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry proclaims"Dorie Greenspan Day" (2010-10-28)
Egan introduced Greenspan to lamb fries before a salad with the famous Cattlemen’s house dressing. He explained the technique behind the restaurant’s garlic oil, which is the foundation for the secret dressing recipe. Next came sliced steaks served family-style with deep-fried whole potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and steamed vegetables.
Noticing a pair of cowboy-hatted gentlemen at a nearby table — one in black, one in white — she opined that a photo betwixt the buckaroos would be worth sharing with her more than 34,000 Twitter followers. When Bennett made movement to secure the photo op, Greenspan quickly retreated from her stance, begging him not to follow through.
As lunch turned into a dessert, chef Robert Dickson — who flew in from South Carolina for the visit — broke into his operatic interpretation of “Oklahoma!” While his thunderous vocals might’ve stunned fellow patrons, by the time his rendition had come to a close, the crowd had joined in and capped off the performance with applause. A couple passing through from Washington state even stopped by to thank him for authenticating their Oklahoma experience.
From Cattlemen’s, Greenspan stopped in at Langston’s in search of a Western shirt for her son in New York. Later that afternoon, her husband, Michael, arrived from New York to join the visit.
On Monday evening, Greenspan was hosted by Western Concepts at The Tasting Room. Chef David Henry interpreted some of Greenspan’s recipes from “Around My French Table,” while Clayton Bahr of Putnam Wines provided pairings. Henry’s showstopping braised Kobe beef cheeks were a highlight.
As Greenspan sat down to sign copies of her book, Western Concepts partner and master chef Kurt Fleischfresser asked for everyone’s attention, at which time he read a proclamation from Gov. Brad Henry and presented Greenspan a plaque to confirm Oct. 25, 2010, as Dorie Greenspan Day in Oklahoma.
Greenspan, clearly taken aback, sheepishly covered her face. But a smile broader than the cheese selection in downtown Paris couldn’t be contained.After a few words of thanks, she returned to her fans, spending the shank of the evening signing books and listening to her many fans talk about what her work meant to them.
This exercise was continued the next afternoon at Full Circle Bookstore, where she appeared from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Before she left, Greenspan celebrated a birthday for which Bennett had made a white cake with the book jacket of “Around My French Table” digitized upon the frosting.
Greenspan, a bubbling brook of graciousness and humility, said, “This has been the most extraordinary visit I’ve ever made in my life.”
All the pomp and circumstance was the issue of her friendship with Bennett, whom she met while writing the newsletter for the James Beard Foundation. She called Bennett before one of his dinners at the Beard House to find out about his menu, which she would find included, among other things, smoking tepees. She commented that his menu sounded ostentatious.
Greenspan said Bennett then told her something that she’s used ever since.