Check out her adorable message signed inside my book:
I love her. I was on the fence whether to go or not, and I happened to watch the video on her about page again. I have got to say - the story about her dad and the pie crust gets me every time! Also "I hope you like it - I made it for you!" Ahhh! I just wanted to go so bad! I met some elderly women on the train who couldn't understand why I was on a trip by myself (perhaps that is a generational difference) and also could not understand me traveling a few hours to see a food blogger. "She has a blog." Then they said "Is she on PBS?" "No." "The Food Network?" "No, there is a blog." "So this is her first book?" "Yes" "But it is all desserts!" "That's not true, there are a couple of smoothies." (I frantically searched for the smoothies, couldn't find them, and the ladies didn't believe me). They were going to see Alan Richtman in a play. I wasn't sure why their crush on Alan Richtman was more legitimate than my crush on Joy the Baker!
Anyways, there was an enormous turnout. Everyone we met was super nice because we all seemed to immediately have a lot of things in common. There were baked goods like cheddar mustard scones and brown butter shortbread cookies to eat. Then there was a Q&A session.
Audience member: "When does something become your recipe?"
Joy the Baker: "When you put bacon and chocolate in it." She said she believed in giving credit to people like Dorie Greenspan and Ruth Reichl, but that if you've made it, you've made it yours. Anyways, one look at any of the Tuesdays with Dorie recipes and you see how much most cooks add their own spin to most recipes anyway. Like there is some variation every time of this: "Oh it said apricots and prunes- but I used chocolate and nuts instead!"
Me: "What is your opinion on cake pops? Is that a trend that will go by the wayside?" I was trying to solve a discussion my friend Elizabeth and I were having at the end of this post by asking the baking guru.
Joy the Baker: "Bakerella is lovely. She makes the muppets and things. I stop at the cake though. I have the cake, I don't need to pop it." People laughed. It was funny.
Then we waited for hours. We met some very nice women in line, and determined that Joy the Baker is to us what Oprah was like to our moms - in that we all secretly imagine her as our best friend. We all think she is talking to us. We talked a lot about cooking being relaxing and helping to create a sense of home where you live. We talked about how you don't really know people through blogging, but you can sort of feel like you do. At the end of the line, I felt like we had all gotten through something together like it was character building. I told everyone about when I was 12 and waited in line for Letterman tickets for like 6 hours (they have a different system now), and met some nice girls from Long Island. I think we have a picture of those girls somewhere in a box of photos from that family vacation.
Joy was so so nice. People would say "Your hand must be tired" and she would say "What? No, thanks for waiting!" Then we finally got to the front. We felt victorious. Here was how it went.
My friend: "I like that you like bourbon."
Joy the Baker: "Are you going to drink some bourbon tonight?"
(Later after we left we totally thought we should have tried to convince her to go out drinking with us!)
Me: "And I like that you like buttermilk!"
Joy the Baker: "What have you made from the book?"
Me: "Cinnamon Rolls for my husband's birthday. He wanted me to tell you they were great."
She hugged us. She said she liked my friend's whole outfit and my polka dot trench coat. If Emma Stone likes Joy the Baker, and Joy the Baker likes my polka dot trench coat, does that make me pretty much the coolest I have ever been? Hilarious. I left feeling like it was totally worth the trip. Bourbon love! Buttermilk love! Blog love! Love all around.
I think people like her because they feel as if she gets them. Like this: "This book is made by me for YOU YOU YOU! I know you eat popcorn for dinner. I know you bake brownies for boys. I know you’re just looking for an excuse to make biscuits for every meal of the day…. and I love you I love you I love you!!!" All the stuff about chocolate for dinner, wanting comforting food when something is stressful, wanting to throw parties, driving a cake over your friend's house, shipping baked goods to people, not being perfect, having a messy or understocked kitchen, raiding the sale housewares section at Anthropologie (most likely - where else does she get all the pretty looking kitchen accessories?), and love of cake stands. She seems to get what it is that makes cooking so important, in that it can be an expression of love or friendship, and can also improve your life and make you happy. I think she is a walking incarnation of parts of the Food52 mantra:
- If you cook, your family will eat dinner together.
- If you cook, you will naturally have a more sustainable household.
- If you cook, you'll set a lifelong example for your children.
- If you cook, you'll understand what goes into food and will eat more healthily.
- If you cook, you'll make your home an important place in your life.
- If you cook, you'll make others happy.
- If you cook, people will remember you.
She embodies everything I love about cooking, and she isn't pretentious, snobby or bitter. I am grateful to this technology for having brought her into my life.
At the store I bought some containers and labels for making hot sauce for the food swap and drink umbrellas and little plastic sword picks for my upcoming Hawaiian party. Then I saw the same elderly ladies on the train on the way back "Did you have a fun time?" I said, "Yes, did you?" they said. "Yes! I had so much fun!" They still looked at me like I was a little crazy, but to me it was all worth it.
Update: Emma Stone likes my trench coat!