Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Pioneer Woman... I'm a fan.

Pioneer Woman. Heard of her, for sure. I follow her on twitter, and I shook her hand at the Blogher Food blogger dinner this summer, knowing I was shaking the hand of someone who is kind of a big deal. I admit, I have been a blog-reading slacker lately, so I haven't delved into Ree's fantastic website/blog as much as I'd like to. However, when I heard she was coming to St. Louis for a book signing, I for sure wanted to go. I am glad I did, even though it was so crowded that we didn't wait around to meet her in person. She is hilarious! So sweet and humble and down-t0-earth, but with a sharp wit and awesomely wicked sense of humor. Basically I could understand why the place was so full of people who were gaga over this woman. I mean, wow. Ladies LOVE the Pioneer Woman, for reals. Many almost creepily so. But, again, I get it. She's funny. She's real. She has some delicious homey recipes.

Like I said, my friend Julie and I waited for more than an hour in our seats after the Q&A session, but realized if we tried to to wait for our books to be signed, we would be there forever. There were lots of people there, and they all had something they wanted to say to Ree... and I think Ree, being the sweet lady she is, obliged them all. So we left our books behind to be signed and picked up later. This was fine with me... it was plenty to see PW's kids running around and Marlboro Man chasing them around. Also I got to sit with Alanna and the previously mentioned Mamaphunk!

We did, however, while waiting, get our books signed by one of her boys...

So, I am a fan now. The book is neat. The recipes are for the most part very family-friendly comfort-type eats. I made the "comfort meatballs" the other night. They are a fairly reasonable weeknight feat if you plan well. The ingredients are simple. I used my mandoline to grate the onions, which made for quick work. The main ingredient in the sauce is ketchup, really. Yes. These are 60's meatballs! Those sweet, sticky meatballs that are a hit at potlucks. I made similar meatballs for a party a few years ago and so many people told me that they reminded them of childhood. Which is why meatballs like these are comforting.

Since I had been weighed at the doctor' office earlier in the day (ugh!!), I limited the number of meatballs I ate (it would be so easy to just keep popping these tasty morsels into your mouth!). I had them with some rice and a simple slaw of red cabbage, carrots, green peppers, salt, pepper, vinegar and a wee bit of olive oil. Colorful and crunchy, this slaw was made easier because I used my mandoline again to shred everything.

So, Pioneer Woman. Her food is legit. Her humor is legit. She is legit. I like her. So many of the people at the signing wanted to be like her... bloggers who looked up to her and asked her how she did it all and what made her blog so successful. She really couldn't answer these questions with specific technical tips. What people need to realize is that people who are successful at blogging and/or writing are usually not out to make a buck and get as many followers as they can. Ree just loves her family, and cooking, and ranch life. She genuinely finds all this stuff fun and interesting. That comes through in her writing. And that's why hundreds of people will pack into a church and wait in hours-long lines to say hello to her.

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