I'm just leaving Orlando. I was here to do a cooking & book segment on an "interactive" show called iVillage live. Apparently the show airs on the web and television at the same time. Web audiences are able to participate in live chats and send immediate comments to the hosts. My two sons have told me that this is the way of the future. I have to confess that I haven't seen the show before. However, it was a lot of fun to get to do a TV show in front of an enthusiastic live audience. It was great to see everyone having a fabulous time. Check out today's show at: http://video.ivillagelive.com/player/?id=0#videoid=123515Next stop.....Seattle and then on to Monterey, California.
Secureworks is one of the world's leading information technology research companies. This last week they held their annual IT Security Summit at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. In addition to doing a book signing, I had the privilege to host a wine tasting and talk for them. I met and spoke with about 300 people. I'm told it was the largest turnout for any of the hospitality suites that evening. The next morning on the 6th of June at 6:30am, I boarded a flight to Orlando for the grand opening of Base 21, a joint venture between Siemen's Corporation and Epcot Disney. I did a White House dinner and conversation for about 100 of the top customers and executives from both Siemen's and Disney. The chefs I worked with at Epcot were top of the line and their production kitchen was immaculate. It was the cleanest kitchen I've seen since leaving the White House. Chef Ken Hittman is in charge of production and worked to recreate the White House food flawlessly. What I found even better is the fact that he is a professional fishing guide on the side. It's only natural that we shared many stories of fishing in South Florida since fishing is my number one non-food passion. That evening I bumped into an old White House friend of mine, Don Flynn, who now heads up the security team for Disney. Don is a foodie at heart. I have great memories of how he used to bring freshly gathered morels to the White House kitchen for us to use. Finally, nothing at Disney is complete without the Fireworks Finale and that night it was a spectacular fireworks show called Illuminations. What a great way to say goodnight to the evening.
On June 8th, I took off to Mumford, New York, just outside of Rochester. I went to the Genesee Country Village museum for their annual fund raiser called Whirl 2007. The 19th Century Village has nearly 70 buildings - everything from simple pioneer cabins to tradesman shops (wagon-maker, gunsmith, dressmaker, blacksmith, etc.) to beautiful manor homes. All of the buildings have been completely restored to their original state. Many of the buildings have interpreters complete in their historic dress of the day, to demonstrate how the villagers worked and lived.
One of the major components of the village is of course the cooking. You can take in the smell of simmering soup on the open hearth or see bread being baked in the wood burning brick oven. All of the food that is prepared comes from the village farm and gardens as well. The highlight of my first day was a dinner made up of several dishes, all prepared on an open hearth using reflector ovens, cast iron kettles and pots. The roast pork, trout, condiments and ketchup were definitely the high points of the meal. The dinner included Sally Lund bread, Salmagundi salad, and a delicious rhubarb pie which were all served on a large rough-hewn wood table in one of the homes.
The next evening's fundraiser featured White House style dishes from the 1800's as well as 5 pairs of presidents and their first ladies all in costume. The presidents, and their wives, were portrayed by some very talented and knowledgeable interpreters. The Lincoln interpreter in particular was a dead ringer for 'ole Honest Abe. He was also quite the photo magnet. A truly unique experience. Check out the museum at www.gcv.org
While in the New York-Rochester area, I stayed at a beautiful B & B called the Genesee Country Inn run by Richard and Deborah Stankevich. Richard and Deborah are a couple of early retirees who have converted an 1833 Millhouse into a very warm and inviting Bed and Breakfast complete with a spring fed trout stream in the back. Both of them have the perfect innkeeper temperaments. And, Deborah does some of the most delicious breakfast baking I've ever had. Take a look at geneseecountryinn.com.