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Food Network star Rachael Ray signs copies of her new book, 'My Year in Meals,' for fans at Wegmans
Date published: 12/12/2012
BY KATIE THISDELL
Rachael Ray's go-to meal on late nights is Aglio e Olio, a simple pasta dish with anchovies, oil and garlic.
With a well-stocked pantry, she can whip up pastas and soups with no advanced preparation--even after the busiest of days, she said this weekend in Fredericksburg.
It's exactly that ease of cooking that has made the Food Network star and cookbook author a household name.
"She's just a real person. She just tells real people how to cook real food that looks good," said fan Beth Seidler, of Stafford.
Ray signed copies of her latest book, "My Year in Meals," for hundreds of fans Sunday at Wegmans in Central Park.
Many credited Ray as their inspiration to get into the kitchen more often and to use new ingredients.
Among them were friends Sharon Babineau and Lesley Moore of Fredericksburg.
"She's like, the biggest fan," Moore said, pointing to Babineau, who stood with a full bag of Ray's books as she waited to meet the celebrity, whose plane had been delayed.
The pair of women, who had a ticket with the letter F to indicate their spot in line, said Ray seems genuine and enthusiastic.
Babineau first heard of Ray when cooking with her mother-in-law years ago. She wondered why she kept putting trash in a bowl on the counter--Babineau learned that's one of the many practical tips Ray shares during her shows, including the popular "30 Minute Meals."
"She's the one that inspired me to branch out," said Babineau, who tried jicama after learning about it from Ray.
The TV personality, who grew up in her family's restaurants but has no formal training, has nearly two dozen cookbooks to her name. She describes "My Year in Meals" as her most memorable.
Flip the book over, and you'll find 100 cocktail recipes from her husband, John Cusimano.
"It's certainly the most personal and the largest book ever, and we've never done anything like this, sharing so much of our family and our home life in a book," Ray, 44, said Sunday.
She points inside the front cover to pictures of hand-written journals--the behind-the-scenes work for the cookbook and part of her longtime daily routine.
RACHAEL RAY's Q&A
Why Wegmans? She visited her first store in upstate New York years ago. "I just think they're a remarkable organization--they're wonderful."
On Virginia: "The whole state is friendly, and good eaters."
Where will you eat in Fredericksburg? "I was just going to have room service tonight--we've been going out the last couple nights. And on Sunday I like to watch "Homeland," so I think we'll grab something quick at the hotel."
What's a great holiday gift? "I think it's a wonderful thing to make whatever you make best--lasagna, brownies--and make it in a dish that you don't mind gifting, and then leave the dish as the gift. Who doesn't need a meal or a dessert taken care of for them? And it's a great thing for a whole family."
Do you ever just want a frozen dinner? "I make meals ahead just like on a 'Week in a Day' show, many nights I go home and just turn on the stove. But it's my food. No frozen meals unless it's mine."
She and her husband also eat takeout occasionally--especially pizza and Thai.
Want to make dinner for me? "I wish I could! I'm sort of missing my kitchen because I've been out of it a couple days now."
AGLIO E OLIO
Prep time: 10 minutes
cup EVOO (extra virgin
WHOLE-GRAIN SPICED WAFFLES
Prep time: 10 minutes
teaspoon ground ginger