Aida came to Seattle to promote her first cookbook, Keys to the Kitchen, which she described as a modern kitchen manual for people in their 20s and 30s.
I enjoyed hearing Aida tell a story receiving her mother’s copy of The Joy of Cooking full of handwritten notes about each recipe–what worked, what didn’t, and what she had decided to substitute. Aida described how the notes demonstrated her mom “riffing” with her cooking and “really owning it.” That’s what Aida wants today’s generation to do—she wants them to claim their place in the kitchen and care about becoming better cooks.
Ah yes, the crackers. I wish I had taken a photo of them because they were truly large, easily bigger than a standard-size envelope. Because it was so big it wouldn’t even fit on a plate, I wanted to break a cracker in half. It was pretty thick and wouldn’t break until Aida Mollenkamp came to the rescue. Aida saw me flailing about and neatly split the cracker in two. Then she launched into a Q&A session with Coterie Room chefs, Brian McCracken and Dana Tough. Nice.
While the chefs were talking, I tried to take a photo of them, and the cracker pieces I was still holding fell out of my hand onto the floor. Then my phone slipped out of my hand, landed on the cracker with a loud WHUMP and smashed it into tiny bits. The resulting mess looked like a giant bird had just pooped on the Coterie Room’s elegant hardwood floor.
Either everyone politely decided to ignore the whole thing or no one really saw it (although I’m pretty sure Aida and the chefs noticed my spastic incident).
I got over my embarrassment by listening to Aida discuss how she’s using social media to reach out to people, organize events and spread the word.
It was obvious that the cookbook is a very personal project to Aida, and I admire how much she’s doing herself to make it a success. It’s a good reminder that even after you achieve a dream, there’s still work to be done.