Written by Karen Gellender Friday, 27 November 2009 11:01While she has become a controversial figure in recent years, when it comes to matters of the kitchen, Martha Stewart is still top cookie. When she appeared at the Syosset Borders on Thursday, November 19 to sign copies of her latest book Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home: 52 Quick Meals to Cook for Family and Friends, the store was crowded with fans of the famous homemaker-turned-entrepreneur.
While the signing did not actually begin until 45 minutes after the scheduled 5 p.m. start time, the cause of the delay was explained by the author herself: “I was stuck in horrible traffic!” exclaimed Stewart with a self-deprecating smile. Her down-to-earth demeanor seemed to warm the crowd to Stewart, and most seemed very pleased to get some time with the mogul, even if it was only for as long as it took her to sign their book.
“I’ve been a fan of hers for almost 20 years” said Charlotte Green of Holbrook, “but it’s my first signing.” Green dressed her son, 2 1/2 year old Alexander, in a chef’s costume just for the occasion. While the Green family got a prime spot right in front of Stewart’s table (which allowed many in the crowd to see Alexander’s festive attire), others weren’t so fortunate; the long line zig-zagged throughout the store. However, once the signing began, Stewart and her staff kept the line moving at an impressive pace.
Many of the attendees were husband and wife pairs, with the wife usually credited as the dominant force bringing them to Borders that evening. Sonny Guerra, accompanying his wife Karen Guerra, claimed not to be a fan of Stewart’s work per se, “…but I have only the greatest respect for all that she’s accomplished”, he remarked. Even those who claimed that they were “dragged” to the signing by their wives or other family members seemed to have an interest in Stewart as a public figure, if not necessarily as a homemaking guru.
Other than the initial delay, the event proceeded very smoothly. Apparently, the Syosset Borders has learned from experience how to efficiently run a book signing for a popular author. “We just had Rachel Ray here, and we’ve also had Giada De Laurentiis, Curtis Stone, the Barefoot Contessa...lots of authors from the Food Network,” shared employee Natasha Dasani, a longtime familiar face at the location. “We had a good turnout for all of them.” Like most present, Dasani said that Thursday’s signing was her first time seeing Martha Stewart in person.
Martha Stewart’s Dinner at Home, released on October 13, differentiates itself from Stewart’s previous books by virtue of being arranged by season; the book was designed around the concept of using fresh, preferably local produce in order to enjoy the culinary traditions and specialties associated with each season. Stewart also places an emphasis on meal planning, as opposed to offering only individual recipes. Those interested in the book can find 12 recipes from the collection available for free via Stewart’s website, www.marthastewart.com. Also featured on Stewart’s website is a personal blog, so those who couldn’t see Stewart in person on the 19th can still catch a glimpse of the woman behind the empire.