In 2009, for the first time, I attended the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in DC. This massive trade show had somehow escaped my notice until I received an email about it from my mentor at work, a major foodie himself. When I looked into it and saw that Giada de Laurentiis was going to be doing a cooking demonstration, I didn’t hesitate for a second!
The entryway to the show floor:
Some vendors set up on the show floor (this was right when the show opened, before the crazy crowds hit):
Fellow veggie lovers at Indigo Rabbit:
Indigo Rabbit is a cookie company based in New England, which hides vegetables – such as squash, for instance — in their cookies! The cookies are delicious and chewy, and I promise they don’t taste like vegetables. We chatted about hiding vegetables in baked goods and exchanged blog addresses – check them out at www.rainbowonyourplate.com – and I brought home a box of their Seriously Cinnamon Almond cookies, which are sweetened with cane sugar and include a puree of carrots and sweet potatoes! As cookies go, these are just about as healthy as they can get, and taste better than pretty much any other store-bought cookie I’ve encountered. They have quite a few flavors – all delicious. Hubby and I also liked the Luscious Lemon Chewies, although the Seriously Cinnamon Almond was by far my favorite.
(Nota Baker: I paid full price for the cookies. My recommendation is based completely on the fact that they are absolutely freaking delicious. I have not received any free products in exchange for recommending these cookies. Just try them. You’ll see.)
I also picked up some fun tropical fruit sauces – mango mustard, banana barbeque sauce, and two tropical chutneys – from the Nature Isle booth:
After I made friends with the Indigo Rabbit crew, hubby and I headed over to see what was, for us, the main event…
Chefs prepare the stage for Giada’s demonstration:
And out she came! Giada brought members of the audience up on stage to make a roasted pork loin with balsamic sauce, rigatoni with butternut squash, and espresso ricotta creme. She also answered audience questions throughout the demonstration. Hubby and I were too shy to stand up and ask a question, although in retrospect, I don’t think there is anything we could have said that would be more embarrassing than the guy who prefaced his question with, “First of all, you’re gorgeous.”
Please don’t let the camera fool you. We actually sat pretty close to the stage. Clearly, I need a big, clunky zoom lens for my giant camera. Santa, are you listening?
Giada was fantastic! Her cooking demonstration was a blast and she was endlessly patient with the multitudes of audience members who didn’t actually have a question, but just wanted to come up onstage and cook with her. After the demonstration, hubby and I took one more swing through the trade show and then headed home to make some homemade pasta. Of course, right?