All of these photos were taken with my iphone or small camera, I left the fancy one at home! If you are new to here, WELCOME to Southern Plate, I’m thrilled to have you! Sit a spell and stay a while, you’re a grand addition. Gratefully, Christy
Last week I got to have one of my lifelong personal dreams come true when I went to New York City to meet with all of the great folks at Harper Collins/William Morrow who have been working so hard on my book. I had an AMAZING time while there and cannot imagine getting to meet a nicer group of folks than those at Harper!
I made the trip to the big city all on my own, something that should surprise you if you have an inkling how bad I am with directions and navigating airports! You see, I feel that as a Southern Born Belle, it is my God given right to have a man-who-handles-things travel with me whenever I go on the road, but especially upon leaving the south. Where was my shotgun toting, suitcase carrying, taxi calling, map reading Bubba? Oh yeah, Bill Gent lives way over in Texas….Okay, well THAT makes sense!
So since Bill Gent was otherwise detained, I headed out on my own, Mary Tyler Moore style, but with my fancy Chuck Taylors instead of that red hat. I’ll file my grievance with the confederacy at a later date.
As I was sitting in the airport, I read this on my Facebook from Jen H:
NEW YORK POST: This just in……Rumor has it that a woman from Alabama is walking the streets of New York asking people if their mamas “fed them this morning?” and that “you look hungry, lemme feed ya!” and “Whaddya mean, you don’t know what sweet tea is?” That would be our dear Sister Christy taking over New York!
Once I landed I was met with the sights and sounds of New York.
I facebooked: I see Taxis…
and y’all replied:
“You will hear them ALL nite .”
They really like the honking thing here. Honk. Honk. Honk. Honk. Where I live, you only honk if you see someone you know or if you are about to run over someone.
I’m gonna refrain from saying anything about how they drive but here’s my advice if you ever ride in one:
Buckle up, close your eyes, HANG ON.
This is the restaurant. Doesn’t it look just like something on tv?
and I don’t know what peekytoe crab is, but it sure sounds cute!
Linda kept encouraging me to try something new that I’d never had before…
So I tried having steak without ketchup
We had a lovely dinner and you’ll be happy to know that Iced Tea was available everywhere I went!
It is all unsweet but since I can’t actually drink sugar sweetened tea that wasn’t a problem at all and I was just thrilled to be able to get it.
Then I walked back to the hotel. The windows are really lovely at night.
Random neat window I saw..
I kinda scared my feet when I paused to admire it but I assured them they were safe from these shoes
I was surprised to see this, I guess it never really occurred to me that it was a real place!
Did I work up the courage to go in there? Nope! Places like this are pretty intimidating to me.
On my first full day where I was going to meet everyone at Harper, I made my Mama proud by wearing earrings and puttin’ on some color and headed out…. and got lost.
Seriously. I stepped out of my hotel and my eyes got big as dollars at all of the people walking around in slick suits talking on cell phones in accents I could barely understand (now y’all know I don’t have an accent, right?). Next thing I know I was walking and had no idea where I was. Sooooo I called up my new best buddy at Harper, Mr. Seale, and said “Hey Brother! This is Christy, this conversation never happened, okay?” Seale is nothing if not good natured and he laughed and assured me that whatever I was about to confess would be just between the two of us (well, and you now of course, but you can keep a secret, right?).
“Brother, I can’t find Harper Collins.”
He immediately offered to come get me, wherever I was. I’m not sure if that is because he is such a Southern Gentleman or because he instinctively knew how bad I was with directions. I assured him I could find it but figured if not I could always fall back on lighting a signal fire and having him follow the sound of the sirens to come get my geographically challenged self.
He asked “Christy, where are you?” and I said “In New York somewhere!” After a few more questions (which I gave equally frustrating answers to, bless his heart) he said “What hotel you staying at?” I told him and he asked if I knew how to get back to that hotel. Happily, I declared that I did and he said
“Christy, your hotel is next door to Harper Collins.”
I’ll introduce y’all to Seale later. He’s “brother” because he is from Alabama, too. ~grins~
But first gotta start with Julia! Isn’t she cute? Skinny, too. I gotta do somethin’ about that, I know :). Julia is my editor and she is the one at Harper who first saw my book proposal and threw their hat in the ring. I credit my literary agent and Julia with me having such a wonderful publishing house!
The book we are holding is a press copy of my book. It’s a special edition they make that is paperback and black and white inside for folks to use for review purposes. It’s really neat because all of the PR and marketing contact information is on the back and it states that it’s a review copy, not for resale and all that. The real book that y’all are pre -ordering now and that comes out in stores in October will be hard back and full color.
P.S. Julia is a good hugger. I think that’s important in an editor.
I arrived at Harper with a big old box of cookies.
Julia was kind enough to arrange them in this pretty little bowl for me to take around to folks.
This is Seale, otherwise known as “Brother”. In his professional life, Seale has a really fancy title over at Harper, but guess what?
SEALE IS FROM ALABAMA!! What do you do when you meet someone from Alabama in New York? YOU HUG THEM OF COURSE!
(Seale is a good hugger, too)
These folks are part of the team at Harper: Shawn, Bri, Me, Julia, Linda (My literary agent), and Tavia.
We had lunch at the neatest restaurant called “Beacon”. It looked just exactly like New York restaurants do in the movies.
Shawn is a complete sweetie. He made this ad:
Didn’t he do a great job? He’s kinda like my personal Batman anytime I need something technical that has to do with the book.
Almost makes up for not having my birthright of a personal Bubba.
See? This is just what I’d think a NYC restaurant would look like!
In fact, to me New York City as a whole looked just like the movies.
It felt like walking around on a set the whole time I was there.
And to my friends who warned me, no, I didn’t try the salsa ~winks~
When I put this photo up on the Facebook page, Jen Hauler had the best comment on Facebook:
Me: “Ma’am, is it okay to take pictures in here?”
Nice Lady: “Only if you take one of me, too!”
Me: “Well I sure will then! Get on out here and let me take my picture with you so I can put you on my blog!”
Would y’all believe that I didn’t buy a single thing in there? I was too overwhelmed! In fact, I only bought back two keychains from NYC for Bradybug and me (we’ve started collecting them when we go places) and a little something special for Mama, which I’ll show you here in a minute.
Me posing with the FAO sales lady.
Course I think they train their sales folks to be good huggers.
Guess what they had upstairs? The piano from the movie Big!! So cool.
If I wasn’t by myself you would be seeing a photo of me dancing on that piano!
Had to take a photo of the Lego Chewy for my Bradybug!
While there, I had meetings with some great people at some great magazines!
This is me by the Glamour entrance after I met with them.
Southern Plate meeting with Glamor, whoda thunk it?
I don’t think I hugged the folks at Glamour because I was very focused on trying not to succumb to nausea which came about as a result of drinking an iced coffee in the back of the Taxi whose driver had a little too much fun with the brake pedal. Start, lurch. Start, lurch. Start, lurch. I was trying not to embarrass us, ya know. We opted for handshakes instead.
This is the Chief Editor of Guideposts Magazine. I had just finished talking with one of their writers (Andrea is so sweet!) and he invited us into his office and showed me his key to the city for my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, that he had just been presented by our Mayor! Talk about coincidence!
The entire staff at Guideposts are good huggers. My stomach was a bit more settled by then!
This is me meeting my very first doorman!
I asked if I could take my picture with him and he even put his jacket on for me. Also a good hugger!
I also wanted my picture taken with a New York police officer and this nice guy was kind enough to comply
Lets just call him “Officer Nice Guy”
P.S. I have never known a police officer who was not a good hugger and TRUST me, you have no idea how many police officers I’ve known in my lifetime. Not from the wrong side of the law, of course! My father is retired from the police department and is president of the Alabama state F.O.P.
This is Tiffany & Co on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
I walked by here a few times the first and second day I was in New York and wanted to go in so badly but couldn’t work up the courage. It just seemed so fancy!
I mentioned this on Facebook and everyone encouraged me so much, many folks saying I needed to do it for everyone whose always dreamed of going into Tiffany’s.
So on the third day…
I did it and everyone was just as nice as they could be!
This is Gary, he works at Tiffany & Co. Gary and I immediately hit it off. His daddy is from Alabama! He was so very kind and helped me get a little silver necklace for my mother. She’s never had anything from Tiffany and I knew the box alone would thrill her!
P.S. Gary is also a good hugger
I have no idea what this store is but the name seemed familiar so I took a photo of it
This is me getting high def makeup for a video we did at Harper later that afternoon. These will be released later on and I’ll give y’all a holler when they are up. I could get into some high def makeup!
I don’t imagine many people pose with the subway for a photo but the subway did a good job of standing still for this one, don’t you think? I rode it to go to Linda’s apartment so I could see a “Real New York Apartment”. ~grins~ It was lovely and guess what her view is?????????
The Empire State Building!
Nope, I didn’t go up in it. I doubt I ever will. I’m not real big on the whole heights thing. I doubt my legs would hold up at that altitude and then it would just get embarrassing
This is Linda’s office and guess whats in her bookcase?
This is a bookshelf with some of the books she’s represented and that’s mine!
Looking back over these photos now I can’t help but wonder if I imagined it all. Wow.
This is Linda getting a taxi :).
Good Morning America is filmed behind me on the right.
It’s a teeny tiny set, you’d be surprised!
Everyone told me I needed to have pizza while in NY so I did…and it was wonderful!
I people watched while I ate it.
Trump Towers is right next door to Tiffany’s!
Nope, I didn’t go in there. I used up all my courage to go in Tiffanys.
Okay so check out the titles on the floors in the Conde Naste Building…
Glamour, Architectural Digest, Golf World, CN Traveler (who is sending me their magazine for some very odd reason), Golf Digest, Vogue…
Lucky, Vanity Fair, GQ, Brides, Teen Vogue, Allure, and more.
Then on my last day, I headed over to Long Island to spend my last night with JoAnn Walsh and her wonderful family. JoAnn had her guest room all made up for me, complete with a toiletries basket with handmade accessories, and a bed covered in her latest handmade quilt!
I saw this on the way to Long Island and had to get a photo. ~giggles~
This is JoAnn and I with a plate of Italian cookies upholding the Southern Plate tradition that y’all started :
“Wearin’ of the pearls while posing with baked goods.”
I’m also wearing an apron she handmade for me!
JoAnn’s grandson, Stephen, cooked supper for me. Can you believe that?
He’s twelve years old and it was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had!
He started with a little olive oil in a wok
You know, all Italian food begins with a wok, right? ~winks~
He chopped up all sorts of yummy veggies and tons of bell peppers, which are a dear favorite of mine.
Then he made some pasta and….
This is the finished product
Guess what? He shared the recipe with us! I’ll put it at the bottom of this post and I can’t wait to make it in my own kitchen.
and the fun part, after several hours of flying, I got to give Mama her present!
which she loved!
WHEW- New York in a whirlwind! I didn’t get to see the Statue of Liberty but maybe on the next go ’round I will. It was a quick trip but it really made the book seem more real to me (I finally realize that I’m not dreaming – well, okay, I think I’m not dreaming). It is staggering how many people are working on Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family at Harper Collins and I think you’re going to be surprised at how many places the book pops up at this fall!
A great big thank you goes to all the folks at Harper Collins/William Morrow who are working so hard on my book. Thank you for believing in me and thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy days to meet with me! (You’ll be getting a written thank you soon!)
I’d also like to send a big virtual hug to everyone who is reading this with the understanding that I owe you a real hug if we ever cross paths in person! I enjoyed my visit to the big city but the best part was the hugs I got from my kids when I got back home.
- 2 boxes tri color rotini (or whatever you prefer)
- Olive oil
- 1 red pepper
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 yellow pepper
- 3 green peppers
- 3 zucchini
- 4 cloves garlic (crushed or garlic powder)
- 1 onion (or onion powder)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Large pinch of crushed red pepper
- Large pinch of Basil
Cut all veggies (do not peel). In large skillet (we used a wok because it was the largest pot we had) add olive oil. when olive oil starts to shimmer add garlic, onion then cut veggies. Keep stirring and add crushed red pepper and basil. Boil water and add pasta while veggies are cooking.
Add a little olive oil as needed to keep veggies coated while cooking.
Add a few ladles of pasta water to veggies. Drain pasta, toss with veggies….serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty seeded Italian bread.
This recipe can be made with any vegetables you like. All seasonings are to taste.
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.
- ~John Howard Payne