Alton Brown’s new book Feasting On Asphalt: The River Run is out and he made a book signing stop in Jackson today. Alton hosts several shows on The Food Network including Good Eats and Iron Chef America. He has added to this list a new show that he works on from time to time called Feasting on Asphalt. The first season he hopped on his motorcycle and cruised the backroads of America from the east coast to the west coast. Along the way he discovered lots of down home diners that hearken back to the “good ole days” of going out to eat. With the success of that he went on and did a second season where he started down in Louisiana and rode his way up the mighty Mississippi River looking for more of those hidden gems of dining.
Now I have lived in Mississippi all of my life and I am a huge fan of Alton’s shows. So when I heard yesterday that he would be in town to sign his new book … well I left work early and spent about four hours at Lemuria Books to have a moment with my culinary hero. As a matter of fact, I had three. The first of which threw me off balance just a bit. I was waiting in my spot in line well outside the doors of the bookstore and he came walking up while I was talking with the guy next to me. Alton put on that quirky smile and asked, “What are all of these people here for?” Now because I was in mid conversation and I didn’t actually look up to see who spoke, my mouth kicked in before my conscious brain picked up what my eyes saw. So I just grinned and blurted out, “We’re waiting on you.” He chuckled and said, “Oh, really?” and walked away before I realized what just happened. Once he was a few feet away it hit me that I just had a witty moment with Alton Brown.
Fortunately I had plenty of time to wait before I finally got up to him to get my books signed. By then I had calmed down a bit and got a chance to mention to him that the Old Country Store in Lorman, Mississippi is a place I know well because I have family there. We exchanged a few cursory pleasantries while he signed the books and then I turned around to hand my phone to someone so I could get a picture. Behind me was a small herd of children that all appeared to be less than 10 years old. Not wanting to hold up the line, I just stepped down with the taste of bitter disappointment that I would not have anything more than a few drops of Sharpie ink and my questionable memory to preserve this moment. Then it occurred to me that I am a stubborn individual that will accomplish what I set out to do.
Since I knew about a dozen people in line and one of the ladies that works at the bookstore, I hung around chatting until the line finally dwindled down to about 6 people. I took my spot at the end of the line, fair is fair after all, and eventually wandered back up to him. When I stepped up he said, “You again?” in that funny exaggerated way he has. So I told him I didn’t get my picture because of the gaggle of small children behind me. He laughed and said, “They kind of freaked you out, didn’t they?” I agreed and he said, “They kind of freaked me out too.” He had made several comments throughout the signing about his amazement at the sheer amount of progeny he encountered at this signing. So with that I finally got my picture with my greatest hero and a wonderful memory of how I met him. Like AB says…”You’re patience will be rewarded.”
And let me add…OMG!!!!