Field Report:
Bobby Flay Book Signing, Borders Book Store, Novi, MI
Rosie and Dancing Queen

We had to drive all over the place that evening. From work, to class, to home, to class, get dinner, run to the bookstore to see Bobby Flay, formerly the master of Southwestern Cuisine in the United States, and now the annointed king of all things grilling. All the Food Network shows featuring Flay have him either grilling or talking to people about food. Hopefully, he's as good in person as on television.

The more impressionable among us was disappointed, saying he was better looking on TV. The other of us thought he looked the same on television as a few feet in front of us. He was actually surprisingly friendly. He even interrupted himself to talk to a little kid who walked up and hollered something to him. Bobby actually did say something to the kid, who wandering off again quite happily.

He is as "Noo Yawkah" as he projects. He's a child of the Big Apple, no matter what, and is not ashamed of it. He even said he didn't know what to do with his hands since he wasn't cooking so he would use them to talk. Bobby really warmed to the audience, commenting on how great it felt to be greeted so warmly. He was so animated that he almost looked like he'd break out in song, up there with the microphone!

He was here to promote the release of Boy Gets Grill, the sequel to his first book, Boy Meets Grill, which is filmed on rooftops in New York City, to show that you can grill anywhere there is open space.

He had an amusing comparison between guys who can grill and guys who *think* they can: Guys who *think* they can grill crank up the grill. If they're using charcoal, they use the whole bottle of lighter fluid. If the grill is a gas model, they crank the dials to "High." The thing becomes a jet engine, and for either type of grill, they throw the slab of meat onto the grate and char the outside to bits. They open the grill every 30 seconds and prod it to check it, ensuring a burnt on the outside, raw in the middle, drained of juice piece of meat.

Guys who can grill don't do any of that. They leave the meat alone and go have a drink while the food cooks properly.

The session was quite short because he had a plane to catch. Unlike other authors, he was on time to the book signing, but having to cut the session short was a little frustrating. He did have time to answer a few questions before getting into the signing:

Q. Which type of grill do you prefer, propane or charcoal?
A. I like both, depending on what I'm doing.

Q. How to keep fish from sticking?
A. Oil the grate and cook at high heat, skin side down first. Leave the fish alone for at least 3 or 4 minutes before flipping the fish over to finish cooking.

The thing Bobby mentioned repeatedly was not touching the food -- whatever it is -- for several minutes after you put it on the grill, before flipping it. Don't poke or prod it or peek underneath. Go have a drink, go do something else so you aren't tempted.

With that, he was gone into the sunset, hero of the grill!

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