Field Report:
Rachael Ray Book Signing
Borders Books & Music, Arborland Mall, Ann Arbor, MI

Illustrated with photographs by Rosie

Okay, so we denizens of Wookieehut are serious foodies. We love to eat, post recipes, eat, talk about food, eat, take pictures of food, eat, write restaurant reviews, eat, go to celebrity chef book signings, eat ... You get the idea.

Last night, Rachael Ray was over in Wolverine Country (that's University of Michigan home turf to the rest of you out there…) to do a signing in honor of her latest cookbook 30 Minute Meals: Get Togethers. Originally, we were going to the signing scheduled at a location closer to home, but it was cancelled with less than a week's notice. It was a last minute decision to hop in the car an make the 40 minute drive, but the Wooklets had no homework so off we went.

Rachael (and her 30 Minute Meal concept) is apparently quite popular among university students as well as anyone else who lives a busy schedule. We arrived about 40 minutes before the signing was due to start and the parking lot was packed. Store employees handed out color-coded and numbered slips. Our color group would be called to line up over the store's public address system so we didn't have to stay in line the entire time. We ended up at the beginning of the sixth group which put us past 250 because there were 50 in each group called and four groups in each color.

We saw Rachael arrive at the store and be taken to a private room to freshen up before beginning the signing. She is quite petite, but as perky as she is on television. And still very perky three and a half hours later when we finally made it to the front of the line to get our books signed. She was obviously getting tired because she momentarily lost track of what she was writing in each of the books she signed for us, but still took the time to personalize and write something different in each book and also very graciously posed for a picture when asked.

While we waited in the store, dinner time came and went, but we had cause to be grateful for the presence of the café. We were able to have a delicious and fattening snack and not lose our place in line. We also had the chance to talk to others waiting and learn that some people had come from further away than we had; others had never even heard of Rachael, but were getting some early Christmas shopping done for foodie friends or relatives; still others were there to add to their collection of autographed celebrity cookbooks. It turned out that an even bigger icon of foodies everywhere had been there the day before. People had lined up starting at 8 in the morning to get their color coded and numbered slips to get Emeril Lagasse's autograph. Store employees and other foodies who had been there said that he stayed until every person who was in line got their book signed and that was 2000 people!

It was a long wait, but a fun evening and worth the drive.

Disclaimer: All contents are personal observations, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid by anyone, including those being observed. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or WOOKIEEhut directly. Flames will be ignored. This report may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission.