I pretend not to notice when Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman are at my local Starbucks. I barely register a second glance when I run into Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the Waffle House. I once stood next to Alison Krause at the check-out counter at an Indian restaurant and didn’t even know who she was (somebody told me later).
But here I was at the inaugural Music City Food and Wine Festival last year clamoring to wedge myself into a photo with John Besh, Tim Love and Aaron Sanchez. It’s embarrassing, really. Nerd. And I meticulously photographed everything I ate. Here’s The Catbird Seat’s take on bacon and eggs – thyme-infused custard with Benton’s bacon:
But I won’t be alone in my nerdiness this year. My son, Noah, and my good friend, Mary Ann, are coming with me. We will be nerds on parade.
I met Mary Ann in possibly the most unusual way ever. Back a few years ago, I became part of an all-girl competition BBQ team, Chicks in Charge, with two other friends. And I was discussing this on a BBQ bulletin board on the web when a complete stranger said she’d like to join the team. Why the hell not? It was Mary Ann.
We did pretty good in our first contest in Mobile, something like 14th out of 70 teams. The team has since disbanded, but my friendship with Mary Ann has endured. There are very few people I would ask to spend $300 for tickets, plus airfare from Washington, D.C., to come to Nashville to eat all day and fawn over Food Network stars. I just love that girl. There are also very few people I know who are starstruck by Masaharu Morimoto, who will be at the festival. No, not Mary Ann. This guy:
Noah has been watching Morimoto since he was on the original Iron Chef and Morimoto is going to demonstrate how to make sushi, Noah’s favorite food. Nerd. Noah, not Morimoto.
Of course, I’m obsessing about all food all weekend since you never know. We might get hungry after a non-stop day of eating. So I’m laying in some steaks from The Butcher Block and vegetables from the Farmer’s Market and snacks like pub cheese, marcona almonds and designer olives from the Fresh Market. And I already have some mini croissants for Saturday morning, just to get those digestive juices flowing.
And I have not given this advice to Mary Ann and Noah yet, but I will. Wear your fat pants.