Certainly any celebration of “The Amateur Gourmet” has to include an acknowledgment of my parents. Many of you, in your kind congratulatory e-mails to me, said the posts with my parents were your favorite posts of them all; and, in many ways, my love of dining out and my eagerness to try new places comes directly from them. In fact, a day doesn’t pass when my mom doesn’t e-mail something about a new restaurant with the question, “Have you heard of this?”
More importantly, the fact that you’re reading this at all right now is partially due to my mom. When I got into NYU’s Dramatic Writing program, after finishing law school and just a few months into starting this blog, I told my mom I was going to stop blogging. “I want to concentrate fully on playwriting,” I told her. “I wouldn’t stop blogging,” my mom advised. “You never know, it might get even bigger than it is now.” And, most definitely, that was some pretty good advice.
I’m going to call my parents right now to conduct a little Q&A with them about their history with “The Amateur Gourmet,” where it’s been and where it’s going.
Interview with Mom
What did you think when I first started my blog?
I thought it was a good outlet for you from law school because you were so unhappy and it was a good release.
Did I ever show an interest in food when I was younger?
Yes! When you were a baby and I would feed you and the jar was almost empty your lip would come out and you’d start hysterically crying that you were done eating.
Didn’t I take a cooking class at the Y at some point?
I don’t really remember that; I had you in every class.
[It’s true: I took drawing, piano, and even karate. Haya!]
When did you realize it was bigger than you initially thought?
When you called me to say that CNN was coming to your apartment. I was freaking out, I couldn’t believe it.
Have you been recognized from the blog?
Yes, I was in Los Angeles in Wolfgang Puck’s newest restaurants called “Cut” and I was being taken to my table by the hostess–her name was Whitney–and as she was taking me to the table, she said, “You look so familiar to me” and I said, “You don’t look so familiar to me” and she said, “Wait a second, does your son write a food blog?”
Was that the only time?
I was in the bathroom the other day with grandma and Tali [my future sister in law] and a woman came over to grandma and said, “Is that woman’s name Heidi Roberts?” and then grandma said, “Yes it is.” And the woman came over to me and said, “I love your son’s website, I’m his biggest fan and so is my daughter. She’s here, would you mind waiting here while I go get my daughter and my camera?” And she came back and took a picture.
[Here’s the picture of the fan, Amy, and her daughter Arielle with my mom.]
What did you think about the whole Le Cirque thing when it happened?
I couldn’t get over that my son and his little blog would have so much influence over such a renowned restaurant; that his writing would make a difference to this huge, establishment–it was remarkable. First of all, we got that Fed-Ex pacakge and we opened it up and it was an autobiography from Sirio and a letter asking us to come back. My little baby boy wrote a post that affected such a high establishment!
I know that you were inspired–shockingly–to cook a couple of things that I wrote about on the blog. [Note: mom doesn’t cook!] What’s your favorite thing you’ve tried?
Definitely, by far, the roasted Brussels sprouts. That’s my favorite thing.
Interview with Dad
What did you think when I first told you that I was doing a food blog?
I thought you were nuts. Actually, i didn’t know what a blog was. I had no idea what you were talking about. I thought you were being delusional.
I always tease you in my blog and in my book about being a picky eater and only liking steak and potatoes: do you think that’s unfair?
Yes, that’s unfair, I eat a lot of other foods–I like Italian food. (pause) Italian food, that’s about it. I like Northern Italian and Southern Italian, I’m regional. I like sushi.
(shocked) You like sushi?
Not exotic sushi. California roll. Anything with identifiable parts, I’ll eat.
I don’t believe it.
If it’s slimy I won’t eat it. Otherwise you’ll end up with eel.
Do think you’ve become a more adventurous eater since I’ve become a food writer?
Definitely. I’m willing to expand my palate as you wrote in your book. I’ve tried different things along the way. On a cruise, recently, I ate olives for the first time.
You’d never had olives?
Never. I didn’t really like the taste at the beginning, but by the end I was getting the hang of it. There was something I ventured out to try and felt like I took a risk.
Do you remember any meals I blogged about that you loved?
Il Terrazzino? What’s that?
The place in Monte Carlo where they kept bringing out stuff.
Oh right. That place was great. What do you think the future holds for The Amateur Gourmet?
For you? You’re gonna be out with a clapboard sign working 5th avenue before you know it. (pause) No, your future should be bright. People always have to eat, people are always interested in food and cooking. Though you may have to get a real job one day.
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Thanks mom and dad, again, for both your cynicism and support. And now, a fun video from the archives where I surprise mom and grandma on Mother’s Day.