This happened a long time ago before she had her own dynasty, before she had her own magazine, before she was even married. This happened when the only thing Rachel Ray had was her half hour cooking show on the Food Network.
My wife KR loved to watch Rachel Ray chop veggies and talk about feeding her mistakes to her dog Boo. KR also loved watching Rachel Ray’s cooking show because it was Closed Captioned. KR is Deaf so for her to understand what’s going on she reads what people say. Rachel’s words show up at the bottom of the screen. Every time Rachel explained some new dish KR got so excited. KR downloaded recipes, learned cooking tips from Rachel and was inspired to try new dishes. We both liked Rachel Ray’s way of cooking with ordinary stuff you already have in your kitchen.
I had gotten KR three Rachel Ray cook books. One day an idea popped into my head. I thought it would be so cool if I could get Rachel Ray to sign them for KR. Rachel’s bio on one of her cookbooks said she lived in upstate New York. Well, with that as my starting point sooner than later I had Rachel Ray’s home address and her home phone number. Now, I didn’t want to call her at home. That just seems a tad invasive. So I wrote her a letter explaining, “My wife KR loves your show. Thank you for having it Closed Captioned. KR is Deaf. KR Loves cooking with Captions. Would it be alright for me to send you three cookbooks for you to sign for KR?” I figured if the letter went to the wrong Rachel Ray she would just toss it in the trash and shake her head about those crazy cooking fans.
The next week I come home and there’s a message on my phone answering machine (remember those?). It was a woman’s voice saying, “Oh, Tony, This is Rachel Ray. I would be so happy to sign those cook books for KR. Just send them to my home- you already have the address. I am so glad KR likes the show.” Click. Now it was my turn to be so happy. I immediately boxed up the cookbooks, put in return postage, wrote a thank you note, and sent them traveling to New York.
The cookbooks arrived back in Beverly two weeks later. KR was so surprised. Not only did Rachel Ray sign them but she wrote a bit in each book. “Hey, KR, keep on cooking! What was I thinking to have my hair like this? Live and learn! Yumo! Rachel!” “KR, I hope you feed you mistakes to your dog too! Keep on Cooking! Yumo! Rachel” “Dear KR, I am so glad you like the show. I’m glad my recipes work so well for you. Yumo! Rachel”. Rachel also included a note saying, “I’ll be at the Boston Wine and Food Expo the next month. I hope I see you there.” I took that to be an almost invitation.
I thought it would be great to take KR to see Rachel Ray. I knew KR would get a kick out of meeting her. I got a kick in the wallet when I found out the ticket price was $75 a person. I pondered things a bit, then figured since Rachel Ray left a message on my machine we were buds now so I called her and left a message on her machine asking, “Would be possible for for you to comp us in at the Boston Wine Expo so we could met you?” I got no reply. I still had hope though.
KR and I showed up at the on the Wine Expo on the appointed Saturday. I told the young man at the ticket counter, “We have a comp tickets. KR Glickman Tony Toledo.” “Sorry, sir, nothing under either one of those names.” I told him how much we wanted to meet Rachel Ray. I told him about her signing the cookbooks for us. I told him about the note sort of inviting us to the Wine Expo. As people were leaving the Expo I asked them, “Excuse me, if you’re going could I have your ticket?” They replied they were vendors on a smoke break. They needed their name tag to get back in.
After a half an hour of watching me beg every person walking out, the ticket guy motioned us over to him. He asked, “You really only want to meet Rachel Ray?” I told them that was indeed the truth. He said, “We’re already an hour into the 4 hour event. I don’t think these people are coming. Here, take their name tags. Use them to get in. Then put them in your pocket so you don’t get busted.” I couldn’t believe our luck. We clipped on our new names and waltzed right in. As soon as we got through the doorway our new names went into the witness protection program in our pockets.
We got in in plenty of time to see Rachel Ray’s cooking demonstration. We got to spend half an hour walking around the Wine Expo. I did not sample any of the wine. I told that dude who gave us our into Get In Free Wine Expo Passes that all we wanted to do was meet Rachel Ray. I was gonna keep my word no matter how tempted I was. When I went to the restroom though I was surprised. I never saw so many guys so drunk on a table spoon of wine at a time. How I yearned to sip along with them.
When Rachel started her demonstration she cooked rice and veggies that went so well…with wine. She did the whole cooking demonstration in front of a couple hundred people. When she was done, KR and I waited our turn to talk with her. We introduced ourselves. Rachel remembered signing the books for KR. KR also had her Hearing Dog Delta with her. Rachel chatted with KR (I interpreted the conversation both ways) and she asked KR if she could pat Delta- of course KR said yes- and basically made KR the happiest woman in Boston when Rachel Ray hugged her goodbye.
After we were done talking with Rachel, a woman walked up to us a few minutes later. She said, “I am Rachel Ray’s planner. Rachel wants you to have FREE tickets to come see her tomorrow.” Now I was happy too! Because now I could get my wine glass and sip my samples and have my wine drinking be all on the up and up. And that’s just what I did. I drove us sober down to Boston the next day. KR drove us home that evening with me being more than a little tipsy.
That Sunday KR got to hug Rachel Ray again, and I got half lit a tablespoon of wine at at time, and we still have the wine glasses from the day Rachel Ray got us into the Boston Wind Expo- legally- for FREE.