Rachael Ray eats and breathes recipes. They seem to come out of her pores. The result: 19 cookbooks since 1999.
The daily talk-show host writes at least eight or nine recipe a week, she said in an interview last week promoting her latest cookbook “Rachael Ray’s Look and Cook.” She has a book signing set for Friday at Barnes & Noble in Buckhead at 7 p.m.
Ray always keeps a notebook handy to jot down recipes that pop into her head. Flying from her home base in New York to Chicago for a book signing last week, she conjured up recipes for stuffed red cabbage, a Spanish style fish stew and a vegetable soup, to name a few.
“I buy these little French notebooks by the dozen and I go through one a month,” Ray said. She said she typically only needs minor tweaks after the fact once she tries them out. “I’ve been working in kitchens since I was 12,” said the 42-year-old. “I don’t make complicated food.”
Despite her prolific nature, she isn’t worried about plagiarizing herself on her Food Network and Cooking Channel programs and her syndicated talk show seen locally on WXIA-TV at 2 p.m. weekdays. “I’ve made 100 minestrone soups, 500 burgers, 27 different cacciatores,” she said. “People never get tired of twists on familiar themes, whether it’s croque-monsieur or mac and cheese. I take comfort foods and keep doing variations on things people love.”
And having been on umpteenth book signings, the dog loving Ray has come up with a new twist: at the Atlanta event Friday, she’ll hold a simultaneous pet adoption event outside. She’ll also donate $7,500 to LifeLine Animal Project, which promotes homeless pet adoption and provides low-cost spay and neuter services. Ray’s two-year-old premium dog food line Nutrish and new dog treat line Just 6 have generated $1.4 million for pet-related charities.
Ray’s voice sounded a bit ragged over the phone. She apologized, saying plane cabin air makes her congested. “During the whole tour, I cough and sneeze,” she said. “I take Zicam.”
Fortunately, Ray said she hasn’t gotten laryngitis since she had vocal cord surgery a few years ago to unclog glands that kept welling up. “I had to be quiet for three weeks,” she said. “Now I can talk 20 hours a day. If that won’t kill it, nothing will!”
Rachael Ray’s “Look & Cook”
Friday, December 17, 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
2900 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta
You need to purchase a book on site to get it signed. Wristbands to guarantee a place in line will be handed out starting at 9 a.m. that day.