When cookbook authors do book talks, we can’t just read from our works. (You really don’t want me to read my recipes aloud unless I take on a truly sarcastic tone.) There’s usually food involved, a light nibble to allow people to sample the contents of the cookbook. For last night’s banh mi launch party at Omnivore Books, we threw a party. We expected around 75 people and a crowd of about 100 people showed up.
I’m not restaurant chef with a staff who can make sandwiches on the spot. Banh mi don’t taste good if they’ve been sitting around for too long. Given that, my strategy for feeding folks was to offer a banh mi bar – a self-serve buffet in which guests got to sample a bunch of different things from the book. I cooked from my book, just as you would.
At the event, I make a little intro to explain and encourage guests to tinker with various combinations of condiments, pickles, and fillings. It’s interactive that way and frankly, less work for the cook! The resulting spread is pictured above, minus a platter of pressed Maggi tofu. (Sorry the photo isn’t terrific; I was in a rush as some people arrived about an hour early for the shindig.)
People had tons of fun and the food was gobbled up in about 45 minutes, someone commented on Facebook. While I was creating the menu and making the food, I noted a few tips to share with you, just in case you decide to host a banh mi party of your own. Yes, I'm an enabler...