The Today Show, Meredith and Me

January 24th, 2008 — 6:59pm

I got back late last night from a quick trip to New York. Ann Gentry, executive chef of Vegetarian Times and owner of Real Food Daily in LA did a cooking segment on the Today Show. In about two minutes she: 1. Mentioned the name of Vegetarian Times 2. Mentioned the new “Vegetarian Times 2008 Vegetarianism in America Study,” which included the stat that almost 40 million Americans are interested in eating more meatless meals 3) that vegans exist 4) the merits of tofu. And all this with a gaggle of hosts butting in on her air time. I tell you, that Ann is a total pro, and I was proud of her!

Before she was on, Meredith Vieira passed me in the hall. I literally said, “oh, oh, oh, Meredith!” (or something eloquent like that). And I told her she was an inspiration. And then, she hugged me! Really, I am such a tourist sometimes.

Later, she passed me again (okay, I was seated outside her dressing room, watching Ann on the hall monitor) and she playfully tapped my foot and said “Oh, you!” And I laughed and pointed at her and said, “No, you!” Well, maybe this doesn’t translate and you had to be there, but what I saw was a lovely, intelligent, alive woman. (I also saw Matt Lauer – lots of pancake makeup, and Ann Curry, who seemed very “on”).

I didn’t get a chance though, to tell Meredith why she inspired me. Because, she had the guts to walk away from big jobs. Because her family seems to come first. Because she hasn’t had a face lift (or botox or restylne) and has the courage to face 6 million people (or more?) everyday with her real facel. Because she is real, and given her line of work, that’s impressive.

After Ann’s appearance, Ann and I shared a bite to eat. Then I walked up Fifth Avenue from the NBC studio on 54th street, up to 76th Street where I was staying. The air was cold. I passed Central Park, saw the horse and cabs parked outside the Plaza , the rich ladies in mink coats, the doormen who tipped their hats and said “Hello, young lady.” And if I had a hat, I’d fling it up into the air, a la Mary Tyler Moore, just for the sheer joy of it all.

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