Rachael Ray Fears Cake and Lobster

Rachael Ray writes all her recipes out in longhand because she took drivers’ ed and not typing, she revealed to Julie Powell, Nora Ephron, and Kim Severson at a Friday evening TimesTalk. “I was lousy at drivers’ ed,” Ray told the predominantly middle-aged, female audience at the TimesCenter. “I didn’t get my license until I was 25.”

Ephron wondered what happened to home economics. “When I was growing up, all schools had home ec.,” she recalled. “Seriously, when did everyone decide? Was it the only thing feminism really did?” Severson agreed: “Partially that, and partially standardized testing.”

Ray is on her own political mission this week: She’s lobbying Congress to expand the Child Nutrition Act, a law first passed in 1966 that provides for low-cost school lunches for students in high-poverty areas. Ray wants Congress to commit to another $1 billion in funding over the next five years. “This is like Rachael Ray for Congress right here,” Severson said. See below for the best of the audience Q&A.;

What keeps you in New York? I just got back from Portland, Oregon, and it had a great food scene. Would you ever trade New York for Portland?
Ray: New York is really unique. It’s so close to so many different things — Vermont, upstate New York. I live near Union Square …
Ephron: I would move down there before I would move to Portland.

Are there any foods that you can’t handle preparing?
Ephron, Ray, and Severson: Cake!
Ray: I’m a little Annie Hall: I won’t kill the lobster.

If you could only keep one cookbook, what would it be?
Ray: I couldn’t do that. I’d rather be shot.
Ephron: I still use the original Craig Claiborne New York Times cookbook.
Severson: The Joy of Cooking, and Jacques Pepin and Julia Child’s cookbook.

Rachael Ray Fears Cake and Lobster