Meet Crescent Dragonwagon:
What is a Crescent Dragonwagon you ask? Why a Crescent Dragonwagon is the amazing red haired woman at the center of our afternoon at Ducali Pizza & Bar in the North End of Boston! And to tout a name like that you have to be something, right? Right! This Crescent Dragonwagon did not disappoint!
The premise of the afternoon was a Boston Brunchers lunch event where we also got to have an intimate conversation with Crescent, whose latest cookbook, Bean by Bean, has just been released by Workman Publishing. Not only is Crescent the author of over 50 books (from children’s books to novels), not only is she a James Beard Award winner, and not only is she the co-founder of the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hallow, but she is also warm, spirited, contagious, genuine and just plain fabulous.
The scene of our get-together was Ducali Pizza. I had never been to Ducali, so I was excited to try a new place in addition to the amazing conversation that would surely ensue. And boy did Ducali treat us right! First off, the setting was perfect for the meeting. The restaurant is intimate, with brick walls, colorful decorations, and lots of natural light (a little too much, hence some not-great pictures).
The warm interior, and the communal nature of the appetizers and pizza that were served, helped to create the perfect atmosphere for our conversation. Everybody dug into the Carciofi (grilled artichoke w/ homemade garlic aioli) together, commenting on how the aioli will be great on the pizza. Bites of artichoke were swapped for bites of Caprino E Bacca (baby spinach w/ goat cheese and dried cranberries) which seemed a little confusing with its lack of dressing (more aioli anyone?). And when the pizzas arrived, slices were passed across the table gleefully, as everyone made sure that everyone else had tasted the delicious pie in front of them.
We did not only discuss Bean to Bean (my review will follow as soon as I have a chance to try a recipe), but we discussed the process of writing, a career that spans 4 decades, and the science-fiction writing of her partner David Koff, who is self-publishing his first novel, Threat, after being inspired by one of Crescent’s writing workshops.
And let me just say what a joy it was to see the interaction of Crescent and David. My favorite part of the afternoon was when Crescent turned to him and said “tell them about the stew in Africa.” And from there David launched into a beautifully told the story of a stew eaten in the African desert, knowing exactly which story Crescent was talking about.
And so the lunch went. We talked a little about beans, but mostly about writing. And you could see straight into Crescent and how she was born to do exactly what she is doing. It was really absolutely inspirational. I can’t do enough justice to our conversation, but if I have peaked your interest enough please check out Crescent’s interview on On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Even on the radio you can feel the glow of Crescent.
A special thank you to everyone who worked with the Boston Brunchers to make this conversation happen! Thank you to Workman Publishing, Harvard Common Press, and Ducali Pizza and Bar for providing this afternoon to the Brunchers free of charge. The Brunchers were only required to pay a tip to the amazing wait staff of Ducali. As always, all opinions expressed in this post are my own, honest opinions.