Clinton was the star of an astonishing crowd that came to Del Posto to support the Mario Batali Foundation, which works to keep kids well fed, well read and well cared for. The Edge signed a red KitchenAid mixer for the silent auction (it sat next to one embossed with the presidential seal and signed by Clinton; it was out of my price range before bidding started). Rachael Ray posed for pictures with people who said they were her biggest fans, then went to sit with Francis Ford Coppola. The author Richard Ford gave a remarkable speech after the first course green salad with black truffle dressing ("It's exploding with truffle flavor" was how REM's Mike Mills accurately described it).
Jimmy Fallon rewrote the lyrics to "Fire & Rain," which included the refrain "I've seen Clint Eastwood talk to an invisible man." Fallon performed after guests had finished their Emperors pasta, a dish Del Posto's chef Mark Ladner named for Clinton. To make it vegan for the president's diet, Ladner topped penne with very, very slow-cooked vegetables and whipped soy protein (it's like mascarpone, Ladner said).