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She fantasizes about owning a restaurant where everyone is greeted joyfully at the door, seated immediately, and offered a basket of hot, freshly baked rolls with sweet, creamy butter. "Really good bread is intoxicating," she says.

As a magazine editor, Gayle is certainly aware of the health benefits of eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but that doesn't stop her from ordering french fries. Oprah laughs at her good friend when she grills a waiter about the kind a restaurant serves. "There's a science to ordering potatoes," Gayle says. "Are they skinny shoestring or big, fat steak fries? You just have to let your taste buds guide you when deciding what to eat." As for dessert, Gayle has a sweet tooth. "I'll do almost anything for cake—even trample little children!" she says jokingly. In fact, leaving Los Angeles one afternoon for the ride to the airport, she asked the driver to stop at Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills, a bakery that makes one of her favorite treats. "When we pulled up, there was a long line out the door," she remembers. "I called American Airlines to ask if it would be possible for them to meet me at the curb and help me to the gate. Even with their help, I knew I'd be taking a chance and could miss the plane, and so I made the executive decision to fly to New York cupcake-free." It was a sacrifice she still regrets today.

Whether she's describing the cupcakes that got away or a long-ago fabulous meal that she's still passionate about, Gayle's enthusiasm for good food is compelling: One goes away from the conversation with an appetite for more.

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