I feel like I've been to a zillion writers' conferences, but I'd never been to a food bloggers' conference until Eat Write Retreat a few weeks back. And if they're all this good -- I may have myself a new addiction. (Spoiler alert: I suspect they are not ALL this good.)
Since we were all food bloggers, there are a lot of great roundups on attendees' food blogs -- so I don't necessarily want to do a comprehensive roundup. I want to talk about moments.
There were so many moments.
Here are five.
5. On our first night, Peter Smith and Gina Cherservani presented drinks based on desserts and desserts based on drinks. Every single bite and sip was delicious, but I actually giggled at my first taste of this pink dessert, named "Don't Mess With My Tutu."
It looks supersweet and possibly heavy, but it was light and tart and perfect. Especially with the little crunch of the buttery crust underneath. Love at first bite. The liquor-soaked cherry on top was... well, the cherry on top.
4. Monica Bhide's writing workshop, where she urged us to use all our senses in writing, rang utterly true with me on many levels. In some ways fiction and non-fiction are different animals, but they have a great deal in common, and use of the senses is one of those. I think the best novels are the ones that transport you to another world. You want to hear and touch and taste and smell that world, not just see it. She also urged us to bring our own voices, our own selves, to our writing. So true and so right.
3. We had a lovely lunch at McCormick and Schmick's on Saturday. I used to go there all the time when I worked a few blocks away, but in those days I was mostly eating the heavy, rich, heart-attack-in-a-bowl crab dip. This was a world away. I sat near the window, with the gorgeous daylight streaming in, and can't find the words to tell you quite how it felt when this beautiful plate was set softly on the table in front of me:
2. In a brief moment before his panel, I got to tell Joe Yonan how long I've been a huge fan of the Washington Post Food Section, especially their open weekly discussions on washingtonpost.com -- I even asked the group for advice on where to put the recipes in The Kitchen Daughter (back when it was called Simmer).
1. My reason for attending the conference in the first place was to sit on the Beyond Your Blog Panel, with a group of incredibly talented and successful women -- wise people whose writing includes blogposts, cookbooks, columns, articles, memoirs, how-tos, and in one case (mine), a food-focused novel. They've all got great credentials, so I was already impressed, but -- wow. In person, I was just blown away. So lucky to be there.
(And here's the link to attendees' roundup posts -- some moving, some funny, some packed with wall-to-wall with gorgeous photos, and every last one worth a read.)
So glad to be part of the conference. As with every conference, I learned so much from the panels and activities, but as cliche as it is to say this, in the end, it's all about the people.
(photo by Olga Berman of www.mangotomato.com)