Cheers to the International Food Bloggers Conference / by Anne

1pouring wine Have you felt unbearably at a loss while staring at a blank thank-you card, even though--and especially when--your heart is stretched taut with gratitude?  It’s taken several tries to even get rolling with this blog post, because I have so much to say and share.   

Oh yes, and by the way, I just returned from a pivotal weekend at the International Food Blogger’s Conference, held right here in Seattle.  I went last year, too, when I had just launched Bring to Boil, and last year was a crucial learning experience, full of helpful tools to get rolling with the blog.   

But this time, I’m altered.  Altered, but it’s an awkward, unfinished state, especially today—my thoughts are like raw, naked corncobs that have been shucked quickly, with white strands of silk just sticking out everywhere and getting tangled in my fingers.  It’s annoying and sticky. I’m gonna go ahead and write while my hands are still tangled, so please excuse any typos.

So, beginning at the beginning, Friday evening's welcome party included an interview with Morgan Spurlock, the documentary filmmaker who made Super Size Me, the film that showed first-hand how unhealthy and fattening MacDonald's can really be.  I didn’t know what to expect.  Why did they have him come? He’s a filmmaker, not a blogger. 

I immediately stopped caring once he got started, though, because he’s hilarious. I relaxed into enjoying his casual interview, led by Warren Etheredge, that at moments felt more like a drinking game than cerebral challenge.  

Then, when I wasn’t looking, we were talking about changing the world.  The conversation turned to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and how to help our country become well-fed and healthy, rather than ironically riddled with both obesity and malnourishment.  Suddenly, the tables—and videocamera—were turned back on us, the food blogging audience.  How can we make things better?  Morgan spoke of “street blogging—“  sure, sit in your house and write, but write your article and throw an event!  Call the news! Wake people up!    

My friend Diana, whom I met last year at this conference, spoke up to share how she’s doing her part.  She quit her job some months ago when she realized that the mission of her blog, to help people learn how to cook cheaply, nutritiously, and deliciously, was not completely effective on its own as just a blog. So she found government funding and now teaches free cooking classes to low income families who might not otherwise afford them. 

Do you have chills? I do. 

diana

Diana is a kind, vibrant woman with a smile the size of sunshine, and a frequent flower in her hair.  She works hard to keep a positive outlook on life, moment to moment, and each time I see her, she radiates this warmth to you as well.  She’s a true inspiration to me and thoughts of her--and Morgan Spurlock's challenging quesions--kept me up on Friday night, lying in bed and wondering what my role in changing the world might be.   Check out Diana’s blog.  She even has the approximate cost per serving on her recipes.

I'll stop for now.  Part II of IFBC -- complete with some food porn -- to come.

Bastille's Marinated Octopus with Chickpeas and Rooftop Arugula