But the truth is that it's taken me all this time to figure out why that weekend affected me so much. I can't remember the last time I was in the company of so many people who loved what they were doing, spoke my language, and wanted as badly as I did to make connections. Everyone I met had something to say and was eager to listen. I talked with people whose writing has affected me deeply, and I told them so. I met people in the flesh with whom I'd been talking online for months. The whole thing felt so right. And it made me even more sure that all the time I'm spending writing and cooking and writing about cooking is right for me.
The photo, by the way, is of the croissant I had the day after the conference, when Caron of San Diego Foodstuff, Jackie of Foodie Reflections, and I went up to Tartine, a lovely bakery in the "gourmet ghetto" - not knowing San Francisco well, I can't really tell you where that is, but the Mission was involved in some way, I think. This is the only picture I took the whole weekend. Because I was so busy, the rest of the time, talking and listening and being in the moment. This in itself is a huge accomplishment for me - spending time in the moment - so I'm not flogging myself for not taking more pictures. Lots of other people took lots of beautiful pictures. I can look at theirs.
No recipe today, not here, at least. If you want recipes, go over to my LA Cooking Examiner column, where you'll find a daring chicken liver pate with walnuts, bacon and Armagnac; my much-loved Thai seafood stew with coconut milk and basil; a pissaladiere-like tart with caramelized onions, olives and anchovy paste; and a creamy cauliflower soup that has no cream and will blow you away.
Today, I'm going to pay tribute to some of the wonderful writers I met at BlogHer Food by giving you the links to their blogs. I bet you'll be just as inspired as I was. And to all those listed below, and the many others I met but was not wise enough to ask for a card (how else would I be able to remember everyone?), thank you. Now go read these wonderful blogs.
- Foodie Reflections - Jackie's a professionally trained chef living and cooking in Chicago.
- The Mushroom Channel - all things fungal from Jessi, who does PR for the growers' association, hosted a wonderful dinner the night before the conference, and made a phenomenal mushroom soup to lift our spirits after the somewhat sad lunch.
- Beach Eats - I love the Diva on a Diet's take on food: We all have to watch our waistlines sometime, but that shouldn't keep us from a good piece of cake.
- Heather in SF - When I met Heather, I really felt like I'd come across a kindred spirit.
- Mad About Martha - Maris channels the spirit, but fortunately not the personality, of you-know-who
- Foodzie - okay, not a blog, but if you haven't visited this online marketplace for artisanal and handcrafted food products, go RIGHT NOW - Emily brought amazing goodies to the after-party.
- What's Gaby Cooking - Gaby, a personal chef, is part of the Los Angeles group that formed spontaneously and is planning to meet for lunch very, very soon.
- Savour Fare - The best story of my weekend: Turns out that Kate, with whom I'd been Twitter friends for a while, and I work in the same building. Can you say "lunch date?"
- Hey What's for Dinner Mom? - Laura lives in Alaska. Not in a city. With kids, ducks, turkeys, and the occasional bear. 'Nuff said.
- Whining 'N Dining - Liz is another L.A. gal, and like me, she often blogs about stuff her kids like to eat.
- Black Girl Chef's Whites - Cheryl also writes for Examiner, so we'd been in touch before, but we had to go all the way to the 415 to meet in person.
- Cook Local - Patricia and her husband write this blog together, and with very few exceptions, everything they eat and cook and write about is local to Washington State. I know the locavore thing is big, but I hadn't really met any locavores in person. I learned a ton from her, and I still owe her pictures of the pepper tree in my backyard, because according to Patricia, it's very likely producing edible peppercorns.