Full Disclosure: Even though I've made a living in comedy (sometimes coarse and sarcastic), when it comes to food, community and art - I'm a big sappy blubber-puss. Now you may read.
This past weekend I attended my first International Food Blogger's Conference (IFBC) inside Theo Chocolate Factory, in Seattle, Washington. If you don't have a food blog, just start one now, so you can go to the next Foodista and Zephyr sponsored event. The food, wine, friendship and contagious twittering is non-stop.
Of course, I say just start a food blog with my tongue inside my cheek. If there was one massive common denominator at this 250+ person gathering it was the deep honest passion for the art and crafting of food, including the growing, eating and talking about it. From the burgeoning blogger (who just enjoys cataloging their kitchen experiences for friends) to the "web wise" celebrity-blogger with a cookbook deal - the thrill was in the sharing.
Even the sometimes misunderstood and code-driven techies, at their core, just wanted to share their G-spots (G is for Google in this reference). And ya know what, maybe we don't enjoy a dead mouse on our pillow either, but to the cat it's a gift - passed along to us with love.
I'm not great at gathering and reporting organized details, labels or titles. I'm more like a felt ball that rolls through an experience and ends up with a little bit of everything sticking to it, feeling a little more colorful and textured after it's all over. So, here are the ideas that stuck to my conscience. I think these would be truisms for any person, food blogger or otherwise:
1) If you borrow/copy/share some one's original work - give them credit. If you're paid/sponsored/or gifted by a business - disclose it before giving your opinions. Be honest, write with integrity, do unto others....
** (as seen in the holy books and discussed during a panel with the lovely talents of Amy Sherman, Dianne Jacob, and Kristine Kidd .
2) If you want to profit like a business, having a little core business information about SEO couldn't hurt.
** (But, listening to those facts is not as entertaining as reading a hundred "twitters" of hysterical sexual innuendo being bantered across the warehouse you're sitting in while away from home and the food, wine and beer is constant.)
3) It feels wonderful to be validated and respected for your dreams and efforts.
** It feels even better when that validation comes from someone who is intelligent, traveled, successful, and impassioned (like our speaker and Editor-in-Chief of Saveur Magazine, James Oseland).
4) Education equals Understanding and Tolerance.
** When people like Shauna Ahern and Alexandra Jamieson speak about Gluten Free and Specialized diets, their sweet spirits and honest natures bring about support for ALL differences and remind us to keep our hearts and minds open at all times.
5) Remembering to live with all of our senses wide open can be a more creative existence.
** Kat Flinn engaged us in several playful interactive writing exercises that had us describing a lemon in words that employed our smell, touch, sight, sound and taste without ever using the word lemon. She also humorously alluded to G-spots (and this time it didn't mean Google.)
6) When we stop to remember WHO we are, HOW we fit into the universe and RESPECT others - we start to see the world through a different lens.
**Photography is the art of painting with light. Penny De Los Santos turned that light into pure enlightenment. She reminded us all to OBSERVE the light, KNOW the subject of the story, and LOSE the ego so we can "make a picture" that EVOKES emotion. She got a standing ovation!
7) Be bold enough to dream, define your dream, and take action to make your dream come true.
**Molly Wisenberg (blogger, cookbook author and restaurateur) has led by example; writing her heart, staying true to herself and working her ass off to make things happen. Victoria von Biel of Bon Appetite, and Kirsty of Andrews McMeel Publishing dished out a dose of reality (with a teaspoon of encouragement) for the state-of-the-magazine/book world.
The last day of the conference included a parking lot full of Food Trucks, a blogging contest, more exquisite and exotic chocolate than ever, and a million food blogging cards being exchanged.
I've been to a lot of different kinds of conferences and none of them ended with stuffing my suitcase full of swag from SurLaTable, a log of Sausage with Black Truffle from Creminelli, and...hugs. (Pardon my blubber) This one did.
To see other amazing recaps of the IFBC 2010:
John (FoodWishes): The Unbearable Lightness of Being Influential
Stephanie Stiavetti (Wasabimon) : I Heart IFBC!
Jenn (Use Real Butter): IFBC 2010 Recap and Then Some
Salty Seattle: International Food Bloggers Conference: Sex, but No Drugs or Rock n Roll