I just got back from a week in Georgia and South Carolina for work, feasting on glorious Southern food (shrimp stew, crab everything, andouille sausage …) and seeing the sights. From Atlanta to Hilton Head to Savannah, the food was amazing.
But first, before I dig in to the food, I wanted to highlight a third and final part of IFBC 2014. As you know, I received a reduced rate in exchange for writing three IFBC-related posts. And the third one is long overdue, mostly because I couldn’t decide which aspect I wanted to write about. Kathleen Flinn’s writing class? The food? The swag? The speakers?
Hmm … how about all of the above?
Their new book, The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, just came out October 14 (and I’m very pleased to note they gave each of the IFBC attendees a free copy! Squee).
I knew it was going to be hard to top last year’s IFBC keynote, Dorie Greenspan. And Karen and Andrew really did a fine job. My key takeaway from their presentation was the reminder that “Being a good writer has to do with living an authentic life.”
This is so key – whether you write a food blog or not. Readers can tell when we post for the sake of posting, rather than having something meaningful to say. Readers can also tell when we are absolutely passionate about a post – that passion will come across.
Karen and Andrew were followed by Chef Thierry Rautureau, a Frenchman and the driving force behind Loulay Kitchen & Bar, and Luc restaurant. He is known as the Chef in the Hat …
… and you can see why. This session was a laugh a minute – or more like every 5 seconds! From Chef Thierry’s imitations of Julia Child to his epic one-liners, I never stopped smiling.
“The only thing we don’t have is coffee – but we have Starbucks. We don’t have chocolate – but we have Theo’s. We don’t have citrus – but we have Florida and California for that.”
(Said very tongue in cheek.)
But wait! There’s more!
– “It’s great, but it tastes like not enough!”
– “Does that make sense, or am I speaking French? … Both!”
– “A little bit of butter never killed anybody. A lot of it does, though.”
And my personal favorite …
Chef Thierry as Julia Child. “If you can’t have dairy, don’t bother.”
I cannot say enough about Chef Thierry; his humor – and yes, his accent – made for a highly amusing food demonstration, not to be missed.
Another highlight for me was the optional writing class after the conference formally ended. Kathleen Flinn, whom I’ve met several times, hosted it, and I took so many notes in this course, I cannot even tell you. It was thought-provoking, engaging, challenging – and I just ran across some of my handwritten notes, which made me chuckle and almost get a little choked up, too. Kat has a way of cutting to the root of an issue, and to the root of a writer’s heart, in the best way. Now that I’m back at home for a while, I’m really looking forward to revisiting my notes and exploring some of the ideas that sprang up in my moments of incisive clarity.
Of course, I have to end with a word about the swag. Five bags and about as many trips later …
I actually trotted several of the bags to the office during the conference, so I wouldn’t have to tote everything home on the bus! (What was I thinking? Oh yeah, avoiding the $40/day parking charges … hee hee.) The swag this year was amazing, and I’m sure a large part of that was due to the lovely items from KitchenAid and Sur la Table. (One bag was devoted to the KitchenAid food processor attachment! I didn’t let that baby out of my sight.)
Besides the KitchenAid attachment, I am most excited to put the chicken stock and paella base from Aneto to good use. My book club meets next week, and coincidentally, we will be making Latin/Spanish food! So I immediately laid claim to making paella. Stay tuned for the end result!
We also got scads of coupons, including for tons of freebies – from a dozen eggs to a 5-lb. bag of King Arthur Flour. Squee! What timing – I’m ready to bake up a storm this autumn. (It is my favorite season, after all.)
And on that note, friends … let me leave you with these quotes Kat shared with us on that IFBC Sunday. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my IFBC takeaways with you, as well as dig deeper into the things I love best about fall, from beef stew to cookies to holiday cooking and baking.
“Anybody who can talk can also write. If something is worth hearing or listening to, it’s very probably worth reading. Find your own voice.” – Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair, 2011
“Ultimately, voice is the writer’s personal style coming through in the writing. It’s as complex and varied as human personality itself.” – Jack Hart, A Writer’s Coach: An Editor’s Guide to Words that Work. Pantheon, 2006