While I eagerly plan out a Thanksgiving meal that will treat and tease the palate, I become humbly aware that millions of people will go hungry this holiday season.
This Thanksgiving I am joining my friend, Jennifer Perillo, to help work towards closing the hunger gap. Whether your heart is drawn to helping those around the world, or those in your own backyard, we can all agree hunger does not discriminate. This empty plate represents the millions of people whom will go hungry on Thanksgiving. Whether you support local or global, we can collectively show our strength and work towards filling the plates of those whom are less fortunate.
When you look at this plate, imagine all those dishes you look forward to sharing with your loved ones and then imagine that this year things would be different. How would you change this holiday for the hungry? How can you make a difference? I am always inspired by American’s eagerness to evoke change. Today, we can feed someone. I hope you will join me and donate now.
*Boy Scout Food Drive: The Boy Scouts of America Marin Council will collect donated food from homes throughout the county on Nov. 20. Scouts will start leaving hangers on doors in the middle of the month.
*Can Tree at Northgate mall: The Marin Food Bank will set up an 18-foot can tree at Northgate mall in Terra Linda where shoppers can donate up to 5,000 pounds of canned food during shopping center business hours from Nov. 22 to Jan. 3.
* NBC Channel 11/Safeway Turkey and Ham: The Marin Food Bank and Rotary clubs will have volunteers at all eight Marin Safeway stores from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 20 asking shoppers to buy a turkey or ham for the food bank. Safeway will bring all hams and turkeys to the food bank that day.
*Town Center Corte Madera Donation Turkey: The annual donation turkey will be at Town Center Corte Madera accepting food and cash donations through early January.
*St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marin County Turkey/Meat Drive: Volunteers will stand outside the Free Dining Room in San Rafael at 820 B St. accepting turkeys, chickens, ground beef, fish, canned tuna and other meat items from 6:30 to 1 p.m. daily starting Nov. 13.
To learn more about donating to or volunteering for the Marin Food Bank, call 883-1302 or visit www.marinfoodbank.org.
To donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, call 454-3303 ext. 12.
It was a week ago that I spent my entire day at BlogHer Food09 at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco. Since that time numerous articles have been written about the the event and I realized from the moment I had “planned” to write my post that I would be at risk of not having anything new or news worthy to say – then I realized that my take on things would inevitably be different than everyone elses because I like to let my thoughts simmer (pun intended) – that’s just my style.
THE CONFERENCE: self revelations
I was truly excited about this conference because as someone relatively new to the Foodie blogger label I have grown up a foodie and yet it is a part of me that I have frequently denied- my restaurant heritage. When you grow up with something, and opt out of this career choice you never really imagine that some how you will back in the tangent realm of food. Now to you, the devoted reader, that may be obvious, I wrote a cook book and I talk about food, ergo I am very in touch with my inner cook. Well, I can be a bit stubborn in allowing myself to acknowledge this is my passion. But I believe the day has arrived. With that acknowledgment comes responsibility- or isn’t that what I am supposed to say? I generally avoid doing or saying what I am supposed to say so let’s move away from that lame concept.
SPONSOR IMPRESSIONS: those that tried and those that won
Not to boar you with the fine little details but my take on the sponsors is that there was a good mix of sponsors to address the mommy blogger crowd and the more au natural food blogger gang. That said, the event may benefit in the future from holding two days next year to provide insight to these two distinct groups. That’s not to say that there isn’t cross-over, there certainly is but then I think I may be amongst the few to ADMIT to toggling the line. For example, I love to cook with fresh local ingredients but I also like to include items like Campbell’s Soup in some of my quick meals because I don’t always want to make my onion soup, nor do I have time to do this, when blending this flavor into my dishes. (This goes back to the fact that I am a person with limited time and resources and yet I often prefer to cook then to go out to eat but I don’t usually have 5 hours to splurge during the week to whip up my grandmother’s typical five course meals.)
Another sponsor was Bertolli Frozen, they took a few hits at the show for not knowing their audience and while I adored the Bertolli team that was kind enough to include me in their Friday night festivities at St. Supery (which I viewed as a big success), I have to confess that there might have been a better way to showcase their products at the luncheon and I say this from the view point of someone who has done numerous events and is open to the idea of incorporating their high-end alternative to cooking products into a meal — offering a pasta bar of their featured foods or having a tasters plate blended with other fresh local veggies and/or breads might have featured their product in a slightly different light. This is where Campbell’s won the prize in my mind, they hosted the cocktail party and they used all recipes made from their product line and it was done on the veranda on a gorgeous city night and the compliments were flying – it was tasteful and anything but a hard sell and it worked.
Scharffen Berger Hosted the afternoon break demonstration with acclaimed chef, Elizabeth Falkner and these wonderful chocolate boxes filled with chocolate glob and salty and sweet and spicy treats — and well you had to wear a glove to get a bit but it was creepy and fun all at the same time. Personally, I loved the creativity behind it and the experience. They were showcasing their upcoming Chocolate Adventure Contest and had a great follow-up invitation to this afternoon on two fronts – they participated in the post-party deserts showcase and a cooking webinar a few days later. This sponsor showed they knew their audience and took extra steps to solidify and leverage this event to meet their end results. From a marketing/sponsorship/communications viewpoint this was well executed – another win!
Gina and Jennie Tasting Divine Chocolate Glop in Scharffen Berger Box
Two fun video clips taken with the Bertolli Flip during the closing key note with Ree Drummond, David Debovtiz and Elise Bauer (L–> R):
Developing Your Visual Voice- 5 things to think about
(there were 7, I choose 5)
1) Be inspired by others
2) Think about photos in context
3) Understand what you are shooting
4) Think about the type of shots you are after
5) The workflow is important
Bottom line- there are no rules. Take as many or as few shots as you like, have fun with it and be bold.
Your Blog is Great… now what?
Use this as your yardstick when opting to provide your work for free:
People will always want your work for free and if you give it away then you hurt others in the business. For example, one person in the audience shared that she used to get $1,200 to write a piece and now the market will only pay her $300 for a piece. Where can you go to learn the value of your work? Your local food society. Ask them what the going rate is for what you’ve been asked to do for free.
Remember your recipe is the MEAT of a piece and the photos are the DRESSING.
Advice from the professionals:
- Helen: where each opportunity will lead you – who knows? But why not try it. If someone tells you NO it is not NO FOREVER it is NO for right now.
- Amy: Food is a competitive business and it is not always pretty. But usually it is friendly and passionate. Blogs open up the door to new opportunities but the deal is sealed in person.
- Jaden: Treat your blog as a business and get advisers to provide perspective, ask a more well recognized blogger if you can be an intern, write a yearly business plan and stretch beyond your blog to be a leader in food.
The Meaning of Identity and the Value of Voice in a Crowded Foodblogging World
Garrett: Blogging is VERY “I” focused.
Garrett: A good rule is not to say anything on your blog that you wouldn’t say at a cocktail party. (Ree asks,” After how many drinks!”)
Susan: How you deal with criticism is up to you but you have to let a lot go, as long as it doesn’t get personal.
Ree: I will often spend between 1-5 hrs on a post but not all at one time, because sometimes I am herding cattle.
Dianne: I had trouble finding my ‘Me” voice. It is important to define your voice for your readers, as a journalist we were not accustomed to doing this.
Photo Taken by Stephanie Im/KQED for Bay Area Bites
WHAT TO HOPE FOR NEXT TIME: my suggestions
I think there is a big opportunity to look towards some tracks that appeal to the every-day blogger that struggles to post even once a week. Talking with the celbs of this micro-mondo are good but I did find that left me wanting even a bit more practical every-day advice. Some tracks I would vote for on the foodie front:
The Economic Hangover/Cooking Less- Getting More
The proposed session looks at how we can get the most out of our limited available time to maximize our efforts and food dollars to recover from our manic lives in this economic hangover. The discussion would be focused on how to spend less time in the kitchen but arrive at getting more – the more being healthier meals, meals in reserve and stretching and leveraging your budgetary dollars.
Social Media Food For Thought or Stirring the Pot of Social Media Flavors
As your resident tech-geek gal, I’d like to see a bit more social media in the mix in terms of branding and promoting. Some of this was touched on but not in a structured presentation with solid take-aways which a gal like me would appreciate. Food for thought, if you will!
Unspoiled- The Future of Food Blogging
With so many social media outlets emerging do Foodies really have time to stir the pot to create and/or maintain a successful blog – Twitter, Facebook, Alltop, Del,icio.us, Ning groups and the ingredients list drones on like the who’s of who knows what. Can Foodies get lost in the shuffle and burn themselves out of creating compelling blog posts? Where are food blogs today and which should be at the top of your list? If you spend more time on some outlets will your audience migrate?
(Relevance/My sidebar: seems to me that with all of the new social media outlets, some food bloggers are having a hard time keeping their blog audience, they may drift away from their blog to focus on twitter, or perhaps newbies want to learn how to create a food blog in these times of the social media craze. Should be a solid panel.)
I am forever bemused that true chefs and the more famous variety of cook book authors (Rocco DiSpirito, Ryan Scott, Elizabeth Falkner) are always a bit surprised that the rest of us DO know how to cook. It is a kind of high-brow/low-brow dichotomy and I say it not to paint a divide but to point out a new observation. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not versed in all of the fancy smancy terminology but where good flavors are in the mix I can be trusted. I had the chance to eat dinner with Rocco, and he is an adorable dream, but he too was surprised by the questions of the ladies at our table. And if that wasn’t fun enough, I was invited to come up on stage and help Ryan Scott, Top Chef contestant and chef, cook his frittata and he complimented me on how nicely I cut mushrooms (supplied by sponsor The Mushroom Channel) – I of course laughed and said thank you, he too was quite a charmer even with his girlfriend by his side.
And Elizabeth Falkner on the Scharffen Berger webcast, unless I was imagining it, responded to my questions with an approving nod. So you see…bloggers are cooks too and the rest of the world is about to find out. (well maybe).
Thank you to the folks at BlogHer for taking this inaugural step to host the first blogger foodie show- I hope you will take on the challenge again! I look forward to the Second Annual Event in 2010.
And thank you to the sponsors for believing in the blogger foodies as a viable audience.
Special thanks to the after-party hosts that put on a top notch event – Elise, Jaden and Ree! Great music and OF COURSE great eats!
Anna Lingeris & Chef Elizabeth Falkner
Please note that I had an great video to share from the Bertolli dinner featuring Gaston and Rocco but the video exceeds the YouTube length by one minute and I am unable to post. If you have any suggestions on another site I can use, please do email send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was recently asked to write a guest post for my good Twitter Gal Pal, Jennifer Perillo. While we’ve never actually verbally spoken, we have had many a conversation and recipe exchange and she is someone I eagerly look forward to meeting in September for BlogHer Food in San Francisco. I’ve excerpted a portion of the piece I wrote, slightly more personal than my usual posts…hope you enjoy it!
For the Love of Bread…. I’m not here to merely talk about my carb addiction to bread (yes, glorious bread) but more about digging down to the very crust of it all. Because it is for me, at the very root of the bread-addiction, to be blamed almost entirely upon my family and my heritage. Growing up with a strong, if not occasionally overpowering, Italian heritage is clearly seen in the foods I crave.
While my father’s side cooked predominately with a Northern Italian flare it was my mother’s side that cooked Sicilian (or Southern Italian) food. It is truly difficult to say that one region’s cooking is better than the other, as there is such a variety of food combinations once you move beyond the stereotypes of the ever delectable pasta and pizza. So eating what my mother prepared from her built in index of home cooking enabled me to eat a lot of Sicilian foods. She also cooked a number of other worldly wonderful dishes but this is about my recollection of those fantastic Sicilian dishes as recently recaptured on our Food-cation this past week.
The basic ingredients to 80% of the recipes are: breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano, basil and olive oil. Spending the week with my mom at her vacation home is always a food extravaganza – so worrying about squeezing into my bathing suit during the afternoon would be a wasted empty effort. No matter how huge I may feel, I am told that I always have room for dinner AND desert…oh, and wine since it technically = water, or so it did in the New Testament, so it shall at our table too.
One side-bar to note: we were only six people eating the 64 meatballs but what we didn’t eat we could easily turn into meatball sandwiches for our beach-side fun. Doesn’t everyone want to eat meatball sandwiches while sitting in their swim suit at a beach filled with skinny folks who are practically drooling at the sight of your lunch? Sure they are skinny but you are eating a slice of heaven.