Big Summer Potluck 3
This past weekend I had the opportunity to just be me. Not mommy”, not wife, not laundry princess or any of my other titles in my normal life. You see, I attend the third annual Big Potluck! This gathering is something I truly look forward to each year!
The first year, I went alone, knowing no one except a virtual foodie friend I had met through my blog (missed you Shari!). I had never even seen another food blogger in person. I had crab cakes and cookies in tow and I didn’t know what to expect. It was intimate, it was nourishment to my food-loving soul, it was magic…and it was just what I needed! Pam Anderson, her daughter Maggie of Three Many Cooks and Erika of The Ivory Hut put together something special and welcomed me with open arms and boy it sure felt good!
This year the gathering was located at both the gorgeous Silver Buttons Farms and the Anderson home in beautiful Bucks County, PA . It was the largest BSP gathering to date yet it was still small enough to almost make the rounds of talking to everyone at some point.
I started Souffle Bombay both as a way for me to leave a “piece of myself” for my kids and a place to share my enjoyment cooking…and it has morphed into much more than that for me.
To me, THIS is fun!
No one in my life really gets why I do this…why I take pictures of food, why I think about food all the time, why the kids and I cook so much together and why I feel the need to share all of it with others.
Some, I think find it a bit odd…but that’s ok.
When it comes to the blogging world…
I am not a writer.
I am not a photographer.
I am not a chef.
I’m just doing “my thing” and having my kind of fun, and you know what…it makes me happy.
Many bloggers are polished and perfect…not me…So I really don’t fit in there either….but that’s ok. Especially when others who feel kind of the same way speak up and share how they feel…and when its accentuated with tears it shoots me straight in the heart.
One of the speakers this past weekend was Brooke of Food Woolf.
She asked us to ask ourselves…Who am I? Why am I doing this? As well as a few other questions. She then gave us homework. I need to find some quiet time in the near future, time be still and just listen to myself to find the answers to those questions and more.
I know why I began this site…but has it changed I wonder? I don’t think it has, but I want the opportunity to be still for a moment or two to think that over and find out – thank you Brooke!
Joy from Joy the Baker was another speaker. She did a fun cooking demo and I finally tasted Nutella for the very first time – yeah I know. Paula from Bell”alimento almost fell over when she realized I was a Nutella virgin lol!
Joy spoke some interesting truths about the perceptions and realities of food blogging, and it made me think on it a bit…which is always a good thing. One thing she said was “it’s ok not to be perfect.” Many of us in every part of our life may aspire to be that perfect mom, that perfect employee, that perfect wife or home cook. But guess what that is typically an illusion…no one knows what is really going on inside that person or behind the scenes. So instead focus on the best you – you can be. I like that. Celebrate your triumphs big or small instead of stressing over why can’t I be as pretty, as perfect, as good of a cook, as good of a photographer etc.
Marissa of Food in Jars did a canning demo which I found fascinating. Canning is something I have always wanted to do, yet have not. I think I just want to stand in someone’s kitchen and watch them go at it first. Marissa’s new book aptly titled Food in Jars may be just the push I need. I had my fingers and toes crossed that I would win one of her beautiful books – however it wasn’t in the cards for me so off to the bookstore I go!
Molly O’Neill spoke on finding your voice and what you are best at and Pam spoke about being authentic – something she does effortlessly.
For me, The Big Potluck is like a much needed annual retreat or a talisman. We come with food, which I love. I for one get so much pleasure from feeding others. I think I carted 13+ pounds of food with me this year between the Bloody Mary Shrimp Shooters and the Asian Noodles. I love tasting others dishes…I had an incredibly moist and flavorful cake that someone (sorry I forget who) made in a crock pot…a crock pot people!
BSP is where I discovered Donut Muffins from Jen of How to Simplify (Oh, how they have enhanced my life!!), Orange Scented Macaroons -the BEST gluten free baked good I have ever tasted – from Ken of Hungry Rabbit and this year…Pam’s kick-ass fried chicken! Yum-a-num-a-num-anum!
I love seeing some now-familiar faces like the always hilarious to me Adryon of Adryon’s Kitchen and super sweet Lisa of Jersey Girl Cooks. Meeting new folks is such a key part of an experience like this, like the super cool comic store owner who rocks an apron – Kita from Pass the Sushi and the very quiet and stunningly pretty Angela of Mind Over Batter and hearing the stories of why someone started their blog (something I always want to know). I loved talking to young Samantha who attends Del Val College, who bartered with Pam to attend Saturday’s events in exchange for helping in the kitchen on Friday and Saturday. So young, already working in the food industry, so excited and capable with her whole future ahead I wonder what her take on the event was and how it may have impacted her.
The community and the camaraderie of this gathering allow me to take a deep breath in each year. Thanks Pam, Maggie and Erika!
At the end of the weekend, my big takeaway was not from the speakers (although I enjoyed each and every one), instead it came from some of the other attendees, from their quiet voices, from their stories, from their concerns, from their experiences, from their passion and even from their tears. And Oh yeah…from our kick-ass bartender Tom…Erika you’re a lucky gal!
I am who I am, I do what I do and I am ok with that!
Of course, this weekend could not be possible without a number of wonderful sponsors!
Thanks so much to my #1 cheese and butter producer – Kerrygold! I can always taste the Irish magic! Thanks to Kitchen Aid – who helps make my life in the kitchen the best it can be! Thanks to Anolon Gourmet Cookware (who has the prettiest copper bottom pans), Musselman’s, Green Mountain Coffee, Attune Foods, Driscoll’s (who was responsible for my blackberry overdose last weekend – but man where they the biggest and best blackberries ever!) and one of my favorite web destinations, the place I think I visit EVERY day…Tasty Kitchen! And thanks SO much to the unsung heroes of BSP3…the kitchen staff and friends of Pam, Maggie and Erika who did an amazing job keeping everything going! Thank you all for making such an incredible experience possible!
I can’t wait until next year!