So, Saturday dawned fresh and new and I woke up before 5:30. Even though my body was in the Pacific time zone, my body’s clock was still in CST. Fortunately, I was able to fall back asleep until my alarm went off at 7. Scooted over to the InterContinental for breakfast, where I met the manly Hank Shaw over the coffee urns. Seriously, that man can do everything! We got to chatting a bit and I told him about my research, which inspired him to introduce me to Elise Bauer, whom I revere simply for her banana bread recipe, which I have made approximately seven thousand times.
After the isolating and kind of depressing experience of the previous evening’s party, I decided to make friends at breakfast. So I joined a table of other lone-wolf types and struck up a conversation. One lady was from Pork. I can’t remember her name, but she was really nice. The other lady was Trish, an academic librarian at Stanford who also write the blog Cheeky Attitude. Trish and I would meet up again at the closing keynote panel, where I gave over my greedily obtained second sample portion of the bacon macaroni and cheese. That’s just the way I am, people. I’m a giver.
Morning panel: Urban Farming, including the aforementioned Hank Shaw. Other panelists included Joshua Stark, Margo True, and Novella Carpenter. They are all undertaking the admirable task of raising chicken, ducks, goats, etc. I’ll be happy if I a) manage to get a winter garden in the ground within the next couple of weeks and b) make a successful, botulism-free first attempt at pickling.
After that, I dithered about making my own field trip to Trader Joe’s, but opted to hang out and catch an early bus for the Ferry Building excursion. Lucky for me, because I met two lovely ladies on the ride over! Laura and I stuck together for our time at the farmer’s market (we were doing a scavenger hunt in hopes of winning a $500 gift card to cooks.com, I think it was, which meant that we got to visit a lot of farm stands!). Liz and I met up again at the closing party.
I have to say that the farmer’s market excursion was probably my favorite part of the whole weekend. THAT, friends, is my bread and butter, exploring locally grown food and talking to producers of artisanal cheeses and so on. And making a really nice connection with another human being with whom you can gossip over Cowgirl Creamy grilled cheese sandwiches.
After that was the final breakout panel, on the importance of community in food blogging. I don’t have much to say about that, partly because I want to protect my dissertation ideas to some degree but also because it’s sort of at the root of some of my icky feelings about the conference. So that’s all I say about that.
Closing keynote with Ruhlman, Gluten-Free Girl, and Orangette Molly. It was a very raw, emotional, and moving panel. Probably more useful to me, dissertation-wise, than the community panel. The liveblog archives on BlogHer are useless, otherwise I’d direct you to the transcript.
Erm, then there was the closing party which had a bunch of mediocre food (apart from the life-changing pistachio-cherry brittle) and was sort of a time warp into high school when all the popular
foodbloggers cheerleaders stuck together, cackling and tossing their hair while everyone else only wished they were that cool.
It was seriously cliquey is what I’m saying.
But I learned to make bacon!
And then I went back to my hotel. And then I went home. The end.
I guess I could sum up the conference thusly: It was a weird blend of ick (all the swag, which I did not photograph, but that you can get a sense of by looking here and here; the restaurateur who was giving out free $30 cookbooks to BLOGGERS ONLY; the feeling of being the ostracized loner in high school) and awesome (I came out of it feeling really inspired about my research and also in my passion for food-based social justice causes). Will I do it again? I don’t know. We’ll see where the year takes me.