|Kelli during Happy Hour at Nourished, a food blogger conference.|
In the interest of traveling light, I left behind our digital SLR camera (never again) and opted instead to just use our brand-spanking-new iPhone. Blech. What a mistake! Perhaps there is some secret I don't know yet, but as far as I can tell, iPhone cameras are good at taking low-quality, blurry photographs, and not much else.
I can't blame this post's lack of photography solely on the iPhone, however. I'm partly to blame, too. Frankly, I was so wrapped up with being "in the moment" of the weekend's events that I didn't pay much attention to photography. In part by design, I snapped relatively few photos. While other bloggers were dutifully snapping pictures with friends and colleagues, of expo vendors, of their plates of food, I left the phone in my pocket or in my computer bag.
Now I'm battling a tinge of photographer's remorse, wishing I'd snapped even a few more pictures, if for no other reason than to commemorate a truly memorable weekend. I hate to say it, but in some respects, you just had to be there, and if you weren't, you missed out on something special. It's true.
In trying to succinctly sum up the tenor of the weekend, two themes keep popping up in my mind: community and relationships. They are, in no small measure, part of what makes the gluten-free world go 'round. Amy (of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free) eloquently said as much in her closing remarks to the Nourished half of the weekend.
|The Crave ladies, Jamie and Kyra (left and middle), with celiac and Mrs. Alaska International Brandy Wendler.|
At Nourished on Friday morning, I teamed up with Kim (of Gluten-Free Passport) to give a presentation about publishing. She covered ebooks and apps, while I covered traditional book publishing—the pros and cons of finding a publisher versus self-publishing; do you need a literary agent; the elements of building a strong book proposal; the ins and outs of publishing contracts; etc. Meanwhile, Mary Fran (of Frannycakes) gave a concurrent and popular session on building your blog's brand. (She's launching a series of short e-cookbooks starting in May ... check out her blog for more!)
Later in the day, Silvana (of Easy Eats) and Cybele (of The Allergy-Friendly Cook) shared their thoughts on attracting media attention. As always, they were as engaging and entertaining as they were insightful. Other sessions included the topics of food photography, food writing, recipe development, and much more.
|Preparing samples for our Breads class at the GFAF Expo. Kelli (right) in the kitchen with Beth Hillson (red), a volunteer, and Denise San Filippo (black hat).|
We spent our share of quality time with Jen (of So Simple Gluten Free), Amie (of The Healthy Apple), Tess (of Healthy Blender Recipes), Cheryl (of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness) and many others who I've invariably neglected to mention but who completely deserve to be in this blog post. Please forgive the omission!
Of course, the weekend was filled with much food. Saturday night, for example, we paired up with Andrea (of Rockin' Gluten-Free), Jamie and Kyra (of Food Network's Cupcake Wars-winning Crave Bake Shop), and Brandy Wendler (of Mrs. Alaska International fame) to head to a local P.F. Chang's for some tasty gluten-free eats.
Also, coming Monday, we'll share our recipe for a gluten-free version of a Chicago classic—Chicken Vesuvio—inspired by Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse & Bar. Stay tuned!
|Gluten-free bagels fresh out of the industrial-size convection oven.|
Although we've done it before, it's always an adventure to make your own recipes in someone else's kitchen with unfamiliar trappings. For example, the hotel kitchen's massive convection ovens browned our breads very quickly ... even when we baked them at 50 deg F lower temperatures for only a fraction of the normal time. Crazy!
And then, seemingly all too soon, the weekend came to a close. We said our incremental good byes, as different people migrated to the airport for their respective flights. We boarded our flight, too, and at last pulled into the driveway at our home in the Hudson Valley at 1:00am Monday morning.
Already later that morning, we were thinking, When can we do that again?