Posts Tagged ‘food writers’

Warning: this post contains shameless namedropping.

I’ve barely dusted the beignet sugar off my sunglasses and have had barely a minute to breathe since I flew home yesterday, but I wanted to share some thoughts on the conference before I forget it all. House filth and work projects (many more since the conference) will have to wait …

Wow! Was it good for me? It was great, surpassing my expectations on so many levels–I’m jealous of myself!–professionally rewarding, endlessly inspiring and just plain fun.

The general sessions were moving and entertaining, and the seminars I selected mostly fascinating and educational. I attended two intimate roundtables at The Experts Are In, one on Perfecting the Pitch and the other Agent as Advocate (“Avoid Alliteration,” we were Advised). Then on to Southeast Asian Street Food: Rhythmic Sounds and Flavors (yum, a tasting of green papaya salad and chicken satay), The Future of Food Media: Video Blogging and Food Web TV, Environmental Responibility in Cookbooks, Magazines and Newspaper Food Sections (much more interesting than I thought it would be thanks to the erudite Russ Parsons of the LA Times), Have Laptop, Will Travel: How to Get Your Culinary Travel Stories into Print, and Memories You Can Taste: The Art & Craft of the Food Memoir.

For a semi-isolated writer, it was invigorating and intense to come face to face with so many people as into food as I am. “These are my people!” one attendee exclaimed. Although I’m shy by nature, there was an atmosphere of friendliness and talk-to-your-neighbor; the already-wildly-successful people I talked to were just as approachable as the ones just starting out in the biz.

Although there were over a thousand people there (I can revise this when IACP gives us a headcount), I tended to run into the same ones over and over because the Food Writers, Editors & Publisher’s Section is relatively small (not sure how many of us were represented there). I regret that I didn’t get to meet John T. Edge, writer extraordinaire and founder of the Southern Foodways Alliance, although a couple of his intimates told me “We call him John T.” and “That man is an angel on earth,” which I tend to agree with after a very kind handwritten letter he wrote me a couple years back. I got to see him close-up though, along with Bruce Aidells and Rick Bayless (I am a self-admitted food groupie). I wanted to meet Crescent Dragonwagon, who knows both my parents, and Tanya Steel, who runs epicurious.com and with whom I have a mutual friend. I would have liked to meet conference Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Jessica Harris as well, since I’m a big fan and have some of her wonderful cookbooks (Iron Pots & Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking, The Africa Cookbook, Tasting Brazil), and although the opportunity didn’t come up I got to listen to her deliver a stunningly moving talk about the rhythms and food of New Orleans.

I also got to glean the wisdom of Mr. Paul Prudhomme, Victoria von Biel and Kristine Kidd of Bon Appetit, Dana Bowen of Saveur, bloggers Ed Levine of seriouseats.com, Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim, and Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan of thekitchn.com.

I was also blessed to meet personally authors Kathleen Flinn (author of The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry and the FWE&P section’s brand new chair), Irena Chalmers (a former IACP president, CIA prof and extremely prolific author who lives near me), Antonia Allegra (director of The Symposium for Professional Food Writers at the Greenbrier), Russ Parsons, Mai Pham, Nancie McDermott (full disclosure: she was already a friend), Jill O’Connor, Fred Thompson, Judy Bart Kancigor, Robin Asbell, Suvir Saran (I’m still laughing), Pableaux Johnson, Fred Plotkin, Nick Malgieri and Ken Albala, winner of the Jane Grigson Award for Beans: A History. I sat next to Cynthia Nims at the awards ceremony but didn’t realize it was her until the next day when she introduced herself at a panel. I met literary agents Lisa Ekus-Saffer and Larry Weissman, magazine editors Lisa Gosselin of Eating Well, Gretchen VanEsselstyn of Chile Pepper, Todd Coleman of Saveur, Charla Draper of Southern Living, Editor Lorna Reeves and Food Editor Betty Terry of Taste of the South, bloggers Danielle Wiley of foodmomiac.com, Judith Klinger of AromaCucina.com, fellow writers Lia Huber, Cheryl Sternman Rule and Lesley Jacobs, made new friends Cynthia L., Kat G. and Polly A. (who lives only 20 minutes from me!) and met several charming restaurateurs, food stylists and cooking school owners and teachers.

I loved New Orleans, had been there once before ten years ago and was so glad to be back. But I’m going on too long already and will have to save my experiences with her food and music for next time. Yes, New Orleans is a she. A grand lady, venerable, ample and weathered, yet exotic and charmingly irresistible. As soon as you leave her house, shutting the door gently behind you, you begin to count the minutes until you can return. A couple years ago she broke both arms in a tragic accident, but she’s on the mend, ever optimistic and indomitable.

I heartily encourage you to join IACP if you’re not already a member, or if you are a member, go to a conference if you possibly can (I had to cash in some ancient stock to do it). If you are, and went, did you find it rewarding? Was it worth the trip? Post a comment and let me know how it was for you.

Coming soon: blog posts on Katrina’s Aftermath and What I Ate

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I’ve been keeping a blog over at Angelfire for three years now and decided to give WordPress a try, since I like what they do with my brand new non-food blog Cast Iron Strumpet. Until I figure out how to add the archives to this location, you can find the last three years of Tripe Soup at this spot.

Last night I got a call from Antonia Allegra, the director of the Symposium for Professional Food Writers at Greenbrier. Once my heart slowed down, she told me that I had gotten two honorable mentions for scholarships for this year’s symposium. Which brings my total for this year to three. Can’t go until I win one 😦 but I’m very happy to have received a total now of four special mentions from those folks. And Ms. Allegra made my day with very kind words about my writing.

Today I will leave you with a quote from myself, from a three-year-old blog entry on why I call my blog Tripe Soup.

“I promised a few entries ago to tell you why this blog is called ‘Tripe Soup.’ Well, it began last year as an idea for a local newsletter about eating in the part of the Hudson Valley where I live. It was to have a logo … that I drew late one night after a little wine and a lot of practice…[see my website at www.jenniferbrizzi.com for the logo]

I was going to distribute my newsletter, the first issue free, in local bookstores and food stores with a tiny black lace bagful of hot pink M & Ms. It was going to be mostly about local food. But after I put a lot of thought and work and planning and pretty much laid out the first issue, I realized that I can’t take my two tots to fancy restaurants or even into food stores where a dirty little paw squeezing the Stilton would be unwelcome.

So I decided to make it a website, with my irreverent, sometimes funny, always passionate comments on food and eating, designed not to teach cooking but to entertain those interested in eating whether they cook or not. Before it becomes a website, it’s having an incarnation as a blog about succulence, savoriness and enjoying life while eating, but in essence bits of worthless, sometimes offensive rubbish…

‘Tripe’ is defined as:
1. the entrails, generally; hence, the belly, generally used in the plural (obs)
2. part of the stomach of ruminating animals when dressed and prepared for food
3. anything worthless, offensive, etc.; rubbish; trash [Slang}

I call it Tripe Soup because it’s about eating what makes you feel good, what makes your eyes, ears, nose, tongue (taste and texture) happy, not what’s trendy, chic, or LITE. Like tripe, it may shock or disgust you. It isn’t sweet and bland but chewy and full of tang. My goal is to induce drooling, to make you hungry.

The subtitle of the original newsletter was ‘Not your Grandmother’s Newsletter,’ although my focus is on the kind of food she cooked. “

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