The Diva That Big Summer Potluck’d!


A wise man I know says, “Everything that matters happens between people.” I fell in love with Twitter—yes love—because it gives me access to people—awesome, warm, passionate, food-loving people. I love living in New York City because it gives me the ability to meet up with many of the wonderful people I’ve met on Twitter in real life. It was only natural then for me to fall hard for Big Summer Potluck (BSP) because it gave me more access to more great food-loving people!

More than sixty food bloggers and people who love them gathered in Pennsylvania to be together as a community. It was live. It was between people and it was exhilarating.

I was thrilled before I even got there. It felt like a kid waiting for Christmas morning with the feeling, “YAY! soon it will be here,” followed by the age-old torment, “WAH!!! soon it will be here, but it will also be over too soon.”

How exciting to be able to see and HUG (for eight seconds at least because that’s what we at BSP2 learned is the minimum time needed to give each other a serotonin blast) and HEAR some of the people who I “talk” to all the time on Twitter both for the very first time!

How luxurious to be able to nestle in and hang with some of my dearest Tweeps, to spend not just a couple of hours over dinner, but to FEAST “on” them for a couple of days.

And the magic of meeting totally new people as well—a TREASURE trove.

I labored over what to bring for the potluck because I wanted three things:
#1: To make the people who eat my food HAPPY, as always
#2: To not make a mountain of work for myself, like I usually do, in pursuit of #1
#3: To not make a huge production so I’d be out of everyone’s the way and give me time to enjoy myself!

Bonus: Make people laugh.

I settled on the Bacon-Wrapped Sweet Plantains and The Deviled Egg Egg with a selection of my pickles which met my objectives. 

I especially wanted the BSP crowd to LIKE my food. I worry that since I’m not committed to being a diligent food blogger I give folks the impression that I’m not in love with cooking. I love the cooking part! Just not-so-much the recipe writing and photography part because I just want to SHARE, EAT and COOK again, I have always expressed my love by feeding people. Plus I wanted to delight the taste buds of many, many people who torture me daily on Twitter and their blogs with their luscious food porn and delectable food words.

So I packed up my nibbles and my expectations and road-tripped to BSP2 with Ken, Mitch and Brian—my homies.

And got blown away… Or was it blown in…

It was all I expected and more.

I did not anticipate was how inspired and moved I’d be by watching Erika, Maggy, Pam, Sharon and the rest of the Anderson family and friends SERVING and CARING for us. Putting together this event was hard work and they were GENEROUS and GRACIOUS and I hope I thanked them sufficiently for all of their efforts and LOVE. Thank you again Maggie, Erika, Pam and all your family and friends that pitched in.

As I listen to Shauna Ahearn speak passionately about her love for writing, food, her child, her husband, and her community, I could feel her words sink in and stir us. She encouraged us to be AUTHENTIC…warts and all, and to be kind to ourselves and turn off our “editors voice” in the face of the hard work of writing even when that doesn’t always feel good. And to try to live in the PRESENT and be GRATEFUL for what is. Thank you Shauna for your many insights.

I was very grateful for so many BSP2 moments. If I had a camera I might have been able to capture pictures of them. Instead I get to remember and cherish the feelings and the words I’ve CAPITALIZED in this post.

As a non-photographer, I wasn’t sure what I’d learn from Penny De Los Santos. Now the words: MOMENT, COLOR, COMPOSITION & LIGHT have new meaning. I can see myself taking a little more time and considering her words next time I point and shoot.

I’m certain I’ve drooled over Penny’s photos in Saveur, but BSP2 enabled me to put her name to them and to deepen my appreciation of her work through her HUMOR and COURAGE as she let us in to see how she envisions and “makes” her photos

BSP2 lacked the facilities to actually show her work, yet I was still able to see her photos in her face. She described waiting hours for the perfect moment to emerge/shoot her photos. I saw REVERENCE, RESPECT and COMPASSION oozing out of her pores as she described so vividly some of her subjects and as she INSPIRED us to get out of our own way to take our pictures. She gave me a new perspective on the journey to achieving EXCELLENCE.

I was also LUCKY enough to listen to a BRACING and CHARMING fan side chat with Pam Anderson and Justin Schwartz as they advised and discussed the pleasures and pitfalls of creating cookbooks; the new technology and media involved; stats; self-publishing; along with re-referencing some of Shauna and Penny’s sentiments.

Maybe I SHOULD reconsider self- publishing my cookbook CD “No Singing At The Dinner Table”...

We talked a lot about the power and importance of community with Maggy.  We agreed if one is not available reach out and make one.  As we talked and reflected on the experiences we were having at this retreat ours was actually growing around us.

Big Summer Potluck was moving and it was robust. I got food for thought and food for the belly, and I felt the warmth of being uplifted in the spirit of all the moments that shaped a stupendous weekend. I felt rich, enriched and well fed.

On the subject of being well fed, I’d like to thank everyone who had a hand in feeding and drinking us, with a special shout out to the kind people behind the brands that sponsored the Big Summer Potluck. I know they made it easier and tastier for Erika, Maggie, Pam and Sharon to create such a magical event for us at such a great price. Their contributions were greatly appreciated. Go buy their products, visit their Web sites and their FB pages and follow them on Twitter.

Big Summer Potluck Sponsors

Everything that matters does happen between people, and I want to thank all the people who I met, re-met, and hugged for eight seconds or more (since I’m a greedy serotonin pig) at Big Summer Potluck. Thanks for being part of my community.

This bunch captured gorgeous moments! See their photos: The BSP2 Community Flickr Page:

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