foodblogSouth and why i blog

I went north this weekend, and I found the South. If you know Florida – and I’m pretty sure some of you are familiar with it – you probably also know that Florida is unusual. It doesn’t really fit into the South the way Georgia and Alabama do. Blame Miami or Orlando, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s a unique state, and I sort of like that.

I consider myself a southerner. I resisted it for a while, but the charms of southern culture have grown on me. Over the weekend, a group of food writers, stylists, photographers, and bloggers convened in Birmingham, Alabama, to embrace and celebrate all that is the South. foodblogSouth was the brainchild of Shaun Chavis and Jason Horn, with the dual purpose of bringing together food bloggers and raising money for the Desert Island Supply Company and the Alabama Gulf Coast Environmental Recovery Fund.

finer grind coffee

virginia willis

The conference was packed with sessions aimed at different levels of food bloggers, from novices to those of us that have been doing it a little while. The session with Virginia Willis and Alison Lewis on developing, writing, and testing recipes was a great reminder of technique, and it didn’t hurt that Virginia and Alison are so engaging. Jennifer Davick and Marian Cooper Cairns, both from Southern Living magazine, led the food styling and photography workshop, walking us through the process of styling and shooting a meal. Kim Severson, author of Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, was the keynote speaker, and – whether she meant to be or not – she was hysterical. She was down-to-earth and genuine, and it came across in everything she said.

photo styling workshop

photo styling workshop

photo styling workshop

A food blog conference wouldn’t be a FOOD blog conference without food. Saturday morning started off with a great cup of coffee from FinerGrind Coffee Roasters. Lunch was a grits bar, and of course I had to have the shrimp and grits. Have I mentioned lately that I adore grits? An afternoon pie break was sponsored by PieLab, a wonderful Greensboro, Alabama, restaurant and community space. While the sweet potato pie with cinnamon meringue was pretty darn good, I couldn’t stop eating the apple pie with cheddar crust. Oh, holy yum.

shrimp & grits

bread pudding

At IFBC in Seattle, a theme that I took away from that conference was that blogging should be about doing what you love to do. After spending Saturday in a variety of sessions at foodblogSouth, I started thinking about why I blog. Why exactly AM I spending so many hours creating this? It’s a lot of work, and I have to do it when I get home from my real job or on the weekends or after the kids go to bed at night. In its simplest form, writing a food blog involves researching recipes, cooking a dish, photographing the dish, editing photos, writing and editing each post, and finally pressing that “publish” button. Time consuming is probably an understatement.

So, why do I do it? Do I want to be famous? Do I want a cookbook deal? Is THAT why?

tweets

The answer is not simple, but I’m pretty sure the answer is NO, I don’t do it for those reasons.

I do it because I love to write. I love to create. I love putting my voice out there for someone other than me to read. I do it because it makes me a better cook. The process of seeing food through a camera lens and then on a computer screen gives me an entirely new perspective on the food that I put in my mouth and into the mouths of my loved ones. I do it because I need a creative outlet. I do it because my job is often stressful, and I need to make something beautiful after a long day in the hospital. I do it because I love the community. Through this blog, I’ve met the most incredibly talented people. The time I spent with Chris, Tami, Taylor, Helene, Paula, and Kelly was the best part of this weekend’s conference.

So, no. I don’t do it because I want to see my name in lights.

I do it because I must.


(Note: If you want more information on each photo, click through each one to my Flickr stream.)

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9 Responses to “louisville, kentucky: lynn’s paradise cafe”

  1. Macaroni Mama — September 10, 2010 @ 11:24 am

    You hit it on the nail . . .the biscuit, the decor, the photo of Truett and Maddie. I loved that trip!

  2. Susi — September 10, 2010 @ 11:52 am

    Looks like a wonderful trip with great memories! The cafe looks like a fun place to stop and eat for sure :o)

  3. Leigh — September 10, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

    I am in love with that sign. It’s the sequins. When they’re NOT on a hideous dress of some sort, they’re so so pretty. I’m glad you had fun! (And I like my grits plain, too. Cheese is overkill.)

  4. Jason Phelps — September 10, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    That is definitely one crazy restaurant. But at least you wouldn’t be bored while sitting there!

    Jason

  5. Gail — September 11, 2010 @ 11:14 am

    I love your posts. I do. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Madeline bit into the bath salt. You two must have been convulsing with giggles!

  6. CBR — September 11, 2010 @ 3:10 pm

    I SO love cheese grits! Now you have me craving them… Lovely photo of your dad and your daughter. That’s what family travel trips are all about. 🙂

  7. Lisa McB. — September 12, 2010 @ 8:00 am

    Tea bags? A lamp? How cool is that!?
    P.S. I want grits now as well…

  8. Chris — September 12, 2010 @ 10:15 am

    I had heard mixed reviews about Lynn’s so we decided to skip the crowd when we went to Louisville last year. The tea bag lamp shade is a hoot. Great shot of your dad and daughter, memories for a lifetime there.

  9. ellie — October 8, 2010 @ 11:36 am

    i actually am from louisville and i have to say i love lynns! my highschool used to be right down the street so i drove by there everyday on the way to school. that area of town (the highlands) is my favorite. every time im in town i make a point of driving through there at least once. the amazing restaurants, the fun shops, the eclectic people, the laid back vibe, the gorgeous houses… there is just no place quite like it in the city.

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