If you’d have told me four years ago that I’d be tweeting from a beach in Mexico, while at a blogger camp, discussing social media, SLRs and SEOs, twaudio and animoto, I’d have looked at you as if you were flapping your arms and hopping on one leg.
I wouldn’t have been able to respond—I’d have walked away, speechless, shaking my head and feeling sorry for you.
But there I was, in Ixtapa, the Pacific crashing at my feet, a paloma in hand surrounded by people with cameras and laptops and boogie boards, talking continuously about this amazing new world of blogs and all they might have to offer.
It was both a really busy week (important given that it’s an open bar there from 9:30 a.m. till you can’t drink anymore) with intimate and fascinating seminars, but with plenty of time for relaxing and time to absorb it all, as well as a fishing trip (which was in fact a dolphin watching trip) and a foray into the fascinating market in Zihautanejo.
My favorite session of the whole trip was Adam Pearson’s food styling seminar. Adam’s a professional food stylist (the fact that he can’t bring a blowtorch on an airplane anymore bums him out) and he shared not only tips and techniques, he demonstrated how he put together this dish on his partner’s blog, mattbites.com, stressing how one builds a dish for a photograph. That single idea will change the way I think about composing a plate.
Matt Armanderiz gave a great seminar in photography, Elise Bauer spoke on being smart about your blog, on internet mechanics and being more focused and successful, and Todd Porter and Diane Cu, whiteonricecouple.com got us up to date on all the opportunities for using all kinds of different media on my site—headspinning.
One of the participants, Lori Lang has written a useful summary of the important lessons from all the seminars on her site recipegirl.com. Todd and Diane have done two summary posts as well. Dianne Jacobs, who taught a food writing seminar also writes summarily about the event on her blog (if you’re a new or hopeful food writer, you can’t NOT buy and read her book, Will Write For Food).
I expected to have a good time, sure. Open bar? Beach? Blue skies and 80 degrees and tacos all day long? What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the people, and to leave Ixtapa so inspired. When I write about food and cooking, one of the things I aim to do is to inspire, inspire you to cook, to write, to think. This is what every single person I spoke with did for me. Thank you all.
Cecile, above, came all the way from Norway—her blog, www.lekkermunn.blogspot.com is worth it for the photos even if you can't read Norwegian. (Here's Matt's top 10 list from the week, starting off so aptly with tortillas.)
Foodwise, what I loved best were the tortillas and salsas. We had amazing tacos at the market (above) and at Club Med—two little old Mexican ladies fried them up daily. I loved their salsas so much, Donna and I weaseled our way into the kitchen and shot some video that I hope to post later. And at the market, carnitas, the pork tacos, plenty of belly; my favorite was pig's head—different parts, jowl, tongue and shoulder—chopped together, covered in a spicy salsa, garnished with a cilantro-onion mixture, wrapped in a hot tortilla and washed down with a Victoria beer. Heaven.
Special thanks to Kate Moeller of Club Med for making this happen, and the force of nature who brought it all together in Ixtapa, Jaden Hair, of steamykitchen.com. What an extraordinary opportunity, and what a strange exciting world it is.