Is it alchemy or magic when a spell is cast and you are transported to another place? When words transport and images bring a place to life?
Food bloggers are stuck in that nether world between art and craft, hobby and vocation, respect and silliness.
Perhaps we belong to the old tradition of serial story telling?
Not unlike Pinocchio and the Pickwick Papers that told their stories in regular releases in the newspaper, we tell stories and share recipes in little daily bites. Our loyal readers are in on the jokes, know the characters, know of my fondness for roasting quail.
It was in that spirit, of wanting to walk in Dickens or Collodi’s shoes, that I went to the Plate2Page food writer & photography workshop in Tuscany.
OK...I confess Dickens was not exactly what I was thinking about on the long, foggy drive from Montone to Pistoia. But, I was looking for inspiration, and permission, to play with my words and my photos.
Writing is solitary and there is certainly an appeal to being able to share fears and frustrations with other who tell tales through words and pictures. How much of my personal life should I reveal, must everything be 100% truthful and hot off the fire, how often must I blog, and how the hell do I adjust the white balance on my camera?
Blogging is a new frontier for sharing and those of us who truly care about what we write push ourselves to do it better with every post.
There were 16 of us: 4 organizers/teachers and 12 participants. We came from:Germany via India, France via Florida, South Africa via England, Italy via Sweden, Malta, Brazil,Canada, California, Denver, Belgium, Toronto, Poland, Amsterdam, England. In other places and other situations, this might make for long uncomfortable silences, but when food is your love, the barriers melt, the Belgium chocolates are passed around and the noise level rises.
There was a late night photography class, and multiples of writing and photography assignments throughout the weekend. And while I picked up technical knowledge, what I truly gained was a respect for our craft and the comfort of comraderie with my fellow serial writers.
Many thanks to our creative organizers: Meeta of What’s for Lunch, Honey; Jean of Cooksister; Jamie of Life’s a Feast, and Ilva of Lucullian Delights. Each of you brought something unique and wonderful to the experience.
And more thanks to the generous sponsors of this Plate2Page workshop: Bisol Prosecco, Sunchowder’s fabulous jams, Zwilling J.A. Henckel’s knives, tasteofhome's yummy baking book, Smaromi’s gorgeous salts, OXO, South African’s Peppadew peppers, Cavi-Art’s beautiful faux caviar, Gallo rice, Nielsen-Massey Vanilla, Gourmelli’s pink Himalayan salt slab, Matcha Factory’s green tea powder and travel size bottles of Tabasco.