Fresh Eats has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 5 seconds.

If not, please visit and update your bookmarks and RSS feed.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

IFBC: What More is There to Say?

A pretty little burger at the IFBC food truck event

I recently returned from the International Food Bloggers Conference in Seattle.

If you attended the event or followed the
#IFBC Twitter stream, you already know that for many this was more than a conference. It was, at times, inspiring, exhilarating, overwhelming and exhausting. Meaningful and memorable. Humbling and hilarious.

I went to IFBC in part to meet several lovely women I “knew” online, like
Merry-Jennifer and Mardi, and along the way met so many more fabulous people.

Me, Mardi, Jen, Marie and Kelly

I went because of their inspiring speaker lineup, and found them gracious, warm and friendly. People like Dianne Jacob and Kristine Kidd, who reinforced yet again that good writing and recipe developing is at the soul of all good food blogs.

Kat Flinn (a former Michigan gal), who reminded me to use all five of my senses when I write. Shauna James Ahern, who "writes from joy" and inspires me to do the same.

Merry-Jennifer and Shauna

James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur, who after his sensational keynote, told ME that my job sounds fascinating. Can you imagine?

And, the mesmerizing
Penny De Los Santos, who, when viewing the world through her camera, follows her instincts, waits
for the moment, then snaps it with eloquence and generous spirit. Her mantra of making photos remains etched in my mind.

They reminded me yet again that writing a blog is about capturing moments. It’s not just about the food. It’s about telling stories, sharing your self and allowing your voice to emerge.

Because, you know, I also went to Seattle to try to reconcile myself with my blog: why I do it, where to go with it, and how much of my time and heart to invest in it.

This summer, I pulled back. The chaos of life interfered. This blogging thing; it’s complicated and competitive. It’s a commitment. There’s so much I still don’t know. But what I do know, and what was reinforced to me this weekend at IFBC, is right now for me the most rewarding part of blogging is the sharing, the friendships and the community.

I also know that we all need to set our terms – our personal terms, not just SEO or CPMs or price per recipe, as important as they might be – and respect them.

So, I ask myself, where do I fit into the blogosphere? And, should I care? These are questions I’d hoped to answer at IFBC, and while I’m still in the process of setting my terms, I’m gaining clarity.

I started this blog as an outlet for my creativity and anxiety when my city and world seemed to be collapsing around me. The blog became a resting point, a haven of peace.

I went in with no expectations, and gained so much. I’ve met some beautiful, talented people that I hope will be in my life for years to come. Fresh Eats has been a window of friendship and opportunity in so many ways. Where it will take me remains to be seen. And that's ok.

My goal was, and is, to share my love of fresh home cooking, and hopefully inspire others to love it too. Creating stories, making photos, building a collection of memories. Works for me.

Note: A new, redesigned version of Fresh Eats is coming soon!


  1. What an eloquent post, and so relevant for me. Thank you, Maria. You were one of the first friends I made in this community and I'm so grateful. xo

  2. A lovely post, Maria! I think you're right about setting our terms and figuring out what those are. Attending IFBC was useful as a means of stepping back and re-evaluating what we're doing with our blogs and why exactly we're doing it. And as I said in my post, the absolute best part for me was meeting people like YOU. *hugs*

  3. It was wonderful to meet you at IFBC... I had a lovely time with you! So happy that you were able to gain clarity and re-evaluate at IFBC... I look forward to seeing more of Fresh Eats! :)

  4. Fabulous to meet you at IFBC - we have been friends online for so long!!! Looking forward to seeing the new look Fresh Eats and yes, it was good to get some perspective. A week out of IFBC and I am starting to get there too.. Hugs xoxo

  5. Thank you for the eloquent post. I started my blog a month ago today and the learning curve has been steep, and at times, overwhelming, but the I'm finding the food blog community very warm and encouraging. Your thoughts prompted me to pause and sort through my own. Thank you.

  6. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to meet you! I too struggle with my blog at times. Every time I start to feel like I am not doing something right, I pull back and ask myself why I keep a blog in the first place. Ultimately my answer is that it is for me. So all of competition and SEO talk doesn't need to distract me. I'm a mom as well and whenever I get too caught up in the blog life, I pull back and spend time with my kids instead.

  7. Mrs. Wheelbarrow, you were one of my first friends too, and you continue to inspire me -- so happy we met!

    Merry-Jennifer, the people I met, including you, are what I will remember most about IFBC.

    Jen- Was lovely to meet you and am looking forward to getting to know you and your blog better! : )

    Mardi - Hugs to you, too, and thanks for all your support and comments this past year and then some.

    Margaret - I look forward to reading your blog, and I completely agree, it's overwhelming and rewarding. I've found the food blog community to be among the warmest, friendliest group I've ever met.

    Dana - Great perspective. I'm learning that we all seem to have the same questions and struggles as bloggers. Thanks for commenting!

  8. Maria,

    Thanks for posting that you wonder where you fit in the blogosphere. I wondered that before I attended the conference, while I was at the conference and I am still wondering.

    Perhaps we never stop wondering and that is what helps us stay with it. I don't think I'll suddenly discover one day that I fit here or there and then be satisfied. I want to fit in several places when the mood strikes me.

    Like you, I use my blog to share and inspire (I hope). I didn't need the conference to teach me that or convince me of that but I'm glad I attended. I learned that I don't need to get lots of hits, I don't need a book deal, and I don't need people to already know about my blog if I introduce myself. The conference gave me perspective and what's more valuable?

    Thanks for posting!