Big Harvest Potluck

The moment I stepped onto the casino floor of The Sands and was asked for ID – I knew I would have a great time.

Big Harvest Potluck

I’m 37 years old – And for security to glance at my age, then my face and tell me to “Keep doing what I’m doing”, made a sista’ feel goooood.

Big Harvest Potluck

Trust me – At my age every little bit helps. I walked with a strut in my step; a feat quite difficult to pull when you’re bogged down by luggage, a pair of surprisingly heavy knee high boots and baked goods.

Big Harvest Potluck

I checked in and was almost immediately welcomed by the incomparable Chris Thorton and his beautiful wife, Karen from The Peche. Seriously – That chick is so beautiful, it’s crazy. She belongs in a Botticelli painting. She has my favorite sort of face; androgynous, almost angelical. I think I’m crushing on her.

Big Harvest Potluck

This was the beginning of Big Harvest Potluck, hosted by Three Many Cooks and Ivory Hut.

What is the Big Harvest Potluck?

It’s supposed to be a food conference, yet it isn’t, really. It’s the NEGA-Conference – Or perhaps The Food Conference Super Villain. Yeah, I like that.

Big Harvest Potluck

OK – I’m talking smack. I have nothing else to compare The Big Potluck to, as I’ve never really attended an actual food conference.

Big Harvest Potluck

But I’ve heard things, things which go against my belief system. Cliques form, you network at top speeds, there’s a hierarchy situation, exclusivity – And power phrases such as:

“SEO!”

“100,000 PAGE VIEWS PER MINUTE!”

“READERS HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPANS!”

“SELL YOUR SOUL!”

Big Harvest Potluck

These phrases are liberally repeated and seep from the walls like the Amityville Horror. They are drilled into your subconscious until you wake up in cold sweat. You begin to tag your posts with SEO friendly phrases, shorten your posts to a mere 7 sentences, and spastically click on Google Analytics to find that things haven’t changed from 30 seconds ago.

Big Harvest Potluck

The Big Potluck is a complete 180 of that situation. You’re not bestowed secrets to the “FOOD BLOGGER FAME FORMULA”, secrets which vary from conference to conference, speaker to speaker, and blogger to blogger. You come to be inspired. You come to make friends. You come to eat food. You come to laugh. Sometimes… You even cry.

You leave happy. You leave inspired. You leave full…

In more ways than one.

Big Harvest Potluck

This is my third time attending The Big Potuck.  I’ve never written about my Pot Luck experiences and I don’t have an answer that will satisfy you. I’ve been blogging a long time, yet never ever consistently. My ideas stayed mostly in my head. I’d go to The Big Pot Luck, drink in the experience, and come back inspired. I’d come back with a flurry of ideas. You’d see some activity for about three, four weeks. By the time September rolled around I’d run out of steam and pump out a post every three weeks or so. My usual MO.

Big Harvest Potluck

This time, however, things are different. I’ve been posting consistently for a few months now, and for the first time I feel… I feel… Like I belong.

In this space.

Sharing food.

Big Harvest Potluck

The first night is always the best/worst night for me. I see the majority of my fellow pot luckers once a year. This year we had a bunch of new faces. You see, I may look cool and confident – But in real life I’m really, really shy – Which doesn’t translate well. In fact, I give off a raging bitch impression. I’m sorry. It’s just my face. I promise you, I’m friendly. And kinda funny.

Big Harvest Potluck

I came armed with baked goods in the hopes someone, anyone would say – Wow – This is amazing! I bought with me an old reliable –  Dark peanut butter chocolate chip sandwich cookies, plus a new gluten friendly recipe, piña colada mini cheesecakes.  Both were a hit, but that’s wasn’t the highlight of my weekend. Although I must admit – Having Jennifer from Savory Simple say she loved my peanut butter sandwich cookies was cool as f***.

Big Harvest Potluck

The highlight is always the second day:

A day chock-full of food, speakers, and activities

Big Harvest Potluck

A day spent on a beautiful farm

A day stealing glances at one of the cutest pregnant ladies around

A day spent smiling at cute lil’s as they ran past, took naps, or wore cute sunglasses

Big Harvest Potluck

A day I coveted a Kitchenaid Espresso machine

Big Harvest Potluck

A day I drank espresso in my OXO NO SPILL (that’s key), single serve mug and vibrated in place

A day I ate the best chilaquiles casserole I’ve had in FOREVER

Big Harvest Potluck

A day I discovered I don’t have to give up pork – My “go to” meat

A day where the veggies in my salad were grown specifically for us

Big Harvest Potluck

A day sitting in picnic blankets amongst so much beautiful greenery and talking with so many amazing like-minded people

A day I learned there are a million ways to photograph 1 apple

A day I learned that it didn’t start with me

Big Harvest Potluck

A day where I watched the scene unfold

A day I heard someone share bravery and vulnerability in sentences which bought tears to my eyes.

A day I felt my lip quiver

A day I vowed to to dip all the things in Sabra and start my dressings with Gourmet Garden

Big Harvest Potluck

A day I met someone brave enough to stand up and make us laugh through our tears

A day I felt it was time to cultivate my culinary history

Big Harvest Potluck

A day I discovered 1 drink can still kick my ass, despite all the booze I’ve had this summer

A day I confirmed I’m still afraid of heights, yet rode ball that’s essentially powered by fire

A day I met someone so unbelievably cool I want to call her my Sista’ from a Canadian Mista’

A day I tasted pastry that rivals my own  – And I know it ha to start with Kerrygold butter

Big Harvest Potluck

A day I went to back to my hotel room tired, yet exhilarated and deeply inspired.

It’s been a week since Pot Luck and I can’t pinpoint my best moment. Big Harvest Potluck was all the moments enveloping me completely. I can say this: It was this Big Pot Luck, my third – which sealed it – I will be attending every Big Pot Luck, summer or harvest until there are no more Pot Lucks to attend.

Big Harvest Potluck

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