Today was the first day of the Food Media Forum. While this event was held in St. Louis, my hometown, it was clearly much more than a local event. We had people driving and flying in from across the country to attend. I was beyond thrilled to hear this, particularly for the ladies who put this entire event together.
Upon arrival there was some fabulous Blueberry cake from Nadoz, some other pastries and fruit, plus coffee that apparently was very special. I’m not a coffee drinker so I did not try it, but the coffee lovers were all gaga over it and I admit the intricate designs painted onto the surface of the steamy tan concoctions were amazing.
We settled in and were introduced to our speaker for the day, Dianne Jacob, author of Will Write for Food. My biggest goal for this event was to learn how to improve my writing about food (psst I tried some of these techniques in the paragraph above about the coffee). Dianne provided a handout and the first thing was about using specific adjectives and include a list of examples. I do believe I hugged this piece of paper. In my own writing I have noticed that I do use delicious, yummy, tasty, good, etc. fairly often. Those really do not tell you much – I want to be able to make my readers mouth’s water and be able to see, smell, and feel the food I am writing about. And while we want those adjectives to help induce the experience of the food we also do not want to use so many that we overwhelm our readers. Verbs are just as important as well. We had a writing exercise – spend 10 minutes writing about a food and use all of our senses in our writing. We had some candy on all the tables and Dianne suggested we could even write about that – so I did. When completed I was incredibly intimidated to have Dianne ask me to stand and read my example out loud to the audience. GULP! I’m not shy about being in front of people, but to read my writing about food in front of a room full of some great and true food writers made me very nervous. This is the unedited piece that I wrote….
The translucent gems in the center of the table kept grabbing my attention. I had to take one, or two. I found not only a brilliant garnet and sapphire colored worm, but also a tiny golden bear. The bear was he first to be sacrificed for this exercise. Popping the soft squishy bear into my mouth I was giddy with the fact that this gummy bear was soft and quickly dissolved its sweetness onto my tongue. The worm lay in front of me now, starring up at me like a fishing lure waiting to be gouged by a hook and plunged into the depths of the lake, instead I ripped the soft bait in half stretching it slowly apart. I think I am lucky to have gummy worms as my taste teaser compared to the poor fish who only have a tasteless rubber blob that fools them only with its appearance. The sugary coating on my tongue melted away leaving me to quickly forget about the fish and reach into the center of the table for more gummy goodness!
Looking back I can see some disjointed areas, but overall I did use the tips in the way Dianne was explaining them I feel. For the first time doing it I was proud of myself. I loved listening to the other examples shared as well and was amazed at how well these writers were able to transport me into their own world of food and memories.
We had a Missouri winery come in and bring samples for us at lunch time. They were all dry white wines – I prefer sweet – but I still appreciated the opportunity to try the wines and so did everyone else. We had sandwiches and wraps for lunch. Nothing fancy, but it filled our tummies after a morning of talking about food.
After lunch Dianne continued to teach us about best practices for writing and we touched on blogs – which Annie of MamaDweeb.com and I had a lot to add. Of course, this was a food event, not a blogging event really so we tried to hold back. I think we both are very exuberant when discussing blogging and social media thought so it was difficult to restrain ourselves. Dianne finished up talking about writing a book proposal. I have no plans for writing a book, but it was still very interesting to learn about the process.
Here are my photos from today. They are unedited. Anyone who was at the event today is free to use them if they need/want. Just click the photo to pull them all up on my SkyDrive account to view.
© 2012, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.