This past weekend, I attended the Big Summer Potluck hosted by Pam, Maggy, and Sharon of Three Many Cooks and Erika of The Ivory Hut in Bucks County, PA. After being so disappointed about other food blogging conferences always being held on the West coast, I nearly fell out of my chair with joy when I received an e-mail from Maggy inviting me to this event. At first I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go, but in the end it worked out perfectly – the hubby was already going to be down in Lancaster, PA for another event…so Friday morning, I drove there to meet up with him for dinner and to check into our hotel. The next morning, both nervous and excited, I drove 2 hours over to Bucks County. When I finally stepped out of my car to see a steady stream of people arriving, my stomach was in knots. Was I crazy to drive all this way to meet up with people I’d met online? But when I stepped in the door and saw Maggy’s smiling face, I was immediately put at ease.
The day started off with a lovely breakfast, complete with the amazing Donut Muffins brought by Jen of How to Simplify (seriously - they’re addicting). But I had to laugh, because instead of grabbing a plate and digging in, we all pulled out our cameras and starting clicking away. Only at a food blogging event…I felt right at home!
After breakfast and mingling, we started with a session on how to make a recipe your own by Pam Anderson herself, monthly columnist for USA Weekly, contributing editor to Fine Cooking, and author of several beautiful cookbooks. Her session was followed by a cooking demo by Abby Dodge, baking expert and author of The Weekend Baker, which I’ve had on my shelf forever. I couldn’t believe I was actually meeting them both!
After Abby had us all drooling over a delicious four-ingredient dessert from her new book, we had another session by Pam on how to write your own recipes. She compared two recipes; one at the beginning stages of writing and testing, and the second version which had been further tested and edited, and it was so helpful to me that this was one of my favorite sessions. We then had a session led by food stylist Melissa DeMayo, where she taught us some tricks of the trade for making our food look irresistible.
Following Melissa’s session was a lovely photography session with Erika in which I took copious notes, especially during the part of her lesson on post-processing. We had a break for lunch afterward, where I ate one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever tasted…and after more mingling and chatting, we heard from Jason and Christina from Auritt Communication Group, followed by a session with our keynote speaker, Alice of Savory Sweet Life. And what a wonderful session it was! Alice spoke about blogging from the heart and being true to yourself, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Plus, I got the chance to chat with her during the tea time afterward (where the goodies everyone made were brought out) and she really is a perfectly genuine, talented, and generous person. What a joy to have her there to speak to us!
After tea time, we all crowded around Sharon for an open forum, where we asked questions and discussed anything blogging-related that was on our minds.
As the last session came to a close, there were cocktails and snacks to enjoy, and Maggy started off the raffle. A variety of items were raffled off, including tons of great things from KitchenAid, and I couldn’t believe it when I was the second person picked to win one of the items!
I of course went for the Keurig coffee maker donated by Green Mountain Coffee, due to my massive coffee addiction. And as if that weren’t enough, we were each given a bag filled with goodies from various sponsors (and these adorable cookie favors brought by Jen of My Kitchen Addiction!), which included a copy of Pam’s new cookbook that will come out next month…and let me just tell you, you’re in for a real treat – I drooled over it all the way home!
All in all, I am so very glad to have attended the Big Summer Potluck! Each blogger I met is a wonderful and talented person, and of course we all couldn’t have asked for better hostesses who put so much heart and hard work into putting on this event. I loved the small setting of this event – and even more, I loved that it was on the East coast so that I could attend! Thanks so much to Pam, Maggy, Sharon, Erika, and each of the men and women who helped to put on such an amazing event!
Here are some more photos from the day…I only wish that I’d had more time to chat and take pictures with everyone!
For many more photos of the Big Summer Potluck, check out Erika’s photos here!