Big Summer Potluck

Big Summer Potluck

This past weekend, 35 food bloggers from next door and as far away as Seattle descended on our home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania for The Big Summer Potluck. The idea of the event started when my dear friend Erika from The Ivory Hut and I decided that East Coast food bloggers needed to connect. I think we were all a little nervous to meet. Sure, we “knew” each other online, but what would it be like in person?  Not too sure what we were worried about. By day’s end we were all ready to go on vacation together.

My top ten memories of the day:

1)    Sharon running around still un-showered and in her pajamas (an oversized Super Mario T-shirt and yoga pants) making scones when the first of our guests arrived. I’m sorry we don’t have a picture of that.

2)    All 35 attendees arrived at our home early or on time (I lay awake the night before worrying that everyone would get lost in rural Pennsylvania, and it seemed a legitimate fret since even FedEx could not find us).

Big Summer Potluck

3) The amazing and abundant food bought by the attendees. Since we had so many people flying or driving from such a distance, we decided to ditch the “potluck” aspect of the event. I should have known better. Food bloggers? Come empty-handed? Never.

4)    The breaks. We had a wonderfully packed agenda with fantastic talks and demos from some of the finest people in the business, cookbook author, Abby Dodge, and food stylist, Melissa DeMayo, to name a few. But the magic was in between the sessions. It was my job to round everyone up for the next session, and I was always delighted that people wanted to continue talking. And they weren’t small-talking either. They were already friends.

Big Summer Potluck 2010

5)  Jen’s Doughnut Muffins the star of the morning (and yes, this could easily have come under #3 but they were so good they needed a whole bullet point for themselves).

Big Summer Potluck 2010

6)    Mom and Abby joking about ‘perfuming’ the whipped cream with extra Grand Marnier. That made me belly laugh. Pam Anderson loves perfuming. (If you don’t know what ‘perfuming’ is, check out our video, Three Many Cooks Live for a detailed explanation.)

Big Summer Potluck 2010

7)    Alice Currah from the award-winning blog, SavorySweetLife, our keynote speaker. She is one of my blog heroes and her talk confirmed why. Alice shared her inspiring, honest story. She spoke about being a Mom, finding her way, blogging with an authentic voice and the importance of fostering a supportive food blogging community. And that she does.

8)    The Meatless Muffalettas. Not to toot our own horn, but…”Toot, toot!” Recipe to come next week with Mom’s post.

Collage

9)    All the food, wine and terrific raffle prizes. Big thanks for the sponsorship and support of KitchenAid, Green Mountain Coffee,Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (who provided Mom’s books), New West Knifeworks, The Spice House, Cypress Grove Chevre, Green Valley Organics Yogurt, Fine Cooking, Louis Latour Wine, Naturally Nora Cake Mixes, and Lindsay Olives.

I’m sure we should have talked more about increasing traffic, monetizing our sites or SEOs (to this day I’m really not sure what the heck that is), but the common thread and themes throughout the day were so much more important and uplifting: blogging from the heart, finding an authentic voice, supporting other bloggers in the community, paying it forward, information sharing, creating a non-competitive environment, and most importantly, making friends. And yes, I realize how cheezeball that sounds. But what can I say—it’s true.

Everyone had a great time, but we all had one criticism. The day was too short.
10) So, the final top moment of the day: the realization that we have to do this again soon! And we need to get together for a whole weekend. Details coming soon!

For now, I’ll leave you with this amazing recipe for Orange-Scented White Chocolate Raspberry Mousse that Abby Dodge demoed for us from her upcoming books, Desserts 4 Today. Over 100 desserts with just 4 ingredients. I literally cannot wait.

Photos by Erika from The IvoryHut

35 Comments

  1. says

    Wonderful round-up, Maggy! We all had such a great time. You are a force to be reckoned with – making all this happen in such a short period of time. If it happens again, count me in! And you, your mother and your sister are all just lovely people and we all felt so welcome. And I’d love to also say thanks to your dad and your neighbor who helped out! Thank you, thank you, thank you, one and all.

  2. says

    Hi Maggy! It was a wonderful (and oh so tasty) day.
    One I will remember for a long time to come.
    So many passionate people.
    One take away for me is how very cool it is you, Sharon and your mom are all intertwined…so amazing that what began as your mom’s passion and profession has now become one you all share! A parent couldn’t wish for more!!
    Till next time!!
    -Colleen

  3. says

    Thank you again for planning and hosting such a great event. And I agree, we definitely needed more time to visit and learn from one another. I feel like I was just getting comfortable in my own skin (crowds freak me a little) by the time we had to leave.

    Thanks again!

  4. Robyn says

    The day was absolutely perfect! Thank you so much to your family for your wonderful hospitality.

    Can’t wait for next get together!

    Do let me know about when y’all will be in Atlanta for Pam’s book signing. Until then, I’ll see ya in San Fran!

    Robyn

  5. says

    Wow, what an amazing potluck. I loved reading all the tweets. I was sad I couldn’t attend, but glad so many others were able to. What a great group. Nice work!

  6. tony in Cbus says

    The Meatless Muffalettas— I wonder what they are saying at the Central Market– Bring on the capicola and the salumi!!

    Can’t wait to try it!!!

    Ciao

  7. says

    It was such a fantastic day!!! Thanks so much for all of your hard work! Not only was it a day filled with great food, people & learning – it was Food For The Soul for me.

    Three MANY THANKS! (and more)

  8. says

    You have no idea how sorry I am that I’d already bought tickets to BlogHer. This looks like so much more fun! I ran into Alice Currah that night & she made everything sound so wonderful… Sigh.

  9. Pam says

    As the host, I’m STILL enjoying all the goodies from last Saturday. It’s one thing to be tempted for a day. It’s quite another to have all that alluring stuff staring at you for a week. Oh well, someone’s got to do it!
    Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible on book tour (Watch out! It’s Maggy and me on the road this fall) and to the next one of these events. What are we calling it? The B(ig)W(inter) Potluck?

  10. says

    Thank you SO much again for organizing such a fabulous event! You all have such an amazing gift for hospitality and made us all feel right at home. Count me in for Big Summer Potluck ’11 (and the Big Winter Potluck too)!!

    PS I will be waiting for the recipe for those meatless muffalettas…that was the best sandwich I’ve had in my entire life…no joke. :-)

  11. says

    Sincerely, have a lump in my throat reading this Maggy – for me, this day has been the highlight of my entire year. It was also the first time I’ve traveled without The Professor, the first time I’ve EVER rented a car and driven by myself – something I wasn’t sure I could do (directionally challenged, remember?) and most importantly, it’s the first time since 1996 that I once again, have a group of women (sisters) who share some of the passions I cherish. So I thank you, Erika and the others for organizing the day and to Abby, Pam & Alice for being so generous with their knowledge. I look forward to spending an entire weekend with all of you! Hugs!

  12. says

    Hey Maggie:

    Such a lovely post! And so very true. Your and your family’s graciousness at opening your home and your hearts to us leaves me humbled and thankful. I had a fabulous time and came back with terrific memories (and a beautiful knife–squeee) from that day. Thank you for showing this West Coaster some amazing East Coast hospitality. I can’t wait to return the favor when you guys come to Seattle!!

  13. says

    What an absolutely wonderful post, Maggy. I came into the day not really knowing ANYONE (in real life or even somewhat online) and came out knowing and adoring 40 new people. This was one of the most inspiring days I’ve ever experienced and I want to truly thank you, Erika, Pam, Sharon, and everyone behind the scenes for coordinating such an incredible day. I too agree the day was way too short and I’m anxiously awaiting the forthcoming details of the next event.

  14. says

    Maggy, this day was perfectly conceived and executed. As I said earlier this week, I would drive through a snow storm in the middle of winter to spend more time with this group. And Jen’s donut muffins? They ought to be controlled like a Class 3 Narcotic.

  15. says

    I’ve heard so much about this event. It was all the buzz on Twitter and now I finally get the big picture. I hope there will be many more of these events to come so I can meet all the fabulous bloggers.

  16. says

    Maggy – you summed it up so perfectly. Good people, good food, good time. I’d add one more thing…the hospitality of you, Erika, your family and friends. It was no small feat to organize the Big Summer Potluck and open your house to all of us. I’m so glad I was able to be part of it. I’m looking so forward to the next one and to seeing everyone again. Many thanks and hugs.

  17. says

    Maggy, Pam, and Sharon,
    I’m not even sure where to begin. I’m still processing last weekend and it still moves my heart every time I see a photo from Big Summer Potluck. Your warmth and hospitality was an experience in itself. I felt at home, in your home, and that says a lot about you all. Never once did I get the impression anyone felt left out, excluded, or small. You welcomed each person as a friend into your lovely home and it was evident by the smiles and conversations happening all day. I know we joked about this event being a “family reunion” but in all honestly, it ended up being just that except no dysfunctional fights broke that. Thank you for facilitating a spirit of community building, friendship, and continuing education in a peer to peer way. I love seeing each of you share in your strengths – coming together as a three stranded cord team.

    Thank you once again for hosting such an amazing day.

    With much love,
    Alice

    PS:
    I’m excited about your book tour and can’t wait to see you in Seattle!

  18. says

    I had been reading about this party on twitter for what seemed like months – so it was really wonderful to see the photos (and the faces of several of my friends). What a fun day! Thanks for sharing it…now I really want to go make those donut muffins!

  19. says

    Maggy, Sharon & Pam,

    Than you so much for letting us into your home. The atmosphere of warmth and friendship that you all created is lingering with me still. BSP truly was an inspirational experience for us all. It was indeed all about connection & support… I can’t wait until the next time. Words fail me at home much this experience moved me :)

    Love,
    Shari

  20. says

    I just started blogging in May, and although I blog about food (and LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE the topic of cooking and food above all else), my blog is not entirely about food. BUT, I was so incredibly inspired about this post, all of the above comments, and what sounds like a wonderful, wonderful day- I cannot help but wonder… How can “I” be a part of this??? :)
    I hope you’re in the LA area for the book tour!

  21. says

    “Perfuming” has just become my favorite new word. My gosh, this sounds like it was a fantastic time. I am with Torrie above. I blog about many things, and one of them is food, but not just about that. How can I come? Ok, sorry, I feel like the kid in the soccer team “pick me, pick me coach!”.

  22. says

    I had such a wonderful time during this event. Thank you so much for opening your house to all of us food bloggers. The food, sessions and people were the perfect ingredients for a wonderful day. I can’t stop talking about the amazing time I had! Your top ten list was a great recap of the day! Thanks for including my doughnut muffins! XOXO

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