Big Summer Potluck 2012

 This weekend my friend Celia and I went to the Big Summer Potluck in Bucks County, PA. We had a fabulous time, and she even won a KitchenAid standing mixer! There were several great presentations, and lots of amazing food. I helped ladle the juices onto the pig that was roasting for dinner.

Here is the pig being carried to be set up for serving.

And it on the table for carving.

 The result:

Celia made me, herself, Joy the Baker, and Shutterbean "Boom Boom Pow" t-shirts. Its s reference from a podcast. Totally fabulous. I love it so much! Apparently, you can do anything with freezer paper.

My takeaway thoughts from the event:

  • It seemed wrong that we were out in this incredibly beautiful setting with fabulous food and smart, interesting people, and we were complaining about Pinterest and unattainable ideals that are marketed to us on the internet. The internet isn't that serious. It is the typing television. Think back to the original AOL interface and how you could only spend an hour on the internet before your mother wanted to use the phone. Think of your life before the internet. People dealt with things. They made friends. They got news. It isn't that serious. To say you have to try to slow down and not be obsessed with activity on the internet, I say - how did that happen in the first place? Seems like a little bit of a waste to take it that personal. Here is a good article on the Pinterest subject. I have to say, there was something a little bit surprising about a bunch of people from the internet admitting the internet is idealized. It was like the whole ruse was over. The jig was up.
  • The JTB spoke about jealousy, inspiration, and finding an original voice. Now, it is no secret I'm a huge fan of her. Celia and I went to meet her in March. I make her recipes so much, when I walked in to the food swap last time Christina from the From Scratch Club said "What Joy the Baker recipe did you make this time?" I heard a podcast once where The Table Set guys talked about a pasta salad Joy brought to something, and I thought to myself "California food bloggers are so cool. And they have avocados." Of course, sometimes you really like what someone stands for or characteristics they have, and of course you'll never be them. But you can also stop and think about what is it that you like about them. What about a sense of humor, a splash of creativity, a sense of personal autonomy, and an enthusiasm for community engagement. You can adapt what you like about other people and work it into ideals you hold in your own life. Joy said that yes, an internet version of a person is in fact a bit of a character, or a tailored version of them in real life, but that doesn't mean they can't inspire us to do certain things or aspire to grow certain parts of ourselves. If 'Joy the Baker' is a bit of a character, can I not be the 'Joy the Baker' of Albany? And by that I mean bring awesome cakes to picnics, make hilariously lame hip-hop lyric references in a super serious voice, and do my best to bring people together and to say things that are thoughtful, real, and helpful. It doesn't matter if it is only the fraction of a person in real life, or if that persona is already spoken for - humor, cheerfulness, enthusiasm for community, not acting older than we are - these are all JTB qualities that are worth aspiring to, even if it all isn't completely original. 
  • One of my favorite parts of the weekend was talking about celebrity crushes with bloggers at Brooklyn Supper and Autumn Makes and Does. There was a lot of heaviness, and a debate between the sexiness of Usher and Ira Glass was totally necessary. In related news, on Saturday night I became convinced I read somewhere that Martha Stewart softens butter in her bra, Celia and I were writing hip-hop songs along that theme, and I was laughing so hard I was almost crying. Good, good times, and that all had the least to do with food. Perhaps there is a message here that food can really bring people together, but can get tedious as the actual main topic for too long.
  • I loved learning how to make smoked salmon from Max Hansen. Kind of totally blew my mind. Watch out food swappers! This may come your way.
I think most of all I appreciated how hilarious my friend Celia is, lavender shortbread, the beautiful scenery of Buck's County, PA, the great products from all the sponsors, and how much blogging is just really about communication. The whole thing also made me feel that it is important not to take the internet so seriously. I also met a girl who took a class in college from the father of the ring bearers in my wedding last year, and someone who went to the small town in MA I work in last spring and showed me pictures on her phone of the chocolate case in the coffee shop I visit sometimes after lunch. It is a small world, and that gets back to what is actually good about social media and the internet despite many things - and that is that it has the potential to bring people together.  Thank you so much to the organizers for all of their hard work!


  1. HA! Team Ira. I'm so happy we connected! Pretty sure you need to frame that picture of you ladeling pig juices and put it up on your wall.

  2. wow!!! I love what you wrote here. Especially the part about AOL. I remember those days! And your thoughts on Joy's talk matched mine. So eloquent! YOU!

    I also soften butter in my bra...

    so nice meeting you! BBP!

  3. hahaha. Poor Martha, I have no idea where I read that, but I totally almost raised my hand when the person asked that question!

    Thanks! Great meeting you! Looking forward to more of your avocado on toast posts.

  4. Awesome recap! I love how the food and the blog talk get equal billing with the fun and jokes. So glad we took a moment to be light, and silly. (I'm still working out my list in my head. When next we meet, it will be solid.) It was wonderful to meet you--I hope we can all get together for a brunch soon!


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