This journey to meet all of my fellow Doristas in Seattle started a few months ago when one of our group members mentioned that Dorie Greenspan, the author of “Around My French Table” from which we have been all rigorously cooking from the past few years, was going to be giving the keynote address at the International Food Bloggers Conference.
Our families in tow, we made plans to meet for drinks the night before the conference started. Little did we know we would all band together and attend the various sessions and events offered at the conference, eat endlessly, trudge up and down the iconic Seattle hills, shop, laugh and chat together as if we had known each other longer than the few years we have been cooking together for the remainder of the weekend.
Mei and Emily had never really been to Seattle, despite having family living there. This was the first trip for them to really see and remember the Puget Sound. In celebration, we took them to the Seattle Pier for a little fish and chips at the Salmon Cooker!
Emily learned that she LOVES tartar sauce! Both of them scarfed down the enormous chips that came with our alder-smoked salmon and halibut.
From there we headed off to meet our fellow Doristas, including Dorie Greenspan and her husband Michael.
This past year, I have met some amazing people online: people who work tireless for others, people who have a great deal of heart and want to share it with the world, people who write clever prose, people who are passionately immersed in their craft, people who love life and share it with others, people who challenge themselves to overcome their reservations and fears, people who can effortlessly keep so many people on the same page, people who make me feel as if I am a part of their family, people who enjoy food, photos & cats, people who speak to you and make you feel as if you are kindred spirits and old friends, people who are ardent about family and staying connected, people who joyfully share their family’s journey with us, and finally, people who feel so at ease with baking that they inspire all of us to bake more! Because of my blog, distance from my family & friends, and social media immersion, I spend more time talking to my online friends and less time with my friends back home as I grew closer to each individual. These people quickly became a part of our weekly conversations and my husband grew to know each one as well – it made him feel good to know that if we didn’t like a dish, he wasn’t the only family member that didn’t care for it, or one of the many family members that “patiently” waited for their meals to be carefully arranged and photographed before we could eat.
The experience of meeting all these lovely people we have grown to know over the last few years at the International Food Bloggers Conference (IFBC) in Seattle this past week has allowed each of us to grow even closer. Because we share stories of our past and our daily struggles and triumphs, even hopes for the future in our blogs, you quickly feel as if you have known them “forever.”
Face to face meetings are so much more personal and intimate than virtual chats and messages but the impact that we all had on one another was simply breathtaking. The French Fridays with Dorie group is full of lively, like-minded and engaging people. We are all so lucky to find friends by rounding up people with similar interests, senses of humor and passionate feelings about our community and goal: cooking through each and every one of Dorie’s recipes in “Around My French Table.” There are over 300 recipes!
The evening was full of shouts, hugs and kisses as we introduced ourselves to each person and instantly began feeling like long-lost family members that had been remarkably reunited in this special place. There are so many stories that have been read and shared at our house about each person, along with their struggles and successes throughout the past few years, that were blessed with a face upon meeting each other.
Before this cocktail party, my husband was only partly involved in French Fridays – eating the food, commenting on his preferences, and asking questions about some of the other group members and their posts. Now he feels we are all part of a much closer family that is French Fridays – this has even changed the experience of French Fridays for him, quite unexpectedly so!
We left the Trace Living Room that night, feeling even closer to our virtual community that has been transformed into a group of “real” friends that we are closer to, in a way even closer than our friends back home and spread all over the world!