(I'm not sure where the international part comes from. Maybe someone at IFBC came from Canada or something. But likely its just there for the SEO.)
This conference taught me a few things I wasn't previously aware of.
First, that I dislike large crowds. The whole weekend was one long battle against claustrophobia - the constant press of 250 people in too small a space, the exhaustion of trying to stay peppy and funny and schmooze with people when all I really want to do is run away screaming.
Second, that apparently I'm not cut out to be a food blogger. I don't take pictures of things I'm eating. I don't care about seo or copyright issues or getting a book deal. I am pretty sure no one reads this thing, and you know, I'm okay with that.
Third, that I am far more interested in meeting people, and eating/cooking food with people, and talking about food with people, than I am about pontificating on the subject in the silence of my mind. Which is probably why twitter appeals so much.
Fourth, that I am a champion of the semi-colon. (its the shorter-than-a-period, longer-than-a-comma, punctuation of the people; it's infinitely adaptable to its surroundings, like a chameleon against wallpaper.)
It took meeting a bunch of other food bloggers to make me realize how little I am actually interested in leveraging my blog and how much I'm interested in everything else that comes with the territory. The question is, can you have the one without the other?
I think it's pretty clear that the reason I keep this thing is because if I didn't, I would forget all my recipes, and I like being able to find them somewhere online without a lot of search. Plus, I can easily share them this way too. Am I interested in being a big-time blogger, the kind for which writing is no longer a joy but a chore, the kind who worries about whether they're going to get on Tastespotting or not this week?
Well, no. I'm not interested in the slightest.
Anyway, the weekend was enlightening, and overall a pretty good (if exhausting) time.
I met a whole ton of lovely people.
I talked about food.
I ate some awesome things, none of which were provided by the conference. (Seriously. I never thought that I'd be constantly starving at a food conference. There were some good dishes, just too little.)
I got to see some interesting panels; recipe writing, not for the content but because of the AWESOME semi-colon discussion (Go Amy!); Penny De Los Santos lovely and inspiring photo session, which made me want to start putting food cartoons up here again; and the food tech session (The HD video part, not the selling us on a book we'll never buy part).
I was disappointed by the clearance rack quality of the swag bag items after hearing about last year's awesome stuff, although I held on to that truffle sausage and it WAS all free so I can't complain.
I'm a little disappointed and slightly worried, actually, by the fact that every recap I've seen of IFBC talks like it shat rainbows. Maybe it really is just me that felt this way.
The truth was, there was a lot of very poor execution on the part of the organizers in the conference, and it seemed like they were unprepared to handle 250 people at pretty much every event. I personally felt kind of marginalized as a hobby blogger and wish they'd focused more on food and less on making money.
Anyway, now that you're throughly depressed, I want to stress that this is my personal opinion and it's extremely obvious that the majority of attendees had a wicked good time. And, for the most part, so did I.
It was awesome to be in Seattle, it was awesome to see my friends, and it was AWESOME to finally attend the 100-mile dinner at the Herbfarm Sunday night and get drunk on excellent food and wine.
As for next year, unless things change dramatically I think it was made obvious that I am not the audience this conference is geared to. Oh well!