“Oh my god, this apple cake is sooo good!”, “NOBODY TOUCHES ANYTHING UNTIL WE’VE ALL TAKEN PHOTOS!”, “Brownie cookies are here!”, “Ooo, the orange juice is fizzy, I wasn’t expecting that!” Smush 15+ food bloggers into a Random House Canada conference room with a mini brunch buffet chock full of goodies from Deb Perelman’s brand spankin’ new cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, along with the cookbooks and the celebrated blogger, photographer, home cook, and newly minted cookbook author herself and enthusiastic food banter and chatter ensue! I had the special opportunity of attending Deb Perelman’s blogger brunch event organized by Random House Canada Saturday morning during the Toronto leg of her Smitten Kitchen cookbook tour!
I was beyond excited when I saw the invite in my inbox nearly two weeks ago. Brunch? An event devoted to food bloggers and cookbooks? What an exciting moment! It’s not every day I get to attend cookbook author events, especially ones involving women as down-to-earth as Deb Perelman. I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I’ve followed Smitten Kitchen since the beginning or that I’m her biggest fan. I’ve only been familiar with Smitten Kitchen for a few months at best, but that certainly didn’t affect my level of excitement and jubilance for this blogger brunch devoted to celebrating her cookbook and her work.
I, along with a number of food bloggers including our FBC’s (Food Bloggers of Canada) Mardi Michels, eagerly took photos of and noshed on Cheddar Swirl Breakfast Buns, Mom’s Apple Cake, Cluster Maple Granola, Brownie Cookies, fruit, and orange bubbly as we asked Deb Perelman questions about everything from recipe development and testing, aversions to food (we all have them!), cookbook writing, family, and more. I love stories. Especially food ones. And that’s exactly what Deb Perelman’s new cookbook is full of – stories about her upbringing, her loves, her not-so-loves, and her whirlwind journey as a home cook navigating the sometimes choppy, sometimes peaceful waters of recipe development and testing, blogging, and now, cookbook writing.
While I do wish that the event was more engaging and more of a round-table, personal discussion between and amongst us food bloggers and Deb Perelman about how being a food blogger has informed our approaches to cooking, baking, food writing, visiting restaurants and other foodie establishments, and forming and maintaining relationships via our blogs and social media, and how we feel food blogging as a whole has influenced processes of cookbook writing, I still feel like I took away a valuable experience.
I love the cookbook. I haven’t read it from cover to cover, but I have paged through it and I love how I can relate to Deb Perelman – her outlook on food, eating, cooking and baking, and blogging. Her cookbook reads like a personal food journal, chronicling her endeavours and experiences in and outside the kitchen and that’s exactly how I feel about this blog. This is my personal food journey and I feel like Smitten Kitchen captures the opinions we form through blogging, cooking, and eating, the learning curves we go through, the frustrations we deal with in the online community, in the restaurant industry, and even in our own kitchens, and the pure joy we feel radiating from us when we that recipe just right, when we stumble upon that hole-in-the-wall gem, and when we’re completely in tune with our passion for food.
That is what I have taken away from the event, from Deb Perelman herself, and from her cookbook. It’s not about how many followers we have on Twitter or Facebook, how many big wigs we may or may not know in the industry, or how many accolades we have. Food is a labour of love and it’s an expression from the deepest parts of your heart. Food is much bigger than any of us will ever know and ever be, and it’s this journey that truly matters in the end.