Food. It's what connects us. To the past, to a moment, to each other. The various smells and tastes evoke feelings and awaken senses. In sickness and in health, in life and in death, food has a way of bringing us together in ways at times unknown. How often have you gone to a party where food was not served? Weddings, funerals, and birthdays. We write about it, photograph it, and celebrate it. Food is life.
As technology has taken over our daily lives, we have experienced a connection not possible before this time. Social media has brought about the ability to know about gatherings of like-minded people across the globe - such as September's two-day Byte of Texas conference hosted by the Austin Food Blogger Alliance. When we post on our blogs about an experience, a recipe, or an idea we have about food, there is a likelihood someone on the other side of the world will see it. There is the likelihood that people will know about an experience worth attending - such as my chance encounter of a post on Twitter about a dinner in Edinburgh with the Slow Food Edinburgh community this past February when I was traveling to Scotland.
There are many reasons why we choose to blog. For some, in the case of authoring a book, it's a way to satisfy a publisher's requirements for an author platform. For others, it's a way to connect with other like-minded people. As I perused my blog the other day - after having been away from social media for half a year - I realised why I need to continue to write on my blog. It's not to satisfy the author platform requirement or to have others leave comments. It's for me. For me to remember life at a particular moment in time. Our experiences a year ago are not the same as the ones we are living now. Thoughts we had even a month ago have been shaped by experiences brought about in the time that's passed - because life does not stop. Even when you die - either in the physical sense or in the case of a life-altering moment - life goes on.
Having come upon the existence of this food conference in Austin a mere few hours ago (thanks to social media), I pondered the reason for wanting to attend. I've lived in Austin for over eight years, having spent a majority of that time inside of my former home in the suburbs as a stay-at-home mom to two daughters and one son. "Are you the one who has children named after spices?", asked a new employee yesterday at the spice shop I frequent (well, two spices and an herb, to be exact). "I am", I replied and was glad to have been able to spend a few moments to exchange thoughts with someone so friendly.
Since before the birth of my son (pictured above), my Etsy shop has been the only "job" I've known of in all those years here in Austin. This past year was when I decided change was necessary as it had became too simple to come up with excuses to stay home and not meet up with real people. As difficult as that decision was, I've made it. Life continues and the world of co-parenting will bring about challenges of its own. Food is one of them, as on my "off" weeks I will be learning how to cook for one instead of five. On the weeks when my children will be staying with me, the goal will be to balance my desire for healthy meals with the different tastes of three growing children.
A food conference gives the opportunity to bring together a community of people with a similar goal. The chance to share experiences with others face to face, as opposed to hiding behind the screen of technology, is an opportunity not to be missed.