To read about day one of the conference, click here.
This day started out the opposite of beefy. While the nice people from Noosa Yoghurt were breakfast sponsors, I just couldn’t reason getting up and leaving the RB and RBII to eat yogurt. Any yogurt. I like yogurt, but I think I would have to be in a LTR with it to drive downtown at 7:00am to eat and talk about it.
When I arrived as the keynote session was beginning, I came upon the ballroom foyer to discover the hot bevs were tucked away. Mommy needs coffee, so back to the lobby to get an Americano. The keynote address was given by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, authors of a few titles including The Flavor Bible. Sounded educational. I was unaware that their keynote was coinciding with the launch of their new title The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. But I got up to speed within moments of getting through the door, as I missed any part of the presentation discussing flavor, walking right into the giant screen slides making the case for vegetarianism, and citing pop cultural indications that not eating meat is gaining popularity – like that time Oprah experimented with going vegan.
— WA Beef Checkoff (@WABeef) September 20, 2014
Look, I get it. Some people decide not to eat meat for simple or complex reasons. This doesn’t bother me on an individual level. A presentation like this as a conference attendee however, is pretty annoying. I was standing on the wall next to a gal from AllRecipes.com, who before knowing who I was, responded to a particularly disparaging claim about meat, that she thought the agenda included a sponsorship by the Beef Checkoff. And she was right. I’m also used to “competing” philosophies (no vegetables or vegetarians were disparaged during the beef session) using the same stage at an event like this, so it doesn’t really bug me either.
This presentation got my skeptic-face-tweet because it was so, so preachy. I mean, I love vegetables. I love learning new ways to prepare them in my kitchen. I look forward to ordering dishes at restaurants that use vegetables I don’t often make at home. This I am open to learning about from anyone, even vegetarians. But if I was picking up what they were putting down, it was that eating meat was bad for your health and it would be better to go vegetarian, based on their own personal health and nutrition journey. I haven’t read their books, but I got the impression that the duo are great writers, and as the keynote speakers, they wanted to inspire the large ballroom filled with blog writers. That is cool too. But their contention was that you should strive to “change the world” with every keystroke, and I got the notion that their changed world was one in which we didn’t eat meat. Of course, I couldn’t exactly get down with that. And I was so glad I stopped to get that coffee!
— Allrecipes (@Allrecipes) September 20, 2014
Next up was a session about photography led by Todd Coleman, which i was excited for so I could learn some pointers that might make my photos on this blog suck a little less. I actually think some of the pointers about photographing human subjects might actually work on the cattle I am always trying to get good images of. Photography is an area in which I have a lot of potential for growth and improvement. I’ve had coffee today too. It makes me optimistic.
After that, The Chef in the Hat, local favorite Thierry Rautureau filled the same ballroom with the delicious aroma of melting butter. He made the most divine tomato soup and he talked about the abundance and variety of foods grown in Washington, making it a chef’s paradise. This is indisputable. And at that point I was officially starving. The leftover Fair Scone I had before leaving the farm was no match for all the delicious smells and imagery. I was glad lunch was next up. It was tasty, but it just proved that even at a conference about food, if there is no protein sponsor, you’re getting boneless, skinless chicken breast. It’s easy for banquet catering to prepare, I get that, but it’s hardly impressive on a culinary level. The grilled vegetables and creamy vegetable lasagna were quite good. The lunch was sponsored by Ninja, and I picked up a few recipes they had out on the tables. I do love meatballs.
After lunch, the sessions were all about food. This is where it gets beefy. The national Beef Checkoff hosted a #knowyourbeef session that covered everything from how beef is raised, to grading and aging, as well as how to take advantage of the versatility of cuts like the sirloin. The presentation was built upon questions posed by attendees who submitted them in advance via Twitter.
I met writer, blogger, and former Gourmet Magazine assistant editor Melissa Trainer and had a great conversation about the web tools available on beefitswhatsfordinner.com to provide the same kind of information to everyone. She wrote an awesome post about it! Then, I had some fun with the leftover jerky. Because at around 4pm, don’t we all need a little pick me up? If the jerky fairy wasn’t a real thing, it is now!
I be-bopped into a couple of different sessions to deliver jerky to bloggers in need of a pick me up, then I had to head back to the farm to be with the babies. But I do wish I could have stayed for the tasting reception that night to try this little baby:
— Ann Peavey (@SeattleMaven) September 21, 2014
So the day went from zero beefy points, to a lot of beefy fun. I’ll wrap up with one more post about the last day of the conference, which was more techie than beefy. It’s actually the perfect way to share with you a really exciting project I am about to launch here on the blog and on YouTube! Stay tuned!