After a great weekend attending the Food Media Forum in Saint Louis, there’s lots of catching up to do on my Bozeman home front. And this is without even reviewing my notes from two great days with writing, photography and blogging pros and amateurs alike.
My garden grows
Sooo rewarding to check out our garden my first morning home. The tomatoes are almost red enough and ripe enough for picking. I savored a couple of crisp and tender green beans right off their vines. Some of the vibrant Bright Lights chard became a part of our breakfast. The soft green and deep burgundy lettuce leaves, fragrant basil and pungent chives a part of our dinner.
Somewhat less fun were the dry baskets with wilting white petunias from the scorching heat and wind. And somehow the huge planter of healthy mint fell off its perch breaking a large chunk out of its side. I won’t even tell you about the arugula that bolted and started forming seed pods.
But oh how the Missouri Botanical Garden Grows
The brochure for the Chinese Lantern Festival reads “Art by Day, Magic by Night, one of China’s most treasured and ancient traditions.” And so it is. What a delight to walk around much of this 79-acre garden paradise Friday night. This is the first time such an exhibit has been created in the U.S.
Months of on-site work by Chinese artisans produced these 26 larger than life multicolored silk and steel wire lanterns. They depict many aspects of Chinese culture from mythical golden dragons and a porcelain dragon (made up of over 40,000 plates, spoons and cups) to an animated Goddess Blessing Buddha, from pandas playing in a brilliant green bamboo forest to rose-pink lotus blossoms and verdant leaves floating in a pond.
My favorite perhaps was the spectacular Qilin lanterns made from 13,000 Chinese green, red, white, blue and gold medicine bottles—when lit, the light sparkled and danced as if the lanterns were wrought from fine crystal.
The Japanese Garden
I so enjoy Japanese gardens. With enough time, I would have spent hours in this garden. My inner world receives nurturing from the quiet play of textural contrasts, the harmonious shapes and angles of trees, stones and shrubs and the infinite shades of green, gold and brown. This garden provided a most welcome respite after a day of travel with peaceful views and stone and wooden paths for soulful walking and silent contemplation.
The Food Media Forum
Two of my New Year’s resolutions were to take a class on writing and another on food photography. Resolutions fulfilled! This Saint Louis event featured both writing and food photography workshops.
Dianne Jacob led an all day writing workshop on Saturday. Wow, who knew there could be so much to learn about food writing? Many keys given and defined, such as the importance of “showing not telling,” of engaging the five senses, of evoking emotion and of having a strong personal voice.
So thank you for bearing with me as my blog-writing journey goes from just the facts and recipes to including feature stories with action verbs and colorful adjectives. Sounds like much more fun, yes?
On Sunday morning, four professional photographers (Corey Woodruff, Jennifer Silverberg, Jonathan Gayman and Jonathan Pollack) shared their expertise with tips on creative food styling, lighting and post production. So now I know a bit about how the pros set up for a shoot—more than just a plastic bag as my light diffuser and hope and a prayer as my technique. . .much more actually.
Saint Louis—my kind of town
The weekend provided a great opportunity to be around people who love food and want to share that love with others. And truly, most everyone—from the guard at the garden, the front desk clerks at my hotel, the TSA associate at the airport, my fellow bloggers at the forum—was open and welcoming, friendly and helpful to this first-time visitor from Montana.
Here’s what I made for breakfast my first day home. . .a stir fry of garden veggies over black rice (my new favorite grain) tossed with my favorite Spicy Peanut Sauce. A colorful meal in a bowl: fragrant with garlic and just-picked scallions and nutritious with carrots and greens.
Not really a recipe per se as the vegetables and quantities depend upon what you have on hand. I used minced garlic, thinly sliced carrots and scallions and a few fresh chard and beet greens with their stems.