I suppose it’s no surprise that my life has been all consumed by food gifts for the last five years and so intensely for the last 10 weeks of recipe testing for Food Gift Love. It’s a lot of work, of course, but I’m making sure to keep my wits about me (you’re motivating emails help!) and keep it super fun too.
I went to Alt Summit Salt Lake City in late January to meet up with about 700 lifestyle bloggers. It was fairly intense – think sequins and fashion and high heels (not on me, of course!) – but also inspiring. I got to listen to motivational talks by icons like Garance Dore, Christy Turlington (supermodel and founder of Every Mother Counts), and Ben Silbermann (founder of Pinterest), all of whom built ventures around simple core missions. No big bells and whistles, but simple messages like “every mother counts” – so simple, so easy, so tangible and actionable. I’m not even a Mom and I can totally wrap my head around “every mother counts.” (Because they do.)
The conference and all the little messages (like the two below) energized me in so many good ways.
It all forced me to rethink my daily activities, like taking an unofficial tally of what works well in my personal and professional lives, and what could stand to be revisited, revised, and refined. We all need to do that on a semi-regular basis, right?
If the simplest ideas are the best ideas, then I want to revisit the simplest here.
My Food Gift Love life started the moment I began reading, and soon after devouring, the food section of The New York Times. I learned so much about food in those thin bits of colored newsprint – all about flavors, food history, travel and culture. I piled all the papers in a random closet and once the pile teetered too tall, I had to figure out the best use for the delicious and pretty paper.
So here’s what I did…
I made food or bought the very best food I could afford, and gifted it all wrapped in the same food sections that had nourished my future life. And when I came back from my conference, I hustled up a list of my favorite food friends and sent them each a big box of sweetness (caramels!) wrapped up in sheets of beautiful Japanese (Japanese?!?) magazine newsprint. It was a moment to share with others but it was also a bit selfish: I got to reconnect with me… because I needed it.
Do you need a little moment to reconnect with you? If you do, it’s okay to take it at this time, really.
And if you’d like a little cookbook update, you should know that I am also learning this “keep it simple, stupid” lesson from the recipe testers who are helping me craft a cookbook you will love.
They are teaching me all about the differences between all of our kitchens and the challenges when canning at different elevations. They are clarifying when amped up steps matter and when fewer words are way better. They also send me photos of their recipe testing escapades. Those photos might be some of the very best gifts…
So here’s a summary of my lessons today:
- Food-filled newsprint (or any newsprint) is the ultimate gift wrap.
- Simple is generally best.
- Food gifts are pretty amazing too.
- I like emails, especially emails with pretty photos of food.
My business card (which I packaged in a little muslin bag for conference attendees) is below. You can write to me anytime! Seriously. It may take a bit to hear back from me, but I will write back.
Photos by Maggie Battista.
Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest.
Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique–a food-retail concept space with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.