I’m sitting here at my kitchen table. It’s the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. The hour is early, and I’m drinking coffee (bitter, black), listening to the sounds (rumbling buses, babbling recent graduates) and inhaling the smells (floral wafts of spring, a touch of car exhaust) filtering through our now-open windows. I’m trying to think of what to say about this past week. But it’s been such a big week that I can’t quite get my head around it. An exciting, wonderful week. But right now all I can think about is how much I want to go to sleep. Even though I just woke up.
It began in Atlanta, where I was a keynote speaker at the BlogHer Food Conference. Jory Des Jardins interviewed me on stage. I’m just beginning this whole “public speaking” thing – a terrifying and exhilarating experience, one that both humbles and inflates at the same time – and this was a new format for me. A great format, though. There’s something so much more personal and intimate about a conversation rather than a speech. I’ve never much liked speaking at anything. I’m a with girl at heart.
Anyway, it was a wild time. The whole thing. I’ve never been in a room filled with so many bloggers, or so many smart phones constantly ablaze with Twitter feeds. There are some excellent summaries of that entire weekend here, here, here, here, and many, many other places, too.
Afterward, I flew to a hazy, drizzly New York City, where I walked streets that smelled of wet cement, blitzed with sudden whiffs of hot dogs, candied nuts, and heavy breaths of rain. I saw some old friends here, and some others there. My mother came to town, and we shimmied our way through a jam-packed Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, gazing at dresses that looked less like dresses and more like contemporary art. I went out to dinner with Philissa, just back from Israel, who I haven’t seen since her wedding in October. We ate in the dim back room of an East Village restaurant, a meal that involved fresh ricotta from Brooklyn, sweet peas, asparagus and a tempura poached egg. I punctuated the evening with cold sips of dry white wine, a bowl of beer-steamed mussels and, later, a fat slice of rhubarb pie.
Over the next couple days I did some book stuff, too. And the moments that stand out for me like pin-pricks, the ones that slowed down time, came when I got up in front of people—sometimes lots o’ people, others just one—and talked. I spoke at the Jewish Book Council annual event. I chatted with Melissa Clark on stage and signed some galley copies of my book at the Book Expo America. And all the while I talked about my sense of smell, my love of cooking, and my work. It’s been almost a year since I finished writing Season To Taste, and while I’ve never forgotten how much I love the subject and enjoy the process of writing, the power and immediacy of the experience had faded a bit with time.
It’s back now, though. And I’m thankful for that.