This Just Happened

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 20 , Permalink 2

 

De toutes les passions, la seule vraiment respectable me paraît être la gourmandise. – Guy de Maupassant

“Okay, your turn,” they said, and a dozen pair of eyes slid in my direction. “Tell us about yourself.” I have never been comfortable talking about myself, but here I was, the center of attention, albeit for just a brief minute or two, having to introduce myself to the members of a Businessman’s Club that my husband belonged to. Dinner with the Spouses night.

“Well,” I hesitated, not quite knowing how to explain where I was at this point in my life. I glanced from one to the other and noted eyes wide, faces infused with curiosity to understand this American woman, an exotic creature in their midst. I felt the rush of heat as my own face flushed with embarrassment. “I’ve done lots of things, had lots of careers,” I began. “Now I stay at home, moral support for a hard-working husband. And I write.”

“Write?! You write about what?”

A weighty pause (heavy with my own indecision, searching desperately to find the right words).

“About food. About my relationship with food.”

“Is it a love-hate relationship?” someone asks, the shadow of a smirk smudging a half dozen demeanors, imagining, I am sure, a skinny woman battling body image.

“No, no hate at all, just love,” my husband interrupted. “Definitely love.”

In 2008, my husband and older son sat me down for a serious heart-to-heart. You are going to start a food blog, they explained, dispelling any possibility that I could somehow refuse. You are going to start a food blog because we are sick and tired of listening to you talk about food all the time.

I apparently needed an outlet for my obsession with food. Clearly I needed to hook up with like-minded people with whom I could blather on about food day in and day out affording my men the peace of mind and silence they craved. And so they designed and built this blog. We spent several days choosing a name and designing a banner. And then, finally alone in front of the screen, the blank page, I began to tap out what just came so naturally to me: the story of my passion for food. And I began to recount the birth of Life’s a Feast.

And suddenly, something unexpected dawned on me. I came to the realization that there was something even stronger, more powerful than my obsession with food. I discovered then and there that writing about food, telling the stories behind the food that I make was more overwhelming, more thrilling, a joy more intense than the food itself. My passion for writing, something that I honestly never thought I was very good at, was more powerful than my obsession with food.

And so I wrote.

I sat in my little corner and wrote. On and on I wrote.

In 2010, I was asked to write for the newly created Food page of the Huffington Post. In 2013, I saw my first articles and personal essays published professionally. 2013 also witnessed the birth of the Plated Stories blog, my creative collaboration with brilliant photographer Ilva Beretta, an experimental space, a melding of words and images. Plated Stories would win us an IACP award for best photo-based blog and a nomination for the Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Awards for best writing. I signed a contract for my first cookbook, to be released August 2017.

I had turned my writing from a passion into a profession.

But Life’s a Feast continued to be my baby. I put my passion and myself, my heart and soul, into it. I shared recipes from my kitchen and adventures of my travels and the intimate life of my family. I bared my emotions and revealed who I was. Food and family were my muse, inspiring a never-ending stream of words. I even gave Life’s a Feast a do-over in 2015 when we purchased and moved in Hôtel Diderot so I could expand my storytelling, sharing details of my life in a hotel in Chinon, France. Yet I was never really good at promoting it and so my readership stayed small if constant and recognition sporadic, ephemeral.

Until this year.

I won the 2017 International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Award for Best Narrative Culinary Blog.

I have always loved writing purely, writing for writing’s sake. I love my readers for staying constant, for supporting and encouraging my writing, for cheering me on and giving me friendship and input. Yet, receiving an award for Life’s a Feast, getting recognition for my writing and my stories from such an honored and prestigious organization as IACP is the best thing that could possibly happen to me as a writer.

iacp award copy

You rarely win, but sometimes you do. – Harper Lee

20 Comments
  • Sandra
    March 8, 2017

    Félicitations!!

    • Jamie
      March 8, 2017

      Merci beaucoup!!

  • Denise Champendal
    March 8, 2017

    A richly deserved reward! Congratulations! Your blog is wonderful!

    • Jamie
      March 8, 2017

      I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Thank you xo

  • bonnie
    March 8, 2017

    I have enjoyed Your writing for more than a year. I am in awe of all you do with cooking, baking, making jam (especially) and running the hotel! I get tired just thinking of all you do in a day.
    I am so pleased you’ve been recognized for your blog – richly deserved

    • Jamie
      March 8, 2017

      Thank you so much; it is always such a great pleasure to get to know my readers. Thanks for joining me on this adventure!

  • John/Kitchen Riffs
    March 8, 2017

    Wow, congratulations! VERY well deserved. I’m happy for you. 🙂

    • Jamie
      March 8, 2017

      Thank you so much!!

  • Susan Walter
    March 8, 2017

    Congratulations. It’s a lovely blog and I think you deserved the recognition.

    • Jamie
      March 8, 2017

      Thank you!!

  • Laura Wharff
    March 8, 2017

    I’m relatively new to your Blog – and I LOVE it! Your writing is inspired and your passion is obvious. I’m so glad I met you and discovered this wonderful treasure. Congratulations!

    • Jamie
      March 8, 2017

      Thank you so much, Laura! That just makes me so happy. I hope to see you soon!

  • Barbara Friedman
    March 8, 2017

    Congratulations on a much-deserved award. I love Life’s a Feast and love the fact you give “Jewish” recipes, too!

  • Cathy Branciaroli
    March 9, 2017

    Congrats again on IACP Jamie! I love your recounting of the journey in this piece. I haven’t come as far as you have (yet) but can certainly recognize the milestones. Can’t wait for the book!

    • Jamie
      March 9, 2017

      Thanks so very much, Cathy! I’m so happy that IACP brought us together! Onward and upward!

  • Ilana Sharlin Stone
    March 10, 2017

    Congratulations Jamie! I have been enjoying your writing for a few months now, and particularly your passion for life and everything you do, not to mention your obvious time management skills (don’t know how you do it all!). Most of all, your writing is beautiful and straight from the heart. Glad your are savoring this wonderful award from IACP! It’s well-deserved.

    • Jamie
      March 10, 2017

      Thank you so much, Ilana, that means a lot to me. I actually take a lot of comfort listening to other writers talk about their journeys, challenges, struggles because I get that we are all pretty much in the same boat. Thanks for taking the time to visit and read my blog.

  • Ilana Sharlin Stone
    March 10, 2017

    …and also really appreciated your retelling of your journey…inspiring for us all. Thank you!

  • sillygirl
    March 14, 2017

    My husband and I stayed at your hotel with a tour group several years ago – think that is when I found your blog. I really enjoy your writing and it is even more special that I have met you and visited your city. Your writing about what is going on there as well as the cooking and recipes always makes me excited to check in and see what is happening next. You deserve attention and awards!

    • Jamie
      March 14, 2017

      Wow! I love making contact like this with guests at our hotel and I am so flattered by your generous words! The whole hotel experience has been such an adventure and I love giving people a peek into how it works and what we are doing. I’m excited when people read and enjoy it! It’s like sharing the adventure with friends. I hope that you come back and visit us again!

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