This past weekend, I attended the Oregon Truffle Festival (the underground fungus, not the chocolate) with my camera in hand for four days of fun work, new friends, and forest foraging. A fellow guest I met while shooting Friday night’s One Big Table awards dinner said, “I bet not all your jobs are this much fun.” “Actually,” I replied, ” they are!” Because of our involvement in the food & wine industry, I have fabulous times, memories, and countless friends all met around the table with a toast. That’s where I thrive shooting. Give me a plate of gourmet and a glass of glee, and my Canon 7D sings! If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know I’m a devoted wife and homeschool mom, and that is my primary “job.” And, through Luis’ amazing career, I’m blessed not to “need” to work… but something inside me lately has been so clearly showing me that I have to work. If I don’t shoot, write, and create…move, I feel as if I’m dying. Standing still. Stuck. And, I hate that feeling. I thrive on momentum. And, this momentum seems to be gaining supernatural speed since I’ve clearly identified that who I am must write (thanks, Jeff) must create, must share… and must toast!
Something in me experienced a paradigm shift before this weekend’s event. I was there to shoot, sure. Write for an awesome new publication- Latin Connoisseur- cool! Learn about scent training our truffle dogs, the lagotto romagnolo. But mostly, I was there to connect. Make friends. Experience authentic community around a passion (cuisine) and a table. And this event if truly where my greatest passions merge. Food, friends, wine, dogs- and the pursuit of the undiscovered. The food was art: full of the sensuous seasonal Oregon truffles from morning’s hot cocoa and eggs to evening’s main course and desserts- and everything in between. Amazing chefs including Josh Feathers from BlackBerry Farm and winemakers (like friends at Big Table Farm) gathered to share their art as I created some more. Food, photography and faith, and of course, our truffle dogs were the topics of my conversation.
I discovered something with each artful bite. In the crafting of the masterpiece on a plate lies the difference between gourmet and glutton. It truly takes a team of committed and passionate people, and a few miracles, to feed the masses with style. I was blessed to glean from renowned authors, and now good friends, Molly O’Neill and Kathy Gunst. I tasted everything from Merry’s award winning parsnip and celery root soup with shaved oregon white truffles and pomegranate arils to Chef Josh’s two-day roasted white truffle beef short rib with white truffle purée, and finished nothing. Yet, savored everything. People, places, experiences, and tastes.
Stay tuned for interviews with some of the amazing people I met this week, recipes (tomorrow will be wild mushroom and truffle risotto after our dinner tonight) and more photos. If you were there- or wish you were- post a comment below!
Business cards, phone numbers, and emails exchanged. Friendships formed. Pass the seconds, please.