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French Potato Salad with Mustard and Fines Herbes and a Not So Fine Conference

French Potato Salad with Mustard and Fines Herbes

by Barbara Kiebel on May 31, 2011

Something wonderful this way comes. That just popped into my head when I sat down to write up this post…and it’s so true. Though long a fan of a potato salad I’ve made for many years with sour cream and bacon (and no pickle relish please); this one is probably my favorite for a barbecue. Not just because it is so filled with fresh herbs and simply dressed but because it doesn’t come attendant with a requirement to keep it cool…how perfect is that for summer outings?

Just one of hundreds of recipes from my old site that I’m going to recreate and post here as I can…it is quite simply too good to be lost in the transition. I was thinking the other day about the hundreds and hundreds of recipes I have with no attribution though. No one claiming ownership, no links to another blog. Years ago, before the Internet and the business of food blogging, people loved to share what they had made; readily giving their friends, neighbors and guests a recipe to use with no regard as to whether someone else would claim it; no small print advising that they had better tell everyone who enjoyed it who had actually come up with the dish. It was expected that we would all put our own spin on it and if someone came to my home and I served a dish as a result of them sharing a recipe…they did not stand up in the room and announce to everyone present that it was really their recipe. They might be tickled pink that I had been serious about enjoying something they had made but that was about it. It was that history of sharing that saw recipes traverse this country, get revised by thousands and end up on kitchen tables from NYC to LA; all becoming a part of a thousand different family traditions.

It seems to me though that the whole notion of sharing a meal and food and the camaraderie that goes with it has been bastardized by this culture of ‘food blogging.’ Food and the preparation surrounding it embody nurturing; both with family and friends. It is meant to be shared and in that sharing you would think there would be a real sense of community. Community now seems to be taking a back seat though to the REAL value of sharing a recipe and that is the money that can be made. If I recall correctly, blog hits do not build community nor do books or movies or giant egos nor do they correlate the real value of any given blog. Like many of you, I’ve read the wrapups from BlogHer Food in Atlanta (and I want to make it clear this is not a condemnation of any conference; simply the culture that seems rampant when large numbers congregate) and I’m not just discouraged but disgusted. The egos, the outright rude behavior that I’ve heard of…both personally from several friends and on other blog wrapups. I simply don’t get it.

I’m weary of hearing that it must be shyness that lends itself to ‘appearing’ to be rude. I know the difference between a shy person and a rude person.  A shy person does not walk away when you introduce yourself. A shy person does not turn their back on you to converse with those they deem ‘more worthy’ – so forgive me if I don’t buy it. If you’re shy…go out of you way to show how friendly you are because believe me, you do not want yourself to be included in the cult of the rude and hurtful.

And I have to say…who is that crowd, the new ‘Mean Girls?’ Who in this arena has decided that it’s OK to create a caste system with the haves and have nots? People lament the high school behavior which is so unbecoming so I would lament this. STOP. Because I will guarantee you this. Popularity only lasts for so long. Eventually the true character of people become known and their popularity starts to diminish. Two guys named Tiger and Arnold come to mind. My high school reunion comes to mind. The shortest, nastiest girl in the glass who thrilled at taunting me because I was so tall? Twenty five years later, my height was an asset and she was a short, hot mess…what good did popular do for her then? She had no friends because we had all grown up emotionally and few had kind memories. Is that your legacy?

The facade will eventually become reality and if your reality is that you feel comfortable being rude to other people…it is a good thing I did not make it. My mother was an alcoholic and my husband an abusive cheat. I’ve survived thrived despite some terrible years. I raised two children completely by myself while running my own business and as a result have a strong sense of self confidence that is not dependent on my blog and Heaven help me…I’m just a bit fearless. I know I would not have gone skulking away quietly. I’m sure I would have called out anyone who tried that crap with me or my friends. I don’t live for conflict, quite the opposite, but I’ve been my girls champion for so long I know what that takes. And it takes SOMEONE standing up against the inequity and rude behavior. Not just behind closed doors, not just in DM’s on Twitter, but out loud, taking a risk.

I’ve had multiple reasons for not being able to attend a conference. This time last year I was almost bereft at not being able to meet ‘friends’ I had made on Twitter. This year I even bought a ticket. While I publicly blamed an injury that does impact my mobility, the truth is…I lost all desire. Do you know how many people have told me how lucky I was to save the money? How much I would have hated the event? While I’ve heard comments about content and speakers that BlogHer does need to address; those are growing pains and to be expected of anything that has had a quick growth spurt. No..it is the body of people that attend that need to address this issue. Remind themselves of synergy and sharing and yes, caring about each other. Let’s face it…this group is primarily women…let’s show everyone what we are truly made of; that inner strength, that kindness and compassion that is at the core of our gender. Because when I hear of women being petty and unkind to each other, I cringe. Let’s revive the sisterhood (and include guys because their way was NOT better, right?) and stop the terrible reputation that is being built by those seeking only fame, fortune and attention. How about instead we all remember to nurture and help those who need it? In that synergy, everyone wins.

Something wonderful this way comes…or so I am fervently hoping.

French Potato Salad with Mustard and Fines Herbes and a Not So Fine Conference

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

French Potato Salad with Mustard and Fines Herbes and a Not So Fine Conference

A light potato salad made with olive oil, lemon juice, champagne vinegar and herbs.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs small red potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh tarragon leaves
  • 1Tbsp minced fresh oregano

Preparation

  1. Place potatoes, 6 cups cold water and salt in large pan, bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium.
  2. Put peeled garlic into simmering water and partially blanch, about 45 seconds.
  3. Immediately run garlic under cold tap water to stop cooking and set aside.
  4. Continue to simmer potatoes, uncovered, until tender but still firm (thin-bladed paring knife can be slipped into and out of center of potato slice with no resistance), about 5 minutes.
  5. Drain potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Put hot potatoes back into the pot they were cooked in.
  6. Press garlic through garlic press or mince by hand.
  7. Whisk garlic, reserved potato cooking water, vinegar, mustard, oil, lemon juice and pepper in small bowl until combined. Drizzle dressing evenly over warm potatoes and gently mix; let stand 10 minutes.
  8. Toss shallots and herbs in small bowl. Transfer potatoes to large serving bowl; add shallot/herb mixture and mix gently with rubber spatula to combine. Serve immediately.
  9. For best flavor, serve the salad warm or at room temperature. To make ahead, follow the recipe through step 7 and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Before serving, bring the salad to room temperature, then add the shallots and herbs and toss gently to combine.

Notes

The original recipe called for a Tbsp of Chervil, something I don't have in my herb garden, so I substituted oregano. I've also used thyme and lemon thyme is especially good.

http://www.creative-culinary.com/french-potato-salad-with-mustard-and-fines-herbes/

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{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Natalie June 18, 2011 at 10:45 am

Oh yum, I am making this for our dinner party next week!! I love potato salad in all its forms.

And people who pique in high school… well, NOT good. And I despise cliques and cliquishness in all forms. Great post! I’m all for authenticity, kindness and MANNERS.

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2 Avanika [Yumsilicious Bakes] June 16, 2011 at 3:44 am

This was an awesome post. I hate the fakeness aspect in food blogging a lot, and think those people are ruining it for us all too. I tend to stay away from our local meets too, sometimes, and rather only meet people that I know are genuine.

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3 Creative Culinary June 16, 2011 at 8:48 am

I agree; even writing this post has seen me lose some readers; maybe people I thought friends but what happens is real. I’ve heard personally from people in other blogging communities that talk about the culture of food blogging…so it’s not an unknown that the culture can be petty, competitive and rude. Nice huh?

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4 Tina W. June 6, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Wow- this was so good! I’ll be making a lot of this over the summer. Thanks!

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5 Donna @ Cookistry June 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I’ve never been to a food blog conference, but I’ll bet that the bloggers are turning their backs because they in turn are trying to get the ear of someone they think will help them. They don’t get it that you’re probably more likely to get a boost from the people below you than to get a hand up from the few above.

And when it comes down to it, if a blogger does get a book deal or whatever, the helping hand from above is nice, but that book is never going to go anywhere if the regular folks don’t buy it an support it.

Anyway, I hope to meet you one of these days. I keep seeing your events and my schedule always conflicts.

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6 Barbara June 5, 2011 at 9:11 am

So true…and me too? I had hoped to have it be a regular last Saturday of the month thing but schedules, speakers, etc…make that harder. Hope you make it to something soon; we have a nice group.

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7 Lea Ann June 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Even though I love my traditional mayonnaise laden potato salad, I must give this a try. Sounds delicious Barb and as always great photo. I’ve only read what Michele wrote and must not follow any other bloggers that attended. I did however, read a similar sentiment from a newer blogger who nervously attended meetup in San Fran last year. She was talking to one of the big name bloggers and in mid sentence, big name blogger simply walked away to talk to a a bigger name blogger that had just entered the room. Just rude nonsense.

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8 Barbara June 5, 2011 at 9:08 am

Pretty much what happened to a dear, sweet friend of mine who went this year and I’ve heard it repeated over and over. You are right on…rude nonsense it is. Though I do look forward to Michele sharing some of the information she gleaned with us this month; I can’t deny!

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9 sweetsugarbelle June 4, 2011 at 11:48 am

I came to tell you the photos made me crave potato salad, but ended up reading with a lump in my throat. I am the new girl. I like blogging, it keeps my sanity, but in some ways it’s scary. I have never done this before and there aren’t very many people standing in line to help you out BECAUSE it’s competitive. I am very fond of the ones who have graciously and generously helped me, and they are friends.

At first I thought it was my imagination, but the more I am around, I see it happening. I am semi-lucky in the respect that there aren’t a lot of cookie blogs around, so it doesn’t get very fierce, but sometimes, after a trip through Twitter or blog world, I do feel like HS, and I hate it. I didn’t have a lot of fun there, and they definitely weren’t my glory years. A little funny, I had two lunches my senior year, and since I didn’t have much money, I spend the first lunch in the library reading all of the good magazines they had subscriptions to {gourmet, better homes and gardens, Southern living} which is why I was kind of considered a nerd…anyway, I get sidetracked.

I came for potato salad and got something even better. I respect so much that you called it like you see it. I am way to chicken for that, BUT I have totally thought it’s insane that you have to spend almost as much time researching to make sure you didn’t steal an idea or recipe as you do planning a post.

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10 Barbara June 5, 2011 at 9:05 am

Well, I think there is a place for everyone in this world. Some want fame and fortune, some just love sharing, others might even be looking simply for a way to connect with like minded souls. I hope your journey brings you the fulfillment YOU are looking for…and brings cookies to the rest of us. Thank you for your sweet comment; you are a dear.

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11 Katherine June 4, 2011 at 6:07 am

What a post. Thank you. I’ve never attended a blogging conference and am certainly not interested now. It seems that more and more people start food blogging thinking they will become instant superstars. Too much Julie and Julia I guess. I understand the desire to have people read your blog – of course we do it for ourselves, and I would keep doing it even if no one read it, but we put it in a public forum hoping that someone else will take interest as well. That being said, the popularity contest aspect is silly and I am shocked – naive, perhaps, but truly shocked – to hear about people’s behavior at these conferences! So childish! Re: commenting and “sucking up” – I used to never comment on people’s blogs, but then I realized that it was nice to let them know that I had stopped by and enjoyed what I read. I only comment when I truly like the post, and I really mean it if I say I’ve bookmarked it or want to try it. It is probably silly, but it still makes my day every time someone leaves a comment on a post and says that I have maybe, just maybe inspired them in some way.

That being said – on to the other part of your fabulous post! I do truly love this recipe. This is my kind of potato salad. I can’t do the gloppy, deli-counter variety, but this kind is perfection. Thanks for sharing, for being an inspiration, and for being the voice for so many.

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12 Lia Moran June 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Barb –

I love this recipe! My mom makes one pretty similar, I think, and I keep meaning to ask her for the recipe…and now I don’t have to! I may make it today.

As far as the other stuff is concerned, I hear you loud and clear. I followed some people on Twitter who went to the BlogHer conference and was stunned by the things these women were saying. I stopped following a lot of them. I don’t have time for negativity like that in my life. I’m not perfect, and can be rude sometimes, but not through my blog and I certainly strive to not be a repeat offender. I love that you started the Front Range Food Bloggers and that I’ve gotten to meet some of them. It’s nice to have people on your side.

And now, I am hungry.

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13 Figs and Artichokes June 3, 2011 at 9:53 am

Hi Barb,
Looking forward to trying the potato salad. It looks perfect for a picnic…very portable. I have never been to a conference. I have only been doing my blog for about a year and haven’t really thought about going that direction. I have met a few of my fellow bloggers via their blogs and a few exchanged emails and have had a wonderful experience with the sharing process. It is always nice to get feed back on something you have put out there, but I guess I don’t need to experience the conference snub. I am thinking that I will stay in my small little town and continue to do what I love (cooking) and then write about it (blogging) without the “mean girl” thing.

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14 Bakerbynature June 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm

I love potato salad in all forms; this looks fresh and savory.

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15 Jersey Girl Cooks June 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

Great potato salad! Sorry you feel that way about food blogger conferences. I attended BlogHer Food for the first time and had the most wonderful experience. This was my first big conference and I met the most warm generous women. I know there were some negative reviews but I didn’t see any of that at all.

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16 Barbara June 3, 2011 at 8:56 am

I’m so happy for you because I know this world we participate in is full of warm and generous women. I just couldn’t help but speak after hearing the same sentiment over and over. You won the lotto!

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17 Luna Raven June 1, 2011 at 11:40 am

Bravo! I love an honest voice and boy, did you say a mouthful! That there is cliques in every situation is quite true, but the difference between the first and second year of one conference I attended was simply astounding. Oddly enough, one of the cliquiest people from that second go round recently stated on Twitter how uncool she thought that behavior was. Ironic much? Thanks for sharing a picnic ready salad and some needed food for thought.

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18 FreeSpiritEater June 1, 2011 at 11:27 am

This was a wonderful post. I understand your frustration. I know there aren’t any set of rules but there is such thing as courtesy. I didn’t know how the “food blogging world” worked, but I read a post from Chef Dennis saying that when we make new friends on foodbuzz it’s courteous to check out their blog, follow them as well as comment. So that’s what I did and one time that I did the very next day someone made a blog post ranting SOLELY on bloggers who are “fake” and commenting and following others, and that he wished he could name each one. Others chimed in rudely instigating saying that the author of the post should call out on all those bloggers, and it was the very first time I have seen any immaturity when it comes to food blogging. I can be shy when I meet people and I’ll smile and say hi and try to talk, but I would never turn my back on someone trying to be nice to me. Thank you for calling out the people who really are doing something wrong, instead of those miserable jerks who just simply can’t stand friendly bloggers. Great post, I always enjoy your writing. =]

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19 Nelly Rodriguez June 1, 2011 at 11:16 am

First of all, I adore potato salad. This would be my request as my last meal (with a side of stir fry rice. yes, I love carbs!)

I’ve definitely seen and felt this “mean girls” issue and I wish I didn’t understand it but I do: someone people are just petty. Period. Whenever I even mention the things I see from this “group”, I honestly feel like we’ve warped back to high school. Comes to a point of being ridiculous, but like our Mother’s always said: Not everyone is going to like you. Just un-follow/delete/ignore and keep on tweeting. Wish everyone would just shut up and get along! ;) xoxo!

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20 Barbara June 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Me too Nelly and beyond the more serious issue if this is your last request meal…you have made it easy. One thing I love about it.

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21 Doreen June 1, 2011 at 10:43 am

Barbara – I’m not a food blogger – or a blogger on any subject for that matter. I read lots of food blogs because I’m interested and love finding new recipes to try … I don’t work in the food industry or anything related to it … I work in the high tech industry …. but reading your post and the comments I couldn’t help but draw parallels to the business environment – there are people who lack compassion, are very selfish – who only associate with people who they can learn something from – or who they feel can somehow advance their career – these type of people are everywhere – I call them the use, abuse and discarders – as when they’ve got what they need or what they feel the can from you – they discard you and move on …. I think this happens everywhere … the only thing we can try to do is recognize it and not enable their behaviour … these type of people typically do not reciprocate … which is why they don’t have time for anyone they don’t feel can help them move forward with their aspirations and goals … there are no excuses for the bad, mean, rude behaviour though in my mind … I was appalled by the brush-off comments of the organizer of the event … clearly some of the problems start off the top as they are enabling the behaviour …

I enjoy reading your blog and love your honesty and willingness to speak out.

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22 Barbara June 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head…just had this very thing happen in a different environment. Thanks for reminding me it’s not just me; it’s just takers!

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23 Saltyseattle June 1, 2011 at 10:39 am

Girl- you have every damn right to speak your mind. In addition to bad social etiquette at conferences, I’m noticing a ton of bad etiquette in the comments section of posts lately. It’s fine when we don’t always see eye to eye, but when we disagree we should do it as we would in our own living rooms, not in a mud-wrestling pit. Love you.

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24 Barbara June 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Feeling is mutual. That is all.

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25 claudia lamascolo June 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

Now I wish I had this recipe as a side dish for my roast this weekend; delicious! And that chocolate pie you made was awesome too!

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26 Barbara June 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Thanks Claudia…guess both of them just need a protein with the mix and we’ve got a meal!

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27 Lora June 1, 2011 at 6:56 am

Ps: LOVE your potato salad. I love the addition of champagne vinegar. I don’t like heavy potato salads and yours looks light and wonderful:).

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28 Lora June 1, 2011 at 6:54 am

Hi Barb- I didn’t attend any of the conferences this past year. I heard wonderful things about Jamie’s P2P and EWR. I suppose at the bigger conferences there will be more personalities and less intimacy. I feel like you do and really want to attend one so I could meet all my friends I’ve met through my blog/Twitter. I feel there is no excuse to treat another person poorly. You’re right that popularity isn’t always permanent and I have been dealing w/this as an adult and am trying to help my daughter deal with it in elementary school. It’s important to find a core group of friends that love you whether you’re the most popular or not. People that will help you grow, whether it’s with your food blog or life, in general. People that are there for you when the chips are down. I found some friends like that and that’s who I hope to be with at a future conference one day.

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29 Barbara June 1, 2011 at 10:05 am

You can come to my conference Lora. My Denver Food Bloggers Backyard Convention. My house, bring a dish. I’ve got wine. Let’s chat. :)

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30 Lora June 1, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I can bring cake or how about a pie?:) Maybe some Prosecco?;)

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31 edamame2003 June 1, 2011 at 2:31 am

a very earnest recipe with words to match. much appreciate your honesty.

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32 Alice June 1, 2011 at 1:21 am

Having attended the last three BHF conferences I can honestly say I had vastly different experiences all three times. The first one was super enjoyable because I was relatively new to blogging and meeting so many friends IRL was the highlight of my weekend. Last year’s conference was very different in a rather alarming way. So when I was invited to speak on a panel this year (just a few weeks before the conference), I had to give it some serious thought on whether or not to accept the invitation to Atlanta.

I left BHF 11′ with a better conference experience than the previous year because my goals and expectations were vastly different than years past.

Twitter makes it so easy to be “friends” online, that I believe people forget it doesn’t necessarily translate to being friends in IRL as much as we may believe it should or would like it to be. This is when managing expectations when meeting in real life is very helpful for attending conferences of this size.

I think it’s perfectly fine if everyone doesn’t click with each other online or in person. But at the very least I hope we can all be respectful, kind, and sensitive towards each other, striving not for popularity or attention but for the edification of our wonderful food blogging community.

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33 Barbara June 1, 2011 at 10:02 am

Thank you for your thoughtful reply Alice; your personal experience is important. And I should probably make it clear that I’m in no way condemning this conference but the culture that seems to surround these events and is evident not just in person but on blogs and Twitter too. The simplicity of your last sentence says it all. Let’s be nice.

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34 Kim May 31, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Crap – I forgot to comment on your potato salad recipe – It looks delightful!! Very season appropriate. :-)

[K]

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35 Kim May 31, 2011 at 9:49 pm

It’s really a shame that so many people walked away from the conference feeling “less than welcome.” My hope is that we all do better in the future, and that someone “brings it down a notch” so we can attend a smaller conference where there is more opportunity for personal connection. Heck, I’ll take my RV out on the road and meet y’all one at a time if I have to!

[K]

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36 Tickled Red May 31, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Before it gets over looked, I love your potato salad recipe. I am so making this Saturday :) Barb I just love what you wrote and that you had the conviction of most who wouldn’t, to be your own person and voice your opinion. To me food is an extension of family and friendship…it embodies hearth and warmth. My hope has always been to convey that with my blog and I look forward to welcoming blogging friends of all shapes and sizes to partake in that simple pleasure with me. You know me, maybe a group hug would benefit all ;) Awesome post!

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37 Barbara June 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

Seems I’ve been criticized for writing this post because I wasn’t there but in fact I wrote it because of my friends who were and what I’ve seen and heard for over two years now. After reading a lot of event wrap-ups during that time, the two things that have struck me most are…the joy of meeting new people and forging friendships and the pain of being treated in a manner that reeks of class distinction. I’ve had so many friends share with me that hesitate to speak up for fear of retribution that it was planted in my head and in truth…those words just sort of came out organically as I wrote that post; it wasn’t planned at all! The comments that have been forthcoming make it clear it’s not my imagination; it is a real issue and I don’t regret I felt moved to say what I did.

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38 Jan May 31, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do crave a traditional, heavier potato salad, but I adore non-mayo potato salads, like this one, so much more! They are so much more flavorful and the potato really shines through. I just made a potato salad with some homemade basil pesto, and I was blown away at how good it was….
As for the blogging world…. sometimes I sit stunned-stupid as people suck-up to others on twitter, facebook, in blog comments…. It has me sick to my stomach, and it makes me want to hurl. The popularity contest is out of control. I don’t write about Starbucks coffee with the hope of getting gift-cards, just like I don’t constantly blog about nutella so that more people will click on my blog. I don’t suck up to a blogger on twitter, then tell my best bud that said-blogger has the grossest recipes ever. And I don’t blog about a certain product with the hope of getting free tickets to a blogging conference. I just can’t do it. Maybe I have too much pride. I don’t know. I was raised to be honest, to work hard, and that good actions and hard-work will be rewarded, or rather that I should be proud of my accomplishments achieved through dedication and perseverance.
The thing is, it’s hard to rise above it all, and it’s hard to get just 1 comment on a post/recipe that I’ve worked so hard on when somebody else gets hundreds for a recipe they basically copy-pasted (i.e. “adapted” – as if!) from a cookbook, not even changing the wording of the recipe, and only contributing their own pretty photo. It makes me sad. I digress…

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39 Kathleen May 31, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Hey Barbara, You hit the nail on the head, and the truth hurts. Two words/High School. I hardly ever go on twitter anymore since it is so evident. Thanks for putting it out there. I am too old to give a shit. My site is for family and friends.

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40 bunkycooks May 31, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Hi Barb,

You know how I feel about this conference and what a disappointment it was after attending my first large event. I was so excited to see some old friends and expected to connect with some people I “knew”, but they were not really interested. I guess my blog is not big enough to matter.

We are doing what we love and these travels have changed our lives. My blog may not be the “popular” site, but it matters to us, the people we meet and to my readers.

Thank you for having the courage to speak out.

Gwen

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41 Danielle May 31, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Hi Barb, I love that you tell it like it is. It takes courage and self-confidence and you clearly have lots of that. I’ve been to the previous 2 BHFood conferences in SF, and, after that and Foodbuzz’s festival, decided to take a break from these events this year, as much as I love connecting with Twitter/blog friends in person. Of course, the feelings of exclusion, of being ‘not good enough’, of being the ‘black sheep’ will always be there. I think it’s an undeniable aspect of life, especially in a creative field like food blogging. There are always going to be morons in every single field – whether or not it’s about ‘community’ – the question is what do we do with it. Let it get us down or ignore and keep going our own way, finding like-minded people to connect with? I’m in favor of the latter. It wasn’t easy at the beginning, but it gets easier with practice. Just like your potato salad I’m sure! :D

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42 Lana May 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I made the potato salad very similar to this one a few weeks ago, and it was truly wonderful Let’s not neglect it:) It deserves the accolades!
You know what I think, and I don’t want to repeat myself. We are on the same side of the boat:)

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43 Annapet May 31, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Thank you for writing this post, Barb. Like Yuri, I have not been to a conference and will not probably attend one soon. I count my blessings that I meet WONDERFUL people here like YOU.

Mean people suck.

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44 Karen Harris May 31, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Amen girlfriend! We’re going to have to have some lunch and talk this one over! Now, back to food business. I love this recipe. You are so right about it being the perfect picnic side with the absence of proteins that can spoil. We’re having the ribs tonight that I didn’t get around to making yesterday, so maybe I’ll whip this up and serve it on the side.

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45 Carrie @ poet in the pantry May 31, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Hear, hear! Well-put! We’re better than all that petty, backstabbing, childish behavior. Let’s get on with the sharing and caring and leave that crap behind!

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46 Jayne May 31, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Very well said! I am new to blogging and as shyness is something I’ve always struggled with I know that I would find a blogging conference too intimidating. What I find the most shocking is the rudeness of these people! What has happened to good manners?!
Your potato salad looks so tasty, I will be trying it soon!

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47 Elle May 31, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Your potato salad is lovely, Barb! I just made one yesterday–very similar to this one. Just editing the photos now.

You know, I heard the same things about last year’s BlogHer conference. Which is why I’m in no hurry to rush out and attend one. High school is over for me, and going back to that atmosphere isn’t something I’m interested in. At all. Happy to see you speaking your mind!

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48 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Almost lost in this conversation is the wonderful potato salad which I am reminded I could be having now for a late lunch; thanks Elle!

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49 Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon May 31, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Barbara, there is a sad irony to the fact that the culture of blogging, not just food blogging, has turned competitive and commercial. I personally will be glad when whatever the next big “thing” is hits and people flock to it in the hopes of finding fame and fortune. The overwhelming majority of bloggers I have met over the last four years have been warm, gracious, and welcoming. But I’ve seen the other side as well. And no, it’s not pretty.

What I find really interesting is that the bloggers I’ve met who fall into the Mean Girls category really don’t strike me as being superstars. If anything, they come across as being insecure and insincere. I was present when a blogger said that her “followers would buy something if she told them to”. Um, hello, arrogant much? And that’s really kind of sad. Especially when some of the real superstars of the food blogs are so genuinely lovely people.

I have chosen to unsubscribe and unfollow bloggers because of this. That’s how I deal with it. Let them get their cult of personality fix from somebody else.

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50 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 2:29 pm

So true Wendi on all counts…thanks for your great observations.

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51 Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon May 31, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I would sign up for the food blogger pajama jammy jam. But I think I’ve decided that instead of setting myself up for disappointment with the ginormaconferences, I’m going to stick to the smaller gatherings, and maybe look for alternate events like food road trips. It’s hard to be a jerk when your face is covered in melted butter and bbq sauce.

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52 Janet June 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

My dream conference is in my buddy B’s backyard, where I plan on sunning in butter, soaking in wine, and enjoying the “flours” in that amazing backyard retreat!

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53 Móna Wise May 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Wow – next time go to Plate2page. Small class with outstanding instructors.
Gurrl power all the way with a few guys there too to keep it real.
Life changing experience.
Móna

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54 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I would have…the trans continental thing made it impossible but so many of my friends were there. Jamie, Meeta, Ken, Jenn…I might just have to start saving my pennies now!

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55 Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having May 31, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Potato salad is one of my all time favorite foods, and this recipe sounds great!

Although there are a lot of bloggers I’ve “met” through Twitter I’d love to meet in real life, going to one of these conferences does not appeal to me at all. I spent enough time being the unpopular girl in high school, I don’t need that kind of attitude now. My blog is a place for me to express myself and share recipes and ideas. I enjoy writing it, and anything that would make me or my blog feel “less than” is not worth my time.
I hope the community takes posts like this to heart, because those doing the snubbing are the ones missing out.

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56 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm

That’s pretty much where I am. I’m lucky to live in a large enough metro area that I’ve met a lot of local bloggers. That has helped immeasurably too.

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57 Joyti May 31, 2011 at 12:28 pm

This is my first time on your blog, and as I read your entry, there were times I wanted to shout YES. When I first started my blog, I initially didn’t want to ‘food blog’ because of the snobbery and the cliques. However, I just wanted to record my own things, and ended up becoming a food blogger…
You’re so brave in speaking out about it!

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58 Susan @ SGCC May 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I attended the conference and, for the most part, you are spot on. I’ve been blogging for almost four years and have attended five of these big blogging events, and I still felt completely insignificant for much of the weekend. There were many genuinely nice people there, but also a whole lot that weren’t. Kudos to you for telling it like it is (because that really is how it was)!

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59 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 12:15 pm

I wish it were not right…but heartfelt comments and DM’s tell the true story for a lot of people. The ones I know who did not feel that way…typically were in the upper echelon or speakers and while I do not hold them accountable for not knowing from their perspective…it does not mean it’s not happening.

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60 Rosa May 31, 2011 at 11:27 am

A lovely salad! I bet it tastes gorgeous.

I totally agree with what you said. This post speaks about everything I have been thinking since I started blogging six years ago. I hate rude people, clans, jealous individuals, this whole snotty attitude about blogging… I like to consider myself a person who likes to be close to my readers and always keep an open mind. My blog is all about community, sharing my passion for food and giving love. I could never become a food snob.

Cheers,

Rosa

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61 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 11:45 am

Yes Rosa…it is so simple and so fantastic. One of the main reasons I love having my own herb garden.

I think so many of us feel the same way and love that ‘my’ community includes so many wonderful people. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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62 Nancy@acommunaltable May 31, 2011 at 10:42 am

Hi Barb,

I don’t know what I liked best – your potato salad recipe (which is the style I absolutely love after trying it a few years ago!) or your “spot on” comments!!!
For me this whole “blog thing” has been amazing – I’ve “met” (IRL or online) truly wonderful people and encountered some that well … weren’t . Like you, I have zero tolerance for mean and rude people – life is simply too short!! Unlike you though, I haven’t always been courageous enough to call people on it – and your post has inspired me to confront bad behavior.. wherever I find it. I think that is what is one of the things that is missing – our seeming willingness to accept bad behavior and tolerate it. So, when we see people being treated badly each of us needs to step up – otherwise we are part of the problem!!!
Thanks for having the courage to bring this out into the open Barb – you are truly a “blogger stateswoman”!!!

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63 robynski May 31, 2011 at 10:17 am

I totally agree with you. It needs to be said, but I’m afraid will fall on deaf ears. There will always be clubs, cliques and hurtful people. I agree with Meeta, it makes ones job easier because then you know who to avoid. ;o)

I’ve been to two blog conferences and loved both of them. Yes, there were stars there, but it was no big deal. I just chose to make different friends.

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64 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 11:22 am

So true…the people who need to take stock of their poor behavior will neither recognize it or own up. Maybe just saying it out loud will make more people know it is what it is…and form a plan before attending to insure their own success. Find a buddy before you go maybe?

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65 robynski May 31, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I think it is important also to speak up. In blog posts and in emails. Too many people get away with obnoxious behavior because no one calls them out. I think it is high time they are. If someone offends me, in person, up close. I’m no longer going to sit by nicely and allow people to think they’re as nice in person as online.

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66 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I agree; I get the impression there is that element of fear; you know, if I speak up and say something I’ll somehow be blackballed in the blogosphere. It’s a big world out there and if I’m blackballed by the people who don’t like hearing what some of us say. Oh well.

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67 Meeta May 31, 2011 at 10:06 am

It makes me happy to know that there are strong people out there that speak their mind. Call me naive but I do not get why some people have the need to play the holier than thou game. Blogging has given me so much and after five and half years I so enjoy meeting new people and learning new things from them. I cannot imagine – ever – looking down on a person because their traffic or hits are lower than mine. What a ridiculous way to judge a person and what a waste of missing out on maybe meeting a great person of interest. I (along with Jamie) was one of the instructors and the Plate 2 Page Workshop, which four of us put together with a lot of hard work and care. From the beginning it was clear we would only have a limited number of people so that we can really give each one of the participants something of value. I think we did. BUT what was even better – I came away with new ideas and feeling so elated to have new views to look at and have met some awesome people. And you know what – traffic did not matter.
A genuine person makes a great blog however, it happens only too often that a mediocre blog rises to make a monster if marketed well enough.
A huge hug for you Barbara!

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68 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 11:20 am

We are so on the same page Meeta..maybe I need to be on the Plate to Page path…missed being with all of you a lot! Hugs back to you Meeta…til one day we can do it for real.

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69 Meeta June 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I look forward to that day Barbara – very much!

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70 Paula May 31, 2011 at 9:29 am

Your salad looks like it would be a wonderful side dish to any meal but especially during this grilling season. While reading, I was wondering if it was served hot or cold so happy to see your last note on it.
I admire and commend you for your ability and willingness to speak your mind so fluently about some of the behaviour taking place at conferences. I have yet to attend one but shortly after I started blogging/twitter, I remember reading a fellow blogger’s post on the first conference she attended. It was painful to hear about her experience as she recounted the behaviour of others.
From subsequent posts I have read on blogger attendance, it would appear that the rude behaviour continues to grow exponentially with the numbers attending. Such a sad reflection on the ability of some to leave *high-school* behaviour in the past. However, as in every *community* gathering, I think you will always have a few small-minded, self-centered individuals who value cliques of people over quality substance of people. For those who do, they are truly depriving themselves of the enriching experience a conference could offer if they only left their attitude and baggage at the check-in.
I may be short and I may be shy Barb, but I stand shoulder to shoulder with you in your opinions stated here.

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71 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 11:19 am

The poor potato salad got sort of lost and it should not have but it’s the way I work. I just start writing and it just sort of came out. I would be happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with you Paula.

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72 Burwell General Store May 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

What a thought-provoking post. This was the first time I attended the conference as an attendee. (I’ve attended it before to film it and scout for talent.) I was openly frosted at the first morning breakfast, by someone whose work I admire(d). If someone snubs me, it actually makes my job easier. I don’t have to expend any energy deciding whether I want to work with that person or not. I don’t take it personally anymore. At the end of the conference when everyone was trying to make last-minute introductions, I walked up to this person and said “It was great not talking to you at the conference this weekend!” And I meant it, for reasons they probably did not understand.

Stick together, friends! Together, we can do amazing things. Thank you for writing this post for us.

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73 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm

And my thanks for you sharing your real life experience. Many will say…’Oh that doesn’t really happen.’ Oh yes it does.

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74 Kimmy May 31, 2011 at 9:11 am

Barb, you’re my hero. You know my feelings on this. I believe to food blog is to build a community – one of readers, friends, family, and other bloggers. There’s no room for this petty stuff. Heck, I barely have time for people I know and like in my life, much less the “popular set” who may not enjoy my company. Their loss.

I’m glad I ended up at Eat, Write, Retreat the other weekend. Maybe it was the small size, maybe it was the group we had, but none of this cr@p went on. Everyone hung out, chatting, and said hi to everyone else. So, I guess, for those who have never been to a conference – I think they can be inspiring, allow you to meet friendly faces, and the like, but you have to be choosy about where you spend your money.

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75 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 9:23 am

It seems to be that the smaller the group, the better the group dynamic. I’ve often kidded that I want to put on a conference. Not business, not SEO, not advertisers. Nope…how about a Blogger Slumber Party? We chat, we eat, we share with each other…it’s a dream,, but who knows; I might one day just make it a reality!

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76 Heather at FarmgirlGourmet May 31, 2011 at 8:53 am

PREACH GIRLFRIEND! I sure hope the “Mean Girls” read this! I’m so glad I saved the money. I’m sure I’d have been deemed the smallest minnow in the sea of Whale Sharks. I love your honesty! The fact that you’re real. Makes me love you even more!! Let’s start our own conference and weed out the mean girls.

By the way, I had the same mini-hater in High School, for the same exact reason. She’s now as wide as she is tall. :) Karma is a b!tch! I’m a firm believer in that!

Hogs & Quiches
Heather

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77 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm

I’m in! And you? Why I love you back!

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78 Coco Cooks May 31, 2011 at 8:04 am

Well you know my views and how I feel about this post. Thankfully during most of the conferences I had the opp to travel, which I take in a minute. I would rather commune and discover a new culture than deal with this mess. I love blogging but not the territory and culture that goes with it. I made up my mind a long time ago to maintain my sanity and health and do it on my terms. The whole cliqueish nature and competition was throwing me off. And for that I much happier. From my perspective I see a lot of other mess going that I don’t want to touch on either. But this post was needed. Here’s is to good food and friendship with people that appreciate the true worth and value of it.

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79 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

Amen sister!

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80 foodwanderings May 31, 2011 at 8:00 am

Hi Barb, You know one thing I like most about you is that you aren’t afraid to speak your mind. Often echoing what others think but not dare to even whisper for fear of consequences. I have never been to any conferences so I can’t vouch firsthand of what’s happening there, but I can say there are many circles whether less known or famous on twitter. I simply un-follow with no sentimental value, even if it’s a ‘must follow person’, when I see ‘high school’ behavior. It’s not worth it to subject myself to that even if just by observing self indulgent behavior in my timeline.

Seems like there is much pressure for hyping one thing/person or another and differing opinions aren’t welcomed, many will pounce on you before you utter any thoughts, opinions or even just question, ponder or even think out loud. With saying that we need to look closely, handful out of the many people, that might be complaining, might have indulged in the same behavior before, only this time faced it themselves. Two wrongs don’t make it right but I think each one of us needs to self reflect. I know I started with 0 followers, no one I knew was on twitter when I joined and launching a blog was foreign and insane to anyone around me. SO when I encounter a newbie that engages me I respond and try to help, or at the least be nice, because some other strangers were nice to me when I had exactly 0 followers.

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81 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 9:09 am

Well, Shulie…I heard from a well known blogger last week how much backlash she suffered because she did speak her mind on a similar topic so it’s a real leap of faith to move forward with my thoughts. Though I don’t rely on my blog for revenue, my business is a resource for a lot of bloggers so my speaking honestly could be financially hurtful but at some point…you have to be true to yourself. And truth is…someone I care about was treated badly…that fired me up more than if someone had tried the same thing with me!

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82 Sandie {A Bloggable Life} May 31, 2011 at 7:25 am

Well said, Barb. I know some who would not attend again this year merely for the issues stated above that were evident at last year’s conference as well. I attended neither because I see the same thing happening throughout the food blogosphere at large…and it has become the ANTITHESIS of what food & feeding people is about: love, kindness, culture, nourishment & caring. Popularity & perceived status are silly notions anyway (not to mention downright ugly when people let it go to their head), and are nothing compared to the beauty of compassion, talent and the desire to share and encourage others. When it comes down to it, no matter what the topic, it’s all about love.

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83 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 9:04 am

Thank you Sandie…you reiterated exactly what I’ve heard over and over. Makes me wonder how long these conferences can be sustainable with so many not just having a bad experience but then detailing it to their peers? Also makes me wonder how they are a part of supporting this culture?

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84 Cookin' Canuck May 31, 2011 at 6:57 am

Well said, Barb. Ask 90% of food bloggers why they started blogging in the first place and they will say that their blog was simply a vehicle to stare recipes with family and friends. While it turned into so much more than that for many people – a place to express themselves, to experiment with different flavors, to practice food photography – we each need to be reminded of the roots. Building community and sharing ideas are so important and there shouldn’t be any room for large egos and snarkiness.

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85 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

Thank you Dara. And for the record I have no problem with people earning income from their efforts; I certainly know firsthand how timely it can be to offer regular contributions to readers. I simply have a problem with the culture of perceived hierarchy and the way some members who consider themselves better than others treat their PEERS. Popular does not always equate to good, I do know that for a fact!

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86 Yuri May 31, 2011 at 6:52 am

This post has opened my eyes, Barb. I thought conferences were all about making friends and meeting Twitter/blog friends IRL, but makes sense that some [insecure] ppl act like this. I haven’t been to a conference yet and still I can tell u about similar things that have happened to me already on Twitter: not everyone is as nice as you. Lesson learned. Sometimes insecurities and low self-esteem make people do stupid things. U see these girls with chameleon personalities who would do anything to be “popular”. I just delete and keep my distance, life is too short to deal with bs. On the other hand, I love people like Jamie: we’ve been tweeting each other for almost 2 years. She’s been a good friend from back in the day when I had less than 100 followers and no blog. Same goes to Rebecca from Chow and Chatter, I really like these ladies and hope to meet them IRL someday. You are pretty nice too ;) Maybe we should make our own “nice people with no issues” conference :) have a lovely Tuesday, Barb! xoxo

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87 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 8:53 am

Yuri, I believe that is why so many flock to them, hoping to connect with their own ‘tribe’ but too often it seems just the opposite happens and they leave feeling, quite literally…bad about themselves. I made a comment on Twitter last week or the week before about the culture of ‘My cake is better than your cake’ and a friend corrected me and she was right. The culture is ‘My blog is better than your blog.’ Reminds me of my kids…when they were little.

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88 Jamie May 31, 2011 at 6:19 am

Brilliant post, Barbara and I can’t agree more. Bad behavior comes back to bite you in the ass, pardon my French. I have only attended a few conferences and have spoken at each I have attended (or organized) and if anyone considers me one of the “biggies” or “popular” bloggers I don’t know. But what I do know is that I try and meet everyone, talk if only briefly with anyone, am super flattered if anyone wants to meet or talk with me. It is difficult to meet and speak with everyone when there is a crowd, but turning one’s back on and ignoring someone who introduces themselves is horrid and inexcusable! This really should be a community, a community of shared goals and shared passions, kindness and generosity. I am so lucky to have found like minds, souls and hearts and relish these friendships. But yes, sadly even on twitter I am snubbed by certain bloggers who must think I am not worth their time or notice. I see cliques and I hear of people saying rude things about fellow bloggers on twitter, in public. These people should no longer be invited to attend or speak at conferences! Thanks for your courage and honesty in writing this. It must be said! xoxo

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89 Barbara May 31, 2011 at 8:50 am

Everyone talks about it ‘under cover’ and fears some sort of retribution for being honest, calling things like they are. We all understand being busy and not being able to manage meeting everyone but it is the out and out unbelievable rude behavior that sort of put me over the edge. I guess I’m still a champion for ‘my girls’ even if they’re not my daughters…they’re my friends.

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