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Fashion and the Foodie:

How to pack for the IFBC
(International Food Blogger Conference)

It’s just a matter of weeks until the International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle, and on my travel to-do list, that means it’s about time to start thinking about what I’m going to pack.


A little bit about this conference: the IFBC is presented by and Zephyr Adventures. This will be the fifth iteration of this conference, and my second attendance. The agenda focuses on three themes: Food, Writing, and Technology for the food and lifestyle blogger, and is populated by some big names in food journalism and photography: Dorie Greenspan, James Beard award winning cookbook author; Andrew Scrivani,  New York Times Dining section photographer; Kathleen Flinn, best selling author and food writer; and many more folks on the genius scale.

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Best practices for designing your cookbook

I attended the IFBC (International Food Blogger Conference) last fall, and sat in on a plethora of interesting and valuable sessions on how to cook for, write, photograph, and market my blog or cookbook, but I found a slight gap in the itinerary. There seems to be a lot of information out there on how to conceive of and publish your work, but very little on the process that falls in between: how to create a visually appealing product.

I love food as much as I do book design, so a good cookbook exemplifies both of these parts of me. But as much as I relish the medium, I am even more critical when a book is presented in poor design. Even if the recipes are sound, if the pages are not visually appealing—much like your finished recipes should be on the plate—then I am not hungry nor inspired.

Think about how often you notice the design of a book. Probably not very, unless something has gone awry—a typeface that is contradictory to the tone of the book; type that’s too small/large with poorly justified lines; low-quality photos and illustrations—any of these can detract from the beauty that is your prose.

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Peaches, Pecans & Pig Candy: oh, my!

Camping is one of those things that you either love or hate. A good friend of mine refuses to go because there’s no where to plug in her curling iron. Me: I relish the idea of not having to wear makeup, and sleeping in the crisp, cool air in the middle of the summer.

Another thing I love about camping is cooking outdoors. I recently took up dutch oven cooking, and thanks to my father-in-law, a master camp chef, I’m on the road to becoming one, too. But for now, I keep to what I know, and that’s stovetop cooking. On a recent trip this summer, I made up this breakfast recipe on the fly, and did it work out! I had canned peaches handy, but you could easily change those up for any canned fruit, fresh berries, or both.

Sourdough French Toast with Peach and Pecan Caramel
  • Sliced sourdough bread (or bread of  your choice)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 – 15 oz can peaches (in fruit juice, not heavy syrup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • Bacon! (I’m a firm believer that you can never have too much bacon while camping, so gauge the amount to the size of  your party)

For the french toast, whisk together the eggs and milk, then soak the sourdough bread for about 5 minutes, or until bread has soaked up a good amount of the custard, then cook on a griddle until toasty.

For the topping, add the butter to a cast iron skillet over your camp stove, then add the canned peaches and with a spoon, chop the peaches into small pieces. Cook over low-medium heat while stirring for a couple of minutes, then add the brown sugar, spices, and pecans. Continue to cook over medium heat until the sugar caramelizes and thickens slightly. It should be the consistency of maple syrup. If too thick, add another tablespoon of butter.

For the bacon, throw that yummy pig candy in a skillet or griddle over the fire and cook until desired doneness. Make sure to pour a bit of the peach caramel over the bacon before devouring.