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BlogHer Food and Irish Soda Buns

by Lauren | Celiac Teen on October 16, 2010

The plane’s shadow became visible in the distance, slowly growing larger and approaching us with increasing speed.  Finally, after the landing gear had descended and the runway came into view, the plane rumbled a bit in anticipation.  You could feel the ground a moment away, until the wheels finally pushed into the ground in exhalation.  Once the familiar earth was underfoot, the plane slowed, decelerating at a rapid rate.  Our bodies wish to maintain their former speed, so we’re pulled to the front of our seatbelts as we brace for this familiar dance.  The plane taxis through the runways, with the heart-warming early evening fall light streaming through the grass.  Home.

This plane brought us back from a weekend of magic and wonder in San Francisco.  BlogHer Food; my first conference of any sort.  I met blogger after blogger; from those I’ve admired for years to those who were new to me.  It was beautiful, overwhelming and educational.  Such a joy.  I’m still processing it.  Photos?  There were barely any.  A spattering at the farmer’s market and blurry attempts at the conference itself.  You know what?  That’s okay.

This conference was about the people.  It was about the act of putting names and blogs to faces and actual people.  It was about learning from the greats, the friends, the idols.  It was about getting to wrap your arms around people who have brought you to tears with their passion and ushered you into their lives through food.

Now, here, I could list the names of those I adored seeing, those that made my stomach flip when they came up to me, somehow recognizing my face, but I won’t.  There were all the people I only had a moment to speak with, those that I somehow missed altogether.  It’s all part of it.  I’m incredibly grateful I was able to go.  My mom was there, sometimes right with me, other times chatting across the room or soaking in other sessions.  It was the perfect balance.  Having the comfort of family, with the freedom to get to know the people behind the names.  Plus, without her, there was no way I would have gone.  Next year?  Who knows.  I would love to, but being in my first year of university could mean a lot of things.  I can only hope I have the pleasure of being in the company of brilliantly passionate individuals with a setting of food once again.

Sure, it wasn’t perfect.  Some moments were rushed, and many were overwhelming.  Seeing so many people, chatting with handfuls of them, and always going.  Overstimulation was abundant, especially by the end of the day.  There were the junior high moments, looking into a half-empty room, suddenly being scared of where to sit.  Would there be a friend, would we sit somewhere that was spoken for?  Tiny bundles of nerves, calmed when we began chatting to whomever was near.  Issues of success were brought up.  What was that?  Where did it come from?  I saw success in passion.  Not in what everyone had done, but why they were doing it, how they loved it and the fact that they were always giving all that they had.

Listening to those with TV shows and hearing their true love for food, for comedy, for creating this beautiful thing in their chosen format.  Hearing the stories of cookbook authors, who shared their truths.  The work, their love for it, the process which was draining, lonely and exhilarating.  Seeing those that simply adore where they are.  Those that love sharing, blogging.  Each person’s success was unique, some was hidden, others were assumed.  Overall, it was an honour to meet all of you.  Or at least be in your presence (I know I didn’t get the chance to say hello to everyone, but that likely would have made it so much more overwhelming.  The moments would have been forced, not organic.  Next time, come say hi if I don’t).

Thank you to the women who invited me to dinner on Thursday.  Thank you to the woman who turned around at the top of the stairs and gave a big smile.  Thank you to each of you who chatted, sharing your stories, excitement and truths.  Thank you for being yourself.  Thank you for introducing yourself, and listening when I did the same.  Thank you for the laughs.  Thank you for the hugs.  Thank you for creating a final party that was entirely gluten-free.  Most of all though, thank you to Mom who came and put up with all of my nonsense, disbelief, and everything else too.

Through this all I found something important; I don’t know where I’m headed.  Maybe this way, maybe that way, but regardless, I’m thrilled to be a part of this community.  It’s what makes it worthwhile.  I’ve always felt privileged to enjoy the company of fellow bloggers, whether it be locally or on a grander scale like this.  So, thanks.  Thanks for being a part of this journey.  It’s a pretty darn cool one.

On that note, I have a recipe for you.  It’s only half here though.  You know how community is such an essential part of all of this?  Well, this is Shauna’s recipe (which she adapted from Deb [who in turn adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated]), I only changed the flours based on what I had on hand.  So, I’m handing you the ingredients I used.  If you want the rest?  Go see Shauna.

I should note that these buns are not yeasty. They do rise a bit, but their consistency is closer to biscuits than a soft, squishy, yeast bread. They were the perfect accompaniment to the lasagna we had last night.

This post is linked to Jenn Cuisine’s gluten-free substitutions round-up (which is a fantastic series, by the way) and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Add some butter, or don’t. They were delightful both ways!

Overall, that Thanksgiving weekend was a whirlwind. It was a perfect coincidence that it fell on Thanksgiving (yes, I’m talking about the Canadian one. But to me, it’s just Thanksgiving). In fact, it made me more grateful for being there. The only part I missed was the turkey and pumpkin pie. Hopefully in the next weekend or two, that can be remedied :). Actually, anything with pumpkin would be nice. Soon.


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaden October 16, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Soooo great seeing you and your mom! Hugs!!!!!

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite October 16, 2010 at 1:03 pm

What a beautiful post Lauren! Glad you were able to experience BlogHer – a dream of mine!

gfe--gluten free easily October 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm

It was such a joy meeting you and your family, Lauren. Definitely not enough time together, but certainly treasured time. I think all of us wanted to make our first evening together last forever, but there was travel fatigue and an early start the next morning. More down/together time next time and there will be a next time somehow. 😉


Celiacs in the House October 16, 2010 at 6:23 pm

As a mom of a seventeen-year-old who has two blogs of her own, it was fantastic to meet you after watching you grow up and become a writer and photographer and recipe developer. I have loved watching you grow up, get healthy and become a seasoned experienced food blogger. I hope you will be on a panel at BlogHer Food next year and can share your experience and knowledge. I loved seeing how the other food bloggers, not just the gluten-free types, also honored your talent and showed their appreciation for what you have accomplished.

Stephanie O'Dea October 17, 2010 at 9:13 am

Lauren, you are a joy, and your mom is doing such a wonderful job. Enjoy this time–cherish it.
and always, always, always be nice to your mom. :-)

Jenn October 17, 2010 at 9:30 am

Sounds like an awesome experience, so wish I could’ve been there! Would have been great to see you and your mom again!

Kristen October 17, 2010 at 10:39 am

You are such a gem… you and your mom both! Tell your mom thanks for bringing you! It was great to meet you, even though it was all too brief!

Stephanie - Wasabimon October 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm

These look amazing! I might just make them tonight. :)

Maria October 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm

It was so nice meeting you and your mom. You are a sweetie!

OMG! Yummy October 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Hi Lauren, We met at the La Petite Soiree party. I am so impressed by your maturity both in person and in your way of dealing with celiac. I confess that I think I would have wallowed in self-pity for a bit, looking at what I could not eat. But in talking to you and listening to Shauna speak at the end of the conference, I am truly inspired by your perspectives of seeing this as an opportunity to create, not a restriction. Can’t wait to see where you go in your life – it will be great.

Isabelle October 17, 2010 at 5:45 pm

Wow Lauren, that’s fantastic! What an amazing opportunity for you. And coincidentally, I was just reading on David Lebovitz about Irish Soda Bread and wondering if I could find a gf recipe anywhere … thank you!

shauna October 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm


You are a joy. Today, Lucy was sitting on my lap while I typed up a message. She saw your photograph on Twitter and shouted, “Lauren!”

You’re a household name in this house.

It was wonderful to see you on the street on Thursday with your entire family! And to see you all during the conference. I only wish we could have seen more of you. We will, however. Our paths will certainly cross again.

Alisa October 17, 2010 at 10:20 pm

You are an amazing young lady Lauren (and tall! – okay, I’m really short, so it’s the first thing I notice); it was so wonderful to meet you. I think it is fantastic that your parents are there supporting you and helping you to attend events like this. Look forward to seeing you at more events in the future!

Nancy October 18, 2010 at 6:17 am

Lauren – this post was just beautiful. Your perception, your perspective and your experience resonated with me and probably many others who attended the conference. I’m so glad to have spent time getting to know you and your mom. I hope to have that opportunity again. (PS – the photos are spectacular!)

Kaitlin October 19, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Great post! I’m glad to hear that you had the opportunity to meet so many people!

The conference sounds like it was a blast :)

Srivalli October 22, 2010 at 11:45 am

Lauren, Wish we had met at the conference. Loved reading your recap!

Barbara Bakes October 24, 2010 at 8:04 pm

You did a great job summarizing BlogHer. I had many of the same feelings. I was so glad I got a chance to meet you. You really are an amazing young woman.

Linda October 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Sounds like a good time. I envy you all who got to meet each other. I hope to go next year. Your soda buns look terrific!

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