It all started with a pot of Manhattan Clam Chowder. If you’d told me 5 years ago that hitting publish would be the catalyst for actually getting me to Manhattan for the first time, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I’m telling you know, that’s actually how things went down.
I was a culinary school grad who’d been working in food service of some sort for many years when I decided that staying home and raising the kids was the best option for our family. I cooked and baked on a daily basis. I read books about food. I made travel plans based around food history, traditions, and attractions. I offered up my catering services to those who needed them.
I’d even take photos, be it very bad ones looking back, and share them with my friends and family on Facebook. And then one day, I stumbled across a blog. A food blog. It was either Smitten Kitchen or Chocolate & Zucchini. Or both. But either way, I looked forward to them sharing their new recipes and words every day, and was so excited when they did. I knew that I needed (yes, neeeeded) to start my own food blog.
So I took photos with my little point-and-shoot under the harsh lights of the kitchen, or even worse, a flash, and saved them to my computer. I took the words and ideas that I normally jotted down in a random journal and crammed into my bookshelf, and instead typed them up on the computer.
On February 11, 2009, I fumbled my way through naming a domain and getting those words, photos, and accompanying recipe into a draft and hit publish. The rest is history.
Over the past 5 years of blogging, I’ve joined all sort of events, challenges, and groups. I’ve made some amazing food. I’ve learned some things, and I’ve grown…both in skill and in pant size (it’s an inevitable part of being a food blogger). People have come and gone from my life, and I think of (most of) them fondly. My little experiment and hobby has even turned into a career. It’s all so much more than I ever could have imagined when I began.
I have enough memories and stories built up that it would take me another 5 years to share them all. So today, I just want to tell you one. It has to do with the Sunday Supper Movement. I joined Sunday Supper back in July of 2012. I’d been seeing posts popping up here and there, and I could really identify with the mission of bringing family back around the table.
After spending week after week with people, even if it’s a long-distance-online sort of relationship, you start to form bonds. You make friends. Those friends eventually become like another family. The Sunday Supper family became my long distance family.
Sometime last year I was talking to Bea, another Sunday Supper blogger about her blog and some changes that she wanted to make. I offered to help her. From that moment on, we became friends. Even after her blog changes and updates were complete, we continued to talk (via computer). We got each others sense of humor. We connected. We’ve even co-hosted a Sunday Supper event (or two) together.
So, when Bea was chosen by Gallo Family Vineyards in their sweepstakes to travel to New York City and be a guest at their exclusive 50th Hearty Burgundy Birthday Bash, I could not have been more excited for her! I couldn’t wait to see her photos and hear all about her trip to NYC.
A few days later, I got a message from her asking if I was around.
Yes, what’s up?
Would you like to be my guest?
Shock, utter disbelief, a moment of silence. YES!
My friend Bea, whom I had met via the internet, food blogging, and Sunday Supper, had just invited me to be her guest in New York City! Amazingly, it all worked out and I was able to go. We would meet in real life in less than 2 weeks. A frenzy of preparation followed, and the next moment, we were giving each other a hug on Broadway. On Broadwaaaaaay (yes I’m singing)!
Fastest 48 hours ever. We walked the streets of New York our first evening there, enjoying the atmosphere, and standing in (or in front of) iconic spots like Times Square, The Empire State Building, and the New York Public Library. And we both fell in love with Eataly (a place we would return to many times during our short trip).
Our second day there, we trekked 26 blocks in a snow storm…on foot, because we hadn’t yet ventured into the subway. Let’s just say, that was not my favorite hour. But meeting two of our friends at a restaurant at the end of it made the whole miserable mess of a walk worth it. So, after a good lunch and a mandatory (according to me) stop at a souvenir shop, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the Gallo Birthday Bash that evening.
We had an amazing evening at the intimate event, complete with fireplace, pool table, charcuterie, and of course, glasses of Hearty Burgundy. We met Stephanie Gallo, toasted to 50 years, and headed back to enjoy the rest of the chill(y) evening.
Our final day went by way too quickly, and while we spent most of it in Eataly (no surpise), we did brave the 14-degree temps to eat a meal that everybody said could NOT be missed – a burger from Shake Shack. It was worth the frozen fingers and toes.
Fortunately our planes were leaving around the same time from the same airport, so we parted with promises to meet again (in person), and memories that will last a life time. That, my friends, is how becoming a member of the Sunday Supper Movement brought me full circle – from Manhattan to Manhattan – in 5 years.
Do you have a Sunday Supper Story? I’d love to hear it!