I’ve known I wanted to sing for as long as I could remember. Running around as a gay in training, singing Paula Abdul hits, something about it just felt right. Maybe it was just the captivating melody of Rush Rush or the saucy beat of Cold Hearted Snake, who knows? All I can tell you is that I knew one day I was gonna be a singer. The road that came was a really long fun one who’s story I’ll save for another time.
Singing is a really interesting trade to learn as there are many ideas/techniques but it all fundamentally comes down to all the same line of thinking in the end. When I decided to start food writing I was unaware of the decision I had made. Food Writing? What’s that? The then Gay Gourmet! and now Kitchen Gaily came out of a need to create a different platform that will help propel me into a performing outlet. Not knowing anything about blogging/food writing I dove head first into the fondue pot and was greeted by you all, my warm, melty, cheesy love filled followers.
As time went on I sought advice on how to advance, a “voice teacher” if you will, or a gaggle of teachers to be exact. Everyone’s a specialist in a different area of “this voice” with “the answers” (all extremely different on the approach) on how to get me ahead to where I wanted to be. Much like every voice teacher I’ve had they have had a drastically different approach to the technique they were teaching me. The difference between real singing and food writing is that when you find a great teacher there is no question on what to do first and they eventually let you sing yourself.
With food writing/blogging everyone thinks they have the answers and I was trying to be/do everything at once! Two years later I often felt overwhelmed, stressed out, posting just to post, and not really “singing.” I had lost my voice… (wow this singing analogy is really workin’, huh?)
Most recently I was invited to Cook N’ Scribble’s Longhouse Food Revival in Rensselaerville, NY. Being the second food writers conference I’ve ever been to, I was slightly dreading it. I was already behind on blogging, I didn’t really feel like I needed to add to my list of “techniques” that I needed to hone and where the hell is Rensselaerville?!?! Unbeknownst to me, this weekend would be my “Singers Saving Grace.”
As a true vocal hypochondriac Singers Saving Grace is one of the many holistic remedies I use when I feel the slightest tickle in my throat. Upon arriving and meeting other attendees and speakers I realized that this fondue pot is filled with people just like me. Some who have bubbled to great success (the very fabulous Shauna Ahern aka Gluten Free Girl and Sara-Kate Gillingham-Ryan of TheKitchn) some floating in the middle and others who were just starting out. The point was to bring together established food writers and new voices in food to connect, discuss and forge ahead on an inspiring journey of food writing.
The weekend led by the one and only Molly O’Neil; we discussed everything from the Mexican Diaspora and how food writing is changing how people eat, to food stories by sound and the woes of blogging all in an interesting “Pop-up Food Magazine” format. As for the food, Brian Halweil of Edible East End put it the best, [The day was] “Bookended by wood-fired pizza for lunch and the Bacchanalian sundown roast..” I mean what else does one do with a 200lb Heritage Pig?
What made the most impact? The one on one conversations had with all these amazing people about using my voice to
sing tell my story. Who knew that all I needed was someone to give me that freedom to be me that I had when I started? The best voice teachers I’ve ever had have always told me right before a big performance or tackling an audition to forget everything I learned and just sing and that’s exactly what this weekend and these people have done for me.
I was feeling so bogged down by trying to be and do what everyone was telling me and now I feel rejuvenated to tackle this beast my way. I was wondering why they were calling it a Food Revival and now I get it! I HAVE BEEN SAVED! >insert throat spray sounds here<
Many thanks go out to Molly O’Neil, Will Levitt, and the entire Cook N’ Scribble team!