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What Happened During The LongHouse Food Writers Revival

Posted: 10/08/2012 1:19 pm

On September 15, 2012 many of the nation's leading thinkers in food media gathered in a restored barn in Rensselaerville, New York to explore the idea of "Old Media, New Media and the False Divide" and discuss the challenges and possibilities of how food stories are told.

Speakers and participants ranged from representatives of leading networks and publications including The Food Network, NPR, Edible Communities, Epicurious, Gourmet Live, and many of the top food magazines, blogs and cookbook publishers to first-time writers and bloggers, independent documentary makers, eager college graduates, and enthusiastic home cooks.

It was part of the LongHouse Food Writers Revival, the first in a series of annual gatherings bringing together thought leaders in food and food media. The events seek to foster community between generations, media platforms, regions and cultures while raising the bar on the nation's food news agenda and stretching the boundaries of how food stories are told.

The event commenced with a Pop-Up Food Magazine -- a series of multimedia presentations from the Revival's many speakers. The day's presentations were themed around Mexican foodways in the Hudson River Valley, culminating that night with a Mexican three pig roast by local Mexican baker and pit master Neftali Duran of El Jardin Bakery.

Katherine Alford of The Food Network started off the Pop-Up Food Magazine with a live cooking demonstration and interview with Mexican food authority Zarela Martinez. NPR reporter Kathy Gunst conducted a live interview with Mr. Duran. Photographer Penny De Los Santos shared stories of her travels through Mexico. Brian Halweil of Edible Manhattan and Edible East End discussed the inseparable eternals: culture and agriculture. An original LongHouse documentary told the story of Mexican food producers, growers, restaurant owners, and tortilla-making-grandmothers in the Hudson River Valley. Participants heard about the future of online multimedia from Tanya Steel, Editor in Chief of Epicurious and Gourmet Live, and Corie Brown of Zester Daily. Finally, top food bloggers Shauna Ahern of Gluten Free Girl and Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy's TheKitchn.com explored the challenges and possibilities of food blogging.

The day's events were led by longtime food writer Molly O'Neill, founder of Cook N Scribble -- the online classroom, resource, and community for food writers and content creators.

It became immediately apparent that the Revival served as a living classroom, resource, and community for food writers and content creators from all walks of life. As the Pop-Up Food Magazine wrapped up, participants and speakers broke for lunch. Over locally-sourced pizza prepared on-site in a wood burning oven, the first sparks of connection, creativity and community began to fly. Leading publishers connected with burgeoning food writers. Some of the nation's top food bloggers traded notes with food enthusiasts who had just written their first blog posts. College students eagerly listened as NPR conducted live interviews. Young video producers gathered what they could about the inner workings of The Food Network.

By the time the afternoon discussions began -- an open conversation in the barn among speakers and participants about "Old Media, New Media and the False Divide" -- this community of food writers, producers, videographers, photographers, publishers and reporters was eager to share its thoughts about the perils and possibilities of food media. Some worried about the challenge of monetizing digital publications, while others passionately defended food media as art first, business second. Further discussion topics included the changing role of print publications, the exciting possibilities of online multimedia, and the power of food stories to both reflect and drive culture, community and change.

By the time night fell, the Revivalists gathered for Mexican mezcal cocktails, local hard cider and fine wine outside the barn. Meanwhile, Mr. Duran's Mexican pig roast was ready to be served. There were three preparations of Mexican pork: a whole-roasted pig, Yucatan pobil and al pastor. Fire roasted eggplant and squash, smokey coleslaw and deep bowls of fiery salsa sat side by side with the meat. Hand-pressed tortillas were handed out by Margarita Martinez, a Mexican immigrant living in Poughkeepsie, New York.

As Revivalists took in what the could -- from the offerings of this remarkable feast, from the ideas and opinions of the people around them -- it was hard not to imagine that the products of the LongHouse Food Writers Revival would not help drive the course of food media for some time to come.

Will Levitt co-produces LongHouse Food Writers Revivals as the Director of Events at Cook N Scribble. He is a food writer and contributes to various publications including Serious Eats, The Brooklyn Paper, Edible Nutmeg Magazine, CIBO magazine, and his blog Dorm Room Dinner. He is based in New York City.

To learn more about LongHouse Food Writers Revivals and Cook N Scribble -- the online classroom, resource, and community for food writers and content creators -- visit www.cooknscribble.com or follow on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • The LongHouse Barn

    The <a href="http://www.cooknscribble.com/longhouse/" target="_hplink">LongHouse Food Writers Revival</a> in Rensselaerville, New York took place in a restored barn on a historic dairy farm. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • The Pop-Up Food Magazine

    The Pop-Up Food Magazine -- multimedia presentations on the future of food media by LongHouse speakers -- comprised the morning portion of the event in the barn. Here, Brian Halweil, publisher of Edible Manhattan and Editor of Edible East End, presents on "The Inseparable Eternals: Culture and Agriculture." Photo by Aly Miller.

  • The Pop-Up Food Magazine

    Katherine Alford of The Food Network interviews Mexican food authority Zarela Martinez during a live cooking demonstration. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • The Pop-Up Food Magazine

    Participants, notebooks in hand, take in the morning's presentations. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>

  • The Pop-Up Food Magazine

    Food and culture photographer Penny De Los Santos presents her work from Mexico. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>

  • The LongHouse Chronicle Newspaper

    Original newspapers exploring the day's topic of "Old Media, New Media and the False Divide," were passed out at the conclusion of the Pop-Up Food Magazine. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>

  • The Pizza Lunch

    Local chef <a href="http://palmerhousecafe.com/" target="_hplink">Micah Kuhar</a> (right) oversees the pizza baking in an on-site, wood-burning oven from <a href="https://mainewoodheat.com/" target="_hplink">Maine Wood Heat</a>. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • The Pizza Lunch

    Revivalists snatch up fresh-from-the-oven pies, with toppings like local goat ricotta, roasted heirloom tomatoes and lemony kale salad. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • The Pig Roast

    Throughout the day, baker and pit-master Neftali Duran turned the pig on a locally-made spit in the live fire cooking arena. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • The Pig Roast

    The pig, rubbed in Mexican spices and chilies, came from nearby <a href="http://artandagriculture.org/" target="_hplink">Old Field Farm</a>. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • Live NPR Interview

    NPR reporter Kathy Gunst of Here & Now interviews pit master Neftali Duran about the pig roast. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • Molly O'Neill

    Molly O'Neill, co-producer of the Revival and founder of <a href="http://www.cooknscribble.com/" target="_hplink">Cook N Scribble</a>, stands before the LongHouse barn. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • The Discussion

    The afternoon is comprised of an open discussion among LongHouse speakers and participants in the barn. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • Mix and Mingle

    Speakers and participants gather following the afternoon discussions outside the LongHouse barn. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>.

  • Preparing the Roasted Pig

    After roasting all day over an open flame, the pig is prepared to go out to the feast! Local chef and restaurant owner <a href="http://palmerhousecafe.com/" target="_hplink">Bill Benson</a> (left) helps to carve the meat. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>

  • The Pig Roast Buffet

    After a long day of watching the pig roast, Revivalists snatch up their share as Claire Handleman (right) serves it up. Photo by Aly Miller.

  • The Buffet at LongHouse

    Colorful sides like mashed, fire-roasted eggplant, Yucatan pobil and salsa accompany the Mexican pig roast. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>

  • Hand-Made Tortillas

    Mexican immigrant Margarita Martinez of Poughkeepsie, New York prepares traditional tortillas for the pig roast. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>

  • Dinner in the LongHouse Barn

    Long, communal tables inside a candle-lit barn seat the Revivalists at dinner.

  • The Revivalists and the LongHouse Barn

    The speakers, attendees, organizers and sponsors of the LongHouse Food Writers Revival. Photo by <a href="http://www.briansamuelsphotography.com" target="_hplink">Brian Samuels</a>

  • LongHouse Food Writers Revival

    Hand-painted signage outside the barn. Follow LongHouse Food Writers Revival <a href="https://twitter.com/cooknscribble" target="_hplink">@cooknscribble</a>.

 

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