travel: to weimar with love – plate to page

by hungryrabbit on June 13, 2011

Plate 2 Page Workshop in Weimar

It’s been 4 weeks since I hugged goodbye to my newest old friends at the Plate to Page Workshop in Weimar, Germany. We may have only met four days earlier, but we all instantly bonded like members of the same tribe . . . which I guess, we were.

On May 19th after a long, yet strangely restful flight, followed by a delayed train ride from Berlin, M and I arrived at Weimar in the middle of a sunny afternoon. From the moment we stepped outside the station, the next days went by like a ride on a food blogger roller coaster— fast twists, many surprise turns, high adrenalin, and much more than what I had expected. As with any roller coaster, I wanted to keep on riding.

Before Weimar, the only people I had chatted with extensively were Plate to Page instructors, Jamie, Meeta, and Jeanne.  Soon after they released the list of students on Twitter, the participants organized among themselves for a pre-workshop dinner for the early arrivals. We chose a Turkish restaurant in town. (Looking for authentic Turkish cuisine in Germany may sound like an odd quest, but the large immigrant and native-born Turkish population provides the ample opportunity to sample  Zeytin Yağlı [vegetarian] dishes and traditional kebabs).

On Friday May 20, the day the Workshop officially commenced, I woke up to the odd but somehow soothing bahhhh of sheep in the nearby meadow. Combined with our longer sleep and unfamiliar surroundings, we were definitely in our vacation mode and not in NYC. We would have stayed in that mode if it weren’t for the hustling of some eager attendees on their way out to explore Weimar . . . seriously, eight thirty in the morning? With the less jet-lagged off to tour the big town, we had a quick breakfast and a much needed caffeine injection so we could explore the village calm near the Kipperquelle Hotel. We met the friendly sheep, who ambled up to the fence when we approached but lost interest when we didn’t offer any edibles. Oh, the temporary peacefulness of it all.

The welcome luncheon was jovial, and just when we had all settled into the light-heartedness of it all, the instructors officially kicked off the Workshop with their opening remarks. Before you could say Nikon, we were swept upstairs into the classroom. There were energetic discussions about food blogging, writing, and photography—followed by official assignments and unofficial shots of any morsel of food in camera range.

Another favorite composition was pictures of other attendees taking photos. These images of each other became the subject of as much chatter as those of food styling. Such shared moments not on the syllabus brought important insights, too, such as finally understanding low-light photography. By Friday afternoon, everyone settled into the spirited workshop mode. Trepidation came when the participants read their assignments or presented their images. Leaders’ and attendees’ willingness to engage and be supportive eased the spotlight jitters for many.

The workshop Meeta, Ilva, Jamie, and Jeanne assembled provided my fellow students and I with great insights into how good blogs work and guidance to improve our writing and photography. The sessions and side conversations were a collection of  “a-ha” moments. Those few days fueled my creative energy and made me think of new ways to tell stories about food.

plate-to-page-weimar-picnic

While pondering the newly acquired techniques of food writing during the rest of the trip, I was armed with more understanding of cameras, so all of those knobs and adjustments no longer intimidated me. I came away with more optimism for possible new directions (and perhaps a bit too much urgent enthusiasm to buy a new DSLR).

plate-to-page-weimarP2P: Beef Assignment- a collaboration w/Ishay Govender-Ypma

The muleta or red flag snaps swiftly and the crowd sucks a collective breath in. Then a roar, thunderous, reverberates around the arena. The air is thick with excitement and bloodlust. The Torero’s sword is removed with little drama and the bull thuds to the ground, almost as if in slow motion. The toreo is crowned the ultimate victory.

What becomes of the bull thereafter?

Toro de carne or meat from a toro bravo, a fighting bull is considered the ultimate luxury in many parts of Spain. Whilst the act of bull fighting has been banned by the Catalan government, the meat is available at La Boqueria market in Barcelona, one of the world’s most renowned food markets. Standing side by side with stalls of perfectly arranged fruit shining like glossy jewels, the torro de carne stand sits proudly, displaying pictures of Victor Valdes the most beloved and illustrious Matedors of the past three decades.

“I know many have an issue with torro de carne”, says Pax Costa a local lecturer at The food Science department at the University, “but my family and I love it. It’s expensive and an indulgence. I would serve it on special occasions she explains. With Spanish paprika, garlic and pink peppercorns, it’s a thing of beauty. “If you think about it, “she continues, animals are killed in many ways for consumption. No one raises an eyebrow”

The Animal Rights fraternity has boycotted the practice of bull fighting fervently. 78% of Catalans when polled in the recent PETA survey have voted against the practice.

Would you eat the meat of torro de carne?

  • Feature statistics
  • Three opinions
  • Invite opinion sharing

photo courtesy of Julia House
standing: Deborah, David, Ken (me) Jamie, Mona, Ishay, Arthi, Astrid, Simone, Meeta, Mitch, Jasmine, Julia; kneeling: Jenn, Ilva, Jeanne

 


Above all, Plate to Page had provided us with a supportive environment. I never got so comfortable, so fast with a group of people. Everyone brought their positive vitality to this Workshop and the entire experience was nothing short of brilliant. I will forever cherish this time with my kindred folk, my tribe.

 

Plate to Page Instructor:-
Meeta Khurana WolffIlva BerettaJeanne Horak-DruiffJamie Schler

Plate to Page Attendees:-
ArthiAstridDavidDeborahIshayJasmineJennJulia⏐Ken (me)⏐Mitch⏐MonaSimone

Posts about Plate to Page, Weimar:-
Arthi – Ending on a High Note
Arthi – Reliving the Plate2Page Experience
Astrid – Who Would Have Thought…?
Ilva – Plate to Page Weimar 2011 – The Review
Jamie – From Plate to Page
Jasmine – Plate to Page Workshop
Jeanne – Plate to Page, Weimar – the Super Troupers
Jenn – Plate to Page Workshop
Meeta – We Met in Weimar
Meeta – Plate to Page – Putting the Work back into Workshop
Móna – Life Changing, It Was
Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 2
Móna – Life Changing it Was, Part 3
Móna – All in a Days Work
Plate to Page – Weimar Impressions, the first Plate to Page Workshop
Simone – Plate to Page – Experience of a Lifetime
Simone – Metaphors, Similes, and What it’s All About

Thank you to all of our sponsors for making this event an amazing experience.


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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Móna Wise June 13, 2011 at 7:25 am

Ah Ken. I love your story.
I miss everyone (still!) and look forward to seeing everyone again at P2P (UK?) maybe…..
Although all your images are fab, it is the one of the sheep I love the most!
Hugs to you and Mitch from across the pond.
Móna xx

ilva June 13, 2011 at 7:32 am

I truly enjoyed meeting you and M – you just wait and I’ll pop up over there! Love the photos and how you used colours and b&w, very creative!

Jamie June 13, 2011 at 7:32 am

I love it! We were all so thrilled not only that YOU attended but that M did too! We love you both! I am so happy that you enjoyed it so much and that it inspired you with all that you experienced and took home. You guys really made the weekend a great pleasure and a truly fabulous experience for us! Thanks for the memories – your photos are fab! Now, when can we get together again?

xoxo

Jeanne @ CookSister! June 13, 2011 at 7:44 am

I can still recall, our last summer… umm… workshop!! ;o)

What a great post Ken – both words and pictures! It was fantastic to finally meet you in person after all our Twitter chats – and great to know that you sing a mean ABBA chorus! So pleased that M came along – even though he thought we were obviously deranged at first, I hope he thinks more kindly of us now ;) So glad that you got as much out of the experience as a participant as we did as instructors. Look forward to when you come and visit us in London – like I said, me casa, su casa!

arthi June 13, 2011 at 7:47 am

Ken yr pictures are stunning and yr post brought a sweet smile ..Hope we have a re-union soon!
Hugs
A

Georgie June 13, 2011 at 7:58 am

What an amazing opportunity to travel to Germany (beautiful photo’s), meet all these incredible blogger’s (more beautiful photo’s) and learn about something you love. Great story, Ken, One day I hope to meet all of you!

catty June 13, 2011 at 8:41 am

Cant believe you went all that way and didn’t come to London! You and Mitch must come see me in Sydney ok? xx

Mark Scarbrough June 13, 2011 at 9:23 am

Ausgezeichnet! The pics are just lovely. Real inspiration.

Ishay June 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Darling Ken
I read your post on the BB in between meetings earlier today. Love your pics and your recount of the events. And THEN, I saw the last part in red. Forgot I forwarded it to you. Wow, so many emotions of that last presentation- were we crazy for taking the Irish lamb and literally running away with it?(as Jeanne said, you know me and Barcelona) And styling the pics with peppercorns and the apron I was wearing? You did so well under pressure- while everyone else was snap snap snapping and standing in the light! Thank you for the direction, whispered just before we presented: give the reader more info (I often imagine anyone reading knows what’s in my mind). Wish we had more time together- all of us. And happy clicking with the Nikon! Rgds to M.

Joan Nova June 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Looks like a great experience…in such an interesting backdrop. I read about it on Jeanne’s blog a week or so ago, but enjoyed it all over again here.

Meeta June 14, 2011 at 2:49 am

Getting to know you and Mitch was definitely one of the many highlights of the weekend. And the biggest was knowing that Mitch left a different man ;o) Love this post and all the memories flooding back with it. Reading your piece again makes me realize how fantastically daring you and Ishay were. Excellent!

Jenn June 14, 2011 at 3:54 am

Great post Ken!! So many great memories brought back by this post – it was so wonderful to meet both you and M that weekend :)

Tina@flourtrader June 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

I am glad you enjoyed the workshop! No doubt it was informative, inspiring and fun. Looks like this session should be repeated at least every year. Thanks for sharing-great post.

Brian @ A Thought For Food June 15, 2011 at 7:10 am

Beautiful ken… truly beautiful. I wish I could have gone. :-(

foodwanderings June 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

Hi Ken, This is such a wonderful collage through photographs and words of your time in Weimar. Love all pic but most favorite is the first meat one. Gorgeous! This conference seems by far the most successful just by reading everyone’s accounts. -Shulie

Laura June 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm

What beautiful photos, Ken!

The Cilantropist June 17, 2011 at 11:42 am

Loved hearing about your experiences, and there are some beautiful photos in this post too! I wish I could have gone to this workshop as well, I really could have benefited from writing advice from great instructors, not to mention, great participants!

merry jennifer June 17, 2011 at 3:41 pm

I adore that sheep photo. The others are great, too, but I love that sheep.

Megan June 22, 2011 at 10:49 am

This sounds like a wonderful experience. I think many of the blogging conferences these days are too hustle-and-bustle and to be able to really dig down and do hands-on instruction and learning is so valuable. I’m hoping that’s what BSP2 will be like, although it certainly will have a tough time competing with that beautiful countryside!

Simone July 3, 2011 at 11:46 am

I can’t believe it’s that long ago already. Time certainly does fly and wow, how I miss all you guys!
And Ken… really I know I am not that photogenic but that one shot in the restaurant is just too terrible..lol…

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