Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Disappointment and ... a new huntress?

Boyfriend and I just spent a long weekend in New York City to learn the answer to the question we'd been asking for seven weeks: Would Boyfriend's blog, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, win a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for best food blog, or would "finalist" be as far as he got this year?

For those who aren't as immersed in the food world as we are, let me explain: The JBF awards are a big deal in the food world. The Oscars. Not just for foodies, but for chefs and restaurants and food writers. Go to a bookstore and look at the cookbooks - if you see a James Beard seal on one, you know it's good stuff. Having a blog that deals with wild game among the finalists meant a lot.

If you follow his blog, you know by now that he did not win. But our trip to the city brought a pleasant surprise I never would have expected. Read more...
OK, there were plenty of predictable moments. I saw more freakin' famous chefs and television personalities in the space of 24 hours than in the previous 43 1/2 years of my life. And - I kid you not - world-renowned chef Jacques Pepin's left elbow brushed up against my right breast at an after party.

OK, really, it was an accident, almost not worthy of the tawdry name-dropping. Trust me - he wasn't copping a feel. He didn't even look at me. Or my breast. It was just crowded.

So, moving on, here's the thing that really got me revved up: I don't know if it was by accident or by design, but the night of the media awards, Boyfriend and I ended up at the same dinner table with his competitors, a team of bloggers from Sunset magazine's "Our One-Block Diet". They were the ones who would win.

But we liked each other right off the bat. Our food ethic was the same; the only difference was that Boyfriend and I don't just garden for food - we hunt for it.

We chatted and drank and ate together as the ceremony progressed, and by the end of it, we were all quite friendly. I don't remember exactly how it came up (forgive me - cocktails consumed: Manhattan, champagne, Stella Artois, innumerable glasses of wine and sherry), but one of the bloggers, Johanna Silver, announced that she'd totally be into hunting.

Boing!

It reminded me of the day my English PhD buddy Hellen found out I was a duck hunter and immediately declared that she, too, wanted to hunt ducks.

Johanna is in the center. Boyfriend's on the right.

You know me. I love spreading the faith. Hunting has brought me closer to what it really means to be an omnivore on this planet, fully aware of the cycle of life and my place in it, long-submerged instincts awakened...

So we began making plans. Take hunter safety. Get a gun. Let's get you to a women's shoot - doesn't have to be a women's shoot, but they're just fun. Practice. Then come fall, Girlfriend, I will take you hunting! It will change your life...

Johanna's more into pheasants than ducks - the hunting passion that consumes me 100 days a year and then some - but who cares. She's a foodie from the San Francisco Bay Area who eats meat, understands where it comes from and wants to participate more deeply in the process of putting food on the table.

What's not to love about that?

Photo credits: Main photo: Hank's mom. Second photo: Me? I think. With one of the Sunset girls' cameras...

© Holly A. Heyser 2009

13 comments:

Blessed said...

It's too bad that Boyfriend didn't win the award but at least someone nice did and at least you have another female hunting convert to work on! That's great news.

SimplyOutdoors said...

I'm sorry to hear that BF didn't win the award, but that is awesome that you found a possible new huntress to work into our lifestyles. Sweet!

NorCal Cazadora said...

We actually want to have the whole blog crew from Sunset over for dinner this summer. They were good people. And I really hope Johanna and I get to hunt together.

Josh said...

Ah, you evangelical hunter!

Phillip said...

All the way to New York to recruit a SF Bay Area huntress... I don't even know what to say.

Seriously, that's awesome, Holly! A great honor to be there in the first place, and it had to have been one heck of an experience... and now it sounds like you may have brought one more new hunter to our community.

Glad ya'll are back now. Go get that new rifle zeroed-in, because you're gonna need it soon.

Albert A Rasch said...

Holly,

Sounds like you all had a wonderful time, and I'm certain it was quite an honor for Hank to be part of the finalists.

And thank you for being attuned to those around you and taking the time to spread the good word, the honest words, about what we are about. You are the best.


Oh, and if you want that frenchman taken care of, let me know...

Albert

NorCal Cazadora said...

Phillip: Planning to hit the gun range Sunday!

Albert: I think there's very little risk that Jacques Pepin will ever bother me again - I think we can let the transgression slide...

sportingdays said...

Sounds like another candidate for the Grizzly Island ladies wild pheasant hunt. Way to go, Cazadora. She'd be lucky to have you as a mentor.

NorCal Cazadora said...

Hmmm. Lucky. Not sure about that. But we should at least have fun.

And bonus points, she is already getting inquiries from suitors based on this post. Guys: She has a boyfriend.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Sorry to hear that your BF didn’t win the award but I guess just been nominated for such a prestigious occasion is a reward in itself. Win some lose some. You didn’t get an award but you gained a hunter that is rewarding too.

-ov-

Jason "all in one printer" Collins said...

To me, you are the winner!
Bet you'll win next year!

Tammy Sapp said...

Holly, you're a great ambassador for all hunters!

Josh said...

That would have been a great headline, though:
"James Beard nominee and outdoor food blogger knocks out internationally renowned chef for indiscretion with girlfriend."

Okay, so now we know I'm not an editor... the idea is still funny, though.