I realized very recently that I have a dream job. And when I sat down at my laptop to share that with you, my nearest and dearest, I realized another very important, yet less obvious, thing: You might not know what I actually do.
I mean, you know that I cook.
I bake too.
I make photographs of my food.
And then I tell you about it.
But what is it that I do with the rest of the time?
How do I fill the hours when I’m not watching DVR’ed episodes of The View, Oprah, painting my nails a nondescript nude, applying Vaseline to my lips beyond every recognizable border of pigment, curling, then re-curling, and re-re-curling my hair, eating Cadbury crème eggs, and waiting (oh, waiting) for Leonardo DiCaprio’s next film?
Are you still awake?
You have a little dribble on your chin.
Here, have my hankie.
No, really, just keep it. *I have others. (*You know I don’t)
What was I saying?
Right, my job. My M through F. My 10 to 6 (sweet hours, I tell you).
I’m the Editor and Social Media Manager of Foodista.com. What’s that, you ask? It’s a cooking encyclopedia that features thousands of foods, recipes, tools, techniques, and food news articles. Picture Epicurious and Wikipedia and Huffington Post getting married. Set aside the polygamy factor. Just set it down.
Let me break it down:
Day in and day out, I edit recipes, manage and edit the articles of five wonderful and talented writers in a variety of categories (food news, celebrity, holidays and events, and drinks). I not only get to flex that part of my brain that wishes grammar were sexier, but I also get to write and read about the newest and most interesting trends in food and cooking. Everything from restaurant openings to new product releases to brand merging to food safety to health and nutrition.
The fun part is that a recent article of mine reached the front page of the Huffington Post Food section. I followed that by smiling for 24 hours and then writing another groundbreaking article about people having sex using bacon flavored lubricant. That article was “liked” on Facebook over 1,000 times. *Andie Mitchell, making her papa proud since 1985.
2. Social Media Manager
I’m Tweeting, I’m Facebooking. I’m Linking In. I’m Stumbling Upon and Digg-ing. Find ten more socially active media sources and I’m considering those, too. My world exists in 140 characters or less. #Onedayilltweetmyselftodeath
3. Organizer of the International Food Blogger Conferences
One of the best and most rewarding parts of my work. I plan conferences for food bloggers that focus on food, writing, and technology. Each year, roughly 250 people attend a weekend long event with authors, publishers, editors, restaurateurs, chefs, and photographers to learn more about blogging and how they can do everything from building a personal brand to monetizing and publishing their work. There are about 15 sessions, each led by experts and industry leaders, and then there are meals. Oh the meals. This is the fun part: I contact the area’s best chefs/restaurants (usually James Beard Award winners and nominees) and food trucks, and ask if they’d like to participate by preparing a meal.
I also help to design the agenda- the sessions, decide upon speakers, contact those speakers, feel odd approaching people I admire and respect so tremendously, publicly embarrass myself no less than thirty two times per conference (And I’m working on my third, so you know I’ve got a backlog), and you know, all that goes along with a three day food conference.
The past conferences (I’ve only planned one of the two total) have been here in Seattle, our lovely mountain meets water home. This year, I’m planning one in New Orleans in late August and one in Santa Monica in November.
I won’t be able to fully articulate how excited I am about them. My hair may turn four shades of gray by year’s end, but I’ll at least have a smile.
These three areas are a joy.
My team, seven big, is quirky and loving and unique, and I’m blessed that they let me wear many hats, so to speak. I’m able to try new things constantly, explore new parts of blogging and writing and eating, and then, I get to share all that with people I adore. To spend my 10 to 6 in the company of a very Brady Bunch. *I insist on Marsha for obvious reasons, the most important being groovy hair. Each of them feels like family. Mentors and friends and people who accept and applaud my eccentricity.
They let me be spastic and controlling.
They eat my cupcakes and candy.
They call me Mitch.
They know that when I say I need to clean the office, they had better gird their loins. And guard their collectibles. Someone doesn’t do well with clutter.
The running joke in the office is that my name should have and ETC. tacked to its end, much like one would boast a PhD or an ESQ. Etcetera (etc.) would suit me well and perhaps distinguish me. I like playing office mom and office baby and office HR. Sometimes that means orchestrating a release party when Foodista published their first book; sometimes that means worrying about my dearests’ health and comfort and forcing them to eat at least one serving of fruit per day; and sometimes that means fashioning my voice like a siren when one of them violates my very strict HR policy.
Boo Woo Woo! Boo Woo Woo! There’ll be none of that here!
Everything I learned about HR, I learned on Mad Men.
I have standards.
Very few, but still.
So that’s what I do. I wear dresses inappropriately, laugh loudly and often, threaten red cards for misbehavior, bring in fruit and whole grain bread, and then, I stick a pin in my ego and watch it deflate as I pronounce beignets bay-nets instead of ben-yays.
The beautiful part of all of it, though, is that I love what I do.
And the other hours? Outside of work?
I make marinades.
And I grill.
And I made *excellent and smooth segues from talking about work to talking about food.
(*We both know this to be an untruth.)
I char just about any ol’ thing I can get my hands on. Something about the smokiness, the fiery flavor, just does it for me. On Saturday, Seattle was on her best behavior. She warmed and sunned and glowed. We were all high on Vitamin D. And when I finally laid in bed that night, (saying prayers I got the teensiest tan), I realized I’d been outside for ten straight hours, and each of them felt special. Unique. Restorative.
Daniel and I ate this meal outside on our roof deck to end the happy day, and it was delicious. Grilled steak, peppers and sweet red onion, and Near East parmesan couscous. The steaks, grass-fed top sirloin, I marinated for a few hours in my absolute favorite soy ginger sauce. It’s a cinch to whisk together, and sure to leave anything it soaks with the sweetest, most intense flavor. It’s actually the same sauce I used to marinate the crispy garlic and ginger tofu I shared with you last Thursday- a testament to its versatility and how dearly I love it.
The beef, after about four hours of soaking in soy and ginger and garlic and brown sugar, was so tender it nearly fell apart when tickled with a fork. It was so juicy that I found myself pushing my couscous toward the side of my plate where the steak once sat, just to sop up the last drippings of sauce.
I hope you make it as the weather warms.
Soy Ginger Marinade
makes 2/3 cup
½ cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Use as a marinade for chicken, pork, beef, or tofu and let soak for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
Now tell me, what do you do for a living? Do you love it?