A few nights ago I attended an event in the city. An Australian food company was launching a new product range and had chosen an international celebrity to be the face of the new range so that celebrity was going to be the star attraction of the event. I was invited because I am blogging on another website that has attached me to this product range and every week I use the product to create a recipe then write about it.
The invitation was for me only as in not ‘Charlie Louie and Partner’ and I don’t know about you but I’m not oozing with confidence stepping into a room where I know no one and am forced to either introduce myself to strangers or hide in the bathroom.
But I steeled myself believing there would probably be other bloggers there from the website so I should be able to find someone to talk to. I gave my name at the door, walked in and grabbed a champagne. I looked around the room and everyone was huddled in groups and I wondered how I might elbow my way into their circles.
Then I saw a woman covered in animal print talking to a man but the man walked off leaving her alone. I gave her a warm smile and she smiled back so I walked towards her and asked if she was here with the website. She looked at me all confused and said she had never heard of that website. I introduced myself anyway and she told me her name and I asked her what she did. She said, ‘I have a website’. I smiled thinking I had met a kindred spirit and said, ‘Oh, are you a blogger?’ But she reeled back and said, ‘I wouldn’t say that. I’m a professional writer’.
So instead of asking the name of her blog I asked, ‘Oh, what’s your website called?’ And she told me. And I hadn’t heard of it. I asked what she wrote (blogged) about. She said, ‘Food’. I said, ‘Oh, so do I’. And she asked, ‘What do you do?’ I said, ‘I’m a blogger’, and added quickly, ‘How long have you been writing (blogging)?’
‘It’s been my career. I’m not just a professional writer I’m also a professional chef.’
‘Oh, where have you worked?’
‘I had my own restaurant.’
‘Where was it?’
‘Oh, good.’ Just took a big gulp of champagne and looked around the room. Nobody said anything so I tried again. ‘So are you writing (blogging) about this event or are you writing (blogging) for the company?
And she looked at me strangely and said, ‘I’m doing what everyone else is doing and I’m writing about this. What are you doing?’
‘Oh, attached to the website I was telling you about is an off-shoot where there are 12 of us who write on the site and one of our clients is this company and three of us are being paid to create recipes and blog about the product so the company invited me here tonight.’
She said, ‘Listen darling, you need to watch yourself. There are many of us here tonight who all do what you do and none of us are being paid so do you think it’s politically correct for you to go around saying you’re being paid when no one else is, do you? You should think about that before you go around telling people you’re being paid. And I know Wendy, she’s a very good friend of mine so I’m going to be speaking to her and I’m going to ask her why it is that you’re being paid and I’m not when I’m doing the exact same thing as you. You want to be very careful darling about how you conduct yourself tonight. Think about it.’
I had no words. Forgetting how she spoke to me, I didn’t even know who Wendy was. I later found out she’s the head of the agency that organised the event and we are not connected in any way. The animal print woman then rattled off her CV telling me how successful she is and how talented she is and how she gets more hits than all these leading websites and how she gets invited to events like this nine times a day etc.
I said, ‘It’s amazing how with having to attend so many events you actually have the time to write’. And then a photographer from a newspaper asked if he could take our picture. She was only too keen to be photographed and threw her arm around me and leaned her head on my shoulder then said, ‘Wait’. Could you just stand on the other side of me because that side shows my crooked teeth’. So I had to move over to the other side to make sure the photographer snapped her best angle. So the photographer snapped away while the animal print woman leaned all over me but then as the photographer was walking away she called him back and insisted on seeing the images he’d taken. She told him she wasn’t happy with them and asked him to take them again. I just drank down my champagne.
Then an acquaintance of hers approached and she introduced her to me and I said, ‘And what do you do?’ and she said, ‘Industry’. What does that mean? Then another photographer approached and asked to take a photo of the three of us. The animal print woman stood in the centre with her arm around me and she said to her friend, ‘Could you just move in closer so you hide my stomach?’ So I felt we were there as her props, making sure she came off looking as good as possible and never mind how the props looked.
She then said she was moving closer to the stage so she could be right at the front for when the celebrity took to the stage. Soon the celebrity arrived and after she’d finished speaking she stepped off the stage but the animal print woman stormed towards her and asked to be photographed with her. I’d never seen anyone be so aggressively bold. The celebrity was very gracious and allowed the photo but I think having a stranger lean their head into your neck, put one arm around your waist and the other hand on your stomach is beyond intrusive.
I was done with the happy mingling experience and left shortly afterwards.
Time for a sugar hit!
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: This is a great recipe because you almost don’t need to go to the shops. These are everyday ingredients you will more than likely have in your fridge and pantry.
- 675g (1 1/2 lbs) sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tin sweetened condensed milk
- 125g (4 ozs) butter
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tbspn golden syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Put sugar and milk into a saucepan, mix, and slowly bring to the boil. Add condensed milk, butter, salt and golden syrup. Boil until it reaches soft boil stage, about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Cool, then add vanilla extract and beat until thick. Pour into a 20cm square tin, sprinkle with the walnuts and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to set. Cut when hardened.
This recipe has been adapted from the Edmonds Cookery Book.
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